in Nakło Ślaskie

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History of the palace in Nakło Śląskie can be divided into three stages. For the first ninety years it served as the Henckel von Donnersmarck family residence, for the next sixty years it functioned as an agricultural school until 2006 when it turned into a cultural institution. This chapter in its history, however, has only just begun.

The Donnersmarcks’ palace is a relatively new building, about 150 years old, although Naklo itself has been known from documents since the fourteenth century. According to historical sources, it was established as a naturally tapered fortalice with a tower, where medieval knights such as: Franko of Naklo, Zbrosław “de Nakle”, Krzysztof, Jan Nakielski and Szczepan had their quarters. A knight’s castle built of stone was here probably in the 16th century.

Count Hugon I Henckel von Donnersmarck
(1811 – 1890)

1858 – 1945

It was at the end of 17th entury that the Naklo estate became the Henckel von Donnersmarck family’s possession. In the 19th century the owner of the Naklo land was Hugo I (1811 – 1890), Count from Siemianowitz, while his cousin Guido was the Count from Neudeck (Świerklaniec). It was Hugo I, one of the richest magnates in the industrial Silesia, who built and managed the palace in Naklo until his death in 1890. The family’s history was connected with this very building for 90 years. Initially it was supposed to serve as the Donnersmarcks’ summer residence. Hugo I’s main residence was the Wolfsberg palace in Carinthia, but his descendants decided to settle down here for life.

Original appearance of the palace

It is said that Hugo I built the palace for his second wife, Laura von Kaszonyi, whose coat of arms as well as the Donnersmarcks’ emblems – partly preserved – adorn the façade . Yet it is very likely that this version is just a romantic legend because his first wife, Laura von Hardenberg (mother of their four sons and a daughter) had died only a year before the palace was built in 1858. The photo presents Henckel von Donnersmarck’s and von Kaszonyi’s coats of arms. The names of the architects remain unknown, but some evidence suggests that they were Viennese architects: Johann Romano von Ringe and August Schwendenwein von Lanauberg. The similar style in which Hugo’s castle in Wolfsberg was rebuilt seems to prove this: both projects have features typical of the English Tudor manner. Architecturally original, neo-gothic palace in Nakło Śląskie is therefore an exception among the numerous residences owned by Silesian magnates. After Hugo’s death in 1890 it was rebuilt and the tower was raised. Until 1905 the official owner of the Naklo estate was Hugo’s widow, Laura , who died childless. After her death, the stepchildren decided to sell all the properties except for the palace in Naklo, which was chosen as the main residence by Hugo’s second son, Lazarus IV (1835 – 1914), progenitor of the Henckel von Donnersmarcks from Naklo.

Henckel von Donnersmarck i von Kaszonyi coats of arms

Nakło Śląskie owes him the parish church, while his wife Maria founded the orphanage run by St. Borromeus Sisters of Mercy (now Residential Home). The Donnersmarcks’ heir had a good reputation among the local people as he had sold part of his land in a nearby Neu Radzionkau (Rojca) to get the funds and build houses with gardens for them.

 After the acquisition of this part of Silesia by the Second Republic of Poland in 1921, the Henckels remained in Naklo as loyal citizens of the state. For this reason, the family called them “the Polish line”. The last owner of the palace in Naklo was Lazarus V (1902-1991). World War II determined the family’s further history. When the front approached, they left their manor and emigrated to Switzerland. However, they never asked for German citizenship and used pre-war Polish passports.

In the photographs: the palace before 1941

1945 – 1999

In 1945 the Donnersmarcks’ estate was taken over by the Polish state and there was an agricultural school for the next sixty years. At first it was a three-year National High School of Farming, from 1949 – Agricultural High School, and then Agricultural Training School Complex. In this period the Donnersmarcks’ residence was considerably changed. Some of the rooms were turned into classrooms and – as the palace functioned as a boarding house until 1970 – the former chapel was equipped with washrooms and toilets.

Palace in 1950s.

Photograph 1 i 2 (palace in 1950) shared by Leonard Nowicki, photographs 3 i 4 come from ZS CKR archives

1999 – 2013

Herb Powiatu Tarnogórskiego

In 1999 the palace in Nakło Śląskie became the property of Tarnowskie Góry County, which shared the rooms with the agricultural school until 2005. From 2006 to 2010 an intuitive art gallery “Colours of Silesia” with Gerard Stanisław Trefoń’s collection of art was located in the palace.

Gallery of intuitive art “Colours of Silesia”

As soon as the decision to establish the Silesian Culture Centre had been taken, the devastated object went through extensive renovation (2010 – 2012). 

Palace in Nakło Śląskie before renovation

The plan assumed several stages – renovation of the interiors, tower, facade, construction of the restaurant (basement) and hotel part (attic), as well as park maintenance and lighting replacement. In the years 2010-2012 the first stage was realised: refurbishment of the interiors, for which the resources of the Governor of the Tarnowskie Góry Countywere used (PLN 2 860 095.75), resources of the European Regional Development Fund (PLN 4 834 248.29) and a subsidy of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (PLN 453 850.50). The total value of this stage was PLN 7 694 344.04

Renovation of the palace in the years 2010 – 2013

The renovation restored the original appearance of the interior decorative elements such as stairs and wooden railings in a representative staircase, paneling in the hall, a plafond uncovered by chance in a room on the ground floor and the famous Donnersmarcks’ treasury, in which they kept money won at the horse races (in Hugo’s times the main ones in Silesia).

The palace after renovation

od 2013

Since 1 January 2013, the renovated palace has been the seat of the Silesian Culture Centre, which formally opened its doors to the public on 2 May 2013.


Kasownik Centrum Kultury Śląskiej

In January – March 2019, the replacement of the park lighting took place with funds raised as part of the 2018 Participatory Budget.

Old and new lighting in the park

A complete renovation of the tower (interior and facade) took place from 1 February to 17 June 2021.

The tower before renovation

The tower renovation

The general contractor for the works is DES Renowacja – Konservacja from Krakow

The tower after renovation

The renovation of the entrance gates to the park took place from 22 X to 12 XII 2022, financed with money from the 2021 Participatory Budget of the Tarnogórski District. The renovation was carried out by the company Expance Sławomir Czapiewski from Piła.

The gates before renovation

The gates renovation

The gates after renovation

Photos: archives, archives of Starostwo Powiatowe in Tarnowskich Górach, archives of ZS CKR in Nakło Śląskie, Magdalena Zaton, Krzysztof Miller, Renata Głuszek, Robert Piontek, Aleksandra Głaz, Leonarda Nowicki’s private archives