Legnica – the main square with the town hall, the arcaded tenement houses, the so called herring stalls and the House Under the Quail’s Basket
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Legnica – the main square with the town hall, the arcaded tenement houses, the so called herring stalls and the House Under the Quail’s Basket

The main square is situated in the centre of the Old Town and has an elongated shape along the north-south side of the rectangle. It is divided into the Large Main Square and the Small Main Square. The rectangular contour of the square in Legnica dates from the mid-13th century. Interestingly, it is twice as big as the Old Town Square in Warsaw. The streets leading to the square have maintained their medieval layout. The buildings around the square were substantially damaged during WWII. The frontages: northern and eastern, part of the western and a fragment of the northern central, feature architecture from the 1960s. A central block divided by a street has been preserved. The southern part of this complex includes the former town hall. This Baroque edifice, designed by Scheerhofer, was erected between 1737 and 1741 in place of an older building from 1318. The present quadrilateral, three-storey edifice covered by a mansard roof with dormers is characterised by three decorative palace elevations. The east elevation is the most beautiful one; it has a tower and a fan-shaped staircase designed by J. Steudner, which leads to the first floor. In the early 20th century, the town hall ceased to be the seat of the municipal authorities. After WWII, the building was occupied by the Soviet army until 1964. Today, the former town hall building houses the Theatre of Helena Modrzejewska.

 

The buildings in the centre of the square include a set of eight tenement houses from the mid-16th century, called herring stalls. They are narrow, two-bay, three-storey buildings with Renaissance, Baroque and Classicist apices. Their arcades were reconstructed between 1961 and 1962. Sgraffito decorations were preserved on the elevations of two houses.

 

A Renaissance house with a corner oriel, called the House Under the Quail’s Basket, is also particularly noteworthy. Its elevation contains rich sgraffito decoration and figural scenes: a deer hunt, the triumph of Ceres, Aesop’s fable of the eagle and the fox, and the awry world – hares hunting dogs and hunters.

 

The southern frontage of the main square is constituted by the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, now a cathedral. The Baroque Mermaid Fountain is situated in the northern part of the main square, while the Neptune Fountain from 1731 can be found in the southern part. They were installed in place of the old municipal water intakes.

 

In 2008, the largest post-war renovation of the main square and the adjacent streets was initiated; it includes, among others, the replacement of the pavements.