GLITTER and SPLENDOR: the most beautiful ballrooms in Poland
Kryzhtopor Castle, Uyazd
There were no balls in this castle for a long time. Although the castle ballroom has existed only in collective memory for many years, it still excites the imagination. Kryzhtopor Castle (Krzyżtopór) is a grandiose building built by the Sandomierz governor Krzysztof Ossolinsky in 1620–1644. According to the owner, Kryzhtopor was supposed to become the largest European palace of that time, but the glory did not last long – in 1657 the Swedes destroyed the castle, and by the middle of the XVIII century it finally turned into ruins. The palace was known for extravagant architectural solutions and decor. In particular, it had a ballroom two stories high with a dining room adjoining it. They say that in the latter a giant aquarium was mounted in the ceiling, so that decorative fish swam directly above the heads of the guests!
It would hardly occur to anyone to look for a ballroom in the monastery, nevertheless, the Princely Hall in Lyubenzhsky Cistercian Abbey was used as a venue for luxurious receptions. The Princely Hall is one of the masterpieces of Polish Baroque. It was built at the end of the 17th century in the northern wing of the monastery complex. Work on decorating the interior of the hall continued in the 18th century. The luxurious decoration of the huge ballroom included sculptures and bas-reliefs of Franz Mangoldt. On the sides of the entrance are figures of an African and an Indian, and Atlas has a musical balcony on his shoulders. In the hall you can see statues of three emperors from the Habsburg dynasty, allegories of virtues, as well as personifications of Europe, Asia, America and Africa. The vaults of the ballroom are decorated with a huge ceiling (24 x 14 m) painted by Christian Bentum and depicting the “triumph of the Catholic faith over heresies and infidels.” Numerous murals designed by the abbot of Constant Beyer glorified the Catholic faith and the Habsburg empire. Today, this magnificent hall hosts various musical events, for example, some concerts from the program of the international festival Wratislavia Cantans.
Castle in Malbork
Although the sullen Teutonic knights did not hold grandiose balls, they did have facilities suitable for this in size, architecture and decoration. Take, for example, the Great Refectory in the castle in Malbork, where the knights received guests. It was built in the 1330s and has retained its Gothic appearance to this day. This is the largest room in the castle (its dimensions are 15 x 30 x 9 m). The refectory is decorated with fourteen lancet windows. The modest design of the hall emphasizes the stunning rib arch based on three graceful columns.
Ksenz Castle, Walbrzych
Ksenz Castle in Walbrzych – the third largest in Poland. Its history goes back to the distant XIII century. The castle was built by order of the Swidnitsky-Yavorsky prince Bolko I Surovoy, but received its current Baroque appearance at the beginning of the XVIII century thanks to the owners from the count family Hochberg. Around the same time, a new eastern wing appeared at the castle. It houses the Maximilian Hall – one of the best-preserved Baroque solemn halls in Silesia.
Visitors admire not only marble fireplaces and crystal mirrors. The ceiling lamp with ancient Greek motifs, executed by Anthony Felix Scheffler, who was assisted by numerous craftsmen working with stucco, stone and marble, is truly amazing. Today, receptions and weddings are held in this huge two-story ballroom, as the hotel is currently located in Ksenz Castle.
Royal Castle, Warsaw
Many Poles will immediately recognize the Great Assembly Hall in the Warsaw Royal Castle, as important public celebrations, concerts and conferences are often held here. Close your eyes and imagine that you were transported to the XVIII century and are present at the royal ball, standing under the amazing ceiling by Marcello Baccarelli, surrounded by majestic candelabra and gilded stucco. It is in this ballroom with a total area of 321 square meters. m. the Polish king Stanislav Augustus Poniatowski arranged grandiose balls. The hall, created at the end of the 17th century by Dominico Merlini and Jan Christian Kamzettser, was destroyed during the Second World War, and after its completion was carefully restored, which was made possible thanks to the preserved pre-war photographs.