What is Versailles for Paris that is Rydzyna for the city of Leszno. Well, maybe in a bit smaller scale. Nevertheless the Rydzyna castle is an example of a first class aristocratic residence and a model Baroque town. The castle is one of the largest in Wielkopolska and in its time was one of the most lavish in all Poland. Built and used by the Leszczyński family, from which came not only Stanisław Leszczyński – king of Poland, but also Maria Leszczyńska, later queen of France and wife of Louis XV.
The initial castle was a real defensive structure, designed to withstand a siege. At the end of the 17th century Italian architects Guseppe Belotti and Pompeo Ferrari turned it into a representative residence. The interiors were then filled with stucco decorations, frescoes and sculptures. Following the trends of that time the castle was equipped with a dancing hall and a vast park. Together with the castle a model Baroque town was erected. To this day Rydzyna is a perfect example of 17th century urban planning.
The castle was heavy damaged during WWII, as the Red Army burnt it and prevented local residents from extinguishing the fire. In the 1970 s. it was given to the Association of Polish Mechanical Engineers and turned into a hotel, restaurant and conference centre. The historical halls have been largely reconstructed and may be visited (on a guided tour). The hotel and restaurant are open for all visitors.