Kórnik yet another castle on our May trip through Greater Poland

Kornik castle

It was starting to get dark when we got to Kórnik. Kórnik means a hen house but is spelt with ó instead of u. I bet it does not ring a bell for anyone who doesn’t speak Polish. the vowels ó and u are pronounced the same (although in former times they were in fact pronounced differently). It means the difference between them is purely orthographic. Polish schoolchildren do not like them because of the spelling errors they cause (and because of the bad marks as a consequence).

Kornik castle towerAnyway, the castle beginning dates back to Middle Ages. It was a fortified stronghold surrounded by a moat, the only access to the castle was by a draw-bridge and wrought-iron bars. In the XVI th century the castle was rebuilt in the renaissance style and fortified further. In the XVIII century, Teofila Działyńska-Szołdrska-Potulicka, with all determination she had, turned the mansion into a baroque aristocratic residence. The castle as we see today was created by Tytus Działyński, who changed it into a Neo-Gothic, fortified structure with towers, turrets and battlements.Kornik castle Poland

There is a legend about a “White Lady” strolling the chambers of castle at night. You can find her portrait in the castle, it supposed to be Teofila Działyńska-Szołdrska-Potulicka herself.

According to legend, beautiful Teofila, called by everyone the White Lady, descends from the portrait every night and goes to a park, where a rider on a black horse awaits her. They wander around the park until the crack of dawn. This is how the ghost of Teofila Działyńska was punished by evil powers. In the vicinity of the castle in Kórnik there was a small hunting hut. Treasure was supposed to be hidden in the cellar of the hut and guarded by the evil powers. Teofila, however, ordered the hut to be pulled down and gave the bricks to members of the local community. The evil ghosts took their revenge by making her wander around the castle and park. The curse will be removed when somebody finds the treasure once hidden under the hut.

castle kornik side viewProbably the legend of the White Lady took the beginning of the Teofilas evening walks. She suffered from migraine and she spend willingly time in the park to ease her ailments.

The salon was called by Wladyslaw Zamoyski “peace convicts” because most of the portraits hanging in the family present to persons convicted of participating in various national uprisings. The presence of an empty coffer ceiling heraldic hall Tytus Działyński explained as the need to have free space in case you had to paint a missing arms of a visiting guest. The castle also hosts a library, which contains the works of such great Polish writers and poets as Jan Kochanowski, Mikołaj Rej and Juliusz Słowacki. The Kórnik library also holds the manuscript of the third part of Mickiewicz’s “Dziady”.

The castle’s large park-arboretum comprises over 2,500 species and varieties of trees and shrubs, the largest collection of that kind in Poland.

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5 comments

  1. My friends in Poznan took me to many of the places you’ve been writing about. This castle was a favorite! All the armor, the beautiful rooms, the huge squares and black and white marble on the floor of the entryway, the dozens of school children we tried to stay in front of or well behind … and the grounds were also lovely.

    1. I’m glad you liked it! And I’m really glad your friends showed you around, not many people visiting Poland come to Poznań for sightseeing but I think it’s worth it :)
      Did you have to wear specials covers for shoes inside? I remember from childhood I used to love sliding in them :) and my favourite thing in the whole castle was hunters round seating in a chamber on the left from the entrance.
      Thank you for comment!

      1. Yes, we did have to wear shoe covers, but it seemed strange to mention it as part of my memory because it seems so ordinary. The slipping and sliding of children in them is why we tried to stay ahead of or well behind the groups!

      2. hahahaha I can understand why! I’m trying to think if there was another castle where they made me wear them in Poland or abroad and I can’t think of one. In East Asia you take the shoes off and in Western Europe you walk in ordinary shoes but some areas might be restricted from stepping in. I would think this might be consider a health hazard ;) I think states in Europe generally make to much legislation and prohibitions, so I’m glad they still care more about the floors than for “somebody might sue us if the child slips” ;)

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