Romantic park in Arkadia

Established at the close of the 18th century, the park in Arkadia was supposed to be the place to ponder over the human fate. The park is the only one of that kind in Poland. It survived almost unchanged.


The Romantic English garden was being created for over 40 years by its owner, the duchess Helena Radziwiłłowa. The park was inspired by the then-new cultural and ideological movement. It shows the return of interest in the ancient and medieval architecture, as well as in exotic forms.

Many buildings characteristic for the period were erected in the park. Artificial ruins and lapidaria were constructed. Even today there are many beauty spots in the garden, as well as buildings interestingly integrated into the beautiful green background.

The most characteristic building in Arkadia is the Temple of Diana. It is a small building with a portico supported by Ionic columns. On the tympanum there is a quotation from Petrarch: “Dove pace trovai d’ogni mia Guerra” (“ Here I found peace after my every battle”).

The temple of Diana, which originally was a peculiar museum where the duchess Radziwiłłowa collected her relics of the past, also today holds the exhibition of sculptures and decorative architectural elements from ancient Greece and Rome. In addition, the plafond of the main room is decorated with the painting “ Jutrzenka” (“Eos”) by Jean-Pierre Norblin. In the temple there is also the so-called Etruscan Hall.

Moreover, in the park there is also the Temple of the Archpriest or the artificial ruins consisting of brick, bog iron and architectural details – ancient and Renaissance sculptures (including, inter alia, the works of Jan Michałowicz of Urzędowo). On the south-west side of the temple, there is a wall with herms. The east wall of the Temple of the Archpriest is decorated with a white stucco bas-relief “The Hope feeding the Chimera” by Gioacchino Staggi.

The Aqueduct – a double-storey brick construction – was built by the cascades.

The Stone Arch – the frame of the main vista of the park in Arkadia – connects the River Łupia to the pond.

The House of the Burgrave – a building with a tower and pointed-arched ceramic decoration.

The Gothic House and the Cave of Sybil – surrounded on the south side by an arcaded gallery. In the opposite escarpment there is a chapel. The house has some features of the neo-Gothic style.

The Circus with the Obelisk – inspired by Roman circuses for chariot racing. There is an inscription carved into stone: “Helena placed it here to thank August.” It is a dedication to the emperor Alexander I, who provided the materials for the construction of the circus: marble and granites.

The lid of the Tomb of Illusions and the Lapidarium.

Date or time of building


Date or time of building

1778 r. (XVIII w.)

Building material

Marble, granite, brick, stone, bog iron, ceramics.


The duchess Radziwiłłowa established the garden in 1778, but she was developing her work all her life to make it more attractive. She died in 1821. The designers of the park were Jean-Pierre Norblin and Aleksander Orłowski. Since 1799 their projects were carried out by Bogumił Zug and then, in 1799-1804, by Henryk Ittar.

The first buildings, constructed in 1781 by the swollen pond, were the Cascades and the Cottage by the Waterfall. Then, in 1783, the Temple of the Archpriest and the Temple of Diana were built. The Aqueduct was erected one year later.

In 1785-1789 other buildings were constructed: the Cave of Sybil made of field boulders, the Stone Arch and the country cottages of Philemon and Baucis. In addition, the Corner of Melancholy, the Gate of Time and the circle of altars on the Island of Sacrifices were created.

With time, Arkadia was being developed. The House of the Burgrave and the Gothic House above the Cave of the Sybil were built.

In 1800 the Tomb of Illusion was constructed. It was dedicated to three daughters of the duchess Radziwiłłowa. Then the Roman Circus, the amphitheatre and the Swiss House were built.

Type of collection

In the temple of Diana there is a rich collection of sculptures and architectural details, including a bust of a Roman woman, the Head of Niobe, sarcophagi, funeral urns, Greek and Roman steles and garden ornaments. Moreover, the visitors can see some architectural elements in the lapidarium along with some items inspired by ancient art, such as the sculpture of Sleeping Ariadne, a young Roman, the bust of  Meleager, the Tripod of Slanislaus August, the Mannerist mascaron by Guglielmo della  Porta and herms by Michałowicz of Urzędowo.

Curious details

The park in Arkadia was established as a result of certain kind of rivalry between members of Polish aristocracy. Similar parks were created in Puławy and in Powązki and Mokotów in Warsaw. However, the park in Arkadia is unique, since it is the only Romantic park established at the turn of the 18th century which survived almost unchanged.

Most of the Renaissance sculptures in the Temple of the Archpriest come from St Victoria’s Chapel of the collegiate church in Łowicz, which was being reconstructed at the time.

The Aqueduct built in 1764 was demolished in 1864 and rebuilt in 1950 by Gerard Ciołek.

In the Gothic House the duchess Radziwiłłowa created “the apartment of the knight” devoted to her son Michał Gedeon. Memorabilia connected with the hero, who fought as a general in the battles of Gdańsk and Połock, were collected in the house.

Form of legal protection

The entries in the regional heritage register:

  • Romantic park, registry number: 205/P-IV-3 from 1948-10-26
  • Romantic park, registry number: 91-VI-1 from 1962-01-18
  • Romantic park – the Temple of Diana, registry number: 538 from 1967-08-12
  • Romantic park – the House of the Archpriest, registry number: 539/75 from 1967-08-12
  • Romantic park – the House of the Burgrave, registry number: 540/76 from 1967-08-12
  • Romantic park – Greek Arch, registry number: 541/77 from 1967-08-12
  • Romantic park – Gothic house, registry number: 542/78 from 1967-08-12
  • Romantic park – arcaded gallery, registry number: 543/79 from 1967-08-12
  • Romantic park – the Cave of Sybil, registry number: 544/80 from 1967-08-12
  • Romantic park – the Aqueduct, registry number: 545/81 from 1967-08-12
  • Romantic park – the gate to the circus, registry number: 546/82 from 1967-08-12
  • Romantic park – the park, registry number: 145/73/A from 1982-05-19
  • Romantic park, registry number: 145/73 from 1967-08-12

Object location

The park in Arkadia is located by the highway 70 leading from Łowicz to Skierniewice and further on to the village of Zawady (the highway 8).


The park is open from 10 a.m. to the dusk. The entrance is paid. A full price ticket costs 6 zł and a discount ticket costs 4 zł.

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