his small neo-gothic palace on an island in the middle of a picturesque lake was founded and probably personally designed by
Tytus Działyński (d. 1861), the owner of Kórnik and Konarzewo. Romantic building was a gift from Tytus to his sister Klaudyna Działyńska (d. 1836) and her husband Bernard Potocki (d. 1874) on the occasion of their wedding which was celebrated on August 25, 1825 in
Konarzewo palace. Despite the fact that the purpose of this rather extravagant residence was purely recreational, according to the intention of its creator it was given the features of a medieval fortress, which is why the island palace or rather villa was and still is called a castle or a little castle.
KLAUDYNA POTOCKA (AGED 21) AND HER HUSBAND BERNARD (HERE AGED ABOUT 50)
THE PORTRAIT OF BERNARD WAS PAINTED MUCH LATER, AS HE WAS ONLY ONE YEAR OLDER THAN HIS WIFE
VIEW OF THE CASTLE IN THE XIXTH CENTURY
laudyna and Bernard Potocki did not stay here long. They were here for the last time in the late summer of 1830, and after the outbreak of the November Uprising they left for Warsaw, where Bernard took part in the fights, and his wife became involved in helping the wounded insurgents. After the fall of the uprising, they both emigrated and never returned to the island. Klaudyna went to Dresden, and from there to Geneva, where she died in 1836. Bernard came back to Wielkopolska four years after her death and settled on his estate in Tulce near Poznań, where he focused on writing and translating from French. The island castle stood abandoned, and the lack of care meant that it quickly fell into neglect. It was destroyed by cannons in May 1848, when the Prussians opened fire on the island in the belief that it was the seat of the insurgent government. However, the insurgents probably never resided there.
RECONSTRUCTION OF THE CASTLE, ORIGIN: J. SOBCZAK PRZEZ WIELKOPOLSKĘ
he castle was the first romantic building in Wielkopolska, which was given gothic features and an illusory defensive character. The building had an L-shaped plan. It consisted of two wings of unequal length and width, and a squat, cylindrical tower. It had a basement and two floors above ground: high first floor and low, habitable attic floor. The tower attached to the eastern elevation was topped with pseudo-Gothic crenellation. Its interiors were illuminated by ogival window openings, as well as small windows looking like shooting holes. The tower was equipped with a small balcony from where one could admire the picturesque panorama of the lake. The family affiliation of this small residence was emphasized by stone coats of arms, e.g. Ogończyk, which were probably taken from the Renaissance castle in Kórnik and incorporated into the wall of the tower and its northern elevation. Although the palace was inhabited mainly in summer, the preserved traces of stoves and fireplaces prove that it was possible to live there at any time of the year. Communication between the island and the mainland was provided by boats, while in severe winter the island was reached on foot or by sledge.
FIRST FLOOR PLAN OF THE CASTLE DRAWN BY TYTUS DZIAŁYŃSKI
CURRENT APPEARANCE OF THE RUINS (BEFORE CONSERVATION), ORIGIN: WIELKOPOLSKI NATIONAL PARK
urrently, the castle is a wild, uninhabited ruin. To some extent, however, this monument is cared for, an example of which were conservation works on the walls, carried out here several years ago. Castle Island is located in the northern part of Góreckie Lake, which is a strict reserve: swimming, fishing, boating and kayaking are forbidden here. From the viewpoint on land, the ruins are about 100 meters away, so those who want to see more details should get binoculars.
VIEWING POINT ON THE SHORE OF GÓRECKIE LAKE
The castle island with the castle ruin can be admired for free.
It's a good idea to bring a lens that allows for great close-ups.
You can walk your dog in the surrounding forests.
It is absolutely forbidden to fly a drone.
THE CASTLE ISLAND
HOW TO GET THERE?
óreckie Lake is located in the center of Wielkopolski National Park, about 5 km northwest of Mosina town. You can get there by train, but it requires a longer walk after leaving the railway station: 6 km (from Puszczykówko r.s.), 7 km (from Mosina r.s.), 8 km (from Stęszew r.s.). The blue walking trail leads to the lake from Stęszew and Mosina, and the red trail - from Puszczykówko.
In the National Park, you can park your car only in designated places. There are two locations to choose from:
Puszczykowo parking lot on the eastern shore of the lake and the slightly less popular
parking spots in Osowa Góra. There is a fee for parking. Payment in ticket vending machines. It is a good idea to carry coins with you.
Although you can ride a bike in the national park, the road leading to the ruins is closed to cyclists (I really don't understand why). Legally you can only come here pushing your bike or drive illegally risking a fine. Many people choose the latter option without any harm to the environment (the ban is really irrational).
IT IS POSSIBLE TO DRIVE A BICYCLE UP TO THE VERY EDGE OF THE LAKE (ALTHOUGH IT IS FORBIDDEN)
Castles nearby: Kórnik - knight's castle from the 14th/19th century, 22 km Poznań - royal castle from the 13th century, reconstructed, 25 km
IT IS WORTH SEEING ALSO:
Wielkopolski National Park is a small and, in comparison with other national parks, modest forest enclave located near Poznań agglomeration. It was established in 1957, originally on an area of 5100 ha; currently, together with the buffer zone, it covers an area almost three times larger. The distinctive feature here is the postglacial landscape and its typical landforms: moraines, ravines and gullies, some of which are flooded, thus forming
picturesque lakes. The surrounding forests are home to 3000 species of insects, all Polish lowland amphibian species, 40 species of mammals and over 200 species of birds, including cormorants, ravens, kingfishers and several species of woodpeckers. Among the larger animals we can meet here numerous wild boars, deer, badgers, sometimes wolves, and the increasingly popular beavers.
Traces of the latter can be seen in many places, both on the banks of the lakes and on the Warta River itself.
The biggest attraction of the Park are water reservoirs: large Góreckie Lake with the Castle Island and tiny Kociołek Lake, tightly surrounded by forest, which we pass on our way to Osowa Góra railroad station, no longer in use, and further to the observation tower erected a few years ago. In the vicinity of WNP Puszczykowo parking lot there is
villa of the German Nazi dignitary and war criminal Arthur Greiser, currently the seat of Park Management and small museum dedicated to the nature of Wielkopolski National Park and its history.
It is worth spending a few hours on a walk in Puszczykowo, a pre-war summer resort adjacent to the National Park, which even today is regarded by Poznań citizens as the most charming town in the entire agglomeration. Puszczykowo is also the hometown of
Arkady Fiedler, polish globetrotter and writer, author of Squadron 303 and a series of travel books. Here, in the old villa at 1 Słowackiego Street, an unusual private Literary Museum operates, in which the traveller's son and grandsons present exhibits brought by him from numerous expeditions around Africa, both Americas and Oceania. They include ceremonial masks and statues, bows and blowguns, tropical butterflies,
caimans, scorpions (all dead, unfortunately), and old photographs from around the world.
The Garden of Tolerance surrounding the villa is an integral part of the museum. It includes a group of sculptures, replicas and models of great tourist attractions, objects important for development of various civilizations around the world. We can see here the Buddha statues from Bamian (in 1:9 scale),
the Aztec stone calendar,
the Chac Mool figure with the sacrificial vessel for human heart, the Gate of Sun from Tiahuanaco, the monument of god Quetzalcoatl and the characteristic
moai head from Easter Island (in 1:1 scale). The biggest attraction and pride of the museum, however, is the replica (scale 1:1!) of carrack Santa Maria, the largest of three Christopher Columbus' ships that took part in his first expedition to America. Recently, the Fiedlers' collection has been supplemented by model of British World War II fighter,