The palace-garden complex in Nieborów and the sentimental garden in Arkadia are the best-preserved examples in Poland of old rural magnate residences. Its unique and perfectly preserved elements are the gardens, diversified in form and vegetation, originating from different periods, which together with the residential and farm buildings and landscape architecture create an architectural and garden layout of outstanding compositional, landscape, natural, architectural and artistic value.
Some highlights about Sentimental Park in Arkadia (Poland)
Registered historic monuments; Memorial of History (pomnik historii).
Łódź voivodeship, Poland
Coordinates: 52.06658, 20.07020
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Sentimental Garden in Arkadia:
Palace Garden in Nieborów and Sentimental Garden in Arkadia (joint ticket):
The palace-garden complex in Nieborów and the sentimental garden in Arkadia are the best-
preserved examples in Poland of old rural magnate residences. Its unique and perfectly preserved elements are the gardens, diversified in form and vegetation, originating from different periods, which together with the residential and farm buildings and landscape architecture create an architectural and garden layout of outstanding compositional, landscape, natural, architectural and artistic value. The most outstanding planners, architects, painters as well as builders and craftsmen worked on the construction and extension of the mansion, among them Szymon Bogumił Zug, Enrico Ittar, Pierre Norblin and many others.
The garden at ArBkadia is one of the first and best preserved gardens with a free composition in Poland. The original sentimental garden with a rich philosophical and literary programme, founded by Helena Radziwiłł née Przeździecka in 1778, was slowly transformed into a Romantic garden under her supervision. It was expanded and added to until her death in 1821. In subsequent periods, the garden was slightly transformed, and after World War II it underwent partial reconstruction.
The garden in Arkadia, bounded from the west and partly from the south by the Skierniewka (formerly Łupia) Brook, has an elongated, irregular shape. The contexture of the garden's composition is a very rich philosophical and literary programme. Temples, artificial ruins, arcades, an amphitheatre, an aqueduct, a circus, huts, sculptures, columns, urns, sarcophagi, and numerous inscriptions form a variety of scenes intended to evoke certain feelings in the visitor to the garden. The compositional idea was included by Helena Radziwiłł, the creator of the garden, in a guide she compiled for visitors to Arkadia.
Arkadia was meant to imitate a mythical Greek land, and architecture was the basic element of the spatial composition. The spatial centre of the site is a large pond with the Isle of Sacrifice, around which the most important buildings are located, including the Temple of Diana and the aqueduct. Plants were an essential accessory and together with the topography they created the scenery, co- created backdrops and frames, and created the garden interiors.
The greenery gave the site an impression of "ageing" by absorbing the buildings. This effect was achieved by introducing fast-growing species and a large number of climbing plants and flower meadows. Today, Arkadia is dominated by native tree species characteristic of riparian and oak and hornbeam communities. The stand, which includes 45 species, has over 3,000 trees, 56 of which are over 120 years old.
The Gothic House is adjoined by a gallery with pointed-arch arcades, probably erected together with the building. It is an artificial ruin running from the House towards the south, down an artificial hill. Fragments of a late Gothic tomb slab with a minuscule inscription were built into the arcades.
The former circus is located in the southern part of the garden. Designed and built by Enrico Ittar in 1801 on the model of the Roman circus. Only the central obelisk and two extreme cylindrical "metas" have survived to this day, which set the scale of this foundation on the ground. On the obelisk, Princess Helena placed the inscription MUNIFICENTIAE AUGUSTI HELENA POSUIT, dedicated to the Emperor of Russia, Alexander I, to whom she owed the materials – marbles and granites used for the construction of the Circus.
Historically, the garden was excited by a gate made of two rectangular blocks of pink Ingrian limestone, called after its designer Ittar's Pillars, which were topped with marble masks in the shape of acroteria (the masks have been removed and secured in the Museum, they will return to the site in the form of copies). Currently, the pillars enclose an alley that leads to a gate with utility functions.
The building located in the northern part of the establishment was constructed after 1936 in the form of an architecturally modest cottage with a brick homestead. After the war, it was adapted for utility rooms.
The palace and garden complex in Nieborów and the sentimental garden in Arkadia are relatively well recognised objects. Over the years, much research work and numerous studies have been carried out here, and many publications and papers have been written about the layout and its elements.
Extremely important for the deepening of knowledge about the gardens was the research work of Maria Soborska and Professor Gerard Ciołek, and Museum curators Jan Wegner and Włodzimierz Piwkowski. The Museum organises academic conferences and thematic meetings and publishes its own publications. In addition to the permanent exhibition and temporary exhibitions, the Museum currently holds about 200 educational events per year, attended by an average of 3,500 people. The permanent educational offer of the Museum in Nieborów and Arkadia includes: 11 thematic paths for preschoolers, about 30 for primary school pupils and 13 educational classes for secondary schools.
There is a great deal of interest in ecology and horticulture classes tailored to the age group, such as: Secrets of Princess Helena's Garden, Unusual Properties of Ordinary Plants, A Fascinating Journey into the World of Trees, The Landed Property – A Family Multi-branch Enterprise, The Work of the Gardener – A Gardener's Guide from Years Past. In addition to the lessons, the schedule of events includes the Night of Museums in May and the European Heritage Days in September, as well as the open-air opera performances held every September.
Apart from the permanent educational offer, the Museum organises occasional cultural and educational events accompanying important museum events, such as the 70th anniversary of the Museum or exhibitions and events dedicated to the history of the former owners of the estate (e.g. 200th anniversary of Helena Radziwiłłowa's death commemorated by naming a new rose species after her), to the creators of the present day Museum (e.g. "The Garden as a complex organism. On the works carried out in the Nieborów Garden by Prof. Gerard Ciołek and his team") as well as the achievements and fate of Nieborów's gardeners (e.g.: the event accompanying the publication of "The Gardener's Report by Józef Borecki" as part of the Museum's series of popular science books.
The palace and garden complex in Nieborów and the former summer residence of the Radziwiłłs in Arkadia are under legal conservation protection by being entered in the register of monuments.
By virtue of the decree of the President of the Republic of Poland, the "Nieborów and Arkadia – palace - garden complex and sentimental-romantic garden" was also declared a Monument of History (Decree of the President of the Republic of Poland of 22.11.2017; Journal of Laws of 2017, item 2274).