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Time for Kórnik
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godz. - 14:36

Time for Kórnik


Kórnik Castle was always out of our way: too far, not the right direction, not enough time. This weekend we took the time to catch up and visit this place.

The castle on the lake shore, known since the XIV century, is an undisputed ornament of the small town of Kórnik. The first gothic castle was built here on a fortified island in the XV century. One hundred years later, the Górkowie family built a brick-built residence and, as with almost every other castle, each new owner altered it according to the prevailing style and their own personal preferences. The current look is the creation of the Działyński family. Tytus Działyński and Jan Kanty Działyński remodelled the castle with the intention of displaying works of art and national memorabilia. Their relative, earl Władysław Zamojski, enriched the collection with his own ethnographic repertory from Australia, Polynesia and Madagascar. He left as his legacy the whole estate to the Polish nation. Since 1954 the castle and library has belonged to the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The front of the castle didn't make a huge impression on us. Maybe the neo-Gothic bridge across the moat bestowed upon it a bit of airiness and charm. Only a walk around the castle changed our mind. The round tower with asymmetric windows and the deck and porch from the direction of the park made a much better impression. You can go inside the castle. We "danced" on a beautiful wooden floor wearing huge felt slippers. A long time has passed since I last visited a museum with such old-school shoes. My children put them on for the first time and they had great fun sliding on the floor as if they were on ice. All the children accompanying us in our tour group did the same, and the stoic calmness of the museum staff impressed me.

The museum exposition has accumulated some amazing ethnographic mementos, hunting trophies and historic miscellany. The newly renovated Moorish Room with its library and healthy collection of panoplies and weapons made the biggest impression on us. The legend of the White Dame – the ghost of Kórnik Castle – would no doubt fascinate the children. Reportedly, her name is Teofila from the Działyńscy Szołdrska-Potulicka. Just before midnight she descends from a painting in the castle room wearing a long white dress and rides on a horse with a knight in black armour. In this way Teofila apparently atones for causing havoc in the little hunting lodge of the Górkowie family on the Kórnicki Lake, in which devils watched over the family treasures.

Following the White Dame's example, we left the castle and decided to visit the arboretum and its spectacular botanical collection, where you can see over 3 thousand species and subspecies of trees and shrubs from Europe, Asia, and America – many of which I had never heard of. With a bit of luck you may see "pears on a willow" i.e. Pyrus salicifolia. In May the castle garden blooms with magnolia trees and rhododendrons in the most unusual varieties and colours. The owners of the arboretum have thought about young visitors too. There are educational glades and paths for school outings, and a playground and picnic area for families with children.

On a beautiful sunny day you may go for a walk along the new promenade at the lake and sail in one of the ships, "Anna Maria" or "the White Dame". You can combine a cruise with dinner in "Tawerna pod Żaglami", the only restaurant in Kórnik with fish on the menu.

I recommend the castle to aficionados of museum expositions and for school outings, but walking in the castle garden, resting by the lake and dinner with a view of the lake will please everybody. It is no surprise that the environs of Kórnik castle are one of the most popular places in Greater Poland.

I recommend it!

PS. The only downside to the trip was the costs. You have to pay for parking, museum tickets, arboretum tickets and the boat trip. You even have to pay for the toilet, which should be free for visitors of the museum and castle garden. It is only a little thing, but it spoils the overall impression a bit.






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