In Kurnik there is a castle that attracts many tourists. It was built in the 15th century, but received the present form of the English neo-Gothic style only in the first half of the 19th century. The castle houses a library of 320 thousand volumes, a museum with collections of furniture, sculptures, paintings, military equipment, porcelain and fabrics.
The fortress is surrounded by a large park, founded in the 18th century. – one of the largest dendrological parks in Poland.
From the history of the castle
Kurnitsky castle dates back to the Middle Ages, when the owners of Kurnik were Gurki, the famous family of Great Polish magnates. The stone residence of Mikolaj Gurka, built on wooden stilts, was completed in about 1430. It consisted of two parallel wings, a tower in the northeast outer corner, an entrance gate on the south side and a wooden drawbridge leading to it. The last of the Gurkov clan, Stanislav, expanded the castle, erecting a new wing on the north side. In such an updated residence, he received Heinrich Valois, who was in a hurry in 1574 to coronation in Krakow.
The last reconstruction of the castle was carried out in the first half of the 19th century. Its initiator was the owner of the castle – Titus Dzyalinsky, a famous patriot, a participant in the national uprising of 1830 – 1831.
In the renovated castle, Titus Dzyalinsky founded a family residence and housed in it a beautiful library full of old printed books, maps and manuscripts, which he collected for many years, as well as a collection of national symbols.
The last owner of the castle, Vladislav Zamoysky in 1924, together with all the expanded the castle, erecting a new on the premises, presented Kurnik to the Polish people.
Museum “Castle in Kournik”
The Kurnik Castle Museum is an amazing place. Its halls are filled with a huge number of paintings and sculptures, furniture sets and weapons collections, trophies and ethnographic memorabilia, ancient books and archaeological finds.
The first museum hall is the apartments of Vladislav Zamoysky. After the death of Zamoysky, a small wooden altar was installed in the room and the apartments served as a castle chapel. The only original piece of furniture left over from those times is a mahogany desk in the Empire style.
An interesting fact is that the table served as a bed for the last owner of Kurnik, since Zamoysky had vowed to sleep on a hard surface even in his youth if Poland awaited independence. As you know, on November 11, 1918, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth got rid of the occupation regime and Zamoysky had to fulfill his vow.
The largest and most famous hall of the Kournitsky castle is Moorish. It consists of three connected rooms of the Quadrangular Tower. Here is a unique collection of weapons, knightly armor, decorative dishes and porcelain, jewelry and sacred objects collected by Zamoysky and his predecessors from almost all over the world.
Other museum halls are interesting for visitors – the Dining Room, the Hunting Corner, the Black Hall, the chambers of Maria Zamoyskaya (Vladislav’s sister), the Grand Salon and the Small Thessaloniki.
One day is not enough to inspect the entire museum. Add to this the unique arboretum (tree nursery) near the castle – and you can literally get lost in time.
Near the castle gates there is a small cozy restaurant that will delight you with a cup of “fresh bread Herbata” (delicious tea) and honey gingerbread – “perniki”.
Ghosts in the castle, of course, are. Yes, not some primitive ghosts there, but the proud White Lady, whose portrait is hanging in the Dining Room. Theofila Dzyalinskaya even during her life was distinguished by a special disposition towards her subjects. Local residents kept discussing her numerous love adultery, which, according to rumors, she started with a living husband.
Theophilus’ ghost is pretty friendly. The White Lady does not rattle in chains, does not groan, does not utter terrifying laughter. On the contrary, it was her castle in Kournik that owed such an ideal condition.