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Wonders of architecture

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Gems of Architecture

A tour along a trail of palaces, medieval cities or Cistercian abbeys can be the best lesson in the history of art. Below is a mini-alphabet of the jewels of Polish architecture, from Antonin to Zamosc.

A is for Antonin. The hunting palace of the Radziwill family designed by Karl Schinkel, the leading German architect of the 19th century, can be found here. The structure, laid out in the shape of a Greek cross, is noted for its central hall with its ceiling supported by one huge decorative pillar.

C is for Cistercian Abbeys. Founded in France the order was brought to Poland in the 12th century. The Cistercian monks, excellent farmers and artisans, created thriving cultural and economic centres of Baroque architecture. These can be found along the entire trail in the towns of Henrykow, Krzeszow, Trzebnica, Kamieniec Zabkowicki, and with stunning panache, in Lubiaz.

F is for the Fortresses in Klodzko and Srebrna Gora. These are monuments of military architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries. The fragments of the Prussian fortifications are surrounded with numerous legends that have fuelled the imaginations of many treasure-seekers.

G is for Gdansk. With its unique old town architecture and it's Long Market with its galaxy wealthy merchant's Renaissance houses.

H is for Centennial Hall, the symbol of Wroclaw. This is the best example of Wroclaw's modernism and the revolutionary technical solution at the beginning of the 20th century by Max Berg. Since the subject of modernism has been raised, we should also mention the group of buildings constructed in Wroclaw in 1929 on the occasion of the "Living and the Work-Place" Exhibition, also known as "WUWA". These structures are today studied by architectural students throughout the world.

J is for Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica. These are 17th century Protestant churches with neither towers nor bells but built from wood, clay and straw. They still amaze with their engineering skills and delight with their rich Baroque interiors.

P is for Paczkow. This town has been called the Silesian "Carcassonne" with its great preserved medieval walls and several defensive towers.

W is for Wang. This is a Lutheran church that was transported from Norway in its entirety and has become the hallmark of the town of Karpacz. The 12th century wooden church was built entirely without nails.

Z is for Zamosc. The city is has consistency with its magnificent buildings. The Market Square, the Town Hall and its houses with ornate arcades mimic the Italian Renaissance style in the best possible way.

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