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).
Anyway, 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.
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.
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.