If you’re like us, you see interesting looking buildings as you travel around but you rarely take the time to check them out, either then or later.
Well, here’s one we’ve checked out for you – a not-so old building, with an interesting history.
Now the European Institute of the Jagiellonian University and the Centre for Holocaust Research, castle on the hill in Przegorzały grew from the ambition of two men.
Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz was a Polish architect and conservator of monuments. After a period in academia, he was given the post of the director of the renovation of Wawel Castle in 1916. In 1935-38, he worked on the western part of Wawel Cathedral, and during his time there the tomb of Bishop Maurus (died 1118) was found in St. Leonard’s crypt. In his time he was also director of the Department of Antique Architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts, and two years later he became rector of the college, while from 1932-1939 he was also a director of the Architecture Department of Warsaw University of Technology.
Szyszko-Bohusz designed Krakow’s branch of PKO Bank Polski, the Castle of the President of Poland in the town of Wisła, the House of Health in Zakopane and his own family villa – the Villa Tower, also known as Odyniec or small castle, in Przegorzały.
the Castle of the President of Poland in the town of Wisła
Otto Gustav von Wächter was another kettle of fish altogether. He was a member of the SA from 1923, of the NSDAP from 1930 and from 1932 a SS-Gruppenführer. In 1934 he led the plot to overthrow the government of Austria.
From 26 September 1939 to 22 January 1942, von Wächter was governor of Krakow where he ordered creation of the Kraków Ghetto, after which he was governor of Galicia (1.2.1942 – July 1944). In 1945 he fled to Italy where, under the name of Otto Reinhard he hid in a Rome church where he died.
As governor of Kraków, von Wächter had the use of the Potocki Palace but that does not seem to have been enough – after some fancy footwork, involving the arrest of Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz on trumped up charges, he took the villa and land at Przegorzały and built the adjacent Schloss Wartenberg. The cover story was that this was to be a sanatorium for German Air Force pilots, but in reality it was to be a palace for von Wächter – Schloss Wartenberg.
At the end of WW2, the castle was used as a hospital, though Szyszko-Bohusz’s family tried to recover it. In 1952 the entire complex was taken over by the Forest Research Institute of the Department of Forestry. In 1973 it was decided to place here Diaspora Research Institute of the Jagiellonian University.
On the ground floor of the castle there is a restaurant, with a café terrace overlooking the Vistula, south-west Kraków and towards the mountains – you can see the Tatra Mountains on a clear day!
If you come by car via the motorway from Katowice and Warsaw, leave the motorway at the Balice Airport turn, pass Kryspinow (lake), Bielany (monastery) towards Krakow. When you see the Przegorzały Castle on your left (on the hill), turn left and again left up the hill. The conference venue is the hotel next to the castle.
If you come from the south, follow the main road towards the center of the city, on reaching the Vistula river, turn left (direction Oswiecim) and follow Kosciuszki and Ksiecia Jozefa Streets until you reach the Przegorzały castle, then turn right and then left up the hill.
From the Railway Station Krakow Główny
Take a tram no 1 or 2 (direction: Salwator) get off at the Salwator terminus, then any bus going out of Krakow from a small bus terminus there, get off at Przegorzały, turn right, after 2 minutes’ walk turn left and walk up the hill (10 minutes).
From Balice JPII Airport
A short walk to the main road, then bus 209 (direction: Krakow), get off at Przegorzały, then as above.