Pałac w Czesławicach – zabytek przywrócony
The Palace in Czesławice – a restored historic building
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Czesławice, a small village located near Nałęczów, in the Puławy Poviat, is known in the Lublin region for an extensive palace and park complex blended picturesquely into the natural valley. Thename (originally “Czasławice”) derives from the name of the Czasławski family – the first owners recorded in original documents as early as 1531. The exact location of the old manor house(made of wood, and later of brick) is not known. The plans from 1870 record the existence of an 18th-century brick manor house and a complex of farm buildings, whose construction can,in all likelihood, be dated back to the 1st half of the 19th century, as a part of Count Ludwik Małachowski’s investment activities. In 1886, Czesławice was purchased by Wacław Wernicki, an industrialist from Warsaw, who intended to build a mansion in a place ensuring good climatic conditions, healthy air and a beautiful landscape in order to restore his sick wife to health. Anotherreason for the choice of this location was the construction of the eastern section of the Vistula railway line with the Miłocin (later Nałęczów, presently Sadurki) railway station situated 3kmaway from Czesławice. The impressive palace in Czesławice was built to the south-east of the previous manor house. There is no evidence for the fact that the current manor house wasconverted from the brick manor house left by the previous owners; this has not been confirmed by architectural research conducted here in the years 1986 to 1987. The palace was probablyerected according to the design by Leonard Marconi as a new plan in a new place, adapted to the conditions of the land gently sloping towards the stream valley. The park wasdesignedby Walerian Kronnenberg – one of the most outstanding garden layout designers of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The total area of the complex, including the farm, was24ha. According to the Decree of the Polish Committee of National Liberation (PKWN) of 6 September 1944 on the agricultural reform, the estate was taken over by the state and granted to the Higher College of Agriculture in 1955. The new owner started a thorough reconstruction of the palace. At the beginning of 1960, connecting passages and side wings were rebuilt, where thesecond usable storey was introduced in place of the mezzanine. New staircases were designed, ceilings and roofs were replaced, and partition walls, new holes, flues and air ducts wereintroduced, destroying the retained decorations on the ground floor level. At that time, the object had not yet been entered into the national register of historic monuments and was notprotected by the law, therefore the renovation was carried out without a conservation plan. The school never finished the repair works and did not clean the ponds, but due to financialdifficulties, it also failed to carry out its plans to build a boarding house in the park area. In the years 1987-1991, only some parts of the palace were used – in the southern wing, therewere offices, whereas other rooms were occupied by temporary users who did not care about the palace being a historic monument. In 1991, the Provincial Conservator of Monumentsordered the school to protect the palace and the retained elements of interior decor. This acted as a motivation to look for a new user. In June 1996, the palace and the 14 ha of thepark area and ponds were sold to Sp. z o.o. HERMES company based in Lublin. The apparent opportunity for the historic building turned out to be an utter disaster. Almost immediately,without any conservation or building permits, the company started works that led to a substantial devastation of the palace and the park within less than a year. A number ofspecimen trees were cut down, the palace roof covering was replaced and all external plasters were hacked off together with the details of façade decorations: cornices, trims, pilasters,rustications and portals all disappeared. Bare plain walls stripped off of plaster began to be lined with polystyrene foam. The conservation office suspended the works and notified theprosecutor’s office about the destruction of the historic monument. A new chapter in the history of the palace and park complex in Czesławice started only in August 2001, when it was sold toa new owner – Renata Grochowska, who, together with her husband, has been making every effort to save the building. The first actions of the new hosts have focused on the basic protection of the palace and the park. Details, interiors and decorations of the palace are being reconstructed on the basis of old designs and archival documentation. Gradually, but consistently, thepalace and the park in Czesławice are regaining their splendour. The intention of the owners is to recreate the residential character of the complex and make it available for cultural, touristand research purposes. Around 150 unique specimen of the park tree stand, which consists of more than 2,500 items of over 60 species, were classified as natural monuments subjectto protection. Steps are being taken to clean the ponds, to unclog drains, to renovate dykes and to plant lawns. After many years, the historic building is returning to its formermagnificence.
- dr inż. architekt, badacz zabytków architektury, adiunkt w Katedrze Architektury Urbanistyki i Planowania Przestrzennego Wydziału Budownictwa i Architektury Politechniki Lubelskiej, od 1991 r. Wojewódzki Konserwator Zabytków w Lublinie. Autorka wielu publikacji z zakresu ochrony dziedzictwa kulturowego, praktyki stosowania prawa ochrony zabytków. Członek Polskiego Komitetu Międzynarodowej Rady Ochrony Zabytków ICOMOS, Rady Programowej Narodowego Instytutu Dziedzictwa oraz stowarzyszeń zawodowych.
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