Old City of Zamość
Old City Of Zamość
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Cultural Poland Europe And North America City And County Of Zamość, Lublin Voivodship (formerly ZamośćVoivodship)

Zamośćis an outstanding example of a Renaissance planned town of the late 16th century, which retains its original layout and fortifications and a large number of buildings of particular interest, blending Italian and central European architectural traditions.

The town was the personal creation of the Hetman (head of the army) Jan Zamysky, on his own lands. Located on the trade route linking western and northern Europe with the Black Sea, the town was conceived from the beginning as an economic centre based on trade.

Zamysky, who was educated at the University of Padua, modelled his town on the Italian trading cities. He called on an Italian architect, Bernardo Morando, a native of Padua, who had already worked in Warsaw, to design the town around two functions: trade centre and residence of the Hetman 's family. It was under construction for nine years, from 1582 to 1591.

Morando organized the space within the enceinte into two distinct sections: on the west the noble residence, and on the east the town proper, laid out around three squares. To populate it, Zamysky brought in merchants of various nationalities and displayed great religious tolerance to encourage people to settle there: they included Ruthenes (Slavs of the Orthodox Church), Turks, Armenians and Jews, among others. Moreover, he endowed the town with its own academy (1595), modelled on Italian cities.

Zamośćis spoken of as a Renaissance town. However, on the one hand, Morando himself must have had Mannerist training, and on the other, in all the countries of Central Europe (Poland, Bohemia, Slovakia, Hungary, certain German regions and, in part, Austria proper), Italian Renaissance architecture had been well assimilated and adapted to local traditions since the 15th century. Consequently, Zamośćwas planned as a town in which the Mannerist taste mingled with certain Central European urban traditions, such as the arcaded galleries that surround the squares and create a sheltered passage in front of the shops.

However, the town designed by Morando, who died in the early 17th century, was mainly built during the Baroque period. Ideally located for trade, it was also exposed to military attack. It became a strategic military point and, after the old enceinte was reinforced, new fortifications of the Vauban type were added in the 17th century. The modern town grew for the most part outside the fortifications, which gives the old town a great degree of coherence in its plan and architecture. Having escaped the vast destruction suffered by many other Polish towns during the Second World War, Zamośćis an outstanding example of Polish architecture and urbanism of the 16th and 17th centuries.

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