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The Warsaw Voice » Regional Voice » March 31, 2011
Mazovia Region
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Museum and Manor House
March 31, 2011   
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As you cross the vast green areas east of Warsaw traveling towards the town of Liw, you can make a stop in a village called Sucha in Węgrów county to visit a private open-air museum.

Sucha lies on the Kostrzyń River, a tributary of the Liwiec River, between the town of Grębków and a village called Kopcie. Sucha is close to three larger towns, with Mińsk Mazowiecki to the west, Siedlce to the east and Węgrów to the north. The village is located in a picturesque neighborhood with fish ponds, surrounded by beautiful forests with a unique alley of larches.

The owner of the local open-air museum, Prof. Marek Kwiatkowski, has brought a collection of wooden buildings to Sucha. Several of them are being renovated.

The first structure to have its former splendor restored is a large manor house of larch wood which the Cieszkowski family built in Sucha in 1743. The manor house was commissioned by the castellan of Liw, Ignacy Cieszkowski, probably to replace an older building which had burned down. The Baroque, one-story manor house with bay windows on its front corners is topped with a tall, Podlasie-style shake roof. In 1843, a Classicist, three-arcade portico with a triangular tympanum was added to the building. The coat of arms of the Cieszkowski Dołęga family is painted inside the tympanum.

A Latin inscription on the frieze below reads “Sub veteri tectu sed parentali” or “under an old roof, but a family roof.” The most recent renovation of the 19th-century ceiling in two side offices uncovered original wooden ceilings adorned with painted ornamentation.

In 1787, the manor house was visited by King Stanisław II August Poniatowski and in 1814, it became the birthplace of August Cieszkowski, a famous philosopher, economist and politician. A decree on agricultural reform from 1945 turned the manor house into living quarters for the workers of a local state fish farm. By the 1980s, the larch manor house was in a sorry state but, after renovation, it was reopened as a museum, 250 years after it was originally built. Its spacious interiors were filled with Biedermeier and eclectic furniture from the 19th century. Period paintings and other trinkets help recreate the ambiance of a traditional Polish manor house.

The open-air museum in Sucha has two more manor houses. One, on which renovation is almost complete, can be used as a conference venue, while the other, a town-style manor house brought from Siedlce, still awaits a general overhaul. Other than the manor houses, the museum encompasses peasant cottages, an organist’s house, a vicar’s house, a mill and an inn. Visitors can look inside these buildings through windows.
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