GMINA KONSTANTYNÓW

The municipality of Konstantynów is a place of both rich history and unique natural beauty. It is located in the Lublin voivodeship, in the county of Biała. Its northern part is located in the Bug River Gorge of Podlasie, and the rest within the area of the Łuków Plain. According to the Central Statistical Office, in December 2010 there were 4030 registered inhabitants in the area, what gives an average density of population of 46.03 person pers km2, because the area is 87,06 km2. It is a rural area, divided into 14 villages, headquartered in Konstantynów. The main source of income for almost 80% of the population is agriculture, which is the primary field of economy in these areas. The largest employer in Konstantynow is the Social Welfare Home for people with mild mental retardation, which employs about 70 people. In the village of Komarno Kolonia there is a Orphanage, as well as one of the primary schools in the municipality. The other school, as well as junior high school and kindergarten are in Konstantynów. The educational and cultural facilities are complimented by the Municipal Public Library and the Cultural Center, which works by the Association of Friends of the Area of Konstantynów. There is also a health center, pharmacy, dental practitioner, the Cooperative Bank and a post office in the village. There are also such institutions as the District Cooperative Society "SCH" in Konstantynow and the Cooperative Society of Farming Circles.

The hydrographic network of the municipality is composed of two rivers and a short section of the Bug River. In addition, there are small ponds formed in depressions left by peat post-minig headings in the river valley of Czyżówka and the overgrowing Bug river in the area of Gnojno. In 2007 an artificial storage reservoir in the villages of Zakanale was put into use. 70% of the area is being drained by the river Komarenka and Czyżówka, that belong to the basin of the Bug River. The fallout from the remaining 30% is discharged directly into the river.

The forest cover if the municipality of Konstantynów amounts to 22%. It is quite large, and the degree of conservation conditions ​​of forest vegetation is high. This creates good conditions for development of the fauna in the area. The occurrence of 26 species of mammals, represented by red deer, roe deer, wild boar, hares, martens, muskrats, and even beavers around Gnojna. Among birds, the most frequently observed include lapwing, pipit, sand martin, and the average black woodpecker, black and white stork, the hawk, tit poor and nightjar. A biological peculiarity is the occurrence of: common snipe, corncrake, cranes and many storks. However, when it comes to threatened species the Montagu’s harrier, the Eurasian sparrow hawk, common quail, common ringed plover and the little ringed plover as well as the redshank occur here.

Konstantynów is a communal village situated by the river Czyżówka. Until recently, it was dominated by a wooden one-story building ridge. By the old market, the current Plac Wolności, there is still a number of multi-storey, brick houses from the second half of the nineteenth century. The earliest mentions about the village Kozierady - because it is the name it once wore – date back to 1452. The then owner Świętosław sold his property to three brothers - Witold, Alexander and Jacob of Trzebinia. Since 1513 the goods of Kozierady belonged to Bohusz Michał Bohowitynowicz, and from 1583 to Nicholas Kiszka. Later Kozierady were repeatedly passed from hand to hand, being the property of Szujscy, Sierzputowscy, and then Warszyńscy magnate family. In 1660 the village was a place of residence of the Polish army under the command of Stefan Czartoryski before departing for the war in Moscow. During his stop s famous duel between John Chrysostom Pasek with Nuczyński brothers and Marcjan Jasinski took place, which was vividly recorded in the authors “Memoires”.

In 1678, John Pieniazek of the Odrowąż coat of arms, the governor of Sieradz and the mayor Auschwitz, married for the fourth time with Teresa Warszycką, the voivode of Sandomierz, which brought a good dowry in Podlasie. In 1688 Pieniazek bought the villages of Witulin, Nosów, Wólka Nosowska, Komarno and Bukowice. And in 1699 he took over Kozierady and Ostromęczyn after his wife's aunt. In 1700 their only daughter Maria Kazimiera married the count Charles Julius Odrowąż-Siedlnicki. A brick castle in Ostromęczyn became permanent settlement, while the baroque mansion in Witulin served as a summer mansion. After the death of count Charles Julius's his possessions were left to the son of Charles Joseph Odrowąż-Siedlnicki, one of the main favourites of Augustus III. In 1746, he became the chamberlain to the king. Exercising of this office, in which one was rarely accounted for the expenses, enabled him to build a baroque palace in Kozierady and surround him with a French garden. In his wife’s honour - Constance Branicka, he renamed the village to Konstantynów, and in 1744 he drove the location of the city. Also, he obtained a privilege from the king to organize annual fairs and he brought many craftsmen.

After the heirless death of the family of Siedlnicki the family members of Wierszycki and Pieniążek families came for the legacy. But it turned out that the properties are in debt over their value, and after many years of shared trials the possessions were passed into the hands of Borzecki and Czartoryski families. The part of the Czartoryski family then was passed to the Wężyk family, while Borzęcki sold his property to Turno, and he, in 1792, sold it to Tomasz Aleksandrowicz. The assumption of a palace in Konstantynów together with the surrounding villages was a part of his share. Earlier, in 1777, Aleksandrowicz bought the villages of Łosice. He invested primarily in Podlasie and planned that Konstantynów will became its main city. Sadly, he died two years after the acquisition of these assets. His heir was his son, who at that time was still a minor - Stanislav Aleksandrowicz. In 1800 he received the title of the count, and in 1804, while being a governor of Łosice and Mierzwice villages, he built a classical mansion in Konstantynow. In the subsequent years, his political career have been developing. In 1811 he was appointed a Member of the Seym of the Duchy of Warsaw, since 1819 he was put forward to the job of a senator in the Congress Kingdom, and in 1824 he was appointed a senator-castellan. He died being 45 leaving his wife and five children.

The youngest of them was Stanislaw Witold and he took over the properties in Konstantynow, but only after coming of age. He was not interested in titles and offices, and only in the development of the properties. He strived for its industrialization, and thus, raising the level of agriculture and farming. Owing to this, he rapidly multiplied the income, allowing himself to modernize the court in 1840 and to arrange an English-style park. A few years earlier he founded a brick Uniate church. His daughter Sophia Konstantynowska brought the lands as her dowry getting married with Tadeusz Plater-Zyberka. The bride and bridegroom lived in Passach near Warsaw. Only their youngest son, Stanislaw, being the heir to his parents properties, settled in Konstantynów. The town had already lost its rights in 1869 as a result of repressions after the uprising. After his graduation from a higher school of agriculture Stanisław Plater-Zyberka began to run his own business. He was an exemplary host, and in his farm he established a steam mill, a distillery (the largest in Siedlce province), a water mill, a windmill and a brickyard. The settlement was inhabited by Catholics, Orthodox, and Jews, who constituted more than half of the population. Count Stanislaw himself was an ardent Catholic and a prominent activist in Podlasie. In 1905, after the announcement of the freedom of dealing of the Catholic Church he led the construction of churches in the region. Thanks to his efforts more than twenty new churches were built, including one in Konstantynów - of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, patron of the Count's wife. Stanislaw Plater-Zyberka has also contributed to the emergence of chain of peasants stores in Podlasie. He died in 1911 and was buried in the crypt under the newly built church in Konstantynów.

The property was destroyed during the World War I, however, it was raised from decline by the youngest son of Stanislaw and Elizabeth - Tadeusz Plater-Zyberka. During World War II, the court supported the strong resistance from the Home Army and the Peasant Battalions. Count Plater-Zyberka was thus arrested by the Gestapo on 26th April 1945, in Konstantynow and he was held until the liberation of the camp at Dachau. After the war he lived in France, and then moved to Brussels. That was where his wife joined him. She had to leave the properties of Konstantynów after their confiscation in 1944. The property was divided and nationalized. The outbuilding of the palace was turned into an elementary school, and a pharmacy was placed in the manor. Only recently have these areas been abandoned, and the palace and park complex is regaining its original appearance and becoming a tourist gem of the municipality.

The courtcomplex in Kozierady in the fifteenth century probably looked like all other such objects in Podlasie. They were built of wood and the roofs were covered with straw thatch. The door were placed on the main axis, and on the sides there were small, four-pane windows. Near the manor house there were one or two pigsties for domestic animals, two or three stacks of hay, and an apiary and a small brewery. The whole think was surrounded by a braided fence. And so it was probably also in Kozierady until a fire broke out in the early eighteenth century. On the site of the fire Karol Józef Ordrowąż-Siedlnicki has built a brick palace. Despite the wealth of properties in Witulin and Ostromęczyn he decided to settle in Kozierady, possibly due to the unique charm of the local area.

In 1746-1747 a French garden was established. From Joseph Łoska’s description in “Kłosy” it is known that the palace was a spacious building, probably one storey, with two wings that "included" the front courtyard. Stone terraces descended towards the lake, a garden was decorated with numerous bridges over the canals and various garden buildings. Unfortunately, after 1761 there has been a gradual decline of the properties, up to far-reaching ruin, from which only one building has survived. In 1804 Stanislav Alexandrovich has built a classical brick palace built, a part of outbuilding of which has also survived. These buildings, however, quite poorly corresponded with each other, so in 1840 a renovation has been carried out and a few elements were added – the annex and court were connected by a gothic connector and a tower was built. In the early twentieth century, another modernization of the facility took place and another corner tower was added.

During the World War I the neoclassical mansion was burned by the Germans. Prior to this event and after its subsequent reconstruction it served a representative function. The outbuilding, which has not suffered from fire, was a residential part. Classical portals survived in this building. Also a nineteenth-century brown-tile stove with Gothic designs, a classical fireplace with a mirror in the upper part and a set of furniture from Gdansk have survived. In 1944 the properties were taken from the family of Plater-Zyberka and became the property of the State. In 1945 the Russians, driving a herd of cows from Germany, cooped them up in the fenced park. The animals left there for several days completely devastated the greenery and the flower beds. The palace archives were taken to the courtyard and burnt. The collection, mainly about agriculture and livestock, was transferred to the headquarters of the State Farm in Grabanów. In the 60's and 70's he interior and the surroundings of the palace, were negatively transformed. The frontons in the living room were removed, and a red tile was replaced with tinned one. The stone wall was systematically being destroyed, and the English park has been disrupted with straight avenues. Since the buildings were abandoned by the school and the pharmacy, the whole complex is gradually regaining its former appearance and character, attracting tourists to the region.

To the southeast of the palace there are farm buildings, the so called "Headquarters". There is a governmental mansion from 1905, with a front porch floor. After the World War II it functioned as a school, at first, and then as the head office of the State Farming Community. The second building is the distillery from the early twentieth century, erected on the foundations of the old palace. Initially, living quarters for servants were placed there, and only in 1936 the distillery was located here. Today it is a residential building again. The erstwhile stables from the early twentieth century, built over the old, cross-vaulted Cellary are still there. Now these buildings are used as warehouses. To the north of Konstantynow by the road to Gnojna, tere are still five buildings of the former grange from the late nineteenth century. The then barns, the house of steward, and an icehouse were converted to residential buildings. Till today, the area is partly surrounded by a wall of stone and brick. In the same way there is also a unique antique wooden chapel. It was hollowed in the trunk of a tree and covered with shingles.

Konstantynów was a settlement inhabited by followers of different religions, as evidenced by preserved religious buildings. One of them is the parish church of Saint Elizabeth. It was built in 1905-1909 with the foundation of Stanislaus Plater-Zyberka, who was later buried in a crypt under the chancel, which was mentioned earlier. The church is built of brick, plastered with neo-Gothic details. The interior is a three-bay nave with a separate two-nave pentagonal chancel, enclosed between a vault room and a vestry. Above them tere are lodges, including the eastern collator lodge. At its topone can see a the coat of arms of the Plater family with its ancestral motto, "Mors Melior macula." From the front of the church there is a four-sided, four-storey tower at the top of chich there is an octagon passing. In the basement of the church's tere is a vestibule.

The equipment of the temple was founded largely together with the church by Stanislaus Plater-Zyberka. Owing to the foundation of his wife Elizabeth came the altar with statues of Christ, St. Elizabeth. and St. John the Evangelist, and two side altars. In the right altar there is an image of Our Lady of the Rosary with St. Dominic, while on the gate valve there is St. Teresa of Avila. In the left altar there is a painting of St. Stanislaus Kostka with St. Joseph on the gate valve. The oldest equipment are the Baroque crucifixes, one from the first half of the eighteenth century, and the second of the nineteenth century . The oldest surviving chasubles comes from the second half of the eighteenth century. It is white, with a sash, with a motif of small golden flowers.

The churchyard is surrounded by a wall of field stones. There is a cast-iron cross on a pedestal with the coat of arms of the Aleksandrowicz family, which is repeated on the board with an inscription. In the vicinity of the church there is brick rectory from 1910 and belonging to it: the stable from 1910 and two other buildings made of fieldstone from 1928.

The first temple in Konstantynów was the Orthodox church, mentioned already in the fifteenth century. In later years it was a Unite Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Care. Another church, from 1720, was founded by Jan Pieniazek. The church built in 1834 by Stanislav Alexandrovich have been preserved to this day. From 1875 it was handed to the Orthodox church, and it was partially reconstructed. After 1919 it was converted into a school and then it was thoroughly modernized. The interior was totally stripped of stylistic features due to the functions that it was being prepared for. Currently, a primary school is located here since 2001. Today the family assistance centre is located there.

An old cemetery holds the remains of the inhabitants of the Jewish faith in Konstantynow. It is located by a side road from the Kosciuszko street leading to today's Catholic cemetery. The Jewish cemetery was most probably destroyed during the German occupation. The original layout of the cemetery is unclear, because to this day no tombstones have been preserved there, although the Jewishgen report from 1991 mentions about 20 headstones. However, the area is well maintained, mowed every year, and it is surrounded by a hedge and a grid. In front of the gate there is a metal plate with the inscription: "The cemetery of the Jewish faith. Respect the burial place of the dead. "

In 1915 Marshal Jozef Pilsudski's legions stopped in Konstantynow while on their way to the east. This is commemorated by a monument on the Freedom Square, erected originally in the interwar period. Later it was devastated, but managed to be reconstructed it in 1995.

To the west from Konstantynow, in the village of Zakalinki, there is a roadside chapel from the nineteenth century built owing to the foundation of Wladyslaw Sawczuk - inhabitant of this village. In its interior there is a rococo sculpture of St. John of Nepomuk from 1745. Near the main road, you can also see a historic windmill - koźlak.

The second village in the municipality after Konstantynów, which offers interesting tourist attractions, is undoubtedly Gnojno. It is a settlement of a local tourist importance. You can get the ferry to Niemirow on the other side. This is the last crossing over the Bug river before the border with Belarus. Formerly it was a royal village, belonging to the mielnicki area. In 1503 the governor Nicholas Mielnicki Hrymalicz received it from Alexander Jagiello. The next owners of the area were descendants of Nicholas – the first royal courtier Szczesny Niemira, then the esquire of Podlasie Stanislaw Niemira, followed by the huntsman of the royal land of Podlasie Jerome Niemira from Ostromęczyn. In the sixteenth century Gnojno was the site of the crossing over Bug and of storage of products sent to Gdansk via ferries. In 1648 the settlement was ravaged and burned during the attack of the Cossacks of Bohdan Chmielnicki. The village and the manor in Gnojno were attached to the goods of Kozieradz in 1674. In 1812, the Bug river was a place of crossing the armies of Napoleon heading for Moscow. Hence, today one of the roads leading to the river is called by the locals "Napoleon’s road". The village was russified in 1875, the wooden church was turned into a cemetery chapel, and the invader ordered to build a brick church, which has remained to this day.

The Orthodox Church is a valuable monument of the municipality. It was built in 1875, and since the end of the World War II it serves as a Catholic church dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua. The temple was built in a neorussian style, with a threefold interior. The nave is higher, square, the chancel is closed on three sides, and the temple porch is two-spanned. The church tower is a two-storey, square, passing into an octagon.

Inside there are orthodox wall paintings preserved in the dome. From the west, one can see the Blessed Virgin of Pokowa adored by angels, and in the north and south - the Evangelists - Saints John, Luke, Mark and Matthew. The altars were created after 1944, however the main part and the left side were made using some pieces from the earlier church. There are also some late orthodox paintings left - the 1853 coronation of the Holy Trinity and the Virgin Mary and Christ the Merciful dated to the late nineteenth century. An oval veraikon carved frame, a folk sculpture of Trinitarian Christ, a crucifix, a monstrance, an altar cross and two wooden baroque candlesticks come from the same period. However, baroque chalices including one with an inscription concerning an offering to the church in 1786 in Wistycze in the present-day Belarus come from the eighteenth century. Also seven precious chasubles, dating from 1720 to the end of the nineteenth century were preserved.

At the edge of the village, near the modern cemetery there is the former Uniate and Orthodox cemetery. Single tombs and the ruins of the Eastern Rite Uniate Church from the early seventeenth century were preserved there. The church was rebuilt in 1875, when it was turned into an Orthodox Church. Later, it still played a role of a cemetery chapel, and was completely demolished after 1980.

When coming to the municipality one can visit the village of Komarno. It is mentioned for the first time in 1616 as a part of the properties of Jadwiga Katarzyna Gułtowska. In 1905, the owner of Komarno was Wladyslaw Mielżyński, and in 1926 there was a parceling of land. The properties were bought by Jakub Kupidura, and later in the fall his grandson - Janusz Jówko took it over after. Besides the current borders of the village, in the village of Komarno Kolonia there is an old manor chapel, situated on the former site of the manor park. It was built in 1844, and it was closed already in 1865 by the imperial authorities, and son it was abandoned. Minor repairs were carried out in it in 1905 and after 1918 on the initiative of Wladyslaw Mielżyński. The chapel was bought by the Catholic Church in 1928 and then renovated thoroughly and the vestry was added in the east. In 1931 the parish was established here, in 1932 a wooden choir was built, and in 1934 the facade was rebuilt. In front there is a Tuscan portico with a triangular jerkin head. Above the entrance there is a round window, while on the sides there are two semi-circular arched niches with cast-iron statues of saints Peter and Paul. In front of the temple there is a wooden bell tower in a pole-frame construction built in 1922, and a cast-iron statue of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception from 1943.

The chapel is not in use since 1990, when a new church was erected in its neighborhood. Its equipment includes, among others, a Classical monstrance from the first half and a cup from the second half of the nineteenth century, three iron empire candlesticks from the beginning of the XIX century and two brass ones from the late nineteenth century, and a chasuble from the second half of the eighteenth century. There is also a wayside cross in the area from 1831 with a cast-iron figure of Christ crucified.

The municipality of Konstantynów has unique natural and landscape values​​. An important element of tourism in this area is the Bug River walking trail that runs through the areas of the landscape park of Podlasie Bug River Gorge. The river itself is very attractive for fishermen and attracts fishermen from distant regions of the country, as well as lovers of canoeing. The latter ones can benefit from scouting in the village marina of Gnojno. Nearby there is a 30-meter slope, cut abruptly by the valley of the river, making it a fantastic vantage point. It stretches with a beautiful view of the vast meadows of Bug River, and lying on the other side Niemirow. In these picturesque surroundings the film "Above the Niemen" was screened. Also in GnojnoWacław Kowalski, who was eg Pawlak in the "Sami Swoi" trilogy.

A valuable object of nature in the district is a forest reserve "Old Forest" by the road from Konstantynow to Gnojna. In the reserve, the dominant assemblage is a typical oak hail. There are also fragments of boron mixed woods with a majority of Scots pine, some specimens of which are more than 130 years old. Among the protected species there are: bride’s feathers, foxglove, woodruff, coral viburnum and lily of the valley in May. In the area of ​​the municipality there are 12 statues of living nature, among which there is a beautiful avenue of limes in the village of Komarno Kolonia.

The accommodation in this area is still modest, but with a great potential. There are already first agro tourism farmhouses in Konstantynow, Gnojno and Komarno. In the first of these places are also rooms available at the nursing home, in the others it is possible to stay in the shelter, "Marina in Gnojnio", but only during the holiday season. The municipal authorities want to broaden the tourist offer of this area and in order to do this they appointed investment areas in the village of Gnojno. So there is a chance that the undoubted tourism

Projekt "Bug - Raj dla turysty" współfinansowany przez Unię Europejską z Europejskiego Funduszu Rozwoju Regionalnego
w ramach Programu Operacyjnego Innowacyjna Gospodarka.