Zamość Old Town

The city, located in the south-eastern part of Poland, was designed on the drawing board as an ideal Renaissance city from 1578 according to plans by the Venetian architect Bernando Morando. The center is the large market with its colorful, richly decorated town houses and the town hall with its octagonal, 58 m high clock tower. Not far is the former synagogue from the 17th century. Old town of

Zamość Old Town: Facts

Official title: Old town of Zamość
Cultural monument: designed by the Italian master builder Bernardo Morando as “Padua of the North” on behalf of the Grand Chancellor and royal military leader Jan Zamoyski, the first Polish city planned on the drawing board. with the Great Market (Rynek Wielki) with arcades and arbor houses, the town hall with 50 m high clock tower and sweeping staircase, the three-aisled cathedral and the city fortifications from the 16th to 19th centuries.
Continent: Europe
Country: Poland
Location: Zamość, southeast of Lublin
Appointment: 1992
Meaning: a perfect example of a 16th century Renaissance town where Italian and Central European architecture harmonize

Old town of Zamość: history

1542-1605 Jan Zamoyski, Grand Chancellor and Army Commander
1572 End of the Jagiellonian dynasty
1582-91 Planning and construction of the city on the property of Jan Zamoyski
1587-98 Construction of the current cathedral
1610-20 Construction of the synagogue
1639-51 Construction of the town hall, embellished with a monumental baroque staircase in the 18th century
1648 unsuccessful siege by Cossacks
1656 Siege by Swedish troops
1813 and 1831 Siege by troops of the Russian tsar
1866 Sanding the fortification
5.03.1871 Birth of the socialist politician and founder of the Spartakusbund, Rosa Luxemburg

Aristocratic power and wealth of merchants

The wind whistles violently on the narrow balustrade of the Zamość town hall tower. Only a few are fortunate enough to be able to climb up with the city monument conservator. Barbara Skorzynska points down from above: “The houses around the market all date from the Renaissance, but the further we get away from the market square, the younger the town houses.” The fortifications and ramparts, some of which were not built until the beginning of the 20th century, can be seen in the residential buildings.

At the end of the 16th century, the powerful Grand Chancellor and military leader Jan Zamoyski had the city built from scratch by his architect, the Venetian Bernardo Morando, based on the ideal of the time. According to softwareleverage, it was the heyday of aristocratic power in Poland, and Zamoyski had almost unlimited funds that he could invest in founding the city.

The main axis still leads through the market square to the palace of those of Zamoyski; the alleys leading away from the market, which did not – as was customary at the time – lead along the front of the market houses to a gate, end at a church such as the mannerist cathedral, which has been preserved to this day and in which the remains of the city’s founder are buried and those in the sphere of power the Zamoyskis played a role similar to that of the Wawel Royal Castle in Krakow.

The entire complex of the original city was surrounded by a defensive wall with a moat, on which all later defenses, including Bastion VII, were built. This defense system was so effective that Zamość not only withstood the advancing Cossacks in the 17th century, but was also able to withstand the later onslaught of the Swedes.

At that time Zamość was on one of the important trade routes that led to the Black Sea via the then Polish Lwow (Lemberg) – today the western Ukrainian Lviv, which is also a world heritage site. Armenian, Greek, Jewish-Sephardic and German traders settled in the town, who – provided with privileges from the town’s founder – ensured an economic boom. The most successful seem to have been the Armenians, whose houses are still eye-catching with their particularly richly decorated facades and roof gables and are one of the city’s most important tourist attractions.

The Zamoyskis not only had the Armenians, Greeks and Jews build their own houses of worship, some even donated them themselves – including the Greek Catholic church that was built at the beginning of the 17th century in place of a wooden church for Greek traders and after the recent political change in Poland passed to the Franciscans.

Zamość as the ideal of a city is not a pure adaptation of Italian models of the Renaissance, because the traders from the east introduced their own elements into the cityscape. The city’s conservationists have made sure that not only the historical facades were preserved or restored, but also that those who wanted to move into the market square after the extensive renovation phase at the end of the 1970s – this also applies to those who move there today Wants to open a café or a pub – which respects the medieval arches, the cellars and winding staircases. This form of monument preservation means that tourists who want to eat in one of the numerous restaurants on the market square often take adventurous hikes through the winding, mysteriously dark rooms have to undertake. In the rain – and this is a positive achievement from the time of the Renaissance – the arcades taken over from Italy ensure that fortunately the footpath does not turn into a wet adventure, but that you can walk around the market square without getting your feet wet.

Zamość Old Town