Arkadia Park

Mazovia & Podlasie

With its overgrown ruins, peeling pavilions, temples and follies, the landscaped garden at Arkadia Park is a romantic pagan enclave in a sea of Catholicism. The park was laid out by Princess Helena Radziwiłł in the 1770s as an 'idyllic land of peace and happiness', but after the death of the princess, the park fell into decay. Most of the works of art were taken to Nieborów's palace and can be seen there today, and the abandoned buildings fell gradually into ruin.

Nowadays, an air of decay only adds to the charm of the place. Tree-shrouded ruins are dotted throughout the park, including a red-brick Gothic House (Domek Gotycki) perched above Sybil's Grotto, a 'Roman' aqueduct, and the impressive Archpriest's Sanctuary (Przybytek Arcykapłana), a fanciful mock ruin dominated by a classical bas-relief of Hope feeding a chimera. The focus of Arkadia is the Temple of Diana (Świątynia Diany), which overlooks a large lake and houses a display of Roman sculpture and funerary monuments.

Arkadia is on the Łowicz–Skierniewice road, Hwy 70, about 4km southeast of Łowicz. There's free parking at the north entrance to the park as well as a snack stand. It's reachable by bus from Łowicz. You can also hike or bike along a specially marked cycling path, known as the 'Prince Bike Trail' (Szlak Książęcy). The blue-marked path runs about 14km and starts at the Stary Rynek in Łowicz, near the entrance to the Łowicz Museum.