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Culture

History brutally treated the cultural heritage of the region. Over the centuries many Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical historic buildings were destroyed or remodelled as a result  of wartime devastation as well as the invasions of the Prussians,  Lithuanians, Teutonic Knights, Swedes, and Russians. Between 1945-1956 legal owners were removed from their country manors and palaces, the buildings falling into ruin in consequence. The origins of the manorial estates which survived are associated with knights' families, settled there by the sovereigns planning to turn forests and wastelands into habitable areas. 

Harmoniously settled in the rural landscape, they represent the Polish variant of the Baroque or Neoclassical style in architecture and park planning. The parks are noble examples of the English garden style (also called the English landscape park style), hugely popular in Europe some two hundred years ago. Residences of this kind can be seen in Kikół, Szafarnia, Dyblin, Ugoszcz, Zaduszniki, Sokołowo, and Zbójno.Successive generations of people, making repairs and reconstructions left their imprint on the architecture. Today these changes are interpreted as symbols of cultural transformations reflected in architectural spatial forms, types of façades , prominent porticoes, and decorative details.Gothic is represented by the ruins of the royal castle in Złotoria (15th c.), the knights' castle in  Radziki Duże (1405-1466), the Teutonic castle in Bobrowniki (1398) Go to the photo gallery, churches in Ciechocin, Czernikowo, Lipno, Osiek, Płonne, Radomin, Radziki Duże, Rokicie, Rypin, Siecień, Strzygi, Sumin, rebuilt in the Gothic style. A number of remarkable works of Gothic art have also survived. The masterpieces of the Marian Shrine in Skępe include a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God (1496) and a rare Seraph crucifix (early 16th c.) depicting Christ on the cross, covered with the wings of Seraphs. Among Gothic treasures are also: a 14th-century early Gothic figure of crucified Christ (Radziki Duże), a 15th-century Pieta (Obory), two splendid 16th-century late Gothic statues, reflecting the style of Wit Stwosz (Veit Stoss) (Nowogród).

The legacy of Renaissance in the Dobrzyń Land encompasses the following architectural gems: an interesting Bernardine monastery complex (1508-1524), extended in the Baroque style, renowned for exquisite sculptures and woodcarvings (Skępe), and a church from 1584, with Baroque features added in 1761, housing several valuable paintings (Karnkowo, the property of the Karnkowski family from the 15th c. to 1939). An indication of high artistic standards of the era is given by the superb late Renaissance epitaph of Jan and Jadwiga Karnkowski (1525) of pink marble or a 17th-century wood painting entitled Coronation of the Virgin Mary. Other art treasures include another wood painting  depicting Madonna and Child and late Renaissance church gates (Radziki Duże).The Baroque style is particularly well represented in moumental architecture. 17th-century palaces and manors heavily damaged as a result of wartime ravages were completely reconstructed later. One of the most impressive Baroque buildings is the Carmelite monastery complex in Obory, constructed in stages in 1642, 1694, and 1741 (between wars). Its remarkable interior features many superb woodcarvings and sculptures, including the already mentioned Pieta.The Carmelite monastery complex from 1710-1718 in Trutowo, whose highlights include many works of Baroque art, is also worthy of attention. The churches in Działyń (1600) and Sadłowo  (1752-1756) as well as the chapel in Grodzeń are also Baroque.

Years 1735-1793 and 1818-1830 (up to the outbreak of the November Uprising) brought peace and revival of the Polish culture. This period was marked not only by the reconstruction and renovation of many country manors, but also by  the construction of new ones. 30 out of 37 palaces and manors which have survived are Neoclassical, the remaining seven are eclectic. Only a few forest stands with centuries-old nature monuments  remained of the old landscape parks established at the end of the 18th c. or in the first half of the 19th c. Worthy of attention are palaces in Długie, Kikół, Sadłowo, Steklin, Ugoszcz, and Zbójno and  manors in Bocheniec, Dyblin, Obrowo, Rusinowo, Steklin, Sokołowo and Zaduszniki. Neoclassical churches from the first half of the 19th c. in Szpetal Górny, Sobowo, Dobrzyń on the Drwęca (now the southern part of  Golub-Dobrzyń), and Skrwilno are also of historical and architectural interest. Historicism (referring to the styles prevailing in past epochs) in secular and ecclesiastical  architecture dominated in the period between 1865 –  the early 20th c. The buildings completed in this time displayed neo-Romanesque, neo-Gothic, and Neoclassical features or combined elements of different styles (eclecticism).

 In the Dobrzyń Land neo-Gothic churches were founded in Kikół, Mazowsze, Nowogród, and Sumin (originally from the 14th c, rebuilt in the neo-Gothic style), pseudo-Gothic churches were founded in Chełmica Duża and Moków and eclectic churches were founded in Gójsk, Ligowo, Zaduszniki, Trąbin, Świedziebnia, Tłuchowo, and Rogowo. 

The temples house valuable masterpieces saved from the old buildings.Polish cultural heritage includes the architecture of wooden churches, a vital component of the rural landscape. The oldest presersved wooden church in Studzianka dating back to 1704 is followed by churches in Czarne, Dulsk, Szczutowo (filial and parish),  Młyniec, Łukomie, Chrostkowo, Grochowalsk, Wielgie, Ostrowite, Księte, and Brzeźno from the 18th c. These modest shrines shelter superb paintings and polychromes, the most interesting of which can be seen in Czarne and Chrostkowo.Over the centuries the Dobrzyń Land has produced many outstanding scientists and artists, including the following:

Paweł Włodkowic from Brudzeń (ca. 1370-1435), a distinguished lawyer, rector of the University of Cracow;
Mikołaj Lasocki from Lasotki (1380-1450),  a distinguished lawyer, political figure of international importance;

Stanisław Karnkowski from Karnkowo (1520-1603), Secretary of the Crown during the reign of Król Zygmunt August (King Sigismund Augustus), Archbishop of Gniezno, primate of Poland, political figure, codifier of canon law in Poland; Adam Adamandy Kochański from Kochań (1631-1700), an outstanding mathematician,, creator of sundials and an arithmetic machine, professor at several universities in Europe;
Romuald Pląskowski from Czarne (1812-1896), a psychiatrist, professor, author of a psychiatry textbook translated into many languages;
Wincenty Rapacki from Lipno (1840-1924), an outsanding actor, director, teacher, playwright, theatre historian;
Pola Negri (Apolonia Chałupiec) from Lipno (1897-1987), initially a stage actress, from 1914 also a film actress. She adopted a stage name after Ada Negri, an Italian poetess. From 1917 she appeared in films made in Germany and in Hollywood. She was an international silent film star and a sex symbol.Many local people contributed substantially to the cultural legacy of the Dobrzyń Land. One of them, Gustaw Zieliński, a writer, poet, historian, donated what remained  of his property (after the Russians had confiscated a great part of it in revenge for his participation in the struggle for Poland's independence) for creating an impressive library and an art collection. 

He also sponsored publications which played an important role in building national consciousness during Poland's occupation, such as the first edition of the collected works of Jan Kochanowski, the greatest Polish Renaissance poet (1530-1584). Zieliński was also a major social and economic figure. Two places,  Szafarnia and Płonne, played an important role in the development of Polish and international culture. Szafarnia gained fame as Frederic Chopin's summer holiday destination in 1824 and 1825. The young composer, who stayed in the house of the Dziewanowski family, was provided with an opportunity to participate in the traditional harvest festivals in Szafarnia and nearby Obrowo. Moreover, at wedding receptions in Bocheniec he became acquainted with Polish folk music; a careful listener, he also joined the band, playing the double-bass. Since this region was under the influence of the music of Kuyavia, the kujaviak was a dominant folk dance here, distinguished by  lyrical melody (cantilena) in triple meter  and a quarter-note rhythm. 

Chopin ingeniously used folk musical traditions of this region (variable tempo also callaed 'tempo rubato'). In consequence, as can be easily noticed, his famous mazurkas display the features of kujawiaks from the Dobrzyń Land and Kuyavia. 
The eclectic palace (built on the site of the former Dziewanowski manor) houses the museum commemorating the composer as well as the Chopin Centre, organising piano concerts, recitals and the annual International Piano Competition for Young Pianists.Płonne is famous for summer visits of Maria Dąbrowska, a Polish popular writer (1889-1965).
In years 1926-1928 she spent summer in her sister Helena's house. She wrote to her husband in a letter: “These  are the lakes, the streams, the nature that keep me here... This place is an amazingly complete epic... I want to write a book here, a great novel on the contemporary countryside.” She fulfilled her promise – a four-volume novel entitled Nights and days was published between 1932-1934.To commemorate the writer the Regional Memorial Exhibition Room was opened in the local school.
Many non-material qualities associated with the the Dobrzyń countryside became a part of Polish heritage, including folk music as well as the style of wooden churches, windmills and water mills. Mills are distinctive landmarks  in the villages of Dulnik, Choczeń, Tłuchowo, Dylewo, Nietrzeba, and Żuchowo. Go to the photo gallery
The most valuable examples of rural architecture were moved to the open-air museums in Toruń and Kłóbka in Kuyavia. In aaddition, exhibits connected with the history and ethnography of the region are displayed in the museums in Dobrzyń, Rypin, Lipno (folk art and craft: painted furniture, sculptures, paintings, old tools). In Murzynowo on the Vistula river you can see an old fisherman's hut with old furnishings and fishing tools. Wayside shrines (mentioned in the History chapter for their documentary value) are above all symbols of faith. For centuries they have been placed at crossroads, near houses and bridges. Religious statues and paintings found inside were  votives offered as remainders of particular needs (care, protection from fire) or in gratitude for healing or saving life during wars. In Poland these architectural sites have been built and decorated according to local traditions and aesthetic rules, which naturally has led to a great diversity. Crosses made of wood, granite or iron have many forms. Usually three-storey stone or brick shrines have either niches or decorative roofs which safeguard holy statues. Founders and builders of the shrines spared no effort to make them sufficiently noble for the images of God and saints. For their unique artistic values shrines are classified as part of Polish non-material heritage. Go to the photo gallery