The “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre is a local government cultural institution based in Lublin. It works towards the preservation of cultural heritage and education. Its function is tied to the symbolic and historical meaning of the Centre’s location in the Grodzka Gate, which used to divide Lublin into its respective Christian and Jewish quarters, as well as to Lublin as a meeting place of cultures, traditions and religions.

Part of the Centre are the House of Words and the Lublin Underground Trail.

The “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre is a local government cultural institution based in Lublin. It works towards the preservation of cultural heritage and education. Its function is tied to the symbolic and historical meaning of the Centre’s location in the Grodzka Gate, which used to divide Lublin into its respective Christian and Jewish quarters, as well as to Lublin as a meeting place of cultures, traditions and religions.

Part of the Centre are the House of Words and the Lublin Underground Trail.

The Grodzka Gate in Lublin

The Grodzka Gate, often called The Jewish Gate, is one of first stone-built elements of the city's fortifications built in 1342 after the permission of king Kazimierz the Great. At the end of the 18th century, the object was rebuilt. This task was commissioned to Dominik Merlini. For centuries The Grodzka Gate was also called The Jewish Gate, as it was a passage between the Old Town and the Jewish district.

 

Location

The Grodzka Gate is one of two main city gates. It is located at the end of Grodzka Street, at the protruded tip of the Old Town Hill. It has not been assigned a number.

Functions

The Grodzka Gate was a part of Lublin's medieval fortifications. Rebuilt in 1785, it changed its function to become a dwelling and place of commerce. In 1873 the Gate became private property. After 1944, the Gate was used by the Fine Arts High School, and then by the Theatrical Studio of Lublin. Since 1992 the building has been used by the "Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre" Centre.

History of The Building

The Grodzka Gate, often called The Jewish Gate, is one of first stone-built elements of the city's fortifications built in 1342 after the permission of king Kazimierz the Great. Originally, it was about 12 meters high, of rectangular plan, one-dimensional, not arched, with openings in the shape of pointed arch. Above the gate's passageway there was a city guards' room. In 1560s the gatepost was added, which facilitated the use of a wooden drawbridge leading to the Castle. In 1580s the Gate's passageway was arched, and then covered with shingled roof. At the beginning of the 17th century, undermined by water, a piece of the wall and doorframe was destroyed. The Gate was then rebuilt into a two-storey building, with a parallel to the passageway, gabled roof. On the south-east side, a gatekeeper's house was attached to it, later rebuilt and used as city stables. Its appearance is known, among others, in from the picture hanging in the Dominicans church „The fire of Lublin in 1719” painted about 1740.
At the end of the 18th century the Good Order Committee in Lublin asked king Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski to finance the overhaul of the building. The performing of this task was assigned to Dominik Merlini. In 1785 Merlini changed the Gates shape: he levelled the gatepost with the gatehouse and covered them with one gabled roof, rebuilt the ground storey, where he placed four open to passageway shops. On the first storey, he designed one big room at the front and one small room at the back, separated by a hall and a kitchen. Thus, he changed the Gate's function from defensive to habitative – commercial one, which was undoubtedly linked with the developing Jewish district. In the 19th century stables were rebuilt into shops by adding a cradle vault and open to the passageway, becoming part of the Gate complex. In 1873 the tenement, together with houses Grodzka 21 and 36, was bought on auction by Chaim Kleiman. Due to the extensions of neighbouring houses in 1860s and 1880s, the Gate was no longer a detached building. On the turn of the 19th century a short entresol, lit by a big, expensive depressed window, was built above the passageway. It was entered from the rooms above the stables.
In 1942 there was a fire of the Gates roof. In 1945 the annex of neighbouring buildings collapsed. This was followed by the collapse of the utmost annexes of Grodzka 36A building. In 1945 the city took over the building, together with other possesions formerly belonging to Jews. The project for the buildings renovation was presented in 1946 by engineer Zamorowski, but the reconstruction was finished in 1954. During the works former all the rooms on the first storey were joined into one. The object was then given for use of the Fine Arts High School. Since 1992 the building has been used by the "Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre" Centre.

Important Dates

1342 – king Kazimierz the Great grants his allowance to build the Grodzka Gate as an element of city fortifications;
the 1550s – Lublin stonemasons: Sebastian Włoch and Suffraganek make small repairs of the Gate building;
the 1560s – gatepost was added;
1572 – stonemason Brudny builds a fixed, stone bridge;
1576 – king Stefan Batory allows to take a fee for crossing the Gate, which brought about the need to hire a gatekeeper;
the 1580s – arching the Gate;
the 1590s – covering the Gate with shingled roof;
beginning of the 17th cent. – after the collapse of a piece of wall, the Gate is rebuilt into a two-storey building, covered with gabled roof. The view of the gate after the rebuilding can be seen on a copperplate by Hogenberg and Braun;
end of the 18th cent. – Good Order Committee states that the building is in bad technical condition;
1785 – rebuilding the Gate according to the project by Dominik Merlini;
1866 – putting the Grodzka Gate together with adjoining it from the East courtyard, shop, woodshed and latrine up for auction;
1873 – the tenement, as a result of the third auction, is bought by Jakub Kleiman. Then, it is used by his numerous descendants;
1923 – the tenement is bought by Perla Goldberg;
1942 – the fire of the roof;
1945 – the Gate building is given to the City Government;
1945 – the collapse of the annex;
1946 – eng. Zamorowski prepares a project of the building's renovation;

1954 – the renovation is completed, the building is given to the Fine Arts High School;
1960 – The Grodzka Gate building becomes a state property;

The Architect


Style

Classicism. Classicist features can be seen in the buildings elevation: rusticated elevations of first storey, rectangular window openings, rectangular fronton with the date of the rebuilding and royal monogram, classicist vases on side plinths.

The Building's Description

The Gate's mass is the result of joining the main gate and the gatepost and including the building in the row of adjoining houses.
Front elevation: The first storey with semicircular arch of the pasageway, is decorated with rustication. The second storey is three-axis, symmetrical, with three rectangular window openings. The elevation is topped by a classicist gable. In its centre there is a panel with the date of the Gate's rebuilding, and above it there is another panel with royal monograme. On side plinths there are two classicist vases.
Back elevation: The first storey is much higher than the first storey of the front elevation. It is decorated with rustication analogous to the rustication of the facade. In the second storey of the back elevation there are three windows. In the coping of the elevation there is a triangular top with a rectangular, rounded at the top, window opening.

The Interior

The passageway includes a wall separating the former Gate from the gatepost. Both parts have a cradle vault. On both sides of the passageway there are door openings. On the right: to the hall leading to Grodzka 21 house and a smaller door in the former gatepost; on the left door to a corridor leading to Grodzka 36 house's staircase, a blind window and two door openings. On the second storey of the building, after the rebuilding in 1954, there is a room used as a showroom. Above it, there is a single-space attic.

The Surroundings

The closest surroundings of the Gate are: from the side of the Old Town buldings of tenement-houses Grodzka 19 and 34, from the side of the Castle Grodzka 36 and 23.

 

Edited by: Joanna Zętar

Literature

Gawarecki H., Mury obronne miasta Lublina, „Ochrona Zabytków” 1952, nr 2.
Knothe Z., Bramy miasta Lublina, „Gazeta Lubelska”, R. 1946, nr 355.
Myśliński K., Odbudowa Bramy Grodzkiej, „Życie Lubelskie”, R. 1949, nr 73.
Odkrywanie miejsca. Historia i przyszłość Starego Miasta w Lublinie. Diagnozy – Szanse – Możliwości, red. B. Odnous, Lublin 1999.

Studziński J., Brama Grodzka w Lublinie. Opracowanie na zlecenie Centrum Kultury, Lublin 1992 (mps).
Tatarkiewicz W., Dominik Merlini, Warszawa 1955.
Teodorowicz-Czerepińska J., Brama Grodzka w Lublinie. Dokumentacja naukowo-historyczna, Lublin 1983 (mps).
Zalewski L, Z epoki renesansu i baroku, Lublin 1949.
Zętar J., Ośrodek „Brama Grodzka – Teatr NN”. Odbudowa i kształtowanie tożsamości miejsca, „Teka Komisji Architektury, Urbanistyki i Studiów Krajobrazowych”, t. 2, Lublin 2006.

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