The district of Szeroka Street, as the remaining part of the architecture arrangement , existed long before the founding of Kazimierz. ln 1340 the village called Bawół (‘buffalo’ in English) was merged with Kazimierz city founded 5 years before. The basic scheme of the centre of this early settlement also remained within the premises of Szeroka Street and as such has been clearly visible up till now.
Rudiments of this tenement house date back to the middle of the 15 th century. In those days two detached houses were erected on its modular area. Throughout the following decades these houses underwent transformations and gradual extension. In the 16 th century southern and northern buildings were extended with back parts , also one storey was built up on both buildings.
In the next century the two houses were given second floors. The timber and brick construction remained over the southern house.
Final merge of these buildings took place on the turn of the 18 th century. Two different, till then, elevations came to life as a one and there formed one floor over the southern part of this tenement house. By the end of the 19th century a new, two-storey annex was constructed in the place of the previous one.
Since the end of the 19 th century till the outbreak of the 2 nd World War the house would be a typical tenement house. ln the 20 th century it was completely forgotten and fell into ruin.
As a result of construction works, there have been exposed the elements of old interior decorations – extremely valuable considering historical and artistic values. In the representative room on the first floor, front wall of the northern building exposes the fragments of the polychromy dating back to the 16th century. This find is closely linked to the art workshop in the Royal Castle Wawel. The western wall has revealed the in-between-windows mainstay covered with polychromy, whereas the southern wall ‘contained’ the cantilever with plant ornaments chiselled in stone, which supported the archs of lintels over the arcade niches.
Rooms on the first floor in the front part of the southern house revealed on their tie-beams the remains of ‘kołtryna’ – decorative tapestry, one can see very rarely” This unique tapestry was made of hand-made paper with wood-engraving bricks.
At present these two rooms compose a major part of the representative suite.
An unusual discovery took place on the second floor of the building in the eastern wall ,which used to be the part of elevation. There, an in-between-window mainstay has been exposed. Its front and side reliefs with plant theme are extremely similar to the decorations that one can see in the Sigismundus ‘Chapel in the Royal Castle Wawel.
Discovered antique elements have been subjected to the strenuous and time-consuming process of reconstruction. Also stone and brick walls as well as cellar vaultings have undergone a thorough, reconstructive process.
All rooms in the house, which at present is a high standard hotel, have been adapted in correspondence with the times of its splendor and prosperity in the 16 th and 17 th centuries.
Were it not for respect for the past such results would never have been achieved.
The hotel owes its name to Helena Rubinstein, the First Lady of cosmetics business, who spent her first 18 years in Szeroka Street before she left Kraków to make career in the world.
Site of the hotel in one of the most thrilling looks in Kraków makes it exceptionally cosy and charming.
State of the building before renovation.
Current state and valuable historic elements discovered during the renovation.