Branicki Palace is often referred to as ‘Versailles’. It’s often called ‘Versailles of Podlasie’, ‘Versailles of the North’, and of course ‘Polish Versailles’. Is it at least close to the truth? See for yourselves – in the video. It’s surely worth noting that it’s a beautifully preserved magnate residence from the Saxon age, built in late baroque style.
Its history starts back in 16th century. Back then, there was a settlement where the palace is today, probably along with king’s secretary Mikołaj Raczkowicz’s court. After he died, his wife brought the court to the estate of her next husband who ordered the construction of a gothic-renaissance castle with a moat and two floors. In 17th century, the castle was transformed into a baroque residence which drastically changed its appearance. In the next century two more wings were added. But it wasn’t the end of changes. In 1750-1771 Jakub Fontana conducted more transformation works and he’s responsible for the final shape of the palace.
While it was part of Russian partition, the palace was plundered and robbed. During World War I it served as a military hospital and survived undamaged. After the war it was the governor’s residence and the province’s office headquarters. Palace was mostly demolished by the Germans who left in 1944 and the remains were destroyed by the Red Army the same year. It was rebuilt in 1946-1960 under the direction of Stanisław Bukowski who based the reconstruction on the 18th century version of the palace. However, he was in a hurry, didn’t have all the necessary documents and the reconstruction of the interior is not very accurate.