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Old July 11th, 2009, 11:54 AM   #21
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Lower Silesia castles

Czocha castle























The Czocha castle has a very long and interesting history. The first fortress on the place was built between 1241 and 1247 by the order of Waclaw II, king of Czech. The fortress' main purpose was to guard the region against... Poles.

The castle changed owners many times. It is known that one of the first owners was Christian von Nostitz and in 1700 it was overtaken by Johann Hartwig August von Uechtriz and it remained in the hands of von Uechtriz family by the first years of XX century. In 1909 it was bought by German tobacco businessmen Ernest Gutschoff of Dresden (it is said he was a relative to the famous Rockefeler family), who gathered big library and art collection in Czocha, most of which has remined in the castle until the end of World War II.

II. MOST INTERESTING HISTORY FACTS:
In 1640 sixty Swedish dragons tried to overtake the castle but they failed, though. The castle many times played the role of a shelter for the local peasants who were robbed and killed by passing armies.

The arch bridge leading to the main entrance used to be wooden. It was made of stone after a deadly accident: the wooden bridge fell down killing many people, several children among them. It was when in 1719 the funeral conduct gathered to bury Henry, son-in-law of the Johann Hartwig August von Uechtriz.

Ernest Gutschoff used his money to buy valuable art collections and books. Among them was the very rare "Vier Bucher von Menschlicher Proportion" by Durer published in 1528 in Nurnberg. Also, original Russian Tzar table dishes, paintings (several hunderd icons) and sculptures were present there.

III. WORLD WAR II EPISODES: During the war the castle was visited by Werner von Brown - father of Germen rocket weapons (V-1 and V-2) and after the war the main constructor of the famous Saturn-5 rocket that took Americans to the Moon.

The castle housed Gema Werke - a plant in which Germans worked on many secret weapon projects. For example, locals testified that Gema Werke mashinery produced very high electromagnetic fields - passing cars (even diesels!) stopped and could not go any further on the distance of some 300 m. It happened only at times, though. This is why it is believed that Czocha was one of the places where Germans worked on Uranium warfare.

A third of the art/book collection garhered by Gutschoff was robbed by the mayor of Lesna town, Gutschoff's librarian and local Police chief, when the front was nerar. The second third was deterred by Polish authoprities. The fate of the last third of the collection is unknown.
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Old July 11th, 2009, 10:52 PM   #22
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Thank You Docent once more for widening not only my knowledge, I was passing Bolkow and Swiny castle today on my way to Szklarska Poręba and was able to teach my friends about some facts about those castles.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 10:49 AM   #23
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Castles in major Polish cities

Warsaw

Royal castle

Some facts:

The personal offices of the king and the administrative offices of the Royal Court of Poland were located there from the 16th century until the Partitions of Poland. In its long history the Royal Castle was repeatedly devastated and plundered by Swedish, Brandenburgian, German, and Russian armies.

The Constitution of May 3, 1791, Europe's first modern codified national constitution, as well as the second-oldest national constitution in the world, was drafted here by the Four-Year Sejm.

Between 1926 and World War II the palace was the seat of the Polish president, Ignacy Mościcki. After the devastation of World War II it was rebuilt and reconstructed.

History:

At the end of 13th century, during the Duke's Conrad II of Mazovia reign, the wooden-earthen gord called Smaller Manor (Latin: Curia Minor) was built. The following duke, Casimir I, decided to build here the first brick building at the burg-city's area the Great Tower (Latin: Turris Magna). Between 1407 and 1410, Janusz I of Warsaw built a storeyed gothic brick castle, called Bigger Manor (Latin: Curia Maior). From 1526 (when the last Masovian Dukes - Stanislaus I and Janusz III died) it became the Royal Residence.

Royal Castle was rebuilt in the years 1589-1619 for the King Sigmund III Vasa, from the Swedish dynasty of Vasa, ruling Poland at the time. Italian architects Giovanni Trevano, Giacomo Rodondo, Paolo del Corte, Mateo Castelli incorporated the old gothic castle of the Mazovian Princes into a new early baroque structure, imposing itself upon the bank of the river Vistula.

Royal Castle was further rebuilt by the Polish Kings - August III Strong from the Saxon dynasty and Stanislaw August Poniatowski in the 18th century. The castle has been in the 18th century the seat of both chambers of Polish parliament – Sejm. It is also here, that during the November Uprising, in 1831 Polish Sejm removed Tsar of Russia Nicholas I from the Polish throne. Russians rebuilt the castle in the years afterwards, demolishing Sejm halls, trying to uproot all traces of Polish democracy. After the 1918 in the independent Poland the President of the country had an office at the castle. Germans have destroyed the Royal Castle in Warsaw during the WW II.
The castle was rebuilt in 70's and 80's.











interior:























Future:

There are plans to rearange the royal gardens






Warsaw: Ujazdowski castle







The first castle on the spot was erected by the Dukes of Masovia as early as the 13th century. However, in the following century their court was moved to the future Royal Castle in Warsaw, and the Ujazdów Castle fell into neglect. In the 16th century, a wooden manor was built there for Queen Bona Sforza. It was at Ujazdów Castle, on January 12, 1578, that Jan Kochanowski's blank-verse tragedy The Dismissal of the Greek Envoys received its premiere during the wedding of Jan Zamoyski and Krystyna Radziwiłł.

The ruins of the castle of the Mazovian princes were then incorporated into a new fortified manor built by King Sigismund III Vasa for his son, future King Władysław IV Vasa. However, there is little evidence that the residence was ever used by the young prince, who spent much of his youth either at his father's court.

Again neglected, in 1674 the castle was bought by Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski and then rented to King August II, who ordered the construction there of a new royal residence.[1] The castle, incorporating much of the earlier constructions on the site, was built by Tylman of Gameren, a notable 17th-century architect and engineer.

The castle's design was further modified by King Stanisław August Poniatowski, who in 1764 commissioned Jakub Fontana, Dominik Merlini, Jean-Baptiste Pillement and Efraim Schroeger to refurbish it.

The castle was burnt out and damaged by the Germans following the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.

After the war the building was to be rebuilt as the Central Military House. However, the works did not start as the walls of the castle were demolished by the Communist authorities of Poland. In 1975 however, the works on reconstruction of the castle to its 18th century design were given a green light and the project by Piotr Biegański was chosen. It houses Warsaw's Center for Contemporary Art since 1981.


Warsaw: Ostrogski castle





Ostrogski Castle is a large manor in the city centre of Warsaw, at Tamka Street. Started by the mighty Ostrogski family who gave the name to the building, it currently houses the Frederic Chopin Museum.

The spot for the palace, a large lot of land on the Vistula escarpment directly below the Nowy Świat, was bought by Prince Janusz Ostrogski in early 17th century. As the area had been still a suburb of Warsaw and exempted from the laws of the city which prevented the inhabitants from building private fortifications, Ostrogski decided to build a small castle there.

For that he financed a bastion on which the manor was to be constructed. However, it was not until after his death that the manor itself was started. Designed by Tylman of Gameren, the palace built on top of the bastion was to become one of the wings of a huge future palace. However, it was never completed and was bought by deputy chancellor of the crown Jan Gniński, who turned it into his seat.

In 1725 the palace was bought by yet another magnate family, the Zamoyski, who made it a seat of their jurydyka. However, as the unfinished manor lacked many features of an 18th century magnate palace, it never served its original purpose and with time became neglected.

Since 1778 it was divided onto small flats and started serving as a hostel for students, owned by Marcin Nikuta. Converted into a military hospital by the French in 1806, between 1812 and 1817 it was abandoned and gradually fell into disrepair.

In 1859 it was bought by the Musical Institute. It was there that both Stanisław Moniuszko and Ignacy Jan Paderewski received their education.

Destroyed by the Germans in the effect of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, the building had been rebuilt between 1949 and 1954.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 05:06 PM   #24
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Castles in major Polish cities

Krakow

Wawel castle

History

Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Cracow (about 228 m above see level) was formed about 150 million years ago. Situated on the bank of the Vistula river, surrounded by waters and marshes, the hill provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century.
Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight.

Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.

In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislanie tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Mieszko I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslaw the Brave (992-1025) and Mieszko II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Cracow was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslaw the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslaw the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Cracow was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Cracow along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.

The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek.

The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buoanccorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo Berecci of Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Cracow only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Cracow (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.















































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Old July 15th, 2009, 10:48 AM   #25
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Castles in major Polish cities

Lublin

Lublin castle















St. Trinity chapel




Fameous painting by Matejko - Lublin Union exhibitet in Lublin castle



The earliest history of the castle is connected with the establishment in Lublin in the 12th c. of a seat of a castellan. During Casimir the Just’s reign there was raised a stronghold on the mound fortified with bulwark made of wood and earth. A donjon, a residential and defensive tower, was built in the early 13th c. on the site’s upper section. It is a valuable Romanesque architectural monument preserved till the present day. The tower confirmed the medieval choice of location as well as initiated further construction of stone and brickwork buildings on the site.

Thus, the 14th c. saw a brick castle surrounded with protective ramparts. A Gothic castle church takes its origin, most probably, from the following period - the reign of Casimir the Great. Dedicated to the Holy Trinity, it served as Chapel Royal. The church’s interior was covered with Russo-Byzantine wall-paintings founded by King Władysław Jagiełło and completed in 1418. Due to these well-preserved murals, the Chapel of the Holy Trinity is acclaimed internationally as an important historical monument.

The castle, situated on the royal route from Cracow to Vilnius, enjoyed the favour and good care of the Jagiellons. Here, left in the care of a famous historiographer Jan Długosz, Casimir Jagiellończyk’s sons were raised. Around 1520, Sigismund the Old initiated reconstruction of the castle to turn it into an impressive royal residence, and employed Italian masters brought from Cracow to complete the undertaking.

It was here, within the castle’s walls, that Parliament held its sessions in 1569 to sign a momentous act of union with Lithuania, known as the union of Lublin.

In the wars of the 17th c. the castle fell into disrepair. The oldest sections only – the chapel and donjon – remainded intact.

Between 1824-1826, the time of the Congress Kingdom, new buildings were erected on the site in English neo-Gothic style, to house a criminal prison.

The buildings served this function for 128 years. In the years 1831-1915 as a tzarist jail mainly for those who fought for independence, it held the insurgents following the January Uprising. Between 1918-1939, together with common criminals also the communists served their sentences here for activities directed against Polish state.

World War II and German occupation of 1939-1944 was the time when the Castle was turned into a Nazi prison; 40.000 inmates passed through it, predominantly members of the resistance. A large number of them died in executions and death camps. Just before withdrawing from Lublin on 22 July 1944, the Nazis carried out a mass murder of some 300 castle prisoners.

After liberation from the German occupant, in August 1944, a harsh political jail was set up here, administrated by the Russians and subsequently by the Office of Public Security, Polish secret police. For a decade from 1944 onwards, about 35.000 Poles fighting the communist regime were kept here; 333 of them lost their lives.

After the prison was dissolved in 1954 the Castle, reconstructed and refurbished, was allocated to cultural institutions. Since 1957 it has been the main seat of Lublin Museum, the institution which was first established in 1906.
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Old July 19th, 2009, 09:10 AM   #26
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Castles in major Polish cities

Poznan

Royal castle

The Royal Castle in Poznań (Polish: Zamek Królewski w Poznaniu) dates from 1249 and the reign of Przemysł I.

Construction of the castle was probably started by Przemysł I in 1249 on hill later called Góra Zamkowa (Castle Mountain, Latin mons castrenis), and now better known as Góra Przemysława (Hill of Przemysł (or Przemysław)). The first building was a habitable tower made of bricks with a whell inside, and the rest of the hill was surrounded by a rampart with a palisade. A small ducal residence was incorporated into the system of city walls in the late 13th century.

The son of Przemysł I, Przemysł II, hoping for reunification of Poland under his rule decided to build a larger castle, more proper for a king. In 1295 Przemysł became king of Poland, but he was assassinated a year later. The castle wasn't finished. Work started by Przemysł was continued by a branch of the Piasts from Głogów ruling in Greater Poland, and finished before 1337. The castle served as the residence of prince Casimir, then-governor of Greater Poland.

In 1337 the Royal Castle in Poznań was largest castle in the Polish Kingdom, modeled after the palatium of Henry I the Bearded in Legnica. The castle consisted of a tower built by Przemysł I and a huge building (63,0 m x 17,5 m) with three levels and a basement. It's not certain if the castle's characteristic roof, consisting of four parts existed at that time.

Basements served as prisons and for storage of wines, and on the ground floor there were charring rooms. Those two condignations were covered by vaults. Two higher floors probably had wooden ceilings. On the edges of first floor were representative chambers, and between them were habitual rooms. The whole second floor was occupied by achamber for 2000 guests. On the south end of the large building was a defense tower. Since the reign of Władysław I the Elbow-high the castle served as the residence of starosta generalny of Greater Poland. Later only one king, Władysław II Jagiełło, ordered some minor work in castle.

During the fire of Poznań in 1536 the castle also burned. It was rebuilt in the renaissance style by the governor of Greater Poland, Andrzej II Górka. In the next years the oldest part of castle was transformed into a kitchen. The castle was later destroyed during the Swedish invasion, sacked in 1704 by the armies of Russia and Saxony during Great Northern War, and in 1716 during Confederation of Tarnogród (konfederacja tarnogrodzka) by the confederates. The castle was partially renovated in 1721, but it didn't stop the devastation. The last starosta generalny, Kazimierz Raczyński, rebuilt the remains of the medieval buildings into an archive (finished in 1783). In 1704, after The Second partition of Poland, Prussians demolished the southern part of the castle, replacing it by buildings which, together with Raczyński's archive served as the office of the local Regierungsbezirk. Later on the castle was also as a seat of the Court of Appeals and the State Archive (the castle served as an archive until 1939). During the battle for the Poznań Citadelle, in February 1945, Przemysł Hill was in line of artillery fire, and the remaining part of the castle was demolished.

In the years 1959–1964 Raczyński's archive and part of Prussian building were rebuilt, and on base of the oldest tower stands a small pavilion called the Royal Kitchen (Kuchnia Królewska). Today the Castle holds a Museum of Utilitary Art (Muzeum Sztuki Użytkowej).

On 22 April 2002 a committee for rebuilding of the castle was founded. Still in existence today from the previous buildings are the supports from 13th and 14th century (2m wide), the inner walls of the basement, the western wall (up to 10 m high) from that same time, and a slightly younger, eastern wall (up to 7 m - 8 m high), now integrated with Raczyński's Building. On the surviving part of the castle there are three plaques: the foundation plaque of Kazimierz Raczyński from 1783, and two from 1993 and 1995 in the 500th anniversary of Homage of Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, Johann von Tiefen, and the 700th anniversary of the coronation of Przemysł II.





Some parts of the castle will be reconstructed








Imperial Castle

The Imperial Castle in Poznań (Polish: Zamek Cesarski w Poznaniu, German: Königliches Residenzschloss Posen) was constructed in 1910 by Franz Schwechten for William II, German Emperor, with significant input from William himself.

Since its completion, the building has housed government offices of Germany (till 1918 and during the Second World War) and Poland (1918-1939, 1945-present).

The castle was built in Neo-Romanesque style, considered by William to be the most "Germanic" and representing the glory of the Holy Roman Empire. The new residence was intended to reflect the control over Greater Poland by the Kingdom of Prussia and the German Empire.

After the Greater Poland Uprising (1918–1919), the castle became the property of the Second Polish Republic. According to a decision of the Polish government in 1921, the castle became the residence of the Naczelnik państwa and later the President of Poland. The building was also used by the Ministry of Former Prussian Partition (Ministerstwo byłej Dzielnicy Pruskiej). Some rooms were also used by the University of Poznań, Związek Harcerstwa Polskiego and other organisations.

After the incorporation of Greater Poland into Nazi Germany in 1939, the authorities decided to transform the castle into Adolf Hitler's residence. It was also used by the administrator of the Wartheland, Arthur Greiser. According to this decision, Albert Speer prepared the project of the reconstruction, which completely changed the rooms of the castle. Most of the rooms were changed into the style of the Third Reich. The chapel was changed into the private cabinet of Hitler, with a characteristic balcony with an electric-heated floor. The cabinet was a copy of Hitler's room in the Reich Chancellery; the architectonic details of this room survived World War II and is often used in films. The Throne Room was also transformed into an audience hall. Under the castle, a bunker for 375 people was constructed. The rebuilding was stopped in 1943 due to the Germans' negativity from setbacks on the Eastern Front.

During fighting in 1945, the castle was a temporary camp for German POWs, and was later used as a barracks by the Polish People's Army. During this period, the communist government considered the demolition of the castle as a symbol of the German occupation and bourgeois style. Due to a lack of funds, only some of the German symbols were removed and the upper part of damaged tower was demolished.

During the war, the city hall and the seat of the town authorities was destroyed. The castle was renamed to "New City Hall" (Nowy Ratusz), and later transformed into a centre of culture. On 6 June 1979 the castle was declared a historical monument under protection of law.

Today, the Throne Room is used as a cinema room; other apartments contain art galleries, a puppet theater, pubs, music clubs and restaurants. The courtyard is often a place of concerts and outdoor movie performances during summer. The second floor is still empty and has not been renovated.











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Castles in major Polish cities

Gdansk

The remains of the Teutonic castle in Gdansk












Wisloujscie fortress















A unique monument of the fortification works, Wisłoujście Fortress, is located in direct proximity to the Westerplatte peninsula. This was an important area from a strategic point of view, as the movement of ships entering and leaving Gdańsk harbour could be controlled from this place. The former Gdańsk harbour was located on the Motława river, a few kilometres from the seashore, which made Wisłoujście a key place protecting Gdańsk from the sea and protecting the city and harbour from a surprise enemy attack. Its strategic importance was appreciated long ago. It is quite possible that a guard post was already located there under the reign of the Pomeranian dukes.

The first written comments on the existence of a guard post in the place of the present fortress are not however found until the mid 14th century. The first permanent fortifications were built just after Gdańsk broke free from the Teutonic Knights’ reign (1308-1454). In 1482 a brick cylindrical tower was erected used both for defence purposes and as a lighthouse. The tower itself did not provide sufficient defence, and therefore during the Polish-Teutonic Knights war between 1518–21, wooden fortifications were built around the lighthouse. Subsequent defence structures were added over the following decades. In 1562 the wooden fortifications surrounding the tower were replaced with a three-storey brick ring with casemates.

The 16th century and more specifically its end, was a period of rapid development in guns and their ensuing increased destructive power, which necessitated the modernisation of the fortifications and the establishment of new defence systems. Gdańsk relatively quickly became aware of the need to undertake these expensive works, which however were necessary for the city’s security. In the 1580s a four-bastion Carré fort was built around the ring in place of the former wooden fortifications, designed according to the rules of the new Italian art of fortification. It was most likely designed by the Flemish fortifications expert, Antoni van Obberghen. The fort’s bastions had casemates and gun stations, which allowed one to fire along the walls. The foreground could be fired upon with guns located in the bastions. The casemates had 1586 and 1587 date inscriptions, indicating the time of completing the construction of individual fortification structures. Fort Carré was surrounded by a moat, through which the way to the inside lead, located in the curtain wall between the bastions.

The entry was protected by a gate and drawbridge. The gate tunnel is built diagonally in relation to the entry axis in order to protect the interior of the fort from potential gun fire. The 1602 date inscription in the entry portal of the fort refers to the date of completing the works on the fort.

The Eastern Entrenchment was erected during 1624-26 to protect the fort against direct attack and was constructed according to the guidelines of the Italian expert, Hieronim Ferrero. It consisted of 5 earth bastions preceded by a moat. The similar Western Entrenchment was located on the other bank of the Vistula river directly opposite the fortress. The fortifications of both entrenchments were constantly developed and supplemented in the 18th century.

The fortress fortifications and city defence system were merged into a unified defence system in

1657–58. The Fortress itself, the New Harbour and Westerplatte were additionally strengthened during the Napoleonic wars. Ultimately, the fortress had lost its military significance after WWI through the demilitarization of Gdańsk. Between the two world wars it was used as a marina by many yacht clubs.

The facility was destroyed during the war in 1945 and was partially rebuilt in the sixties. Further reconstruction of the facility and its planned adaptation to a yacht marina was discontinued as a result of the construction of industrial plants in the direct vicinity and their negative impact on the structure.

Since 1974 Wisłoujście Fortress has been administered by the Gdańsk History Museum.
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Castles in major Polish cities

Szczecin

The Pomeranian Dukes' Castle

Duke's Court existed already in time of christianisation of Western Pomerania on Tryglaw's Hill (1124-1128). However it became centre of power only the turn off 12th and 13th century (decision of duke Boguslaw II). Barnim I began extension of the wooden court, he also gave the city Magdeburg's civic rights (1243). In 1346, duke Barnim III began building of 'wooden house' and St. Otto's Chapel and also the so called 'big house' with prison tower - now part of southern wing.

Uprising of poor townspeople and craftsmen ( 1428 ) led to partial destruction of the castle. The task of renovating and rebuilding was undertaken by Boguslaw X in 1490. It was part of the preparations to marriage with Anna Jagiellonka - the King of Poland's (Kazimierz Jagiellonczyk) daughter.

In 1530 fire of tenements- houses near the castle again destroyed the seat of the Gryfits. Reigning at that time Barnim XI raised block of the castle by second storey, built clock tower and decorated building with tracery decorations. Existing wings, Southern and Eastern were rebuilt and two new wings - northern and western were erected. However, to accomplish such extension, St. Otto's church had to be dismantled. In 17th century duke Philip II decided to build fifth wing, the so called Museum wing, called later Mint Wing. On the ground floor of the building there was armoury, on other floors huge library and natural collections and works of art collection.


Almost whole 19th century is continuous devastation of renaissance structure of the object and its antique interior decorations. Cloisters and attics and vaults were removed, staircases were rebuilt and divisions of rooms were adjusted to the needs of offices. Southern wing was almost completely dismantled and built anew. In 1902, after offices had left the castle, renovation of the object began, trying to restore its former shape of residence.

Renovation works were disrupted by the 2nd World War in August 1944. Post-war renovation of the Castle of the Pomeranian Dukes began in 1958 and lasted till the second half of 80-ties. An engraving by M. Merian from 1653, pictures by Ludwig Most and drawings by J. J. Zeumer coming from Swedish archive served as the basis for reconstruction. During archaeological works foundations of earlier buildings were discovered which is shown by mosaics in pavement of both courts.



















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Old July 25th, 2009, 11:18 AM   #29
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Castles in major Polish cities

Wroclaw

Ostrow Tumski castle

Ostrow Tumski is where Wroclaw began. The city grew out of a stronghold built here in the 9th or 10th century; the Polish princes later built a castle here. At the time, Ostrów Tumski was an island (ostrów means 'island' in Polish)

The remains of the castle - XIII century chapel :





Prussian royal castle



Wroclaw Palace, known also as Prussian royal castle in Wrocław (Breslau)
was bought by Frederick the Great of Prussia from the Baron of Spätgen in 1750 and converted into a royal residence.

The building was badly damaged in 1945, during the Second World War. About a half of the building remains today, and houses the city museum.

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Old July 26th, 2009, 02:18 PM   #30
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Lower Silesia castles

Legnica castle





Construction of the castle was begun towards the end of the 12th century by the prince Henry the Bearded from Polish Piast dynasty and at that time it was among the hugest structures in Poland.

Its present neo-Gothic style goes back to the 1835 reconstruction after one of many fires of the castle.

Legnica old town






Legnica Battle 1241



The Battle of Legnica (Polish: Bitwa pod Legnicą), also known as the Battle of Liegnitz (German: Schlacht von Liegnitz) or Battle of Wahlstatt (German: Schlacht bei Wahlstatt), was a battle between the Mongol Empire and the combined defending forces of European fighters that took place at Legnickie Pole (Wahlstatt) near the city of Legnica (German: Liegnitz) in Silesia on April 9, 1241.

A combined force of Poles, Czechs and Germans under the command of the Polish duke Henry II the Pious of Silesia, supported by feudal nobility and a few knights from military orders sent by the Pope, attempted to halt the Mongol invasion of Europe. Despite the Mongol victory in the ensuing battle, this was the farthest west their forces reached due to political destabilization inside the Mongol Empire. The battle came two days before the Mongol victory over the Hungarians at the Battle of Mohi.

Henry divided his forces into four sections: the Bavarian miners led by Boleslav of Moravia; the conscripts from Greater Poland along with some Cracovians led by Sulisław, the brother of the killed palatine of Kraków; the army of Opole under Mieszko, possibly with some Teutonic Knights; and under Henry's personal command the Silesians, Moravians, Templars, and Hospitallers.

According to Chambers' description of the battle, the Silesian cavalry initiated combat with the vanguard (mangudai) of the Mongol army. After the Silesians were repelled, the cavalry of Greater Poland, led by Sulisław, and the cavalry of Opole attacked the Mongols next. The Mongol vanguard retreated, inducing the allied cavalry to pursue, although this separated them from the Polish infantry. Although the mangudai fled, Mongol light cavalry flanked the Polish forces. A smoke screen was used to hide the Mongol movements and confuse the Europeans. While the Mongol light cavalry attacked from the flanks and the heavy cavalry attacked from the front, the Mongol archers peppered the Polish forces with arrows.

Erik Hildinger indicates the levies of Boleslav led the attack instead of the Silesians. He adds that after the Polish cavalry began their pursuit during the Mongols' feigned retreat, a rider shouted "Run! Run!" (in Polish) to the Polish forces, confusing Mieszko, who ordered his Opole contingent to retreat from the battle. This withdrawal led Henry to order his own reserves and cavalry into the battle.

The Mongols had much success in the battle by feigning their retreat. After the European knights detached from the main body of allied forces in pursuit of the fleeing Mongols, the invaders were able to separate the knights from the European infantry and defeat them one by one. Knights with heavy armor first had their horses shot out from under them, and were then slain by the lances of the Mongol heavy cavalry.

The Annals of Jan Długosz also describes the battle, although it was written in the 15th century, not when the battle actually occurred. The army of Henry II was almost destroyed - Henry and Boleslav of Moravia were killed and estimates of casualties range from 2,000 to 40,000, essentially the entire army. The Templar Grand Master Ponce d'Aubon reported to King Louis IX of France that the military order lost nine brothers, three knights, and two sergeants. Mongol casualties are unknown; a perfect execution of the described tactics would have minimised losses, but the Mongols endured sufficient casualties to dissuade them from attacking the Bohemian army.

The Mongols cut the right ear off of each fallen European in order to count the dead; supposedly they filled nine sackfuls. Henry was struck down and beheaded while attempting to flee the battlefield with three bodyguards and the Mongols paraded his head before the town of Legnica on a spear.

Despite the Mongol victory, this was the farthest west their forces reached.

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Old July 28th, 2009, 07:25 PM   #31
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Opole

Piast castle



Piast Tower is the only remnant of the Piast Castle, which was demolished by the Germans in the years 1928-1930.

In 1228 the building of the Piast Castle started. The Piast Dynasty ruled in Opole. One of the princes was Mieszko Platonogi, who started the dynasty and Wladyslaw Opolczyk, who built the castle and founded the monastery in Czestochowa.

This cylindrical building in the gothic style, situated in the original interior of the walls of the castle, was built about 1300 of stone (faced with brick) and on foundations of field stones of up to 6 m. deep. The tower is 35 m. in height and the lower part of its wall is 3 m. thick. Initially, one entered the tower from the upper storey of the castle by ladder and climbed higher by wooden stairs.

Jan Kazimierz, the King of Poland, while taking shelter from the "Swedish deluge", issued from the Piast Castle in 1655 the famous appeal to noblemen and the nation to fight the Swedes.

The present lower entrance was made in the previous century. The crown of the tower alone has been changed several times, though it was always conical. Only in 1934 it was given its spire of today.





Some pic of Opole



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Old August 1st, 2009, 10:44 AM   #32
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Olsztyn

The Olsztyn castle

The Teutonic Knights began construction of the castle in 1347 to protect against Old Prussians.

The castle was completed in 1397. The city was captured by Polish troops in 1410 during the Polish-Lithuanian-Teutonic War and in 1414 during the Hunger War, but was returned to the monastic state of the Teutonic Knights after hostilities ended.

Olsztyn (Allenstein) joined the Prussian Confederation in 1440. It rebelled against the Teutonic Knights in 1454 upon the outbreak of the Thirteen Years' War and requested protection from the Polish Crown.

Although the Teutonic Knights captured the town in the next year, it was retaken by Polish troops in 1463. The Second Peace of Torun (1466) allocated Olsztyn and the Bishopric of Warmia as part of Royal Prussia under the sovereignty of the Crown of Poland.

From 1516–21, Nicolaus Copernicus lived at the castle as administrator of Olsztyn; he was in charge of the defenses of the town and Warmia during another war with the Teutonic Knights.

Nicolaus Copernicus (February 19, 1473 – May 24, 1543) was the first astronomer to formulate a scientifically based heliocentric cosmology that displaced the Earth from the center of the universe. Copernicus oversaw the defense of the castle of Olsztyn (Allenstein) at the head of Royal Polish forces when the town was besieged by the Teutonic Knights during the Polish-Teutonic War (1519–1521). He also participated in the peace negotiations.

Olsztyn was sacked by Swedish troops in 1655 and 1708 during the Polish-Swedish wars, and the town was nearly wiped out in 1710 from epidemics of bubonic plague and cholera.

Olsztyn was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia in 1772 during the First Partition of Poland.

At present, the Castle houses the seat of the Museum of Warmia and Mazuria Region, where among the most precious artefacts is the chart drawn by Copernicus, which he used to examine the actual length of the year.




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Old August 3rd, 2009, 02:15 PM   #33
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Bielsko-Biala castle

Towering in the Bielsko-Biała city centre, the Castle is the oldest and largest construction of historical importance, erected in the old town of Bielsko. A legend says that in its place there used to be a settlement of robbers who attacked travelling merchants.

The Opolski Prince, Casimir (1229/30) of the Piasts is said to have conquered that fortalice, wiped out the robbers and had the hunting palace erected in that place, which over the years grew into a magnificent castle around which the city of Bielsko developed. The oldest part of the Castle dates back to 14th century.

Over the next centuries the Castle gradually developed and transformed. It is a city castle in its nature, incorporated into the system of Bielsko fortifications from the beginning, at the same time providing their strongest section.

Over the centuries it performed the function of a Silesian border-stronghold, first guarding the borders of Cieszyn and Oświęcim district duchies and then in the second half of the 15th century it protected the Czech and Polish state border and from 1526 - the Austrian-Polish border. Starting from the close of the 16th century, its defensive role was declining and the Castle gradually transformed into a nobleman’s mansion.

The present appearance of the castle dates back to the last, thorough reconstruction undertaken in the second half of the 19th century, which entirely wiped out its previous characteristics of style. During the years 1899-1973, in place of brick breast wall presently seen on the east part of the Castle, there used to be a parade of bazaars, constituting an attractive architectural foundation for the body of the Castle. Regrettably, the bazaars were pulled down in connection with widening of the Zamkowa Street.

The Castle erected by Piasts ruling over the Cieszyn Dutchy was one of their residences for over two centuries. From 1572 it was the administrative and commercial centre of the independent class-based Bielsko state, governed by representatives of nobleman’s families of the Promnitzes, Schaffgotsches, Sunneghs, Solmses and Haugwitzes. In 1752 the position of that state was raised to the position of duchies which went into the rule of the Sułkowskis family. The Bielsko Dutchy existed until 1849, when Austria introduced modern administrative division, thus doing away with old feudal structures and was incorporated into Bielsko District Starosty.

The Castle itself and numerous estates in the vicinity of the city remained in the possession of the Sułkowskis until 1945. After World War II the Castle was taken over by the Polish State as the property left by the Germans and was facilitated as the seat of many cultural institutions. Since 1983 the Castle sole usufructary has been the national Museum in Bielsko-Biała, subordinated to Silesian local government in Katowice.







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Old August 4th, 2009, 11:13 AM   #34
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Ryn castle

Built in the second half of the 14th century, the Ryn castle was intended to be a base for the Teutonic Knights in their wars against Lithuanians.

Until 1525 the castle was a seat of the Commander of the Order. The first commander to reside at the castle was the future Grand Master of the Order, Konrad Wallenrod, immortalised by the great Romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz in his poem on faith and treachery entitled Konrad Wallenrod.

Another Grand Master of the Order, Winrich von Kniprode, who arrived in Ryn in 1378 to inspect and take possession of the fortress, chose to return to Malbork by water. Ever since then Ryn has been known to have a system of waterways connecting the town with the Baltic sea. But the settlement had to wait much longer to be recognised as a town.

On July 21st 1723 Ryn was granted a charter by the King of Prussia, Frederic Wilhelm I. Long beyond any military use, the medieval castle was converted into a prison in 1853.

In July 2006 a four-star luxury hotel was opened in the castle, called the Hotel ZAMEK Ryn. The hotel can satisfy expectations of the most demanding guests. There are nearly 300 beds in 140 rooms, including 5 luxury royal suites and 20 rooms offering higher standard of service.











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Old August 6th, 2009, 05:36 PM   #35
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Sandomierz castle

Sandomierz Castle in Sandomierz, Poland, began as a 10th century fortress and was then built into a castle in the 14th century by Casimir III the Great. The original building was blown up by retreating Swedish forces in 1656 during the Deluge, leaving only the west wing standing. It was later transformed into a Renaissance styled residence with the west wing preserved as a museum.







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Old August 7th, 2009, 06:37 AM   #36
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Gliwice

Piast castle

The so-called Piast's Castle in Gliwice, southern Poland dates back to the mid-14th century. It consists of a tower from 1322, which was originally part of the city walls, and an adjoining building which was probably an armory. Modifications were carried out in the 15th century, between 1558-61 it became the residence of Friedrich von Zettritz. Later it was an armory, a jail, a magazine and since 1945 a museum. Between 1956-59 it was thoroughly rebuilt and partially reconstructed.





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Old August 7th, 2009, 08:28 AM   #37
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Some remarks:

Czocha is actually no Silesian but a Upper Lusatian castle. Upper Lusatia was part of the Bohemian crown. Moreover: several Silesian castles were built against Poland since Bohemia seized Silesia several times before 1335.

Opole: the castle was already destroyed in 1615 and turned into a Jesuit gymnasium. The adjoining Jesuit church was demolished in 1828 and a new gymnasium was built until 1830.

Zagorze Slaskie: only documented since the 14th century, before it the entire area was a unpopulated forest.

Swiny: the family was allegedly from Bohemia and documented as de Swyn, Zuini, Swein and since the 15th century Schweinichen.
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Old August 7th, 2009, 11:10 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karasek View Post
Some remarks:

Czocha is actually no Silesian but a Upper Lusatian castle. Upper Lusatia was part of the Bohemian crown. Moreover: several Silesian castles were built against Poland since Bohemia seized Silesia several times before 1335.

Opole: the castle was already destroyed in 1615 and turned into a Jesuit gymnasium. The adjoining Jesuit church was demolished in 1828 and a new gymnasium was built until 1830.

Zagorze Slaskie: only documented since the 14th century, before it the entire area was a unpopulated forest.

Swiny: the family was allegedly from Bohemia and documented as de Swyn, Zuini, Swein and since the 15th century Schweinichen.
Thanx for the remarks
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Old August 9th, 2009, 11:01 AM   #39
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Sosnowiec

Sielecki castle

Sielecki Castle is a castle in the city of Sosnowiec in southern Poland. It was built in the 17th century.









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Old August 13th, 2009, 11:01 AM   #40
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Oswiecim castle

Oswiecim Castle is one of the top relicts of medieval defensive architecture, it maintain medieval tower dated on XIII/XIV century and is one of the earliest made in bricks buildings in Lesser Poland. Together with remaining buildings from XV XX centuries as well as with configuration of the total Castle Hill is a good example of connection of defence architecture with a town arrangement.

The ducal castle is located on a hill that had to be in paganish period a place of cult. The gothic made in bricks tower is dated on second half of XIII century; the southern part of the castle is dated on XVI century, the middle part is constructed in twenties of the last century. The castle was demolished by numerous fires and restored. It was a seat of castellans, later a capital of the Oswiecim duchy, a seat of royal subprefects and at least of regional and municipal authorities. Presently in its southern part there is a collection of historical and ethnographic exhibits of Oswiecim county.

Visits in Castle

Oswiecim as located on a crossing of main communication routs is a convenient place for rest and spending a night for many travellers, not only in commercial purposes. Since the times when duke of Oswiecim Jan IV paid homage to Polish king Kazimierz Jagiellonczyk and Oswiecim was covered with a royal care, the Castle was visited by many important persons, members of royal family, princes, dukes, and highest as well clerical as civil dignitaries.

* On turn of January and February 1454 stoped in the Castle Elzbieta Rakuszanka (Elizabeth the Austrian), the future wife of Kazimierz Jagiellonczyk, called later "the Mother of Kings". A numerous retinue of Austrian, Bohemian and Moravian lords accompanied her.
* In July 27-29, 1471 in his travel to Prague rested in the Castle Wladyslaw Jagiellonczyk, accompanied by his royal parents -Kazimierz and Elzbieta - and by three Polish bishops, seven Silesian princes as well as by seven thousands cavalry and two thousands infantry.
* After a fire in 1503, being at the time under restoration castle visited:
* In 1510 a Pope's messenger, so-called "Papal Legate" delegated to Poland in a special mission.
* In April 11-12, 1518 rested in the Castle Bona Sforza d'Aragona, in her way to Cracow to meet the king Sigismund I and to be crowned. A retinue of spiritual and civil lords consisting of some hundreds persons accompanied her. Many dignitaries from this retinue because of lack of place in the Castle had to be located in the town and close places.
* At the end of April 1543 wives of highest state dignitaries came from Cracow to the Castle to hail Elzbieta Habsburzanka (Elizabeth of Habsburg), the future first wife of king Sigismund August.
* At the night of June 18/19, 1574 passed through Oswiecim the king Henryk Walezy, excepting from Poland to France, to succeed the empty at the time French throne. He probably spent a night in the Castle.







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