Fabulous history, fairy-tale-like architecture (with a world famous architect behind it) and a thrilling ghost story. Together this makes up probably the best known castle in Wielkopolska. Visiting Kórnik – a small town located ca. 20 km south-east from Poznań is an all-day event, with the castle in centre, but also with many attractions nearby.
Kórnik was the residence of the Działyński family, one of the richest and most influential in Wielkopolska, well known for their social and charity activities. The castle’s history dates back to the 14th century, when a medieval keep was constructed. The current neogothic castle was completed in 1855 after sketches made by Karl Friedrich Schinkel.
The castle was modelled in the style of English neogothic, so you might have seen similar residences in Britain. It was never meant to withstand any siege, however the mighty brick tower and battlements on top resemble medieval strongholds. Today Kórnik Castle is a museum and a library. Its interiors are filled with different pieces of art, from paintings and ceramics to weaponry. Also chambers from the time of the Działyński family can be seen.
The Kórnik Castle’s most famous resident was definitely Teofila Potulicka, better known as Biała Dama (the White Lady), who according to a popular legend appears every night as a ghost. It is said she steps down from her picture, hanging in the castle, and wanders in the garden until a mysterious black knight arrives and takes her for a ride in the moonlight.
Apart from the castle itself a must-see in Kórnik is the large arboretum, with many often exotic tree species, the lakeside promenade (you can also make a cruise on a small ship) and the gothic All Saints Church. There are many restaurants and cafes in the town, ranging from budget eateries to elegant places serving the best of Polish cuisine.
Text: Jacek Cieślewicz