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Old June 13th, 2009, 10:37 AM   #1
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Castles in Poland: history, trails, pictures

Many Poland's tourist routes present one of the most important cultural and historic sights of the country: mediaeval and renaissance castles.



In the north of the country, many of the castles were built in the 13th and 14th centuries by the Teutonic Knights.



Southern Poland has its Eagles' Nest Trail - the ruins of dozens of defensive 13 -15th-century castles, perched on the crests of limestone hills in the Cracow and Częstochowa Jura. Many of them were erected by the Polish King Casimir the Great, others belonged to the spiritual and temporal lords of Poland.

Lower Silesia is also known for the castles. A variety and number of castles is compared very often with to Loire Valley Castles in France – the biggest and most famous group of castles in the world.

Castles that were once owned by aristocratic families can be seen throughout the country. Many are medieeval buildings, some convereted in a Renaissance, Baroque or Neo-Gothic style in later times.



Localization of some of the most important castles can be seen here:

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Old June 13th, 2009, 01:26 PM   #2
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Eagle Nests Trail (Polish: Szlak Orlich Gniazd) is a marked trail in south-western Poland, on Kraków-Jura Highlands, running roughly from Częstochowa to Kraków.

The trail is named after a series of medieval castles it passes by. The castles date mostly to the 14th century and were constructed by the order of King of Poland, Kazimierz the Great and are named 'Eagle Nests' as most of them were located on large, tall rocks.

Most of them were built along the 14th century Polish - Czech border, as Silesia belonged to the Kingdom of Bohemia back then. The trail, considered one of the best trails in Poland. It encompasses 25 castles and has 163km (the bicycle trail has 188km).



some pic of the castles:

Ogrodzieniec castle





















Olsztyn castle near Czestochowa













Bedzin castle











Morsko castle



Mirow castle









Siewierz castle







Smolen castle



Lipowiec castle



Rabsztyn castle





Rudno castle











Bobolice castle







Krzokiew castle



Pieskowa Skala castle

















Ojcow castle









Tyniec abbey

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Old June 13th, 2009, 04:03 PM   #3
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Gothic Castles Trail of the Northern Poland



On the Trail of the Polish Gothic Castles you will see numerous castles constructed by the Teutonic Knights as well as those built by Roman Catholic bishops and Episcopal Chapters to protect their Christian dominion from the heathen world.





Malbork castle





















Armour of the Polish King Zygmunt August presented in Malbork



The town of Malbork was founded by the knights of the Order of the Teutonic Hospitalier Brothers of the Holy Virgin in Jerusalem (such was the official name of the Teutonic Knights), who in the 13th century began constructing a massive fortress on the right bank of the Nogat river.

The castle successfully withheld the siege after the Battle of Grunwald but eventually was sold !!! during the Thirteen Years' War in 1457 to Casimir IV (Kazimierz Jagiellonczyk) the king of Poland by the Bohemian king's imperial soldiers in lieu of their pay.

Since then Malbork continued to be one of the Polish royal residences until the partitions of Poland in 1772.

In 1945 the castle was severely damaged as a result of fights during World War II and was reconstructed thereafter.

Today the castle of Malbork is an unparalleled tourist attraction in this part of Poland. Its immense value was acknowledged in 1997, when this gigantic construction was inscribed on the UNESCO's World Heritage List.
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Old June 13th, 2009, 04:18 PM   #4
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Great pictures...Malbork is absolutely incredible.
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Old June 13th, 2009, 08:11 PM   #5
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More castles from northen Poland





Kwidzyn castle

Formerly a Prussian stronghold, Kwidzyn was conquered by the Order of Teutonic Knights and conferred town rights in 1233. From 1285 to 1587 Marienwerde (Virgin Mary's Island), as the Teutons had originally called the settlement, was a seat of the Bishops of the Pomesania Diocese.

Today, the Pomesanian Chapter's castle and the cathedral erected in the 14th and 15th centuries are the most precious historic and architectural treasures of Kwidzyn.
The impressive castle with its tall corner towers was part of the town's defensive system. The main tower, which still dominates the castle's skyline, served as the cathedral's belfry.

But surprisingly it is the sanitary tower, known as 'dansker", that distinguishes the Kwidzyn castle from all other Gothic castles built by the Teutons. The tower was added to the castle in 1384. It is situated 50 meters away from the west wing, and is accessible through a gallery spanning five tall arches.

















Gniew castle

The Gniew castle was the most powerful fortress of the Teutonic Order on the left bank of the Visula. Built at the turn of the 13th and 14th century, it was home to Commanders of the Order, and in the times when the town belonged to Poland, it housed the offices of local administrators.

Since 1992, the castle has been used as a venue for spectacles, historical shows and chivalric tournaments. Today it is recognised as one of the major centres for promoting and maintaining the medieval tradition and heritage in Poland.























Radzyn Chelmzynski castle





Swiecie castle



Lidzbark Warminski castle

Historically, for over four centuries Lidzbark Warminski was the capital of Warmia, the domain of the bishops of the Warmian Diocese.

Among the most famous residents of the town were Nicolas Copernicus (Bishop's nephew, stayed in Lidzbark between 1503 and 1510) and Ignacy Krasicki (Bishop of Warmia, lived here from 1767 to 1795). In the Polish literature and history Krasicki is remembered as a writer, a poet, an art lover and a great friend of the last Polish king.

Both Copernicus and Krasicki resided at the Lidzbark castle, a true jewel among Polish monuments of architecture. The main building was raised on a 48.5 metre square plan in 1348 - 1400. The main part of the castle consists of four wings enclosing a courtyard with a two-storey gallery (no other Gothic gallery in Poland has been preserved in such a magnificent state to our times).



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Old June 15th, 2009, 02:43 AM   #6
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Very beautiful, thanks for posting. There are few architectural ensembles in the world that awe us like European castles do.
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Old June 15th, 2009, 07:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VelesHomais View Post
Very beautiful, thanks for posting.
Thanks

In coming days I'll try to present some more examples
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Old June 15th, 2009, 04:32 PM   #8
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Renaissance and manierist castles in Poland





Some examples (all of them are localized in the south-east of Poland)

Krasiczyn castle

Located on the Przemyśl - Sanok route, near the crossing of the River San, the castle in Krasiczyn is one of the most beautiful monuments of the Polish Renaissance. Its construction was begun in 1580 by Stanisław Krasicki, the descendant of Mazovian yeomanry, and completed by his younger son Marcin in 1633. Marcin Krasicki, considered one of the greatest patrons of the arts in Poland at the time, transformed the heavy fortified castle built by his father into a magnificent aristocratic residence. Stanisław Krasicki named the castle Krasiczyn, derived from his name. The small town that developed next to the castle took the same name.

The importance of the castle and its prominence in the past is proved by the visits of Polish kings: Sigismund III Vasa, Władysław IV, Jan Kazimierz, and August II.

















Among the castle's most valuable architectural elements is the chapel in the Divine Tower, often compared to the Zygmunt Chapel at Wawel Castle in Kraków.





Przemysl castle

Built in 14th century by Polish King Kazimierz the Great, later rebuilt in renaissance style.








Baranow Sandomierski castle

On the east bank of the Vistula River shines the most valuable and most beautiful of former magnate residences – the Castle in Baranów Sandomierski. This impressive product of renaissance architecture is one of the most well-preserved in Europe.

The Castle was erected at the end of the 16th century in the place of a medieval fortified knightly manor. In the 15th century the Baranowski manor belonged to the noble Baranowski family. At the turn of the 16th century, the family Górków from Greater Poland became the owner of Baranów. In 1569, Stanisław Górka sold the Baranowski property to Rafał Leszczyński. The current form of the Castle is an impressive testimony to the refined style of the wealthy Leszczyński family. With its magnificent architecture modeled after the Royal Wawel Castle, “Little Wawel” was most probably designed by the Italian architect and sculptor Santi Gucci. The last Castle owner from the Leszczyński family was Rafał X, whose son Stanisław Leszczyński was the king of Poland.













Krzyztopor castle

Krzyżtopór castle is one of the most beautiful and mighty 17th century polish Residences. It has stayed in ruin since the Polish-Swedish wars. The castle was raised in the years 1626-1644 for Sandomierz Voivode Krzysztof Ossoliński according to a design by Wawrzyniec Senes.

The residence had a form of a castle placed inside a pentagon fortress with bastions; outside the ramparts there was a garden.

Krzyżtopór castle conjoins the elements of Mannerist style with those of early Baroque and local styles. Its name contains a puzzle referring to the krzyż (cross), a counter-reformation symbol of faith and the topór (axe), a family coat of arms; the representations of both objects made of black marble mound guard over the entrance into the castle yard.

Stories would go from mouth to mouth about the extraordinary ostentation of the building which was supposed to have as many windows as many days, as many rooms as many weeks, and as many halls as many months in a year, and in one of the halls the ceiling contained a gigantic aquarium.

this is how it looked like:



photos:









Nowy Wisnicz castle

An interesting combination of Gothic, Renaissance and baroque styles, the castle of Nowy Wisnicz used to be the residence of the magnate Kmita and Lubomirski families, well-rooted in the region of Malopolska.

The castle combines features of defensive and residential architecture with picturesque landscape.

image hosted on flickr








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Old June 21st, 2009, 03:42 PM   #9
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Poland is one of my dream lands! I like it a lot especially the south of it!
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 03:46 AM   #10
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Great topic! We could learn so much from this. Try to cover as much as you can. Anything on the Lublin area?? Warsaw too.
You say Lower Silesian castles are comparable with the castles in Loire Valley Castles in France. So I am guessing that Poland is a country with one of the biggest number of castles in Europe?? Yes?
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Old June 23rd, 2009, 11:30 PM   #11
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Map of castles from Lower Silesia region:





The Polish “Castles of the Loire” trail – this is how Lower Silesia is referred to by the experts. If we counted all the sights, it would turn out that there are more castles in Lower Silesia than in the popular French region. A trip to Lower Silesian castles is an incredible journey back in time, to the times of knights and princes, of conquests and palace mysteries.



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Old June 23rd, 2009, 11:51 PM   #12
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Lower Silesian castles

Bolkow castle















The Bolkow Castle was built in XIII century during the reign of prince from Polish Piast dynasty - Bolko I.

This medieval building is one of the oldest castles in Poland. The castle is divided into two parts: inner built in Gothic style, and outer – build in Renaissance.

The castle had many owners and its walls had witnessed many bloody battles. During one of such battles in the 16th century the castle fell in the hands of the bishop of Wroclaw, who build the outer – Renaissance part of the castle.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 06:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocentX View Post
Lower Silesian castles

Bolkow castle















The Bolkow Castle was built in XIII century during the reign of prince from Polish Piast dynasty - Bolko I.

This medieval building is one of the oldest castles in Poland. The castle is divided into two parts: inner built in Gothic style, and outer – build in Renaissance.

The castle had many owners and its walls had witnessed many bloody battles. During one of such battles in the 16th century the castle fell in the hands of the bishop of Wroclaw, who build the outer – Renaissance part of the castle.
I saw this castle in 2007. It was my first time seeing a real castle and it was a highlight of my trip to Poland. I believe it's over 700 years old and very well preserved.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 03:37 PM   #14
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Lower Silesia castles

Ksiaz castle

The Ksiaz Castle is located on a steep rock by the side of the Pelcznica River. It is Poland's third largest castle (after Malbork and Wawel).
The Ksiaz Castle was often called 'The Lower Silesian Versailles' because of its 400 chambers and over 200 fireplaces.

In the year 1941, it was taken over by the Nazis in order to shelter Hitler's headquarters. The Soviet army destroyed the castle after World War II. However, extensive renovation work has restored much of the original rich interiors. The castle also has lovely terraced gardens, which are an added tourist attraction.



















1288-1292 the first written documents concerning Ksiaz Castle – construction of many fortified castles founded by Prince from Polish Piasty dynasty Bolko I of Swidnica and Jawor.

Up to 1392 the Castle was still a property of Piast dynasty. Since than by virtue of the succession treaty it has become the possession of Czech Crown.

1497 king Władysław Jagiellończyk sold Ksiaz to His chancellor Jan von Schellenberg.

1508 The Castle was a property of Jan von Haugwitz.

11th of June 1509 - Książ was handed by Jan von Haugwitz to Konrad I von Hochberg. (Since than it has become the property of the Hochberg family until the seizure by Nazi army).

5th of April 1605 - Konrad III von Hochberg has acquired the right of inheritance of The Książ Castle from the Emperor Rudolf III. Since than the Castle has become the hereditary property of the family.

1705 - 1742 - Konrad Ernest Maksymilian von Hochberg was taking up the reconstruction of the castle - representative baroque extension, honourable courtyard, castle’s buildings (baths, front gate building – the place for castle’s guard and library), as well as The Summer Pavilion on The Poplar Hill which has became the family’s mausoleum since the 2nd half of the XIX c.

1789 – 1833- Jan Henryk VI was developing the castle surroundings. According to the project of Christian Wilhelm Tischbein new structures were built in the area of Castle’s park as well as the imitation of ruin on the medieval foundations – Stary Ksiaz (The Old Castle).

In 1848 Hochberg family has received the princely title.

1907 – 1938 - Jan Henryk XV was carrying on the biggest development in the Castle’s history. Between 1908 – 1923 north and west renaissance extensions were being developed. Castle’s tower has reached the height of 47m and was covered with the domed helmet and the lantern. Also the Castle’s gardens took its current shape.

8th of December 1891 - Jan Henryk XV married in London Maria Teresa Oliwia Cornwallis West – Księżna Daisy (Princess Daisy)– the most picturesque figure in the Castle history.

In 1941 German troops confiscated The Castle. At that time sons of Daisy and Jan Henryk XV fought against Hitler’s army - Jan Henryk XVII in British Army and Aleksander for Polish troops. The collections of Royal Prussia Library in Berlin were kept in Książ during the 2nd World War.

In 1943 Hitler’s paramilitary organisation ‘Todt’ had stormed into the Castle and began to construct one of the most important quarters for Adolph Hitler. At that time 1 km long tunnels beneath The Castle were build. The historians are not sure about the destination of those underground constructions as well as the tunnels in Góry Sowie.

Up to August 1946 Soviet troops were being based in Ksiaz.

Up to 1956 The Castle was going into ruin.

Between 1956 and 1962 Książ was secured by heritage conservator.

Complex restoration treatment has started in 1974.
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Old June 27th, 2009, 10:57 AM   #15
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Lower Silesia castles

Grodziec castle







image hosted on flickr










Grodziec Castle was first mentioned in pope Hadrian IV's bull of 23 April 1155. Here, in 1175 prince from Polish Piast dynasty Boleslaus I the Tall granted the Cistercians of Lubiaz privileges. During the reign of his successor, Henry I the Bearded, the earth and timber stronghold was replaced by stone constructions. St. Jadwiga is believed to have fund the castle church. In the 14th century and a part of the 15th century, the castle belonged to the knightly family of Bozyvois.

During the Hussite Wars, the castle was seized and plundered by Hussite forces. Frederick I, the prince of Legnica, bought it back in 1470. He then have the spatial plan of the castle rearranged by master bricklayers from Wroclaw, Legnica and Görlitz. This gave it the planning we know today. After the prince's death, the works were continued by his son, Frederick II. At that time Grodziec became one of the most beautiful residences marking the transition from Gothic style to Renaissance style in Silesia.

During the Thirty Years War the castle was seized and burnt down by the army of Albrecht von Wallenstein. When John Henry VI von Hochberg, Reich prince of Ksiaz and Mieroszow, got the possession of the castle in 1800, he undertook the first major reconstruction and conservation works

The preservation works after the WWII did not begin until 1959, when they were undertook at the Voivodship Inspector of Monuments command.
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Old June 28th, 2009, 10:35 AM   #16
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Lower Silesia castles

Chojnik castle













The castle of Chojnik (German Kynast) was originally built by the order of Bolko I (Polish Piast dynasty) in 1292 to protect the borders of his dominion and underwent a reconstruction by the orders of Bolko II starting from 1355.

After Bolko II's death, his wife Agnes von Habsburg sold the castle to one of the courtiers, the knight Gotsche Schoff. Gotsche II Schoff modernized and expanded the castle in 1393. In the same year he donated the Gothic chapel, which was completed in 1403. The chapel was devoted to St. Katharina and St. George, and artful painting were preserved until the middle of the 20th century. The castle survived the next centuries without damages. It was neither affected by the Hussite Wars nor by Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, who destroyed many Silesian castles. In 1529 Ulrich Schaffgotsch I. expanded the building with two forecourts, depots and a pillory, and at the end of the 16th century Renaissance modifications were carried out. In 1635 Hans Ulrich Schaffgotsch lost all his properties being accused of high treason as one of Albrecht von Wallensteins generals. Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor, the new owner, added new bastions to the castle in 1648 before giving it back to Christoph Leopold Schaffgotsch, Hans Ulrich's son, in 1650.

During the latter's lifetime the castle burnt down completely after it had been struck by lightning in 1675 and was never reconstructed again. The comital family relocated down into the valley to the old palace in Bad Warmbrunn, and the destroyed castle became a tourist attraction already in the early 18th century. It was visited by the Prussian royal family, Heinrich von Kleist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe or Theodor Körner, who immortalized the ruin in one of his poems and made her famous all over Germany. 1822 the Schaffgotschs added a tavern and harbourage to the castle and three years later rebuilt the tower. In the 1920s the old legends, especially the Kunigunden saga, were resuscitated by Waldemar Müller-Erhardt, and in the next years these folk plays were performed there.

The ruins remained in the property of the counts Schaffgotsch until 1945, when the family was expelled.
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Old June 28th, 2009, 12:45 PM   #17
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Chojnik surely has one of the most impressive loactions of all the castles in Poland.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 05:11 PM   #18
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Lower Silesia castles

Grodno castle in Zagorze Slaskie





























view from the castle



The oldest events relating to the castle’s history are not known. Oral tradition attribute construction of the castle to Polish prince Boleslaw Wysoki (Boleslav the Tall) in 1198, with extension carried out by Bolko I, at the end of the 13th century. After the annexation of the Duchy of Swidnik-Jawor by the Czechs, the castle became the property of the Czech crown. From there it passed into private hands. Beginning in 1545 the castle was systematically extended, though during the Thirty Years War the castle was sacked by the Swedes, who largely destroyed it. The ensuing owners neglected the building, which gradually fell into ruin. They finally left in 1774. In 1869 the tower burned down due to lightning strike. Following WWII the building underwent several bouts of reconstructive works.

Today Grodno represents a fusion of the Gothic style, as we can observe in the upper part, and a renaissance style visible in the lower extensions. The sundial built in 1716 presents an attraction for the visitor.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 02:12 PM   #19
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Lower Silesia castles

Zabkowice Slaskie (Frankenstein) castle









Zabkowice Slaskie - the Curved Tower and the city













Was Frankenstein - the monster 'born' in Ząbkowice ?

Since the time of ist establishing in the second half of XIII th century till 1975 Ząbkowice was called Frankenstein. It seems probable that the first settlers, the founders of the city, coming from Frankony - the historical land of Germany located on the Middle Rhine-"brought" the name of the city with them.

The word Frankenstein is associated with the monster Frankenstein from the novel by Mary Shelley and with horror films based on that novel. Consequently, the question arises if there is a connection between the name of the city and the monster Frankenstein.

The event which happened in Ząbkowice at the beginning of 1606 proves some truth in the concurrence of the names. On January 17 th 1606 the plague broke out extending as far as the whole city and its suburbs. There would be nothing strange in that fact as epidemic broke aut very often those days were it not the scale. 2061 people including 1503 adults and 558 children, which was over 1/3 of the city population, died as a result of the plague.

The plague itself, however, as it turned aut later, was cansed by the criminal and predatory activity of the gang of the local growe-diggers and their assistants. Their bad deeds were described and illustrated by Jerzy Kreß, a printer and editor, in the "Newe Zeyttung" published in Augbsurg at the end of 1606. We can read there:

"Eight growe-diggers have been captured in the city of Frankenstein in Silesia, six men and two women in their. After being tortured dureng the investigation they confessed to preparing some poisoning powder and spreading it a few times in the houses, smearing the tresholds, door-knockers and handles owing to which many people got pasoned and died.

Apart from that they stole a lot of money from the houses and stripped dead bodies of their cloaks. That also cut open pregnant women and took aut their foetuses and they ate up the raw hearts of small children. They stole table-dothes from the altars of churches there and two cloks from the pulput. They powdered it and used for their magic and they committed some other horrible crimes(...)"

The defendants were sentenced to death by mutilation and being burnt alive. They were executed on October 4 th 1606.

From 4 th till 10 th October 1606 a vicar, Samuel Heinnitz, preached 6 thanksgiving sermons in his parish church with the prayers on each day for the intention of overcoming the plague. The sermons entitled with real sophistication "The true story of a few revealed and destroyed poisoning works of the devil`s hunter during the plague of 1606 in the city of Frankenstein in Silesia". That "devil`s hunter" , being a philosophical metaphor or a personification of evil in general, became by later inhabitants and travellers visiting Ząbkowice transformed into a real figure to the core, the horrible monster Frankenstein. His name must derive from the name of the city.

The fact, that the legend of Frankenstein was still alive even a few hundred years after that terrible incident is proved by an account of Władysław Grabski in his book called "300 towns returned to Poland", published in 1960 where he says quoting the local legend:
"There was the monster Frankenstein living in the castle of Ząbkowice, who by his infamous dealings took 2000 lives until the hand of God`s justice tauched him".

There exist some premises bearing witness to Mary Shelley could have known the story about "Ząbkowice's Frankenstein" from before 200 years and have used it by creation her famous novel - "Frankenstein means updated Prometeus".
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Old July 9th, 2009, 03:09 PM   #20
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Lower Silesia castles

Swiny castle









Swiny Castle, located 3 km north east of Bolkow (Lower Silesia), is one of the oldest Polish castles. It was build at the turn of the 7th and 8th century.

In the times of Boleslaw Krzywousty (beggining of XII century) the castle was the seat of castellan. However, in the 13th century Bolko I Surowy moved the castellan to the nearby Bolkowo, and the castle was handed over to the chivalrous Swinka family. Among the members of the family was a famous patriot and archbishop of Gniezno (former capital of Poland), Jakub Swinka.

In the middle of 14th century Swinka family changed the wooden construction into a stone tower surrounded by walls. Over the centuries the owners of the castle modernized it several times, but major and most important changes to its design were introduced by Jan Zygmunt Swinka in the years 1614-1620.

He changed the Swiny castle into a Renaissance residence. A rectangle palace with two cylindrical towers was built it the north-west part of the castle. To enter the castle’s grounds one had to walk over the drawbridge. The portal of the entry gate was decorated with Swinka coat of arms.

After Jan Zygmunt had died in 1664 the castle was taken over by members of a different line of decent. When the last owner, Sebastian Heinrich von Schweinitz, left the castle in 1769, it slowly fell into ruin.


The castle is localized just a few km from Bolkow castle, what can be seen on this photo:

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