Abbot's Palace (Oliwa)

Coordinates: 54°24′39″N 18°33′37″E / 54.41083°N 18.56028°E / 54.41083; 18.56028
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Abbots' Palace in Oliwa
Pałac Opatów w Oliwie
Palacio de Oliwa, Gdansk, Polonia, 2013-05-21, DD 02.jpg
Southern façade of the palace
General information
Architectural styleRococo
Town or cityGdańsk
Construction started15th century. Major construction 1754-56.
ClientJacek Rybiński

The Abbots' Palace in Oliwa (Polish: Pałac Opatów w Oliwie)[1] is a rococo palace in Oliwa, a quarter of Gdańsk. It houses the Department of Modern Art of the National Museum in Gdańsk, and along with the Cistercian-Cathedral complex in Oliwa it is listed as a Historic Monument of Poland.[2]


The first portion of the palace, the "Old Palace" was constructed in the 15th century. Later, in the first half of the sixteen hundreds a "New Palace" was added, which served as the residency of the then abbot of the Cistercians, Jan Grabiński. The final additions to the palace were made between 1754 and 1756, and were funded by another Cistercian abbot, Jacek Rybiński.[3]

Night view of the palace.

After the partitions of Poland the area became part of Prussia, in 1831 real estate of the Cistercians was secularized and the palace became property of the House of Hohenzollern. From 1796 until 1836 the Bishops of Warmia, Karl von Hohenzollern-Hechingen and Joseph von Hohenzollern-Hechingen resided in the Palace.[4][5] It remained empty until 1869 when Maria Anna von Hohenzollern-Hechingen, niece of Joseph, took up residence there. After her death in 1888 the ownership of the palace was taken over by the settlement of Oliwa, which used it for offices and apartments.[6]

During the interwar period of the Free City of Danzig the palace contained a museum which housed exhibitions on the history of the region. The director in charge of the museum was a Nazi activist named Erich Keyser.[6][7]

In 1945, at the end of World War II (during which time it served as an arms depot) it was set on fire by German troops who sought to clear the terrain in front of the advancing Red Army.[6][8]

The palace was rebuilt in 1965 through the efforts of the Muzeum Pomorskie w Gdańsku (Pomeranian Museum in Gdańsk). It initially served as the ethnographic department of the museum. In 1972 the Museum was elevated to a status of a National Museum.[6]

Since 1989 the palace contains the Department of Modern Art of the Polish National Museum in Gdańsk. In February 1990 a special gallery devoted to contemporary Polish art was established.[6] Permanent exhibitions include works by Polish artists from 19th and 20th century (painting, sculpture and ceramics). Some of the artists whose works are on display include Zbigniew Pronaszko, Jan Cybis, Henryk Stażewski, Andrzej Wróblewski, Tadeusz Kantor, Jerzy Nowosielski, Alfred Lenica, Jan Lebenstein, Teresa Pągowska, Zdzisław Beksiński, Edward Dwurnik and Władysław Hasior.[9] It also houses the "Promotional Gallery" which exhibits works by young artists.


  1. ^ Mark Salter, Jonathan Bousfield, Rough guide to Poland , Rough Guides, 2002, pg. 187
  2. ^ Rozporządzenie Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej z dnia 22 listopada 2017 r. w sprawie uznania za pomnik historii "Gdańsk-Oliwa - zespół pocystersko-katedralny", Dz. U. z 2017 r. poz. 2277
  3. ^ Muzeum Narodowe w Gdańsku, Oddział Sztuki Nowoczesnej – Pałac Opatów w Oliwie Archived September 23, 2009, at the Wayback Machine (National Museum in Gdańsk. Department of Modern Art - The Opatów Palace in Oliwa), last accessed August 17, 2010
  4. ^ Karl von Hohenzollern-Hechingen in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (in German)
  5. ^ Achterfeldt, Johann Heinrich (1836). Zeitschrift für Philosophie und katholische Theologie (in German). p. 213.
  6. ^ a b c d e, "Oddział Sztuki Nowoczesnej - Pałac Opatów w Oliwie, Historia obiektu" Archived 2016-12-30 at the Wayback Machine (Department of Modern Art - Opatów Palace in Oliwa, History of the Structure), last accessed August 17, 2010
  7. ^ Hartmut Lehmann, James Van Horn Melton, Paths of Continuity: Central European Historiography from the 1930s to the 1950s, Cambridge University Press, 2003, pg. 286
  8. ^ Philip Ward, Polish Cities: Travels in Cracow and the South, Gdansk, Malbork, and Warsaw, Pelican Publishing, 1989, pg. 103.
  9. ^, "Muzea w Polsca" (Museums in Poland) Pałac Opatów w Oliwie, last accessed, August 21, 2010.

External links[edit]

Media related to Oliwa Palace in Gdańsk at Wikimedia Commons

54°24′39″N 18°33′37″E / 54.41083°N 18.56028°E / 54.41083; 18.56028