If you are looking for peace and quiet yet still want plenty to do, the picturesque village of Wiejce is the place to visit. Trips to the nearby Notecka Primeval Forest and Pszczewski National Park allow one close contact with unspoiled nature, whereas Miedzychod and Lubniewice in the vicinity of Wiejce provide great destinations for people interested in sightseeing. In Wiejce itself there is a renovated palace in the neo-baroque style with some classical elements, a true architectural gem which nowadays houses a hotel as well as recreational and rehabilitation facilities.
Wiejce lies within the immediate area of the Notecka Primeval Forest, one of the most gorgeous wooded areas in the country, interspersed with countless lakes and offering perfect surroundings for those keen on active breaks in either the summer or winter. It is a favourite spot among hikers and cyclists of all levels of skill or enthusiasm. During your trips to the forest, whether on foot or by bike, you will discover scenic forest dunes, beaver lodges and lots of other natural sights. Hunters will find plenty of game in the woods surrounding Wiejce, including deer, wild boars, foxes and martens. A fun and popular pastime is going out and gathering wild mushrooms. If you love nature then you should take a walk along the Obra River, especially as it has been turned into a beaver habitat reserve known as “The Beaver Route”. Moreover, the Obra provides excellent conditions for kayaking and rafting.
Wiejce Palace certainly merits a look, although few elements of its original decor still remain after its turbulent history. Among those that do are the neo-baroque oak staircase leading from the main hall on the ground floor as well as the partly original stained-glass window above it. The palace is surrounded by a beautiful park, which has some interesting elements such as a system of fishponds and an outdoor restaurant.
Located some 80 km from Poznan and Zielona Gora and 50 km from Gorzow Wielkopolski, Wiejce is a small village of no more than 90 inhabitants. It sits on the right bank of the Warta River and on the southern edge of the Notecka Primeval Forest, only a few kilometres from the main road from Poznan to the border crossing with Germany in Kostrzyn on the Oder.
The village is in the Lubuskie Voivodship, in Miedzyrzecze county and the Skwierzyna community, some 18 km to the north-east from the town of Skwierzyna. You can get to Wiejce using road no 199, from Skwierzyna to Miedzychod.
Wiejce came into existence at the beginning of the 18th century, at a time when the land along the Warta River was being successively settled. The earliest known owners of the village were the Kwilecki family, one of the best known in the Wielkopolska region.
Following the third partition of Poland, which divided the nation among the three powers of central Europe, Wiejce fell under Prussian rule. Afterwards the village belonged to the proprietors of the village of Goraj. In the 19th century there was large glass-works in Wiejce. From the first half of the 19th century Wiejce was owned by Major von Kothen, who is credited as the one who in about the year 1860 built the manor house, the nearby palace as well as laying out the surrounding park. The neo-baroque palace was intended as both a family residence and a place that embodied their position.
In accordance with the style of the day, the ground storey contained a large hall as well as ancillary and general facilities such as kitchen, cupboards and studies, while the public rooms were concentrated on the upper floor and included a ballroom, sitting and living rooms and salons as well as the owners’ apartments. As for the attics, they were used to accommodate guests and the staff.
Throughout its later history, Wiejce went through prosperity and decline until the property finally passed to the von Benninngsen family. In the 1930s, oberleutenant Aleksander von Benninngsen expanded the estate and converted the palace into a truly magnificent building that combined elements of different architectural styles. The manor house building was extended by side breaks, the elevations unified in design, while the interiors were changed to be used for new purposes.
In the period between the First and Second World War the entire object underwent some renovation and was in a perfect state when the State Treasury took it over in 1945. Until the 1970s the palace housed a school and was then utilized as a children’s holiday centre. Following a painstaking renovation, which was completed in the autumn of 2003, this splendid historic complex has been home to a luxurious hotel and a conference-recreational centre.