The Palace at Smoszewo is the only palace in Poland, sited over the Vistula. It is also one of the most important monuments of the Zakroczym district whose flat landscape is interspersed with deep ravines and protected by a nature conservationist. Smoszewo and its neighbourhood, known as an avian paradise, have not been infected with urbanization of the capital and the area remains an attraction for ornithologists and sailors.
The extended view from the Vistuline escarpment over the flood waters of the great river Vistula, its sandy shallows and views on to the Kampinos Forest spread out on the other side of the river, has drawn the attention of painters and photographers over the years. That is most probably why the Smoszewo region and its surroundings are described in tourist publications as the Pearl of the Zakroczym District.
The palace was built in an eclectic style in the 1920s to the east of a no longer existing XVIII century palace. Standing proudly on a steep riparian escarpment and embellished with a high four column portico, it was built as a summer residence for a Polish Senator, A H Jarecki.
The residence is surrounded by a seven hectare beautifully landscaped park, filled with a large variety of plants and birds. A special characteristic of this area is the diversity of species of elderly trees, several examples of which are truly ancient “monuments of nature”. The oldest section of the park still remembers the period of its founder, Michael Korybut Wiśniowiecki, King of Poland.
Unfortunately the fates have not been kind to the old king’s palace. In 1960 a large section of the royal residence was burned in a fire and the abandoned park became an object of interest solely to people scrimping around for firewood.
For over 50 years the palace was home to children, both Polish and foreign. It once was an orphanage, then a children’s holiday home and even a medical residence for children with special needs. The manor’s history is very closely tied with their life stories. It is very moving to see many of them, now adults, get back in touch with us and visit after so many years. We are in contact with « children » from Poland to the USA or Hungary and are planning to one day organise a big reunion, celebrating all those who once stayed here, in sometimes difficult and emotional circumstances.
We took over the run down palace and its park in 2006, with only one goal in mind- saving this important element of Polish heritage and history. We have been working on rebuilding and revitalising the manor as well as on saving the very old trees, restoring the unique character of this truly exceptional wonder of nature, every single day, year after year, since.