Kołbacz is located approximately 25 kilometres from Szczecin. In order to reach Kołbacz from the E65 Szczecin-Pyrzyce road, one has to turn left into road no. 120. The remnants of a monastery can be reached by Anny Jagiellonki Street, which runs to road no. 120, or by Szarych Mnichów Street, which is located at the next junction.
The traces of settlement within the area of present Kołbacz can be dated back to the 7th century; in the Middle Ages, a ducal town was located there, and the village was principally influenced by the Cistercian monastery.
The monks came to this area in 1173, brought from Denmark by Warcisław Świętoborzyc. Cistercians specialized in agriculture, they stimulated the village in terms of economy and contributed to the construction of the most important buildings. In the Middle Ages, Kołbacz was regarded as a capital of this “monastic state”.
In the years 1210-1347, due to the monks such buildings as a monastery, a church, farm buildings, and fortifications were erected. There are numerous historic monuments preserved in the village – Kołbacz, next to Kamień Pomorski, passes as the town of the oldest and most interested historical buildings in the West Pomerania Province.
From the complex of monastic buildings erected in the late 13th century, the following have survived up to this day: the so-called Dom Konwersów [the Converses’ House], the prison tower, the Gothic barn and Dom Opata.
The house was built near the southeast corner of the monastery in the 14th century. It is a two-storey building with a cellar, connected with the rest of the monastery with a roofed gallery. The building was repeatedly rebuilt; in its upper part, there is a half-timbered superstructure from the 18th-19th century. It is topped with a pitched roof. The most interesting element of Dom Opata is a two-part portal with profiled reveals, which is located in the western wall.
In the first half of the 16th century, after the liquidation of the Cistercian order, Dom Opata was intended for a summer residence of Pomeranian dukes. In 1721, the building was seized by the leaseholder of the estate. It was rebuilt in the 18th and the 19th century – the modernization included interior arrangement, a roof truss and roofing; some elements characteristic of Gothic were also removed. At the beginning of the 20th century, the building fell into disrepair, but already before the war it was refurbished and used as a seat of a district court and judge’s flat. During the Second World War, the building was inhabited by hired workers, and when the war was over, the house was transferred to a state-owned farm, and then to the Zootechnical Testing Plant.
In the second half of the 1980s, Dom Opata was renovated. Nowadays, the building houses a communal library, Internet café and a post office. The building is open from 11 am to 7 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and from 8 am to 4 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays. At weekends, the institutions located in Dom Opata are closed.