Palaces

There was no room for a palace in the urban concept of Krakow. It was a building that was contrary to the assumptions of the founding city, limited by defensive walls, where every square meter of area was worth its weight in gold. The thirteenth century urban planner divided the city into equal plots, assuming that all tenement houses would be of approximately the same size. The development of the city, however, went in a different direction, some plots were divided, others joined, and the appearance of the streets differed, as did the number of house owners. The term “palace” appeared in the renaissance. Representatives of powerful magnate families, owners of nearby castles, lords of Wiśnicz, Tęczynek, Pieskowa Skała, tied with offices to Wawel, wanting to be closer to the royal court, and not being able to live on the Wawel Hill itself, at all costs wanted to live at least within Krakow. Thus, two or three tenement houses were bought from the townspeople and altogether them into one whole, which after the reconstruction turned into a representative magnate seat. It was a time when the pride and vanity of nobles grew to gigantic proportions. And I think it was then that the proverb “pledge yourself and put yourself up”. After the reconstruction, the bourgeois houses became palaces in the full sense of the word: multi-window facades, huge passage halls with guardhouses full of hajduk, with courtyards decorated with cloisters, fountains, sculptures. In the city palace, the most magnificent was the first floor, i.e. the piano nobile. Reception lounges were grouped here, balls were organized here, and guests were received. Booths, bedrooms, children’s rooms and servants’ rooms were located above. Often in palaces of that time there were already kitchen lifts and bathrooms. Along with the relocation of the royal residence to Warsaw, the palaces began to decline, and the Swedish Deluge in the mid-17th century caused exceptional damage. The troops of Karol Gustaw that took Krakow, robbed tires, tapestries, marble fireplaces – everything fell victim to the invaders. On the outskirts of 19th-century Krakow, palaces and manors were built, which today are often in the city center, but there is no trace of parks and gardens.

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