Zamosc is a Polish town that follows the renaissance theme that was very popular in the late 16th century. It still retains its layout and fortifications. A large percentage of the buildings found within the town center dates back to the 16th century. The fusion of Italian and Central European architectural styles in some of the buildings is especially refreshing.
The town was established by Hetman Jab Zamysky on his own land. The town is located on the route that links northern Europe with the Baltic Sea and hence its establishment was purely for economic gains.
Zamysky had been educated in the University of Padua and hence the Italian trading cities influence on Zamosc. The landowner sought the help of an Italian architect, Bernado Morando, a native of Padua to design the town. He was to be guided by 2 principles when designing the town – one section was to be the trading center and the other part was to be the Hetman’s family residence. The town was built over a period of 9 years, from 1582 to 1591.
Within the town, you will find 2 distinct sections. To the west, there is the noble residence and to the east there is the town proper. The town is laid out in 3 squares. To encourage settlement in the town, Zamysky encouraged merchants from different nationalities to settle in the city. He displayed a lot of religious tolerance. Such people as Ruthenes who are Orthodox, Turks, Jews and Armenians found it easy to operate in the town. Apparently, he did not stop there. He even built the town its own school which was modeled on Italian cities
Zamosc is seen as a Renaissance town despite the fact that its chief architect was trained in Mannerist. The fact that the Italian Renaissance was used in most central European countries including Hungary, Bohemia, Poland, Germany and Austria influenced to a great extent the architectural style of the town. However, Mannerist Style is visible in the town’s layout, especially where the arcaded galleries surround squares and sheltered passage passes in front of the shops.
Zamosc was one of the few Polish towns that never saw the destruction of the WWII. It therefore remains a classic example of a Polish urbanism in the 16th and 17th century. Make sure you get a chance to visit this ancient town…a tour here is a tour on Polish history.
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