lies on the fringe of the Carpathian foothills, by an old trade route
which linked Western Europe and Ruthenia from medieval times.
The years 1568-1628 were a time of ruin for the town. Lancut belonged to the Stadnickis, Stanislaw (the "Devil of Lancut") Stadnicki and his sons. Adventurism and war against their neighbours led to the burning and levelling of the castle and the destruction of the town, which was overrun and sacked by enemies many times
Under the rule of the Lubomirski
family from 1628 to 1816, Lancut came back to life.
In the mid-seventeenth century the
castle was considered an unassailable fortress. Thanks to the provisions
collected there, the castle's eighty cannon and four hundred soldiers
could hold out for three years.
When Duke Gyorgy II Rakoczi of Transylvania attacked Lancut in 1657, he
burned and looted the town but did not manage to take the castle. With
help from the Lubomirskis the townspeople repaired the damage fairly quickly;
the parish church and the Dominican monastery were restored. In 1761 the
synagogue which stands to this day was built.
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth
centuries the fortress was transformed into a palatial residence.
The next and last owners of Lancut were the
Potockis, who were tied by marriage to all of Europe's aristocracy.
In 1906 the castle gained an electrical
system with its own generator.
The Potockis remembered the townspeople as well. At the turn of the century they completely renovated the parish church. The distillery founded by the Lubomirskis was modernised and enlarged, producing the quality-famed spirits of Count Alfred Potocki's Privileged Distillery of Liqueurs, Rosoglios and Rum.
During the occupation, German army staff were stationed in the castle. When the outcome of World War II became obvious to everyone, Alfred III Potocki, the last of Lancut's lords, dispatched about six hundred crates to Vienna by rail, containing the most valuable works of art. Among them were paintings by Bellini, Boucher, Fragonard and Watteau, eighteenth-century tapestries manufactured in Aubusson, sculptures by Thorvaldsen . . . Alfred III himself abandoned Lancut a week before the Soviet army crossed into Poland, never to return again. That the residence was spared plunder and destruction at the hands of the Soviets is due to the courage and resourcefulness of the palace staff, and their loyalty to Potocki.