2020: The Year in Review

2020 was the year of the largest renovation and construction efforts in recent years at Sarny Castle. It was also the year of the biggest conservation discovery so far. Despite the covid pandemic and repeated lockdowns in Europe, we were able to co-organize major cultural events.

Here’s a list with a short description of what we were able to achieve. Click on the headlines to find out more.

The castle’s roof is rebuilt

We completed the roof reconstruction that had begun in 2016. After five years and three construction seasons, we now have a rebuilt roof structure and covering made using slate. For the first time in decades, the roof is in excellent condition and secures the residence’s valuable interior. The renovation was supported by Poland’s Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

A comprehensive renovation of The Composers House is complete

After almost two years of construction work, we completed a total refurbishment of one of our farm houses. We called it The Composers House because each of the 10 guest rooms has a Polish early-music composer as its patron. Behind an unchanged modest exterior from 1870 hides the highest quality interior.

The renovation of The Administrator’s House has begun

We have renovated the building’s roof using mostly original tiles. We have dismantled the chaotic additions inside. In the coming years, we will pursue the renovation aimed at showcasing the historical values of the building that dates back to 1590.

The northern façade terrace is renovated

We stabilized the terrace structurally and renovated the historical stonemasonry. The renovation was supported by the Lower Silesian Voivodeship.

We discovered Baroque paintings in the building behind the chapel

In an unexpected place during the renovation of The Administrator’s House hid polychrome paintings dating back to the 17th century. Painted beams survived because they were hidden above ceilings installed at a later time. A conservation program has been developed and approved by authorities and will be implemented in the coming seasons.

Conservation work was done on previously discovered wall paintings in the castle

We now know more about the wall polychrome decorations discovered in 2019 and entered into the landmark register at our request. In 2020, we discovered additional decorations and revealed painting layers from the 18th and 19th centuries. In 2021, we plan to carry out a comprehensive conservation program on 17th-century paintings in a chamber on the castle’s ground floor. The 2020 effort was supported by a grant from the Lower Silesian Regional Landmark Conservation Officer.

The Coach House is now safe as a preserved ruin

We reattached loose bricks in a derelict 19th-century coach house. Inside, we planted grass, turning the building for several years into a preserved ruin. In the spring of 2021, a terrace will appear high above the parkland next to the Coach House where guests will be able to relax surrounded by ancient oaks.

The Chapel’s door is renovated

We renovated the wooden door to the chapel, an effort supported by the ongoing public fundraising for the renovation of the estate.

We were a stage of the Pinnacles of Literature Festival

We hosted the Pinnacles of Literature Festival created by Nobel Prize in Literature Laureate Olga Tokarczuk, for the second time. During our festival day, July 12, 2020, about 1,000 people visited the estate.

We co-organized the 5th International Summer School of Early Music

For the fifth time, eminent artists came to us to teach sackbut, cornett and voice. As in previous editions, the course culminated with a concert open to the public.

We took part in the recording of the early-music documentary Polychoral Discreetness

Sarny Castle appeared in a documentary on polychoral music of Mikołaj Zieleński and other great early-Baroque artists. The documentary was produced by the Musica Humana Association with support from Poland’s Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

We launched the European Centre for Garden Art

We launched The Eduard Petzold European Centre for Garden Art as a museum and center for heritage interpretation. We earmarked a large barn from the mid-19th century to eventually serve as the ECSO headquarters. The building’s renovation started in 2020.

We planted more than 2,000 spring flower bulbs

Narcissi, daffodils and hyacinths will bloom in the spring, in the park and in the village. We are planning further such plantings.

We picked up the time capsule contents after maintenance

The contents of the time capsule from 1921 returned to Sarny Castle after maintenance at Nicolaus Copernicus University. It will become part of a permanent exhibition.

No luck with Norway Grants

Despite our best efforts, it was not possible to obtain a grant for the renovation of the Chapel and the granary despite a high score from experts. The 2020 support from the Norway Grants committee was mainly given to sites owned by local government units.

Sarny Park is safe

Controversial flood risk management designs are gone from the Polish government’s plans, as shown in the flood risk review published in December. We rallied the local community in 2019 to protest against the designs, and have kept a close eye on the process and maintained communication with the government since. Now our work is done, new flood basins in the area won’t be built. Sarny Park would be severely impacted by the potential construction of a flood basin in the Włodzica river valley.