Kamienica Fukierowska
Kamienica obecnie. Fot. Tilman2007, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Fukierowska Tenement House – a treasure of Warsaw’s Old Town

The Fukierowska Tenement House, located between the Old Town Square and Piwna Street, is one of the most beautiful and interesting tenements in Warsaw. In 1810 it became the property of the merchant Fukier family and since then it has been home to a popular wine bar and the cellars store the beverage. The tenement house was largely destroyed in 1944. It was rebuilt between 1947 and 1953 according to a design from the late 18th century. The rooms of the wine cellar are reminiscent of early classicism.

In the 15th century there were two wooden houses on the site now occupied by the tenement. In 1552, they were replaced by a brick tenement built for George Korb. The brick from which it was built still had Gothic features. The cellars and the basement of the house were adapted for the wine trade, which was successfully dealt with by its owner. As a result of a renovation carried out in 1647, the front part gained a connection to the outbuilding by means of porches. After reconstruction in 1718, it gained a fourth storey and the cloistered courtyard was given its final shape.

The Fukierowska Tenement House in 1930. Source: Digital Library of the Warsaw University of Technology

In 1782, on the recommendation of the next owner of the tenement, the merchant Jakub Rabe, the tenement was rebuilt in the spirit of classicism by Szymon Bogumił Zug, one of the most eminent architects of the time of Stanislaw Augustus. The building received new façades from the Market Square and Piwna Street. At the same time, the hall on the first floor was decorated with paintings destroyed during World War II. In 1810, the tenement house became the property of the Fukier merchant family and since then it has been home to a popular wine bar, and in the connected 15th-century cellars, wine warehouses where some of the world’s most valuable liquors were stored.

The damaged Fukier tenement in the 1940s and today. Source: NAC – National Digital Archive and Scotch Mist, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A Fukier coat of arms (two lilies) with the initials of its then owner Florian Fukier was added to the stone portal leading to the building from the market square, which survives to this day. In 1910-1912 Henryk Fukier commissioned Wladyslaw Marconi and Jaroslaw Wojciechowski to renovate the courtyard with the creation of a small lapidarium. The tenement house was later renovated and decorated several more times, becoming a very popular and constantly vibrant place. It owed its fame to its restaurant with a pump room of excellent wine, to which distinguished guests visiting Warsaw were often taken.

A fragment of the ruins of the Old Town Square, Fukier’s winery visible. Source: Warsaw 1945 Emilia Borecka & Leonard Sempoliński Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe Warsaw 1975 and Scotch Mist, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The end of the famous Old Town pub’s heyday came with the outbreak of World War II, when the Nazis plundered the fukier cellars after occupying Warsaw. The tenement itself was damaged in 1939 and extensively destroyed in 1944. Losses were estimated at over 50%. The cellars, fragments of the ground floor walls, portals and part of the ground floor vaults survived. Rebuilt between 1947 and 1953 to a design by Wacław Podlewski, it received a body imitating that of the late 18th century, as well as contemporary decorations, including a painting inspired by the kontusz belt pattern on the façade.

The Fukierowska Tenement House in 1950 and 2017. Photo by Henryk Jurko, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons and Tilman2007, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The interiors have been redesigned, except that the ground floor has been reconstructed to its pre-1944 state and refers to early classicism. The annex on Piwna Street was rebuilt between 1953 and 1955. In the Renaissance courtyard, the arcades and porches were restored according to their 1912 state. The vestibule contains a small wooden shiplap and a merchant’s emblem. The tenement still has a very spacious, famous cellar.

Entrance to the tenement. Photo by ZeroJeden, CC BY-SA 3.0 EN, via Wikimedia Commons

The reconstructed building houses the headquarters of the Association of Art Historians, one of the oldest associations in Poland. The ground floor of the tenement is occupied by the famous “U Fukier” restaurant owned by Magda Gessler.

In 1965, the tenement house was entered in the register of monuments.

Source: shs.pl, warszawska.info

Also read: tenement | Warsaw | Architecture in Poland | Curiosities | whiteMAD on Instagram

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