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Cultural heritage

The Kazimierz Dolny Commune is proud of its rich cultural heritage. There are over 150 architectural buildings and structures, as well as historical monument complexes and 396 movable relics (located mainly at various sacral facilities) which are legally protected and entered into a registry of historical monuments. Apart from the aforementioned objects, 180 other buildings, complexes and memorials are considered cultural assets.

Owing to such abundance of cultural heritage, as well as the unique and perfectly preserved landscape and nature, the entire town together with the nearby town of Mięćmierz were entered into the register of monuments by the Provincial Monument Conservator as an urban, architectural and landscape complex in 1966, and in 1994 the President of the Republic of Poland awarded Kazimierz Dolny the status of a historical monument (Ordinance of the President of the Republic of Poland no. 417 of September 8, 1994).

 

The cultural traditions of the town.

The town of Kazimierz Dolny is a one-of-a-kind destination. It was not only a royal city and one of the largest inland trade ports during the Polish Golden Age, but also a real gem of Renaissance architecture, with its spectacular wooden villas, elegant arcades and beautiful galleries. The urban superiority, eminence, wealth and the rural cosiness and “down-home” feeling of the country retreat were successfully balanced in the design and layout of the town. The marvel of the town also consists in the unique landscape of the Lesser Polish Gorge of the Vistula, with its hills laced with ravines and gorges, sending shadows over the valleys, covered with woods, orchards and verdant fields stretching to the horizon. The old-world charm and the feeling of time standing still and being trapped in the white stones covered with grapevine, the incomparable scent of galleries, porches and orchards heated by the sun make the town fascinating and a tad archaic. This is because of the presence of the Jewish community, which had resided in “shtetl Kuzmir,” as the Jews used to call the town, for ages and which is still perceptible in Kazimierz Dolny, although the glimmer of its greatness is a thing of the past.

Exceptional landscape and architectural heritage of Kazimierz Dolny were appreciated by painters and graphic artists as early as in the late 18th century. It should be noted that Zygmunt Vogel, the royal painter of Stanisław II August Poniatowski, commissioned by the King to paint some of the most precious places in the then Poland, seized the picturesqueness of Kazimierz Dolny in several watercolours. In the centuries to follow, many other graphic artists and painters succumbed to the charm of the town, including Barbara Czernof, Adam Lerue, Wojciech Gerson, Michał Elwiro Andriolli and Józef Brandt. In 1909 Władysław Ślewiński organized the first open air painting session here. However, the town was truly “discovered” by artists during the interwar period in Poland. Between 1923 and 1939, Tadeusz Pruszkowski, the president of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, organized plein air workshops here regularly. He had many students and followers – together they created an art group called the Fellowship of St. Luke the Evangelist (Polish: Bractwo Świętego Łukasza), closely connected with Kazimierz Dolny and led by Antoni Michalak and Jan Zamoyski. Jan Karmański was the first painter to decide to settle in Kazimierz Dolny in 1925. Soon Tadeusz Pruszkowski and Antoni Michalak followed in his footsteps. Since then, a great number of artists would come to the town for inspiration, including Zenon Kononowicz, Władysław Filipiak, Stanisław Jan Łazorek and many others.

Maria Kuncewiczowa, a famous Polish writer not only settled here, but also set her novels in Kazimierz Dolny. Also a recognized photographer Edward Hartwig appreciated the individuality of the town. It would be impossible to mention all the renowned artists connected with Kazimierz Dolny.

Today, the town is also known as a fascinating spot, an artifact of culture, art and artistic lifestyle. Here, in the small-town setting, some great, unusual and surprising things happen: events worthy of the world stage, unforgettable concerts, exhibitions of famous painters, meetings with Nobel Laureates in Literature, workshops, open air painting sessions and happenings accompanied by late-night discussions on what is important and unimportant in life or what hurts, pleases or invigorates us. In short: discussions about life.

Kazimierz Dolny is a setting for art festivals, and it houses dozens of art galleries and museums. It hosts the famous Film and Art Festival, the Festival of Klezmer Music and Tradition, Summer Music Evenings in the parish church, Folk Bands and Singers Festival, which are the pride of the rich cultural heritage of the region and the town alone. The Kazimierz Confraternity of Art (Polish: Kazimierska Konfraternia Sztuki) is an association of a several dozens of artists residing in the town or closely connected with it. The association carries on the artistic tradition of the region, which is often mentioned along with the renowned painting centres of France and Italy.

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