Town Square in Tykocin
Statue of Stefan Czarniecki
facing church of the Holy Trinity in Tykocin
The Tykocin old town square, called a
Rynek in Polish, is actually a rectangle and quite large for
such a small village. As in Germany, most Polish towns were built
around a central square with a Catholic Church and the town hall
as the main features. In the middle of the Rynek in Tykocin is
a statue of Stefan Czarniecki, a hero of the war against the
Swedes in the 17th century. According to the tour guide, the
King gave the whole town to him in gratitude for his heroism.
The statue was erected in his honor by his grandson, Jan Branicki,
The photograph above shows the statue
of Stefan Czarniecki which faces the east end of the town square.
In the background is the Baroque style Catholic Church of the
Holy Trinity, which is very impressive considering that Tykocin
never had more than 5,000 residents, and only half of them were
Catholic. The red-roofed building to the left of the church is
the Alumnat, a hospice for war veterans established in 1633,
the first in the world. The facade of the church is semi-circular
with towers on either side connected to the church by two curved
wings, making it look more like a royal palace than a church.
Many of the Catholic churches in Poland were designed by Italian
architects, including this one. It was locked, so I didn't get
to see the inside.
The Church of the Holy Trinity is no
more than two short blocks from the Jewish Synagogue; it was
commissioned by Branicki in 1741 and recently restored. The square
is now planted with flowers in the style of a formal garden,
beautiful but not very practical since the square can no longer
be used as a market place or a place for children to play.
Baroque Catholic Church
in Tykocin, designed by Italian architect
The whole village of Tykocin looks like
a place where time has stood still; you will not see a McDonald's
here, nor any modern stores. There are no hotels, and the one
restaurant did not look very inviting. Even though there are
numerous tour groups passing through the town, the residents
have not taken advantage of the situation; there are no souvenirs
for sale here. The town appears to be exactly as the Jews left
it when they were expelled and murdered more than 50 years ago,
although I did not get the impression that it has been deliberately
preserved, since the towns people do not seem to be benefiting
in any way.
The photo below shows two houses at the
western end of the town square in Tykocin.
Houses at western end
of town square in Tykocin
The house pictured below is located on
the north side of the town square, which is planted with grass
and flowers and looks like a park now. As in the Old Town Rynek
in Warsaw, the houses built around the sides of the Rynek in
Tykocin were once owned by rich merchants. The first Synagogue
in Tykocin was a wooden building on the Old Town Rynek; like
thousands of other wooden Synagogues in Poland, it is long gone.
House on north side
of Rynek in Tykocin