History of the palace

History of the palace in Nakło Śląskie can be divided into three stages. For the first ninety years it served as the Henckel von Donnersmarck family residence, for the next sixty years it functioned as an agricultural school until 2006 when it turned into a cultural institution. This chapter in its history, however, has only just begun.

The Donnersmarcks’ palace is a relatively new building, about 150 years old, although Naklo itself has been known from documents since the fourteenth century. According to historical sources, it was established as a naturally tapered fortalice with a tower, where medieval knights such as: Franko of Naklo, Zbrosław “de Nakle”, Krzysztof, Jan Nakielski and Szczepan had their quarters. A knight’s castle built of stone was here probably in the 16
th century.
It was at the end of 17
th century that the Naklo estate became the Henckel von Donnersmarck family’s possession. In the 19th century the owner of the Naklo land was Hugo I (1811 – 1890), Count from Siemianowitz, while his cousin Guido was the Count from Neudeck (Świerklaniec). It was Hugo I, one of the richest magnates in the industrial Silesia, who built and managed the palace in Naklo until his death in 1890. The family’s history was connected with this very building for 90 years. Initially it was supposed to serve as the Donnersmarcks’ summer residence. Hugo I’s main residence was the Wolfsberg palace in Carinthia, but his descendants decided to settle down here for life.

In the gallery palace before 1941.

It is said that Hugo I built the palace for his second wife, Laura von Kaszonyi, whose coat of arms as well as the Donnersmarcks’ emblems – partly preserved – adorn the façade . Yet it is very likely that this version is just a romantic legend because his first wife, Laura von Hardenberg (mother of their four sons and a daughter) had died only a year before the palace was built in 1858. The photo presents Henckel von Donnersmarck’s and von Kaszonyi’s coats of arms. The names of the architects remain unknown, but some evidence suggests that they were Viennese architects: Johann Romano von Ringe and August Schwendenwein von Lanauberg. The similar style in which Hugo’s castle in Wolfsberg was rebuilt seems to prove this: both projects have features typical of the English Tudor manner. Architecturally original, neo-gothic palace in Nakło Śląskie is therefore an exception among the numerous residences owned by Silesian magnates. After Hugo’s death in 1890 it was rebuilt and the tower was raised. Until 1905 the official owner of the Naklo estate was Hugo’s widow, Laura , who died childless. After her death, the stepchildren decided to sell all the properties except for the palace in Naklo, which was chosen as the main residence by Hugo’s second son, Lazarus IV (1835 – 1914), progenitor of the Henckel von Donnersmarcks from Naklo. Nakło Śląskie owes him the parish church, while his wife Maria founded the orphanage run by St. Borromeus Sisters of Mercy (now Residential Home). The Donnersmarcks’ heir had a good reputation among the local people as he had sold part of his land in a nearby Neu Radzionkau (Rojca) to get the funds and build houses with gardens for them.

 After the acquisition of this part of Silesia by the Second Republic of Poland in 1921, the Henckels remained in Naklo as loyal citizens of the state. For this reason, the family called them “the Polish line”. The last owner of the palace in Naklo was Lazarus V (1902-1991). World War II determined the family’s further history. When the front approached, they left their manor and emigrated to Switzerland. However, they never asked for German citizenship and used pre-war Polish passports. In 1945 the Donnersmarcks’ estate was taken over by the Polish state and there was an agricultural school for the next sixty years. At first it was a three-year National High School of Farming, from 1949 – Agricultural High School, and then Agricultural Training School Complex. In this period the Donnersmarcks’ residence was considerably changed. Some of the rooms were turned into classrooms and – as the palace functioned as a boarding house until 1970 – the former chapel was equipped with washrooms and toilets.

In the gallery: palace in 50. of the 20th century (photo 2, 3 are from the archives of Mr. Leonard Nowicki, photo 4,5 – re from the archives of Zespół Szkół Centrum Kształcenia Rolniczego in Nakło Śląskie)


In 1999 the palace in Nakło Śląskie became the property of Tarnowskie Góry County, which shared the rooms with the agricultural school until 2005. From 2006 to 2010 an intuitive art gallery “Colours of Silesia” with Gerard Stanisław Trefoń’s collection of art was located in the palace.


As soon as the decision to establish the Silesian Culture Centre had been taken, the devastated object went through extensive renovation (2010 – 2012). 

The renovation restored the original appearance of the interior decorative elements such as stairs and wooden railings in a representative staircase, paneling in the hall, a plafond uncovered by chance in a room on the ground floor and the famous Donnersmarcks’ treasury, in which they kept money won at the horse races (in Hugo’s times the main ones in Silesia).


The first stage of renovation was completed in 2013. Since January 1, 2013 the Silesian Culture Centre has been working in the palace. The official opening took place on May 2, 2013.

Since April 2019 park has a new stylish lighting.


Photo: archives of Starostwo Powiatowe w Tarnowskich Górach, ZS CKR in Nakło Śląskie, Magdalena Zaton, Krzysztof Miller, Renata Głuszek, private archives of Leonard Nowicki