Castle (castle ruins), Bochotnica
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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A valuable example of a medieval brick and stone castle linked to the Firlej noble family; left in a state of permanent ruin, the castle now forms a picturesque addition to the surrounding landscape.

History

Archaeological research shows that it is likely that a wooden and earthen stronghold might have existed in Bochotnica as early as the 13th century. In the late 13th and early 14th century, a small hillfort with earthen and wooden fortifications as well as a fort with some brick and stone components are believed to have existed on the hill. The brick and stone stronghold is believed to date back to the period between the year 1317 and 1368. Funds for its construction were provided by the ancestors of the Firlej noble family - the brothers Dzierżek and Ostasz from Bejsce and Mełgiew, although some believe that Jakub, the son of Ostasz, might also have been involved. The first mentions of the fortified structure date back to 1399, when Klemens from Kurów paid 550 grzywnas (a measure of unit of exchange used in Poland in the Middle Ages) to Jasiek from Bejsce, thus acquiring the ownership of the site. There were numerous subsequent mentions of the fort in written sources, e.g. in 1464, when a reference to the structure appears in the document concerning the allocation of property between Stanisław Zbąski and his sister Katarzyna. It was her who acquired the ownership of both the castle itself and of the villages of Bochotnica, Stok and Wierzchoniów. The castle was a stone structure erected on a plan the shape of which approximated that of a quadrangle with truncated corners. The structure incorporated a single residential building which adjoined the wall in the northern section of the complex. The entire structure was protected by a broad dry moat. An access path led into the castle from the south. In the early 16th century, the owner of the castle was the son of Katarzyna Zbąska and Jan Oleśnicki - Jan Bochotnicki, who served as the voivode (wojewoda) of Lublin. It was him who is believed to have transformed the medieval castle into a residential manor designed in the early Renaissance style. At the time, the castle complex was irregular in shape, the shape of its floor plan approximating that of a rectangle, with a rounded south-eastern corner; the south-western corner, on the other hand, was extensively modified so that it now projected ahead of the western wall. Two buildings (the older northern building and the newer southern one) were divided by a trapezium-shaped courtyard). A new gate is believed to have been built along the south-western corner of the complex during those times. The complex might also have featured a drawbridge. When Jan Bochotnicki died without heirs in 1532, the gradual decline of the castle has begun. What remains of the castle today is a Romanticised ruin to which an old legend continues to cling, according to which the castle was in fact erected by king Casimir the Great, who allegedly designed it for Esterka, his royal favourite of Jewish descent - hence local name “Esterka’s Castle” or “Esterka’s Hill”.

Description

Archaeological research shows that it is likely that a wooden and earthen stronghold might have existed in Bochotnica as early as the 13th century. In the late 13th and early 14th century, a small hillfort with earthen and wooden fortifications as well as a fort with some brick and stone components are believed to have existed on the hill. The brick and stone stronghold is believed to date back to the period between the year 1317 and 1368. Funds for its construction were provided by the ancestors of the Firlej noble family - the brothers Dzierżek and Ostasz from Bejsce and Mełgiew, although some believe that Jakub, the son of Ostasz, might also have been involved. The first mentions of the fortified structure date back to 1399, when Klemens from Kurów paid 550 grzywnas (a measure of unit of exchange used in Poland in the Middle Ages) to Jasiek from Bejsce, thus acquiring the ownership of the site. There were numerous subsequent mentions of the fort in written sources, e.g. in 1464, when a reference to the structure appears in the document concerning the allocation of property between Stanisław Zbąski and his sister Katarzyna. It was her who acquired the ownership of both the castle itself and of the villages of Bochotnica, Stok and Wierzchoniów. The castle was a stone structure erected on a plan the shape of which approximated that of a quadrangle with truncated corners. The structure incorporated a single residential building which adjoined the wall in the northern section of the complex. The entire structure was protected by a broad dry moat. An access path led into the castle from the south. In the early 16th century, the owner of the castle was the son of Katarzyna Zbąska and Jan Oleśnicki - Jan Bochotnicki, who served as the voivode (wojewoda) of Lublin. It was him who is believed to have transformed the medieval castle into a residential manor designed in the early Renaissance style. At the time, the castle complex was irregular in shape, the shape of its floor plan approximating that of a rectangle, with a rounded south-eastern corner; the south-western corner, on the other hand, was extensively modified so that it now projected ahead of the western wall. Two buildings (the older northern building and the newer southern one) were divided by a trapezium-shaped courtyard). A new gate is believed to have been built along the south-western corner of the complex during those times. The complex might also have featured a drawbridge. When Jan Bochotnicki died without heirs in 1532, the gradual decline of the castle has begun. What remains of the castle today is a Romanticised ruin to which an old legend continues to cling, according to which the castle was in fact erected by king Casimir the Great, who allegedly designed it for Esterka, his royal favourite of Jewish descent - hence local name “Esterka’s Castle” or “Esterka’s Hill”.

The site is only accessible with some difficulty. The slopes of the hill are overgrown with trees, shrubs and dense undergrowth. The crumbling walls are not secured in any way.

compiled by Anna Sikora-Terlecka, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 07-12-2015.

Bibliography

  • Gawarecki H., Stankowa M., Zamek w Bochotnicy pod Kazimierzem, „Przegląd Lubelski”, 1965, t. 1, s. 134-146.
  • Kuraś S., Słownik historyczno-geograficzny województwa lubelskiego w średniowieczu /w:/ Dzieje Lubelszczyzny, t. III, Warszawa 1983, s. 33-34
  • Różycka E., Zamek w Bochotnicy, Zeszyty Naukowe Politechniki Wrocławskiej T. 12/176, 1968 r., s. 79.
  • Stachyra A., Rycerski zamek w Bochotnicy, s.149-159 (artykuł w pracy zbiorowej „Zamki Lubelszczyzny w źródłach archeologicznych” pod redakcją Ewy Banasiewicz-Szykuły przygotowywany do druku w 2015 r.)

General information

  • Type: castle
  • Chronology: poł. XIV - poł. XVI w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Bochotnica
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district puławski, commune Kazimierz Dolny - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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