The thematic trip "The Art Nouveau Olsztyn"
This trip allows learning about the most representative art nouveau architecture in Olsztyn. It consists of nine stages that lead through different streets and presents particular townhouses that were built at the turn of the XIXth and the XXth century.
Total length: 3200 m
Time duration: 60-90 min.
Participants: those people of various ages interested in history and architecture.
Stages of the trip:
1. Hotel Wileński (The Hotel of Vilnius)
600 m, 8 min.
We start from the buildings at ul. Knosały 5 and 7 that were built in 1904. Originally, they belonged to an owner of a sawmill and served as accommodations for the rich. In 2009, a hotel was started in the renovated townhouse under no 5. Further on, we walk in the direction of the St. James's Bridge, and after crossing it go along ul. Pieniężnego near the remains of the defensive city walls.
2. Dom Bankowy (The Bank House)
50 m, 0,5 min.
We next reach the townhouse at ul. Pieniężnego 6/7, which was built in 1902-05. Its front facade was decorated with greatfocus put on its details, and its block is finished with a dome with a spire. The so-called Bank House, for years, had been the hedquarters of various financial institutions, i.a. the Reichsbank, later on the Bank of Olsztyn. Currently, it is the building of the ZETO company. From ul. Pieniężnego we turn left to pl. Jana Pawła II.
3. Książnica Polska (The Polish Library)
300 m, 4 min. (plus time for sightseeing)
Here, under number 2/3, we can see the townhouse decorated in the art nouveau style and which is nowadays the headquarters of the Polish Library. The building was built in the years 1910-12. It is worthwhile to go inside and use the lift, which is the oldest in Poland and one of the oldest in Europe that is still in use. We, then, go towards ul. 1 Maja and from this street we turn right to ul. Mrongowiusza.
4. Kamienica Naujacka (The Naujacka Townhouse)
500 m, 7 min.
At ul. Mrongowiusza 4, we can notice the XIXth century townhouse which contributes to the art nouveau buildings of the downtown area. In the neighbourhood, at ul. Dąbrowszczaków 3, one can find one of the most beautiful Olsztyn townhouses that also comes from the XIXth century. In 1907, it was transformed into a richly decorated, art nouveau manor by its then owner Otto Naujack. Nowadays, it is the building of the Municipal Cultural Centre. We go further along ul. Dąbrowszczaków, then turn right to ul. Mickiewicza to admire another architectural gem from ul. Kościuszki.
5. Willa ze Strażnikiem (The Villa with a Guard)
250 m, 4 min.
Although this house is quite slovenly, one can notice all the art nouveau decorations: decorative plant ornaments, decorated sills, small towers or balconies. The name of the villa, built in 1903, probably comes from the relief on the elevation of the building, which depicts a guard who takes a fee for enterring the city. We go back to ul. Dąbrowszczaków.
6. Villa Fortuna
200 m, 3 min.
Next comes into our sight the unique townhouse dating from 1901 with a name inscription on its facade. It belonged to Naujack who provided his tenants with luxury apartments. We go further along ul. Dąbrowszczaków, pass by another art nouveau townhouse from 1910 under number 18, till we reach the building no 28.
7. Hotel Dyplomat
400 m, 5 min.
A luxury hotel is situated within the premises of the renovated building. Before the Second World War, it housed the offices of the Polish General Consulate, and after 1945 – the famous restaurant "Smakosz", which, in the 70s, changed its name into "Pod Samowarem". We go left next, reach ul. Partyzantów and go to the left again. Passing by historical buildings, we reach the beginning of the street.
8. Dom Kopernika (The House of Copernicus)
800 m, 10 min.
Under number 3, one will find a townhouse dating from 1905. The name of the astronomer was given to it in 1996 by the Association of the German Minority. Before 1939, it was the building of a financial office. Later on, it served as headquarters for various state institutions and nowadays the activities for building Polish and German cooperation are conducted here. We turn back and go along ul. Partyzantów. Under number 30 we pass by another townhouse with the date of its creation (1905) on the facade. Finally, we reach pl. Bema.
9. The buildings of the Bema Square
100 m, 1 min.
Here we can see the monumental buildings from 1905. Under number 2 – a neobaroque townhouse, and under 3 – an art nouveau one, with towers and reliefs. One cannot neglect the nearby townhouse at ul. Kopernika 28. It is Villa Martha dating from 1908.