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Georg Philipp Telemann in Żary

Żary. One-storey house made of grey stone, roofed with grey tiles. In the 18th century it was called "Hotel de Pologne". Later, town chronicles call it "The Golden Owl Inn". After 1900, there is no data in the town documents. It was situated opposite the old cemetery at the height of the contemporary hospital building in Zielonogórska Street.

In the 18th century Żary was a town with the population of some 4,000 inhabitants and a regiment of 150 Saxon cuirassiers. In the north-western part of the town the palace-castle complex was already situated. Historian Worbs writes about the complex: "Erdmann Promnitz ordered to build a new, beautiful three-storey palace with a connection on the second storey to the Biberstein castle from the 16th century" (...) it is being built on the foundations of a much older castle, called the Devins' castle".

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The story of the "Hotel de Pologne" in fact starts around 1700. The documents of those times show clearly that the owner of the possession was a man called Schaufer, who had come to Żary from the vicinity of Gubin. In a relatively short time he obtained a permission from the owner of Żary, Count Promnitz, to open an inn. Schaufer, whose affluence was growing quickly, was able to develop his business. Soon he built a coach-house and a stable. It is possible that the journeys through Żary of August II the Saxon elector and the Polish king influenced directly the name of the inn. In any case, since 1703 the Schaufer's inn was known in the town and its surroundings as "Hotel de Pologne". It is also worth mentioning that the route of the royal-electoral post from Dresden to Warsaw led through Żary.

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In August 1704, the 23-years-old Master of Law Georg Philipp Telemann, better known as the Director of Collegium Musicum and the organist in the Saint Matthew church in Leipzig than as "adeptus iurisprudentiae", came to the hotel. Telemann came to Żary directly from Leipzig at the invitation from Count Promnitz, a courtier of August II, the king of Poland. Telemann was already famous as a composer and conductor; he cherished friendship and support of the great Buxtehude from Lubeka. On his journey to Żary Telemann was accompanied by Andreas Gottlob von Maks, the owner of Jeziora Dolne near Brody, the royal chamberlain and the burgrave of Żary. Promnitz was away from Żary. He was staying with his king in Poland. The Erdmann Promnitz's court in Żary was perceived as one of the greatest Saxon-Polish magnate courts. It was full of magnificence and etiquette. Its standards were taken from royal monarchies, among which the monarchy of Louis XIV served as the ideal. The development and decoration of the residence was supervised by the outstanding architects Spanninger and Simonetti. In the palace there was a painting gallery which included great canvas. With hardly any break French and Italian opera-ballet groups visited the court. Promnitz had his band which consisted of Polish, Czech and German musicians. Until the arrival of Telemann the band of Żary was directed by Wolfgang Kaspar Prinz.


Żary – the town of Telemann