Temple of the Sibyl

Last updated
Temple of the Sibyl Pulawy Sybil Temple west side wide view.jpg
Temple of the Sibyl
19th-century engraving of the Temple of the Sibyl Pulawy - Temple of Sybill.jpg
19th-century engraving of the Temple of the Sibyl

The Temple of the Sibyl (in Polish, Świątynia Sybilli) is a colonnaded round monopteral temple-like structure at Puławy, Poland, built at the turn of the 19th century as a museum by Izabela Czartoryska.



The "Temple of the Sibyl" at Puławy, also known as the Temple of Memory, opened in 1801. The structure was modeled after the similar monopteral "Temple of Vesta" at Tivoli, Italy, the site of the Tiburtine Sibyl, which was well known throughout Europe in engravings. The Puławy temple, designed by Polish architect Chrystian Piotr Aigner, memorialized Polish history and culture, and the glories and miseries of human life. Items kept in the Temple of the Sibyl included the Grunwald Swords and a large "Royal Casket" containing portraits and personal items of Poland's monarchs and queens.

During the November Uprising of 1830–31, the museum was closed. Izabela Czartoryska's son Adam Jerzy Czartoryski evacuated surviving collections to Paris, France, where he housed them at the Hôtel Lambert. His son Władysław Czartoryski later reopened the museum in 1878 in Kraków, in Austrian Poland, as the Czartoryski Museum.


In 1884, the Temple of the Sibyl was used by the Polish writer Bolesław Prus as the setting for his micro-story, "Mold of the Earth."

The story's action takes place adjacent to the Temple, where there is a boulder overgrown with molds. At a certain moment the boulder magically transforms into a globe.

In his one-and-a-half-page micro-story, Prus identifies human societies with molds that, over the ages, blindly and impassively contest the surface of the globe. He thus provides a metaphor for the competitive struggle for existence that goes on among human communities. [1]

In 1869, then-22-year-old Bolesław Prus had briefly studied at the Agricultural and Forestry Institute that had been established on the old Czartoryski estate at Puławy. [2] Earlier, he had spent several years of his early childhood in Puławy.

See also


  1. Christopher Kasparek, "Two Micro-Stories by Bolesław Prus," The Polish Review , 1995, no. 1, p. 99.
  2. Edward Pieścikowski, Bolesław Prus, p. 147.

Related Research Articles

Puławy Place in Lublin Voivodeship, Poland

Puławy is a city in eastern Poland, in Lesser Poland's Lublin Voivodeship, at the confluence of the Vistula and Kurówka rivers. Puławy is the capital of Puławy County. The city's 2019 population was estimated at 47,417. From 1846 to 1918, during the partitions of Poland, it was known as Nowa Aleksandria, or Nowo Aleksandria. Its coat of arms is the Pahonia.

Bolesław Prus Polish prose writer, novelist and columnist of the period of positivism

Aleksander Głowacki, better known by his pen name Bolesław Prus, was a Polish novelist, a leading figure in the history of Polish literature and philosophy, as well as a distinctive voice in world literature.

Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski

Prince Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski was an influential Polish aristocrat, writer, literary and theater critic, linguist, traveller and statesman. He was a great patron of arts and a candidate for the Polish crown. He was educated in England and after his return to Poland in 1758, he became a member of the Sejm (parliament), Crown General of Podolia and Marshal of General Confederation of Kingdom of Poland.

Izabela Czartoryska

Elżbieta "Izabela" Dorota Czartoryska was a Polish princess, writer, art collector, and prominent figure in the Polish Enlightenment.

Positivism in Poland was a sociocultural movement that defined progressive thought in literature and in the social sciences in partitioned Poland following the suppression of the January 1863 Uprising against the Russian Empire. The Positivist period lasted until the turn of the 20th century and the advent of the modernist Young Poland movement.

"Mold of the Earth" is one of the shortest micro-stories by the Polish writer Bolesław Prus.

"Shades" is one of Bolesław Prus' shortest micro-stories. Written in 1885, it comes from a several years' period of pessimism in the author's life caused partly by the 1883 failure of Nowiny (News), a Warsaw daily that he had been editing less than a year. Prus, the "lamplighter" who had striven to dispel darkness and its attendant "fear, errancy, and crime," had failed to sufficiently interest the public in his "observatory of societal facts," Nowiny.

<i>Pharaoh</i> (novel) 1895 novel by Bolesław Prus

Pharaoh is the fourth and last major novel by the Polish writer Bolesław Prus (1847–1912). Composed over a year's time in 1894–95, serialized in 1895–96, and published in book form in 1897, it was the sole historical novel by an author who had earlier disapproved of historical novels on the ground that they inevitably distort history.


Czartoryski is a Polish princely family of Lithuanian-Ruthenian origin, also known as the Familia. The family, which derived their kin from the Gediminids dynasty, by the mid-17th century had split into two branches, based in the Klevan Castle and the Korets Castle, respectively. They used the Czartoryski coat of arms and were a noble family of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 18th century.

Christopher Kasparek is a Scottish-born writer of Polish descent who has translated works by numerous authors, including Ignacy Krasicki, Bolesław Prus, Florian Znaniecki, Władysław Tatarkiewicz, Marian Rejewski, and Władysław Kozaczuk, as well as the Polish–Lithuanian Constitution of 3 May 1791.

Czartoryski Museum National museum in Kraków, Poland

The Princes Czartoryski Museum – often abbreviated to Czartoryski Museum – is a historic museum in Kraków, Poland, and one of the country's oldest museums. The initial collection was formed in 1796 in Puławy by Princess Izabela Czartoryska. The Museum officially opened in 1878.

"A Legend of Old Egypt" is a short story by Bolesław Prus, originally published January 1, 1888, in New Year's supplements to the Warsaw Kurier Codzienny and Tygodnik Ilustrowany. It was his first piece of historical fiction and later served as a preliminary sketch for his only historical novel, Pharaoh (1895), which would be serialized in the Illustrated Weekly.

Wieliczka Salt Mine

The Wieliczka Salt Mine, in the town of Wieliczka, southern Poland, lies within the Kraków metropolitan area.

Temple of Vesta, Tivoli

The Temple of Vesta is a Roman temple in Tivoli, Italy, dating to the early 1st century BC. Its ruins sit on the acropolis of the city, overlooking the falls of the Aniene that are now included in the Villa Gregoriana.

Royal Casket

The Royal Casket was a memorial created in 1800 by Izabela Czartoryska. The large wooden casket contained 73 precious relics that had once belonged to Polish royalty. The casket was inscribed: "Polish mementos assembled in 1800 by Izabela Czartoryska." It once reposed in the Temple of the Sibyl at Puławy.

Chrystian Piotr Aigner

Chrystian Piotr Aigner was a Polish architect and theoretician of architecture.

Maria Wirtemberska

Princess Maria Czartoryska, also formerly known as Duchess Maria, Duchess Louis of Württemberg, was a Polish noble, writer, musician and philanthropist.

Gothic House (Puławy)

The Gothic House or Domek Gotycki is a small neo-Gothic garden pavilion in Pulawy, Poland, forming part of the palace and park of the Pałac Czartoryskich.

Czartoryski Palace (Puławy)

The Czartoryski Palace is a palace in the town of Pulawy, Poland, whose origins date back to the second half of the 17th century and are related to the history of the magnate families: the Lubomirski, Sieniawski and, above all, the Czartoryski family.

Johann Zacharias Frey

Johann Zacharias Frey, or Jan Zachariasz Frey was an Austrian engraver and painter who spent most of his career in Poland.


Coordinates: 51°24′54″N21°57′19″E / 51.41500°N 21.95528°E / 51.41500; 21.95528