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The Warsaw Voice » Regional Voice » March 31, 2011
Mazovia Region
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The Longest Market Square
March 31, 2011   
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Pu速usk is an idyllic town in a picturesque setting, with a rich tradition and history. For centuries, it was an important academic center for northern and eastern Poland. It is still home to numerous colleges, including the Pu速usk Academy of Humanities, which give an academic feel to the town. In the town center is an elongated market square, 400 meters in length. According to local guidebooks, it is the longest market square in Europe.

The most notable structure on the southern end of the square is Pu速usk castle, which stands on a small, artificial hill. The center of the square is occupied by the town hall with an old tower, while at the northern end of the square stands an impressive collegiate church.

The best place to start a sightseeing tour is the museum housed in the town hall tower. The museum occupies seven floors in the tower and its collection consists of archeological finds from the Pu速usk area. The artifacts include ceramics, wooden bowls and other objects of everyday use, from the 13th to the 17th centuries.

At the top, the tower has an observation deck with telescopes to view the area.

Where the castle hill is today, a succession of smaller castles were built, demolished and rebuilt one after another in the 12th and 13th centuries. The oldest castle of stone and brick was built on the hill by Bishop Pawe Gi篡cki in the mid-15th century. The castle was badly damaged during the Swedish invasion of Poland in the 17th century and work to rebuild it continued into the 18th century. Renovated after World War I, the castle housed a number of offices until World War II. At present, the castle is home to the House of the Polish Diaspora, surrounded by a pretty park.

The collegiate church in the northern part of the market square displays prominent Renaissance and Baroque features. Founded by Bishop Gi篡cki, the church was completed in 1443. The extension of the southern aisle houses a funerary chapel which is highly reminiscent of Sigismund’s Chapel at Wawel Cathedral in Cracow.

A part of the aisle and the presbytery burned down in 1913. During World War II, the church was converted first into a prison and then a warehouse of property confiscated from Jews.

One of the most remarkable interior features of the collegiate church are Renaissance frescos. After a fire broke out in the church in the 16th century, the frescos were painted over, which helped them survive to this day.

The church has uniform Baroque furnishings. Embedded in the pillars and walls in the aisles are numerous epitaphs and memorial plaques from the 17th-19th centuries.

The collegiate church is only open on Sundays.
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