Composers / Fryderyk Chopin / Places catalog

Płock

The history of Płock is closely bound with that of Poland. The city acquired special significance in the latter half of the eleventh century, when it was made the seat of the newly established Diocese of Mazovia (1075) and the capital of Poland, during the reigns of Ladislaus I Herman (1079–1102) and Boleslaus III the Wry-mouth (1107–1138). When the last Duke of Mazovia, Janusz II, died childless, in 1495, Płock was annexed by Poland and made a voivodeship capital.

Chopin stayed on the Zboińskis’ estate in Kowalewo, Płock County, during his 1827 summer holiday. In a letter to his family in Warsaw dated 6 July 1827, he refers to a trip to Gdańsk and mentions Płock, barely 30 km away, as the first stop: ‘Since my health serves me like some sort of trained dog, [and Mr] Zboiński’s little yellow eyes are downcast as we set off for Płock, it would be madness if, for my part, I were not to report about this. And so, today in Płock […]’.

Płock was not on the planned route to Pomerania, but given the city’s rich and fascinating history, Count Ksawery Zboiński most likely wanted to show Chopin around. It is worth mentioning that Ignacy and Franciszek Zboiński served as castellans in Płock during the eighteenth century.

Chopin was expecting a letter from his parents and voiced his impatience in this surviving letter, written while still in Kowalewo: ‘today in Płock I will turn the entire post upside down, if only something would be there for me’. This letter, which after suitable folding served as its own envelope, bears the postmark ‘Płock 8 IULII’. The Płock post office was then located at ul. Warszawska 274 (now ul. Kościuszki 13).

The precise details of Chopin’s stay are not known. We can only hazard a guess at which of the city’s many historical buildings he might have seen or visited. He almost certainly would have visited the beautiful old town and the recently built neoclassical town hall designed by Jakub Kubicki. (It is worth pointing out that the layout of Plac Zamkowy and the thorough reconstruction of the Belvedere, both in Warsaw, were the work of Kubicki.)

Chopin would definitely have visited St Bartholomew’s church, near the town hall. This was founded by Casimir III the Great (1333–1370) and is the oldest parish church in Płock, although it was rebuilt in the Baroque style during the eighteenth century. Zboiński would not have left the famous Płock Cathedral off the itinerary. One of Poland’s most valuable architectural jewels, it was built on Wzgórze Tumskie [Cathedral hill] in 1130–1144, at the behest of Bp Alexander of Malonne (now in Belgium). Inside the cathedral is the Royal Chapel, where, two years earlier (1825), Ladislaus I Herman and Boleslaus III the Wry-mouth were entombed in a black marble sarcophagus specially designed by Zygmunt Vogel.

The Dukes of Mazovia had their seat in Płock Castle, which was built on the site of the seat of Ladislaus I Herman and Boleslaus I the Valiant on the initiative of Casimir III the Great. The important parts of the castle, which are still there, were the noble tower (rectangular at the bottom and octagonal at the top) and the clock tower. The castle was the seat of the dukes until the end of the fifteenth century. It was transferred to the Benedictines somewhere around the middle of the sixteenth century. The castle and the Benedictine abbey now house the Diocesan Museum, the abundant collection of which includes valuable works of sacred art and extremely rare antique manuscripts, including the beautifully illuminated twelfth-century Płock Bible. The collection also boasts the piano that was used in the Aleksander Ford film Youth of Chopin (1951). The municipal museum has its share of Chopinalia, too. There is a bronze cast of the composer (on a scale of 1:8), made in 1922 according to Wacław Szymanowski’s famous design for the Chopin monument in Łazienki Park, Warsaw, and a 1910 oil painting of Chopin at the piano by Feliks Michał Wygrzywalski.

The town hall and the old town marketplace have recently been redeveloped. The town hall has been the seat of the city authorities ever since it was built.

In 2008, the city council amended the Municipal Statute of Płock to change its official name to ‘The Ducal Capital City of Płock’.

Place Category
Antonin Manors / Palaces / Castles
Antoni Brzezina’s bookshop Publishers / Bookshops
Apartment of Dominik Magnuszewski Flats
Apartment of Stefan Witwicki Flats
Apartment of the family of Alfons Brandt Flats
Augsburg Evangelical Church of the Holy Trinity Churches / Places of worship
Belvedere Appearances
Bielany, Camaldolese monastery Churches / Places of worship
Blue Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
‘Botanika’ Other
Brochów Churches / Places of worship
Brühl Palace Appearances
Buchholtz’s instrument store Other
Casimir Palace Flats
Chopin Monument in Łazienki Park Other
Czapski (Krasiński) Palace Appearances, Manors / Palaces / Castles
Dal Trozzo bookshop Publishers / Bookshops
Duszniki Zdrój Hotels / Inns
Dziewanowski home Flats
Engraving studio of Fr Izydor Józef Cybulski and Antoni Płachecki Education
Franciszek Klukowski bookshop Publishers / Bookshops
Fryderyk Chopin Museum Other
Fryderyk Skarbek’s apartment Flats
Gdańsk Hotels / Inns
Gładkowskis' apartment Flats
Golub Other
Holy Cross Church Churches / Places of worship
Home of Jan Matuszyński Flats
‘Honoratka’ Coffeehouses
Jabłonowski Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
Jan Böhm’s townhouse Flats
Kalisz Other
Kikół Manors / Palaces / Castles
Kolbergs' apartment Flats
Kowalewo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Kozłowo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Krakow Other
Ludwik Dmuszewski’s house Flats
Magnus's bookshop Publishers / Bookshops
Marceli Celiński’s apartment Flats
Maurycy Mochnacki’s home Flats
Miss Kicka's Salon in Lubomirski Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
National Theatre Appearances
Obory Churches / Places of worship
Obrowo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Ojców Other
‘Old’ Merchants' Hall Appearances
Patisserie Lourse Coffeehouses
Pieskowa Skała Other
Płock Other
‘Pod Kopciuszkiem’ and ‘Dziurka’ Coffeehouses
Poturzyn Manors / Palaces / Castles
Powązki Cemeteries
Poznań Other
Presbytery of St Jadwiga (Hedwig) parish church in Milanówek Other
Pruszak Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
Residence of Józef Reinschmidt’s parents Flats
Rościszewo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Sanniki Manors / Palaces / Castles
Saxon Palace Flats
Saxon Post Office Other
Skating rink Other
Sochaczew Other
Sokołowo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Staszic Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
Strzyżew Manors / Palaces / Castles
Szafarnia Manors / Palaces / Castles
Toruń Other
Turzno Manors / Palaces / Castles
Ugoszcz Manors / Palaces / Castles
‘U Brzezińskiej’ Coffeehouses
Viceroy's Palace Appearances
Vilnius (Wileński) Hotel Hotels / Inns
Visitandine Church of St Joseph Churches / Places of worship
Waplewo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Warsaw Other
Warsaw Charitable Society Appearances
Warsaw Conservatory Appearances
‘Wiejska Kawa’ Coffeehouses
Wieliczka Other
Wojciech Żywny’s apartment Flats
Wola Tollhouse Other
Wrocław Appearances
Żelazowa Wola Flats
Żychlin Manors / Palaces / Castles