Scharffenberg printing house

Our apartments are located in the fourteenth-century building, restored in 2015. The oldest in Poland printing house of the Scharffenbergs family was located in the building between 1570 and 1614.

The Scharffenbergs was a Silesian family dealing with printing, woodcarving and bookselling.
At the beginning of the sixteenth century, two relatives - Maciej and Marek arrived from the Silesian Lubomierz to Krakow. Marek opened a bookstore, through which he gained funding for the establishment of two paper mills located in the countryside near Krakow Balice and Prądnik - now districts of Krakow. Initially he was financing and selling editions of Wietor having a printing house in Vienna, Ungler originating from Bavaria and Haller a German merchant and publisher.

In those days, a monopolist in the printing market was Haller who using royal privileges, granted by Aleksander Jagiello,
the Polish King and Grand Duke of Lithuania, virtually prevented activities of the competition. 

Marek Scharffenberg bought a print shop and a bookbinding shop in the center of Krakow, throw down the gauntlet to the monopolist. This made Haller waive his privilege
of exclusivity in 1517. After the death of Marek the printing house was taken over by his sons Stanislaw and Mikołaj and the widow Agnieszka. In 1561, the printing house of heirs
of Scharffenberg Oficyna Dziedziców Marka Scharffenberga issued the first Polish printed translation of the entire Bible from the Latin Vulgate - the translations from the original Hebrew and Greek were made by Hieronim between 382 and 406. The author of the Latin and Czech translation was a professor at the Jagiellonian University, Father Jan Nicz. Father Nicz had to act under a pseudonym - Leopolita of Lviv. He did not give his full name for fear of ecclesiastical authority, which banned the issuing
of the Bible in the vernacular. 

The Bible was dedicated to the Polish King Sigismund II Augustus and is known as the Bible of Scharffenberg or Bible of Leopolita. The Bible contained 284 woodcuts of biblical scenes taken from the Bible... of Luther! A copy of the Bible of Leopolita is stored in the collections of the Library of Cieszyn. For 38 years it was the only Catholic Bible in Polish,
but because of the great freedom of translation it has never been approved by the church. In 1554 the Scharffenbergs were granted ennoblement by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and began using the heraldic sign (a goat jumping out from behind of three mountains) and the name of Scharffenberger (Szarfenberger). In 1565 Mikołaj moved the printing house to his home at ul. Grodzka 3 and until 1606, at the request of the Polish king and Grand Duke of Lithuania Sigismund II Augustus, he printed all official documents
of the Royal Chancery. Stefan Batory - the Polish King, Grand Duke of Lithuania - appointed Mikołaj as a court printer, and therefore also established an itinerant printery,
which followed the royal court. After the death of Mikołaj, the family for other two centuries was developing further workshops in Wroclaw and Łużyce.

In the building at 3 Grodzka Street now our apartments are located. Their walls are decorated with photos of the printing machinery from times past. A trip to the printing department of the Historical Museum of Krakow will let you see them “live”. The museum has in its collection unique prints and printing and bookbinding tools: gilding pistons,
gilt polishing agates, grinders for ink, tools for firing, Kashta, fonts, lithographic stones.