Castle complex - Zabytek.pl
woj. podkarpackie, pow. leski, gm. Lesko-miasto
Probably in the second half of the 1530s the Kmita family erected a masonry residential tower after finally giving up the expansion of their previous main settlement in Sobień. In this place, located on the right bank of the San river, a defensive manor had existed before. It was erected in 1473 by the Castellan of Przemyśl, Jan Kmita. In the first stage of building a new castle, the Voivode of Cracow and Great Marshal of the Crown, Piotr Kmita, erected a two-storey residential building on a square floor plan. In the second quarter of the 16th century the castle was expanded by Piotr Kmita and after his heirless death in 1553 the works were continued by the new owners - the Stadnicki family. During these works a new residential corpus on a rectangular floor plan was erected. It abuts on the eastern side to the original residential tower. From that time onwards, the castle consisted of two masonry and two wooden buildings. In 1656, as a result of another expansion, a relatively small residential and defensive complex was transformed into a fortified tower-round bastion complex on an irregular quadrilateral floor plan, which was surrounded by defensive walls with fortified towers and round bastions. After destruction caused by Swedish troops in 1701, the castle began to gradually falling into decay and lost its defensive features. In the years 1765-1771 the castle was renovated by the Voivode of Volhyn, Józef Ossoliński, but already in 1783 it was seriously damaged by fire and began to fall into ruin. In the years 1835-1843 the castle was rebuilt and reconstructed by Ksawery Krasicki to the plans prepared by Wincenty Pol. In consequence, the castle in Lesko was transformed into a representational residence, which largely blurred its defensive character. One-storey residential wings with an archway on the courtyard side and a portico with Classicist features in front of the main segment of the former castle, which was covered with a hip roof, as well as a new one-storey orangery building on a rectangular floor plan, located in the north-eastern part of the complex, were built at that time. From Autumn 1914 onwards, the castle was occupied by Russian Army troops. During their retreat in May 1915 the oldest part of the castle was set on fire. As a result of a dramatic fire that consumed the main residential corpus and a one-storey wing up to the round bastion, the castle was severely damaged. After World War I, Count August Krasicki began a renovation along with reconstructing the devastated castle, which was completed in 1924. The works included, among others, demolition of a square fortified tower and upward extension of the one-storey wing between the round bastion and the orangery. Afterwards, the wing began to serve as a residential part for the owners. In Autumn 1939 the castle was taken over by the Russian soldiers who devastated the interior, plundered valuable movables and destroyed a rich collection of books. Between June 1941 and August 1944 the castle was occupied by Wehrmacht troops and from September 1944 onwards the castle fell into the Soviet hands again. The Soviets arranged a commanding centre, still functioning during the fights with UPA troops in the years 1945-1947. In the first half of the 1950s the castle housed a kindergarten and a temporary warehouse, while in 1955 the feature was bought by KWK “Makoszowy” in Zabrze. The new owner carried out a renovation of the feature. Since 1994 the castle has remained property of the Tourist Agency in Gliwice, however, representatives of the Krasicki family demand the return of the castle as heirs of the last pre-war owners of the castle complex.
The castle. The castle is located on the right bank of the San river, on a tall escarpment lowering towards the river valley, south-west of the market square in Lesko. This place was selected deliberately, as it was characterised by perfect defensive conditions and was located in an immediate vicinity of the chartered town. Entrance to the castle led from the north-eastern side, where a gatehouse was located. The castle courtyard - shaped on an irregular quadrilateral floor plan with garden plants. The castle complex is circumscribed by the remnants of a moat in the north and south. The castle was built on an irregular quadrangular plan facing to the north-west. The main residential section of the castle, with two storeys on the courtyard side and three storeys on the western side, is situated in the western part of the complex. The building is a masonry work, plastered, with a basement, made of sandstone and partially of brick, erected on a square floor plan; it has one bay (in the older part) and two bays on a rectangular floor plan (the newer part); it is incorporated into a perimeter wall. A basement with a groin vault, which rests on a central pillar with a square profile, has been preserved under the former residential tower. A suite of three basement rooms with barrel vaults exists in the newer, south-eastern wing of the castle. The one-storey part of the oldest section of the castle houses the so-called knights room with a groin vault and an octagonal pier positioned centrally. Interiors of the ground floor in this wing have barrel vaults except for a room located in the eastern corner, which features a secondary groin vault. Rooms on the first floor feature secondary reinforced concrete ceilings. Both wings are covered with separate three-sloped and hip roofs made of sheet metal. The roofs include dormers. Window openings are rectangular and include window headers. A seven-column portico with stairs is situated on the courtyard side. A curtain wall, whose course turns towards the east, protrudes from the south-eastern wall edge of the north-western part of the residential building. In a recess of the old curtain wall there is a spacious masonry round bastion covered with conical roof, erected on a circular floor plan, with embrasures framed by stone surrounds preserved on the lower storey. The north-western wing of the castle, erected in the second quarter of the 19th century on an elongated rectangular floor plan, features an archway on the courtyard side. The building is made of brick, plastered, one-bay with two storeys, covered with a gable roof made of sheet metal. A one-storey building, erected after 1843, abuts on its eastern side. It was erected on a rectangular floor plan and is covered with a gable roof clad with sheet metal. Until 1915 it was used as a stable. A Renaissance stone portal, deriving from a destroyed castle in Laszki Murowane, was fixed over the entrance door in the eastern wall.
Perimeter walls. Defensive walls on the south-western, south-eastern and northern side, made of quarry stone, were erected during the modernisation of the castle in the mid- 1650s. A defensive perimeter planned as an irregular polygon enclosed the castle courtyard. During the reconstruction of the castle carried out in the years 1835-1843 a new retaining wall was erected on the south-eastern side. There is a screen defensive wall on the section deriving in the north-western wing of the castle. Other sections of former defensive walls have not survived, since they were demolished during renovation works and modernisation of the castle in the 18th and 19th century.
The park. An Italian park was established already in the 16th century and continued through the 17th century. In the 18th century the park was planted with lime tree alleys. They are listed in the castle records from that century. In the first half of the 19th century the Krasicki family established a landscape park around the castle. Its area amounted to 15 ha and included beautiful specimens of lime, ash, oak, pine and spruce. A round lawn was located in the centrally positioned courtyard - teeming with decorative trees, flower beds and flower baskets. Due to high landscape and historical values, the park was covered with protection by the Regional Monument Inspector in Lvov already in the inter-war period. During World War II the park was completely devastated and failed to be recovered afterwards.
The castle is open to visitors.
compiled by Andrzej Gliwa, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Rzeszow, 26-10-2014.
- Aftanazy R., Dzieje rezydencji na dawnych kresach Rzeczypospolitej, t. 8, Województwo ruskie. Ziemia przemyska i sanocka, Wrocław 1996, s. 362-385.
- Frazik J. T., Zamki ziemi rzeszowskiej, Kraków 1971.
- Guerquin B., Zamki w Polsce, Warszawa 1984, s. 195.
- Marszałek J., Katalog grodzisk i zamczysk w Karpatach, Warszawa 1993, s. 123-125.
- Wajdowicz M., Zabytki architektury rezydencjonalnej i obronnej województwa rzeszowskiego, w: Architektura rezydencjonalna i obronna województwa rzeszowskiego, w świetle badań naukowych prowadzonych w 25-leciu PRL, red. M. Bujnowska, Łańcut 1972, s. 36-37.
Protection: Register of monuments, Monuments records
Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_18_BK.9434, PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_E_18_BK.208149