King of all furnaces
The biggest tile furnace in Europe. The work of an outstanding, sixteenth century potter, Georg Stelzner. More than 10 metres high. Five storeys. 520 hand-made tiles. Rich colours and images. A peculiar document of the epoch: images of European Renaissance rulers, Polish kings. Seriousness and dignity. With one exception... In the middle of the pedestal of this great achievement of European tile art and at the same time proof of the multiculturalism of Gdańsk, at a height of about a metre above the floor, is a tile with the characteristic form of the legendary trickster among the medieval “posers” - Till Eulenspiegel. Witty residents of Gdańsk showing guests around the wonderful Artus Court propose for them to measure the width of the large furnace at its base with their arms stretched wide. The measurements could not be made without...unintentionally kissing Till’s bare buttocks! Only guests with a large sense of humour were welcome by the hosts of Artus Court. One of the legends of Till Eulenspiegel tells about a stayin Gdańsk and... the sharp tongues of arrogant patricians, but the guides will tell about that for those interested.
The tradition of Artus Court reaches back to the Middle Ages and derives from the ethos of the European knighthood. Buildings used for meetings of urban patricians and rulers emerged especially in Hanseatic cities, among which Gdańsk has enjoyed a special position. The Gdańsk manor is not only proof of fascination with knights’ culture, but also the wealth of the city. Its history dates back to the fourteenth century. At the end of the fifteenth century it was the seat of Gdańsk’s merchant brotherhood, the commercial centre of Gdańsk life, a social lounge where the elite met, visited by Polish dignitaries and important visitors from all over Europe. In Artus Court took place feasts, concerts, theatre presentations and also court proceedings. In the mid eighteenth century it was transformed into a grain exchange. In the nineteenth century it served as a place for big events and accepting distinguished guests. The Artus Court complex includes the ground floors of two connected tenement houses called the Old House of the Court, Artus Court and the New House of the Court. The Old and New House of the Court are tenement houses with narrow facades characteristic for Gdańsk. The facade rebuilt by Abraham van den Blocke differs from the others in its unique splendour and wealth. The building’s interior - a huge, three nave hall supported by four slender stone columns, one of the most beautiful interiors in the world, is filled with hundreds of works constituting a review of arts and crafts over several centuries. Particular attention is drawn to a gem of carved art, a late Gothic sculpture of “St George fighting the dragon”, a sixteenth century tin beer counter - the oldest bar in Poland and a unique collection of historic ship models on a world scale.