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Visit to the Castle and arboretum in Kórnik

a small, white castle surrounded by a moat
The Castle in Kórnik - small but charming. Photo by A. Rybczyńska

Located just 25 kilometers from Poznań, Kórnik is famous not only for the birthplace of our Nobel Prize winner Wisława Szymborska, but also for its magnificent castle situated on an island surrounded by a moat. It is adjacent to the Kórnik Arboretum, which is managed by the Institute of Dendrology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. I visited the castle about 20 years ago, and now I decided to take my family there. 

How far is it from Warsaw to Kórnik?

The distance from Warsaw to Kórnik is 320 km.

How far is it from Poznań to Kórnik?

The distance from Poznań to Kórnik is 25 km.

Visitors stand in front of the castle
Even in September, the Kórnik Castle attracts a large number of visitors :) Photo by A. Rybczyńska

Although the castle is not big, it is really worth visiting. Its history dates back to the 15th century, and its current appearance is due to Tytus Działyński and its reconstruction in the mid-19th century in the English neo-Gothic style. Over the centuries, the castle passed from hand to hand and belonged to the Górka, Czarnkowski, Grudziński, Działyński and Zamoyski families.

A statue of Tytus Działyński
Tytus Działyński rebuilt the Castle in Kórnik especially to accommodate library and museum collections. Photo by A. Rybczyńska
a boy is standing next to the stairs leading to the castle
Figures of a boar and a dog (on the other side) in front of the entrance to the stairs of the Castle in Kórnik. Photo by A. Rybczyńska
a boy and a man standing in front of the castle, behind them on the foreground brick tower belonging to the castle
The neo-Gothic brick tower is located on the eastern side of the castle and was built in the 19th century. Photo by A. Rybczyńska

Currently, the castle is the seat of a unit of the Polish Academy of Sciences - the Kórnik Library. There is one of the richest libraries in Poland, founded by Tytus Działyński, and wonderful residential interiors available to guests. The castle contains the most valuable manuscripts and old prints, 19th-century residential interiors and collections of national and family memorabilia (memorabilia of the Działyński and Zamoyski families).

There is definitely something to see there, so I invite you to see the castle and its interior.

This room was occupied at the end of their lives by the last owners of the castle: Tytus Działyński, his son Jan, and grandson Władysław Zamoyski. The last two died in this room.

Room with wooden furniture, large oak desk, two chairs, and a wardrobe
Władysław Zamoyski's room in the Castle in Kórnik. Photo by A. Rybczyńska
A room with wooden furniture, an oak wardrobe and an inlaid floor
A wonderful oak wardrobe with the image of the 12 apostles, dating from the 17th century. The Castle in Kórnik. Photo by A. Rybczyńska

The room of Jadwiga Zamoyska, who was the daughter of Tytus Działyński and died in this room.

A man and two boys standing in a very ornate room with a wooden wardrobe, chairs and several paintings on the wall
A wonderfully inlaid floor made of hexagonal tiles. The Castle in Kórnik. Photo by A. Rybczyńska
an antique table with flowers on it, a huge blue and gold clock on the wall
I really liked this clock. Photo by A. Rybczyńska

In the living room there is, among others, an image of Tytus Działyński. In the foreground you can also see a table decorated with a mosaic of knots from 16 tree species, according to the tradition from the Kórnik park.

a man is looking at a painting hanging over the fireplace
Just look at this fantastic picure frame. Photo by A. Rybczyńska
two  lion heads carved in marble
Marble lion heads crowning the fireplace. Photo by A. Rybczyńska
five paintings hanging on the wall, carved table, inlaid floor, two antique clocks
Another example of an inlaid floor. Photo by A. Rybczyńska

In the dining room, on the wall you can see a painting of a woman in a white dress. She seems to be the most famous ghost in Poland. This ghost belongs to Teofila Działyńska - the former owner of the Kórnik estate. Full of energy and ideas, she decided to rebuild her castle. She wanted Kórnik to become a noble residence. It was during her rule that the castle took on a late-baroque shape. Teofilia died in 1790 in the castle in Kórnik. She was 76 years old. After her death, a legend spread about her spirit haunting the Kórnik castle. Legend says that every midnight Teofilia comes out of the frame of this painting. She silently passes into the adjacent Black Hall and then appears on the castle terrace. Here, the White Lady meets a mysterious knight on a black horse, and in the morning she disappears to return to the painting.

a long wooden table, over ten chairs in a room, a boy is looking at the the coffered ceiling with coats of arms
My son can't take his eyes off the ceiling :) This room served as a dining room. Photo by A. Rybczyńska

The interior of Maria Zamoyska's room, originally served as a guest room, then a bedroom for Izabella, the wife of Jan Działyński, and then Maria Zamoyska, sister of Władysław Zamoyski, the last owner of the castle, who lived here. Among the baroque furniture, two Gdańsk secretaries from the second half of the 18th century standing opposite the window are particularly noteworthy.

two wooden secretaries, between them a mirror in a gold frame
Maria Zamoyska's room. Photo by A. Rybczyńska

The Moorish Hall captivated me the most. In the times of Tytus Działyński, the room was intended as a library, but his son Jan turned it into a museum room, where family and national memorabilia were collected. The room consisted of three different, interconnected interiors, the architecture and decoration of which refers to the Court of Lions and the Court of Myrtles of the Alhambra - magnificent Arab palaces in Granada. You can see cast iron columns and a spiral staircase leading to the gallery, which were rare in residences of this type. In the Moorish Hall, visitors can admire, among others, military items related mainly to hussars - heavy cavalry (for example, full hussar armor with a preserved wing), cannon barrels from the 18th century, numerous paintings, antique furniture, weapons, ceramics and silverware.

a man and a boy are looking at military souvenirs, gun barrels, armor, they are in a room whose architecture resembles Arabic patterns
In the Moorish Hall. Photo by A. Rybczyńska
Arabic, white column tops, shelves with books on the first floor, hanging chandelier
Upstair, there is a famous library with old volumes. Photo by A. Rybczyńska
a room in the Moorish style, shelves with porcelain, three tourists viewing the exhibitions
Interior of the room in Moorish style. Photo by A. Rybczyńska

In the farthest part of the room there are monuments of church art. The most valuable among them is a unique silver altar in the form of a triptych with 16 panels depicting the mysteries of the Rosary and Our Lady of the Rosary with Saints Dominic and Catherine of Siena. Reliefs are among the outstanding Polish goldsmith works created in the first quarter of the 17th century.

silver altar in the form of a triptych surrounded by a few paintings
A fantastic work of goldsmith's art. Photo by A. Rybczyńska
a room in the Moorish style, shelves with porcelain, few tourists viewing the exhibitions
Interior of the room in Moorish style. Photo by A. Rybczyńska
a white statue of a woman, next to it there are wooden stairs leading to the first floor
The White Lady. Photo by A. Rybczyńska
a woman standing between green bushes in front of a castle
It is here, on the terrace behind me, where the White Lady meets the knight every night :) Photo by A. Rybczyński

The Arboretum in Kórnik is the oldest and richest in species arboretum in Poland and the fourth largest collection in Europe. 
On an area of over 50 ha, there are over 3,500 tree taxons and shrubs, including many exotic ones. Currently, in the arboretum in Kórnik there is the Institute of Dendrology of the Polish Academy of Sciences with experimental gardens and a dendrological museum.

a man and two boys are walking along a forest path
When the weather is nice, it would be a sin not to go to the arboretum. Photo by A. Rybczyńska
a boy is touching a pine branch
There are different types of trees in the arboretum. Photo by A. Rybczyńska
a boy stands at the entrance to a part of the arboretum with yew trees
We are heading towards the yew land. Photo by A.Rybczyńska
a boy is standing in the middle yew trees
Inside the yew land. Photo by A. Rybczyńska
four tall pines and heather at their feet
All plants are marked. Photo by A. Rybczyńska
a man and two boys heading to the castle, the path is surrounded by green bushes
It was a fantastic day spent with history, but also in the bosom of nature. Photo by A. Rybczyńska

How to get to Kórnik Castle?

Polish map outline and website address
If you have any questions,
please write to me
Agnieszka Rybczyńska

aga@gotopoland.net

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