Castle ruins, Bolesławiec
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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It is most probably the first castle founded by Casimir the Great. It was built in an important location in political and strategic terms, as the first of defence structures of Casimir the Great, forming the fortification system protecting the borders of the then Poland. An example of a lowland castle.

History

The oldest defensive complex in Bolesławiec was founded by Bolesław the Pious. It was a wooden structure, identified by certain sources with the hill fort in Chróścin. As the castrum was located at the boundary of two monarchies (Polish and Czech), Casimir the Great signed a treatise with John of Bohemia, under which the fortified settlement was destroyed and was to be never rebuilt again. However, contrary to these arrangements, Casimir the Great founded a castle closer to Bolesławiec, in the valley of the river Prosna. Its location on the one of the inliers of the river bank terrace enabled to control land to the south and west and to block the river crossing leading to Silesia. The proximity of the border of the Wieluń and Opole Land (then under control of the Kingdom of Bohemia) added strategic significance to the new fortification.

The time of the construction of the structure is estimated for 1336-38, however the end date remains a contentious issue as too early. In these years, defensive walls and gatehouse were built (their lower sections survived to the present time). Inside, there were wooden residential buildings, and wooden outbuildings. Approx. in 1390, when Bolesławiec was owned by Vladislaus II of Opole and was part of Bohemia, the fortress was enlarged. Its peripheral walls were extended upwards, and a tower and two brick houses were built. Initially, the tower was used for strictly defensive purposes, and its interior was probably accessible through the opening on the level of the 3rd storey. An entrance opening in the 1st storey was made only around mid-16th century. In 1391, there was a siege during which Władysław Jagiełło wanted to regain the fortress and give it back to Poland. Demolishing projectiles in the form of stone balls are present at the site also today. The castle was not taken and it was reclaimed by Poland in 1401, after death of Vladislaus II of Opole. Since that time, it was used as a seat of crown property tenants. In the early 16th century, it was still used mostly for defensive purposes - large amounts of weapons were stored in it, and the battlements were regularly renovated. In the 17th century, at the request of the then staroste, Kacper Denhoff, the castle was thoroughly transformed, with an aim of making it a representative residence. The two brick houses were replaced by a large Baroque residential building, the northern part of the hill was built up and an Italian garden was created on the plateau created in that way. A number of new openings were made in the defensive walls. A small barmkin for servants was also created at that time. The extension works were completed in 1628. From 1642 on, the former fortress experienced numerous attacks of the Swedish army. In 1704, it was blown up by the Swedes, to prevent it from being captured by Polish and Saxon army. After that, the castle was never rebuilt. Currently the fortress with adjacent area is an archaeological reservation, and in its direct vicinity a Museum Chamber has been opened, where items discovered during archaeological works are stored.

Description

The ruins are located to the south west from the centre of Bolesławiec, on a hill within waterlogged meadows, in the fork of the old and new channel of the river Prosna. Thanks to this location, the castle is excellently visible. The earthen structure was artificially extended upwards during the construction of the castle. The complex is similar to an oval in shape, with flattened northern part. On a high, granite foundation, brick walls, approx. 170 m. in length, were built. Two sections of the walls have survived (the southern and the northern one). After archaeological research carried out in 1972-1979, the survived sections underwent conservation works, and the course of remaining parts was marked.

In the northern part of the castle yard, there is an octagonal tower 22 m high, which constitutes a dominant architectural feature.

The castle is accessible for tourists. Apart from the structure itself, it is worth to make an arrangement (by telephone with the Communal Cultural Centre in Bolesławiec) to see the exposition relating to the castle’s history in the Museum Chamber.

compiled by Anna Michalska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Łódź, 12.08.2014.

Bibliography

  • Kajzer L., Zamki i dwory w Polsce Centralnej, Łódż 2004
  • Kajzer L., Kołodziejski S., Salm J., Leksykon Zamków w Polsce, Warszawa 2001
  • Poklewski Koziełł T., Średniowieczne zamki między Prosną a Pilicą, Warszawa 1992
  • Kowalczyk J. red., Kazimierza Stroczyńskiego opisy i widoki zabytków w Królestwie Polskim ,Warszawa 2011e
  • Poklewski T., Rubież Prosny i Baryczy 1333- 1401, Łódź 1994
  • Poklewski T., Dzieje Bolesławca nad Prosną, Kalisz 1979
  • Red. Poklewski T., Zamki środkowopolskie, cz. 2, Bolesławiec nad Prosną, Wrocław 1982

General information

  • Type: castle
  • Chronology: XIV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Bolesławiec
  • Location: Voivodeship łódzkie, district wieruszowski, commune Bolesławiec
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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