Castles of the Dukes of Masovia
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
Castles of the Dukes of Masovia

collection

Castles of the Dukes of Masovia

4

Castles of the Dukes of Masovia

The dynasty of Masovian Piasts was started by Konrad I of Masovia who approx. in 1200 made Masovia and Cuiavia independent of Cracow. The dynastic line started by him contributed to the intense development of these lands, despite numerous threats from the Prussians, the Teutonic Knights, and Lithuanians. Descendants of Konrad I of Masovia divided Masovia into three smaller duchies: the Duchy of Czersk, the Duchy of Płock, and the Duchy of Rawa. In connection with the territorial fragmentation, many castles were built at that time, used for defensive and residential purposes. The most important castles of the Duchy of Masovia were erected mainly in the 14th century and the first quarter of the 15th century. 

However, the construction of fortresses in Masovia was not easy. The area of the Duchy, consisting substantially of lowlands, was a major problem. The best place to build a fortress were natural hills on the steep bank, e.g. by the river Vistula in Czersk, Płock, and Warsaw or by the river Bzura in Sochaczew. Nevertheless, it is difficult to identify stylistic features of the castles of the Dukes of Masovia, because they were often built independently of one another, in different periods, and with stoppages during construction. Undoubtedly, their common features include using red brick as building material, a stone foundation, and Gothic traits visible in the manner of construction of the towers.

However, none of the ducal castles has survived until today in its entirety. The largest group is constituted by structures largely reconstructed or preserved only in the outline of the walls – Czersk, Ciechanów, Liw, and Rawa Mazowiecka. The castle in Płock was converted. The fortress in Sochaczew constitutes a permanent ruin. Relics of a medieval castle from the ducal times are preserved in the Royal Castle in Warsaw, entirely reconstructed after World War II devastation.

Most of the building described above house museums and they are open to visitors.

Sites from that collection