Pszczyna Mirror Hall Concert
Matt arranged a surprise for us at the Pszczyna Castle, we enjoyed a CONCERT in the Mirror Hall. As you can see in the photo there was a pianist, cellist and vocalist. Just perfect for the Mirror Hall setting.
- Castles and Palaces
- Arts and Culture
The Palace of the Princes of Pless
The palace of Pless/Psczcyna is based on a late medieval castle, which was then rebuilt in renaissance style in the 16th and in baroque style in the 18th century. Its current appearance, however, was shaped in the late 19th century in French neo-baroque style.
The interior we see today derives from the times around 1900. About 80% of it are originally preserved. So we see the rooms as they were when the last owners from the principal family inhabited it: Prince Heinrich XV and his wife, the beautiful Daisy.
In case you speak German and have ever read any of those kitschy novels by Hedwig Courths-Mahler... this would be the perfect setting.
In World War I the palace served as headquarters of the German Emperor Wilhelm I and his generals. The Emperors apartment on the ground floor recalls those times.
The palace museum can be visited with guided tours (unless you have a special permission like we had). Please check the website for opening hours and entrance fees.
More photos of the interior
- Museum Visits
- Castles and Palaces
Standing ovations,enthusiastic applause
I and Fernando (darthmilmo) were very lucky to listen to amazing concert of world famous Polish song and dance ensemble SLASK inside Evangelical Church in Pszczyna on 6th April 2003. They sang (choir) a few classical songs and it was just great!!! Standing ovations, enthusiastic applause ended the concert - really impressive and moving :-).
ABOUT SLASK ENSEMBLE
Among the countries that "Slask" has visited are: Algeria, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Greece, Great Britain, Hong-Kong, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Korea, Mongolia, Mexico, Norway, Romania, Tunisia, USA.
They just came back from Japan where they broken every stereotype look of Japanese human. There were very, active, spontaneous, they simply had fun. Next Germany. In 2004 Japan again, Korea, Taiwan. Maybe USA as well.
Just one press opinion:
There is a wealth of fascinating and quite unfamiliar dance material here that it would be genuine pleasure to be able to see and digest. The singing has not undergone any comparable refinement but still retains the quality of the folk voice most of the time.
NEW YORK TIMES (USA)
More: follow the link below.
- Theater Travel
- Budget Travel
VISIT THE BISON CENTER
Only a few hundred meters from the Old Town of Pszczyna, you can visit the BISON CENTER or ZAGRODA ZUBROW, which was created on almost 10 hectares of land, in the historic part of the Park called Zwierzyniec. The Bison can be seen from a viewing area. You can also see other animals such as deer and one beautiful peacock who thoroughly enjoyed struttin' his tail feathers.
Group entry fee was 6 zl
INTERIOR OF CASTLE MUSEUM
The Royal apartments are the rooms in which the rulers of the principality and the German Kaisers resided. They have been recreated with a lot of the original furnishings intact.
When ascending the Grand Staircase (note the wonderful tapestry at the top of the stairs), the Apartments of Princess Mary are reached. The Princess, affectionately called Daisy, lived there from 1891 (when she married Prince Hans Heinrich XV and left her native England) until 1943.
Some of the rooms include - Mirror Hall (photo #1), Great Lounge (photo #2), Bedroom of Emperor Wilhelm II. Mirror Gallery (photo #4), Prince's Study Room (photo #5),Grand Apartments, Bathroom of Grand Apartments (photo #3) and Trophy Rooms.
TOUR THE CASTLE MUSEUM
Saturday May 29, 2010
As part of our VT Full Day Tour, we visited the lovely town of Pszczyna. The main focus of our visit was to tour the CASTLE MUSEUM IN PSZCZYNA. The Castle is called the Polish Versailles and is no exaggeration, as I have seen Versailles and this castle is very comparable only on a smaller scale.
Constructed as a Castle in 13th century or earlier, in a Gothic style. It was rebuilt in Renaissance style in 17th century, in Baroque in 18th century and classicist in the 19th century.
Your first view is of the Grand Staircase and the magnificent tapestry at the top of the stairs.
The castle contains lordly and lavish living quarters from the 19th and 20th centuries which are richly decorated with furniture, carpets, clocks and paintings.
The most beautiful room has to be Mirror Hall. In this room we were treated to a wonderful concert of three young ladies - the singer, one on the piano and one on the base.
It was known that princes from Pszczyna loved to hunt. The castle was once a center of hunting to which aristocracy from the whole of Europe came. Deer and Bison were hunted. The Castle reflects this, as many rooms and halls display hundreds of hunting trophies.
Main square and surroundings
As with so many small towns in Europe, at the heart of Pszczyna is its main square or Rynek. Surrounded by old town houses, restaurants and cafés, the town hall, and a couple of churches, it is clearly the centre of community life. When we were here a festival was taking place, called (I think) Spotkania pod Brzymen. Young children were performing folk dances with proud parents looking on, and local people milled around enjoying the music and the chance to catch up and no doubt gossip with friends.
Leading off from the square the various side streets repay exploration. There’s a pleasing mix of architectural styles – none of it especially grand in comparison with the castle, of course, but with plenty of details to catch your eye, and your lens. The building in photo 2 dates back to the late 18th/early 19th centuries and houses a museum dedicated to the Silesian Press – I didn’t go in but was taken by the unusual roof. It is on ul. Piastkowka to the east of the main square. And I spotted the lamp in photo 3 on Wojska Polskiego in the opposite corner of the square, just south of the castle. Finally, the church in photo 4 is the 14th century parish church near the path to the castle.
This rural farm museum was founded in 1975 and has grown over the years to cover a reasonably large space on the eastern edge of the town, as part of the historic park attached to the castle. The museum has brought together a number of wooden buildings from the surrounding area, the majority from the 19th century.
I didn’t have as long to explore as I would have liked, but I found this a charming spot, with its dark wood cottages and out buildings dotted around under the trees and only a few other people to remind me that I wasn’t in fact in the 19th century myself.
I have taken the following list of buildings to be seen there from the museum’s website as my brief visit wasn’t long enough to take in all that was on display, but have added some personal comments about a few that I especially liked.
~ a 19th century gate-shed, from a churchyard in Golasowice, now a main gate to the park
~ a hayshed from Frydek, the last building of its type in the region
~ a barn from Kobielice, built in 1811, with farm implements on display inside
~ a groom’s house from Wisla Wielka, dating back to 1799
~ a peasant home from Grzawa, built in 1831, and my personal highlight. You can enter the hall which runs the width of the hut to see into the bedroom and living-room on one side, and the kitchen with the store room on the other (see photos 2 and 3)
~ a 19th century octagonal barn from Kryry, with light carriages, a fire engine, a hearse, carts, sledges and wheelbarrows inside
~ a 19th century smithy from Goczalkowice, with a furnace made of broken stone, a bellows, a driller, a vice and other blacksmith tools
~ a 19th century coach house from Miedzna
~ an 18th century granary from Rudoltowice, with a ledge in front of the entrance where bags used to be put
~ a windmill from Zebrzydowice, dated 1904
~ the bee-yard, with a number of hives of different design including a log beehive in the shape of a face, box beehives and a straw-made beehive – I enjoyed watching a bee-keeper at work here, and even more the taste of the honey that I was offered! (photo 4)
~ a reconstructed well from Laka, made at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, with a wooden case, a small roof and a trough for cattle
Admission to the museum was a reasonable 6 PLN in 2010, making even a brief visit such as my own worthwhile.
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
The highlight of any visit to Pszczyna is likely to be a tour of the magnificent castle. There has been a castle on this site since the 13th century. It has been rebuilt and added to several times over the centuries, most recently between 1870 and 1876 in a classicist style. During the First World War, the palace was the residence of the German Kaiser, William II, and it is largely from this period that the present decorations and furniture date.
A tour of the castle takes you to many of these rooms. Highlights include:
~ an imposing staircase said to be modelled on the Queen’s Staircase at Versailles (photo 2)
~ the stunning Mirror Room, where our group was treated to a musical performance on a traditional harpsichord (and where concerts are often performed) (photos 3 & 4)
~ the Emperor’s apartments – his bedroom, dressing room, study and bathroom
~ rooms used by Daisy, Hochberg von Pless, an Englishwoman (born into the Cornwallis-West family) who married a prince of Pszczyna, Hans Heinrich XV von Hochberg, and lived here in the late 19th and early part of the 20th century
~ the conference room where important military decisions were taken during World War I and where maps from that period are now displayed (photo 5)
~ displays of over 1,000 hunting trophies (antlers, animal skins, stuffed animals) illustrating one of the main passions of the von Hochberg family and a reason why so many of Europe’s aristocracy came so often to visit the castle
Admission to the castle costs 14 PLN for adults and 8 PLN for concessions (2010 prices), with a further 5 PLN payable to visit the Armoury (which we didn’t tour). Groups such as ours are usually expected to book in advance and to pay for a tour guide, but we were allowed to look around on our own and at our own pace, which was very welcome. Opening hours are complicated – see the castle’s website for details.
By the way, high heels are not allowed as they may damage the original 19th century parquet floors, so you may be asked to remove your shoes and wear the special slippers provided.
- Castles and Palaces
- Museum Visits
The Palace Park
The palace is joined by an English landscape garden with beautiful old trees, ponds and some small park buildings. Walking the park is free and it is open any time.
Practical hint: In the corner of the park between palace and parish church you find some souvenir stalls and a small building with public toilets (charge 1 zloty, very clean).
- Castles and Palaces
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Meet Princess Daisy
Mary Theresa Olivia Cornwallis-West, born in 1873 to an aristocratic English family, was renowned for her extraordinary beauty. Daisy, as the family called her, was in fact considered one of the most beautiful women of her era in entire Europe. In 1891 she married Prince Hans Heinrich Hochberg von Pless, who was renowned for his extraordinary wealth. In other words, a perfect match...
The couple resided in Psczcyna palace. The rooms of their home are still preserved as they were in their times. Speaking in VT terms, Daisy is still present there as a VA, in many pictures like photo 3.
If you want to meet Princess Daisy, look for the bronze bench with her statue in the main square. There she is sitting, waiting for company. Russell and I and our VAs could not resist posing with her.
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
- Women's Travel
The main square of Psczcyna is a wide rectangle. The palace is adjacent to its western end, next to it you see the (neo?)baroque town hall with its elegant curved spire.
The square is used for markets and events, like the children's folk festival we got to see. It is surrounded by some street restaurants and cafes and looks like a pleasant place to hang out.
- Food and Dining
All Saints Catholic Church
The All Saints parish church was mentioned in historical chronicles as early as in 1326. Reconstructed after a fire in 1622 by Jerzy Walentyn Meyer from Moravian Ostrava, it was again destroyed in the 1748 fire.
The church in its today's shape was built based on the plans of the architect Christian Jähne, which used walls of the former building. The church was consecrated in 1754. It was renovated in 1791 r. and many a time reconstructed, e.g. in 1849 (a tower was added) and in 1930 (a side chapel was added).
It is a baroque building, oriented, with its chancel enclosed on three sides.
In 1716, the town council decided to purchase a separate edifice to house the town hall. The building belonged to Anna Maria, Mateusz Janik's widow, who sold it for "eleven hundred florens". After extensive reconstruction, the building has been housing the Pszczyna town hall up to this day.
Its ground floor was most likely built in 1658. This was shown by a stone plaque fixed in the wall with a German inscription and a date, which was to be seen there until the 1930s.
In 1738 r, a small tower with a clock was added to the building. This was possible owing to the funds of the Pszczyna catholic parish. In 1861 the town hall was enlarged - the building was extended towards the evangelic school and the second floor was built.
The last thorough reconstruction of the town hall, conducted in the neo-Renaissance style - took place in 1931. In the 1970s minor refurbishment was carried out and the elevation of the town hall was renovated; in 1993 a new electronic radio-controlled clock was installed on the town hall tower. The last refurbishment of the town hall interiors was done in 1998. Considerable changes were made to décor of the session hall (new colouring, modern lighting). In June 1999, crests of 12 solectvos (village districts - a Polish administrative unit) making up the Gmina of Pszczyna were hung in this hall.
The Pszczyna town hall, dating from at least the early 17th century, is one of the oldest buildings in the town. According to the historical tradition, it is the seat of the town council of Pszczyna.
The Pszczyna Farm Heritage Park extends over an aera of two hectares. The exhibits include the most precious specimens of the local folk wooden architecture. Inside the cottages the visitors can see the genuine tools and household equipment once used in a numerous villages of the Pszczyna region.
Pszczyna Open Air Museum consists with Open air display showing farmsheads from the Pszczyna rural aera, including cottage from Grzawa (1831), barn from Kryry (XVIII century), water - mill from Bojszowy (XIX century), granary from a county estate at Czechowice (1784), granary from Debina (XVIII century) and a blacksmith's workshop from Goczalkowice (XIX century).
Unfortunatelly, during winter the park is closed. It is possible to see it in an organised group after making an appointment.
- Historical Travel
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