If Italy’s beyond your budget, try Zamosc: its Renaissance Italianate architecture and assorted other sights come a close second to the real thing. Read a bit of Zamosc history to discover why, or duck into one of its several museums for further details. Once you’ve exhausted your curiosity, pop into a restaurant or cafe for a refresher. Zamosc also offers some great recreation.


Town SquareBuilt to order: this ‘Padua of the East’ germinated in the mind of its founder Jan Zamoyski as he educated himself abroad in Italy and came to fruition upon his return to his home lands. Designed in concert with Bernardo Morando of Padua 4 centuries ago, Zamosc still evokes wonder that a little bit of Renaissance Italy survives in Eastern Poland.

Like town, like founder: Zamoyski was a man who deserved a town. He not only designed it for beauty, but for purpose as well. In addition to the requisite fortifications (complete with moat) securing the safety of Zamosc, he ensured the growth of intellectual and economic capital as well. Tolerant and open-minded, Zamoyski freely invited one and all to his town, including Jews, Armenians, Greeks, Scots, Hungarians, and of course, Italians. By doing so he helped create a pocket of progressive peoples who prospered well.

Armenian Merchant House FacadeBut that prosperity waned, as prosperity is wont to do, and Zamosc stumbled through the 18th century, and stumbled even farther in the 19th under Austrian rule. During that time, a few battles here and there gave proof to the local fighting spirit, and foreshadowed an unexpected defeat for Russia in the 20th century. During the Polish-Russian War of 1919-20, the Polish Army trounced the Russians near Zamosc. But the next war ended a bit differently, and Zamosc languished over the next 4 decades under Communist rule. Fortunately, the town itself was not destroyed during WWII and it remains today a hidden jewel of the east.


Town Square
100 meters by 100 meters, the Town Square of Zamosc is ringed with the recently renovated buildings of its 400 year-old past…
Town Hall
…and squared off by the towering beauty of its Town Hall. Town Hall
Armenian Merchant Houses
Armenian Merchant Houses
Along one side of the Town Square sit the former glories of Zamosc prosperous past: the orient is evoked by the facades of these Armenian merchants mansions.
Collegiate Cathedral
For more of the Italian feel of Zamosc, this Cathedral stretches to the sky with a bell tower and bell over 300 years old. The town’s founder, Jan Zamoyski, is interred here. Collegiate Cathedral
Old Synagogue
The Old Synagogue
Zamosc was home to a large, thriving Jewish population, and remnants of it are scattered about the former Jewish quarter, including this renovated Synagogue.
The Rotunda
A former arsenal co-opted by the Nazis as a killing ground: more than 8000 residents of Zamosc were executed here during WWII.