The burgstall is also known as the Hausberg – just like the hill upon which it stood. Other known names are Pechwinkel and haus Hirschberg, Jelenia Góra
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

The burgstall is also known as the Hausberg – just like the hill upon which it stood. Other known names are Pechwinkel and haus Hirschberg

Jelenia Góra

photo

The hillfort located atop the Wrymouth Hill (Wzgórze Krzywoustego) in Jelenia Góra-Koziniec is an example of the so-called town castle, unrelated to the town’s fortifications.

Location and description

The remnants of the fortified complex are located on the top of the Wrymouth Hill (375 metres above sea level), inside a meander of the Bórb river, near the Kamienna river mouth, about 2 kilometres north-west of the city centre.

Today, the burgstall survives only in fragments due to the extensive damage inflicted throughout the years. All that remains of the complex today are fragments of the defensive ramparts: the western rampart (130 metres in length) and the southern rampart measuring about 30 metres. Their height does not exceed 4 and 3 metres when measured from the outside and from the inside respectively. The width of the base of the rampart is about 20 metres.

History

Recent studies have shown that the existence of the fortified complex can be divided into two distinct phases. The original castle was erected during the second half of the 13th century. Somewhere around the mid-14th century, however, the castle was lost to the blaze. Some time later, the structure was rebuilt, only to be destroyed once again during the first half of the 15th century. The authors of early studies the results of which have not been published so far suggest that the castle may be even older than that, dating back to as early as the 11th/12th century.

Some of the postwar Polish researchers believe that an hillfort of the Silesian tribe known as Bobrzanie (named after the Bóbr river) existed on the Wrymouth Hill back in the Early Middle Ages.

The chronicler named Trautmann (second half of the 16th century) as well as Efraim Ignatius Naso (1667) both believed that the hillfort and the accompanying settlement were established by Bolesław Chrobry (Bolesław the Brave) in the years 1002-04 or 1005-08.

Other chroniclers, such as Schikfuss, remained convinced that the castle was erected at the request of the king Bolesław the Wrymouth between 1108-1111.

The first mentions of the castle in surviving source documents date back to the 13th century. This conclusion as to the date of its construction is also confirmed by the archaeological surveys conducted towards the end of the 1990s .

Initially, the castle served as the centre of the ducal administration. The question of who actually established the castle - Bolesław II the Horned (Bolesław Rogatka) or one of his sons, Bernard the Nimble or Bolko I the Strict - is still open to debate.

After the year 1350, the castle has lost much of its former significance. During that period, the tenants of the castle were local knights serving the duke himself. The existing documents contain mentions of the following tenants of the castle: Konrad von Czirn (1345), Friedrich von Pechwinkel from the Zedlitz family (1346-1370), Gotsche Schoff, a knight from Stara Kamienica (1376 - ca. 1400) as well as the von Nimptsch family. In 1433, Heinze von Nimptsch donated his lands to the Jelenia Góra municipal council, although he chose to retain some of the castle fiefdom. Later on, Albrecht von Colditz, the alderman of the Duchy of Jawor and Świdnica, imposed upon the council an obligation to raze the castle to the ground. The demolition of the castle was most likely intended to deprive it of its defensive value for fears that it may at some point be captured by the Hussite forces, which made numerous attempts to seize the town and the castle in 1427. In 1475, king Matthias Corvinus, forced the castle’s subsequent owner to sell the land to the municipal authorities. It was only in 1497, however, that all rights to the fiefdom were waived.

It is said that even back in the late 15th century, the Wrymouth Hill became a favourite leisure destination for the residents of Jelenia Góra who would regularly go there to celebrate Saint John's Eve, while children often played games of “capture the fort” on the slopes of the hill.

In 1640, during the siege of Jelenia Góra, the Imperial forces led by general Goltz have captured the Wrymouth Hill and used it as a base from which they launched their attacks against the besieged city. Reinforcements have managed to arrive in time, however, forcing the Imperial armies to retreat.

In the 18th century, the hill was adapted to serve recreational purposes. A number of footpaths have been established, accompanied by leisure pavilions, a bowling hall, concert hall and restaurant as well as an observation tower which was erected at the top of the hill in 1911. All these developments have led to further damage being inflicted upon the remnants of the fortified complex.

Condition and results of archaeological research

The very first archaeological discoveries on Wrymouth Hill were made during the interwar period. The findings were largely incidental (neolithic axes, fragments of medieval pottery) and were mostly made during the earthworks performed while the local park was being arranged. Excavations were conducted in the years 1936-1937 by Fritz Geschwendt. These intensified efforts on the part of archaeologists were linked, among others, with the celebrations of the 650th anniversary of the conferral of municipal rights upon the city of Jelenia Góra (1288-1938). Two trial excavations were made in 1937. In the course of the survey, remnants of a wall in the topmost part of the hill have been discovered. In addition, the structure of the rampart located in the western part of the hill was also examined.

In years 1958-59, W. Sarnowska and J. Kaźmierczyk conducted archaeological surveys in connection with the celebrations of the city’s 850th anniversary (1108-1958). Numerous ceramic fragments as well as animal bones and metal objects have been unearthed. Most of the ceramic fragments are believe to originate from the late 12th and 13th century, with a few items from the 11th/12th century, mid-12th century as well as the late 13th and 14th century also present. The structure of the rampart was also examined during that time.

Further excavations were carried out in the years 1995-97 by the employees of the District Museum in Jelenia Góra under the direction of S. Firszt. A number of trial excavations were made in the area of the so-called upper and lower castle. The earlier conclusions reached by both Polish and German archaeologists pertaining to the structure of the ramparts and the existence of walls have been confirmed; in addition, a number of pottery fragments as well as iron, bronze and glass artefacts have been obtained. All these findings can generally be considered as originating from the period between the 13th and the 15th century.

In the meantime, the site has been cleaned up, inventoried and examined in the course of the “Archaeological Picture of Poland” research programme (surface surveys - 1993).

The sitet is accessible to visitors. It is marked with a stone information plaque. Today, the site serves as the municipal recreation area.

compiled by Donata Trenkler, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Wrocław, 06-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Archaeological Picture of Poland, area 84-16, sheet 2/2.
  • Grodziska wczesnośredniowieczne - karta stanowiska [typescript in Archive of the province Monuments Protection Office in Wrocław].
  • Chorowska M., Dudziak T., Jaworski K., Kwaśniewski A., Zamki i dwory obronne w Sudetach, vol. II: Księstwo jaworskie, Wrocław 2009, pp. 96-103;
  • Kajzer L., Kołodziejski S., Salm J. Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Warszawa 2002, p. 212.
  • Miszczyk T., Zamek na Wzgórzu Krzywoustego w Jeleniej Górze w świetle dotychczasowych badań archeologicznych, I Międzynarodowa Konferencja. Człowiek i środowisko w Sudetach, M. Boguszewicz, A. Boguszewicz, D. Wiśniewska (eds.), Wrocław 2000 pp. 229-233.

General information

  • Type: hillfort
  • Chronology: 2 poł. XIII-1 poł. XV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Jelenia Góra
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district Jelenia Góra, commune Jelenia Góra
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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