Church of St. James in Torun

The neo-Renaissance edifice of the Artus House dates from 1891, but, as a matter of fact, it has been modeled on the former Artus House of 1386. The former building, renovated during the Renaissance in 1626 and during the Baroque in 1701, was one of the most impressive secular buildings in the city. It was the seat of St. George Brotherhood, active in Torun between 1311 and 1842, and other so-called ‘brotherhoods of the bench’ (which followed the tradition of sharing the same bench). Brotherhoods of this kind existed in all major cities of Hanseatic Europe and, in particular, in the Teutonic state.

Artus Courts were established in places connected with the Teutonic Order. They brought together merchants and patriciate who felt the need for ennoblement, following chivalric traditions and being distinguished form the burgher class – the rich and middle-class merchants and craftspeople. Artus Courts were usually used by several Brotherhoods of the Bench, (in the 15th century there were three such brotherhoods in Torun) which were united around the shared ideology pertaining to King Arthur (Artus). The most elitist Artus Court user was the Brotherhood of St. George, which owned the bench of St. George by the eastern wall and left of the entrance. The first Artus Court in Torun was erected in 1386. Following its reconstruction in the Renaissance and Baroque in 1626 and 1701 respectively, the building looked truly magnificent and rich on its Gothic foundation, its facade beautifully ornamented with allegories and symbols. Unfortunately, it was dismantled and replaced by the present-day Artus Court in 1891.

Address: 6 Old Town Market Square

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