Crown Tribunal (former town hall) in Lublin
Standing in the middle of the market square is the edifice of the Crown Tribunal, which replaced the wooden town hall that had burned down in 1389. It is certain that a brick building existed in this place already in the 15th century, as preserved documents regarding meetings of the City Council taking place there attest, among other evidence. Initially, the building performed function of the town hall, where all the judicial and administrative authority was concentrated. Since 1578 it was the seat of the Crown Tribunal - the highest judicial authority for the nobility of Lesser Poland province. Today it houses the Wedding Palace and - in its lowermost section - a tourist route - The Lublin Underground Route.
The Crown Tribunal is situated at 1, Rynek Street, in the Old Town.
Former police designation number: none
Mortgage number: 1212
Number before 1939: 1, Rynek St.
Number after 1944: 1, Rynek St.
Present-day number: 1, Rynek St.
Originally, the building performed function of the town hall. Later, it was the seat of The Crown Tribunal. Today it serves as the Wedding Palace and the entrance to the Lublin Underground Route.
The original Gothic building of the town hall was built of wood in the 14th century. It had two towers and external stairs, and took up less space than the current one. It was turned to ashes by the fire of Lublin in 1389. Next building erected on this site was brick and in Gothic style.
The first remodeling in the first half of the 16th century gave it a Renaissance appearance - it was crowned with an attic and external stairs leading to the first floor were built on. Another remodeling was carried out after the fire of Lublin in 1575. Building was reconstructed in Renaissance style and was to correspond stylistically with town halls in Sandomierz and Tarnów.
Since 1578, by virtue of king Stephen Báthory’s decision, the building served as the seat of the Crown Tribunal. Another remodeling of the edifice, this time in Baroque style, took place in the 1680s. Second floor was built on and the tower was remodeled. Baroque appearance of the Tribunal is confirmed by the depiction in the painting The Fire of the City of Lublin, exhibited in the Dominican church.
The edifice had not remained in this form for long, as in the years 1781-1787 it was remodeled following the design by the royal court architect, Domenico Merlini. Classicist features were introduced, which gave the building somewhat monumental appearance. It was expanded, made almost two times wider and the second floor, earmarked for land courts, was finished. Remaining parts of the interior were left unaltered. Low relief depicting the symbol of justice was fitted in the tympanum. It was reconstructed in 1977.
Nowadays, the building of the former Crown Tribunal houses the Wedding Palace, while its Great Hall is a venue of concerts and meetings. In the basement (former wine vault and prison), there is the Lublin Underground Route, where one can see, among others, mock-ups illustrating spatial development of Lublin and multimedia version of the painting Fire of the City of Lublin.
14th century - construction of wooden town hall with two towers and external stairs
1389 - fire of the building
first half of the 16th century - reconstruction in Gothic style
1575 - another fire
second half of the 16th century - reconstruction in Renaissance style
late 17th century - Baroque remodelling
1781-1787 - Classicist remodeling following the design by Domenico Merlini
1977 - reconstruction of the low relief in the tympanum
1990s - renovation of the interior, including the polychromes
Description of the building
The tribunal is laid out on rectangular plan, measuring 30 by 25 metres. It has three storeys and an attic storey, being ca. 20 metres high in total.
The first storey’s facade rests on a massive plinth course and consists of five axes. The part above the plinth course is rusticated. Walls of second and third storeys also have five axes, divided with pilasters and cornices. Straight and vertical lines are predominant in the entire facade. Together with prevalent symmetry, they give the building harmonious appearance.
The Crown Tribunal building is situated in the middle of the market square created after Lublin obtained municipal charter in 1317. In 1931, on the initiative of the Society of Friends of Sciences (Pol. Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Nauk), a statue of Jan Kochanowski was placed in front of the entrance. After the war it was moved over to a square at Narutowicza Street. All four frontages of the market square, between the streets that begin at its corners, are built up with apartment houses exhibiting features of various styles, ranging from Gothic to Classicism.
The Market Square, view towards Olejna and Bramowa streets, the Tribunal (no. 1, Market Square) visible to the right, author unknown, taken ca. 1938, courtesy of Architecture, Building and Urban Planning Department of Lublin City Office
Photographs from the socialist period
- The Crown Tribunal in Lublin - fragment of The View of Lublin by Hogenberg and Braun, 1618, courtesy of H. Łopaciński Voivodeship Public Library
Gawarecki H., Gawdzik C., Lublin, Warszawa 1959.
Teodorowicz-Czerepińska J., Trybunał ujawnia tajemnice. Pod posadzką mury średniowiecznego Ratusza, „Kurier Lubelski” 1985, nr 204.
Teodorowicz-Czerepińska J., Zapomniany blask Trybunału, „Kurier Lubelski 1984, nr 253.