In October 1841, 180 years ago, was inaugurated one of the first ‘commercial center’ of Warsaw, Gościnny Dwór. Located on the Żelazna Brama Plac (the Iron Gate Plac) (destroyed in 1818) also called ‘Targowica’ (the marketplace), Gościnny Dwór was until WWII a major trading and marketplace.
Prior to the construction of the Gościnny Dwór building, the Plac was occupied since 1829 by a market called ‘Nowopole’ in reference to the former name of the village that was located on the same place. The same was destroyed by the fire in 1841. But even earlier, a market was already existing since the XVIIIth century, as we can see in the paintings of the Canaleto.
Gościnny Dwór was built in 1841, created by the architects Jan Jakub Gay (1801-1849) and Alfons Kropiwnicki (1803-1881). The name of the buildings was inspired by the name of the building was inspired by the very popular and similar buildings existing in the Tsar’s empire, including those in Vienna or St. Petersburg
The building had 168 stores and the same number of stands inside. The investors who had financed the construction of the building were allowed to charge the merchants for the rental of the stores for a period of 25 years. In 1867, the building became the property of the city. In the 1880s, a cellar was built in the central courtyard to house the stores. The stores in the hall were divided into categories: cereals, leather, fabrics, dresses, foodstuffs, glass, porcelain, shoes, caftans, haberdashery, flowers, etc. Many Jews had stores in the hall, and they also sold their goods in the square, along with dairy products, ducks, chickens, vegetables and fish.
In 1916 the courtyard was covered with a glass roof and unfortunately during the September 1939 campaign, the building was destroyed (click here to see the destroyed building from the air at 10:25, or click on the video below).