Castle, Będzin
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Będzin Castle is part of the Eagle’s Nest Trail, i.e. a group of defensive structures built by Casimir the Great in the middle of the 14th century. Although this Gothic castle was rebuilt several times, it is a priceless example of the late-medieval fortification architecture. In historic, artistic, and scientific terms, the stronghold in Będzin is undeniably a monument unique on the regional scale. It also needs to be emphasised that the history of the monument goes back even further, as the castle was built on an area previously occupied by an early medieval settlement from the 11th-13th century, and the first element of the stone architecture, i.e. the keep tower, was constructed as early as in the middle of the 13th century.

History

Archaeological studies reveal that the castle was located on the ruins of an early medieval settlement dated at the early Piast period, i.e. the 11th-13th century. The oldest stone element is the keep tower, which supposedly comes from the middle of the 13th century. The Gothic castle was only built about a hundred years later, its founder being, according to the chroniclers Jan of Czarnków and Jan Długosz, King Casimir the Great (1310-1370). It is also known that the structure was completed before the middle of the 14th century, as its existence was confirmed in documents starting from 1349. The stronghold was a strategically important component of Casimir’s border defence system of the Kingdom of Poland. The castle was inhabited by Mikołaj Siestrzeniec Kornicz and the Szafraniec, Jarocki, Myszkowski, and Zborowski families. In the second half of the 16th century, the building was uninhabited for a short time and it was slowly falling into decline. Altogether, the object was rebuilt a number of times, e.g. in 1616 (following a fire) and in 1655 (after the Swedish Deluge). In the 18th century, the castle was deserted again and fell into ruin, and it was only rebuilt in 1834 (which was an initiative of the Polish Bank). The building was remodelled in the Neo-Gothic and Romantic style, which reflected the contemporary maintenance tendencies. Starting from 1849, the castle was partially ruined again, and its final form and structure were obtained during the reconstruction in the years 1952-1956. It is worth noting that the village of Będzin was mentioned in written records in 1301, and the royal town was established in 1358.

Description

Będzin Castle is situated in the northern part of the city, on the Castle Hill, being one of the hills of the Silesian Upland, on the left bank of the River Czarna Przemsza. The Gothic structure consists of the so-called actual castle and extensive adjacent facilities; the whole was built of crushed limestone (brick was also used in the reconstruction of 1834). The actual castle has an irregular floor plan and double walls, surrounding the internal courtyard. In the north-east corner of the courtyard, there is a cylindrical keep tower, and in the south part, there is a square tower and a storeyed residential building. The walls are topped with reconstructed battlements and surrounded by a dry moat. The adjacent facilities, enclosed with wall, were located on the west side, and the whole site was connected with the town walls surrounding the town.

The site is accessible all year round. The Zagłębie Museum of Będzin is located inside the castle.

compiled by Michał Bugaj, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 14-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Antoniewicz M., Zamki na Wyżynie Krakowsko-Częstochowskiej, Kielce 1998.
  • Guerquin B., Zamki w Polsce, Warszawa 1984.
  • Rejduch-Samkowa I., Samek J. (red.), Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. VI: Województwo katowickie, z. 9: Powiat myszkowski, Warszawa 1962.
  • Kajzer L., Kołodziejski S., Salm J., Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Warszawa 2007.

General information

  • Type: castle
  • Chronology: poł. XIV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Będzin
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district będziński, commune Będzin
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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