Fot. Jacek Halicki, CC BY-SA 3.0 PL, via Wikimedia Commons

Klodzko Town Hall – a priceless neo-Renaissance treasure of Lower Silesia

The Kłodzko Town Hall is one of the most interesting and representative seats of Polish town halls and a valuable monument of the Kłodzko area. The Neo-Renaissance edifice, located in the centre of Bolesława Chrobrego Square in the Old Town, was built in the years 1887-1890 to a design by the German architect Ewald Berger. Initially it housed the magistrate of Kłodzko, and later a branch of PKO. Since 1990, it has been the seat of the Mayor of Kłodzko, the Town Council and the departments of the Town Hall and the municipal police. The ground floor houses the County and Municipal Public Library, cafés and tourist information, as well as the Kłodzko Studio of Polish Radio Wrocław.

The exact date when construction of the town hall began is not known, but it is certain that it was built in the first half of the 14th century in the eastern part of the market square. Chronicles from 1366 record a fire at the town hall, the reconstruction of which was completed in 1400. In the Middle Ages, the ground floor was occupied by bakers’, clothiers’ and shoemakers’ stalls, while the upper floor was the seat of the town magistrate. Over the centuries, the building was extended and modernised. Over time, the neighbouring buildings of the mid-market block were incorporated into the structure.

Town hall and market square in Kłodzko on a lithograph according to an ink drawing by Friedrich Bernard Werner from 1736 (from Werner’s version of the supplement to the Silesian topography from 1767), copied quite faithfully by F. A. Pompejus in 1862. Source: Silesian Digital Library

Ratusz w Kłodzku

In 1744 the town hall burned down again, and the reconstruction was unfortunate. During it, an elevation consisting of three unharmonised parts was created. The final reconstruction took place at the end of the 19th century after another fire in 1886, during which only the medieval tower was saved.

The Town Hall on a postcard from the early 20th century and today. Source: Bildarchiv Foto Marburg and Jacek Halicki, CC BY-SA 3.0 EN, via Wikimedia Commons

The new town hall, designed by Ewald Berger, was built between 1887 and 1890 and cost the city 319,000 marks. The official opening ceremony took place on 24 September 1890. During the reconstruction, the building was unified formally and functionally in the spirit of Neo-Renaissance. The Town Hall gained a varied body, enlivened with apparent risalits, bays, including a tower, roofs of varied geometry (with wrought-iron crests), facades, dormers and decorative chimneys. It was given a truly palatial appearance.

The Kłodzko Town Hall as seen from Czeska Street, post-war and contemporary. Source: Przypkowski Museum in Jędrzejów and SchiDD, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The building for a time housed a museum founded in 1906, and in the 1950s the premises were used as the District and City Public Library. In the 1930s, the façade of the entourage was transformed by changing the carvings of the openings and their frames. The building escaped destruction during the Second World War and during the flood of the millennium in 1997, which devastated the city and its surroundings.

Portal in the southern wall of the town hall, 1960s and present view. Source: “Kłodzko” by Władysław Strojny, Sport and Tourism, Warsaw 1967 and Andrzej Otrębski, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The oldest part of the town hall is the medieval square tower, with a Renaissance gallery on the first floor. Its higher part is octagonal with a Baroque helmet and spire. The three-storey edifice is decorated with a clock supported by a sculpture of a lion from the Kłodzko coat of arms, indicating the city’s links with Bohemia. The most magnificent rooms in the building are the Town Council Hall with a wooden ceiling and neo-Baroque panelling, a representative staircase with stained-glass windows, a stained-glass skylight and a white marble portal, and the Council Chamber with wall paintings by K. and Z. Janotte. Janots.


Read also: Architecture in Poland | Curiosities | History | City | Monument | whiteMAD on Instagram

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