This floating castle appears to be from an enchanted fable, but in actuality it is Europe's best preserved Renaissance water castle.
The small town of Choroszcz was a summer destination for wealthy 18th century aristocrat Count Jan Klemens Branicki. Situated just northeast of the country’s capital city of Warsaw, the Choroszcz countryside proved to be the perfect place to build his summer home, the Branicki Palace.
An accomplished nobleman, Branicki held many titles including Hetman, the second highest military commander of the Kingdom of Poland. He would go on to earn seven more military and political titles ranging from Artillery General to Starost, or community elder. And although he was a powerful magnate, his personal life didn’t fare as well. Branicki married three times yet failed to produce an heir.
Nevertheless, Branicki enjoyed his getaways to the Palace, situated on an inlet at the end of a canal. Designed during the Baroque period, the summer home was influenced by French parks. Classified as a “cour et jardin”, the Palace is distinguished by a cour d’honneur (courtyard) and avant-cour (forecourt) that precedes its building.
After Branicki’s third wife Izabela passed away in 1808, the Palace no longer stood as a summer home for the noble family. During the early 19th century, it was rented out, and then later acquired by a new owner and turned into a textile factory. WW1 brought destruction to the Palace, as it did much of Poland, until it was finally restored in the 1970s.
While the Palace remains on the former grounds of the noble Branicki family, it now serves a new purpose. Home to The Museum of Palace Interiors, the Palace is filled with exhibits of 18th and 19th century decor, furniture, and artwork for the public to explore.
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