Castle ruins, Mirów
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The castle ruins in Mirów are one of the most well-known and picturesque remnants of the legendary complex of castles which had once towered over the Cracow-Częstochowa Upland; at the same time, these ruins are also one of the most significant fortified structures in the Cracow region from both a research and historical standpoint. The castle in Mirów, preserved in the form of permanent ruin, is a landmark of nationwide importance - a valuable example of a complex combining residential and defensive functions which has started its life as a 14th-century watchtower. Vestiges of this medieval structure are still clearly evident, as are the more recent sections erected in the 15th and the 16th century, when the watchtower was transformed into the castle of the Lis and Myszkowski families; remnants of medieval and early modern revetments and fortifications such as moats, earthen ramparts, defensive walls, fortified towers or hoardings are likewise visible even at first glance. Having remained in a state of permanent ruin for more than 200 years, the complex still presents an immense historical, artistic and research value, with the mere sight of its ancient, age-worn walls producing a powerful emotional response.

History

The Mirów castle can trace its roots to a medieval watchtower erected at the order of King Casimir the Great somewhere around the mid-14th century and forming part of the system of border fortifications that stood silent sentinel on the Silesian border. The complex, covering the site roughly corresponding to the preserved lower parts of the high castle, was perched atop a towering rock outcropping, surrounded by the so-called lower castle consisting of two courtyards circumscribed by defensive walls filling the spaces between the monadnocks and accessible through the gates in its eastern and north-western sections. The complex is believed to have been extended during the same period, resulting in the formation of a separate southern courtyard, surrounded by a curtain wall with a gate. From the first half of the 15th century, i.e. after the complex was acquired by the Lis knightly family from the nearby town of Koziegłowy, the watchtower complex was slowly being transformed into a full-fledged castle, combining both residential and military functions. During the period when the complex remained in the hands of the Myszkowski family, additional structures were added to the high castle, with the small courtyard being redeveloped and a residential tower (keep) being added in the south-eastern part of the castle. A southern gatehouse was also added, with the curtain walls being significantly extended upwards. In the second half of the 16th century, an oval tower was erected in the south-western part of the high castle, with the existing residential keep being reinforced with buttresses. During the first half of the 17th century, both the high castle and the residential tower were extended upwards, receiving one additional storey. From the late 16th century onwards, when the Myszkowski family relocated their family residences to Pińczów and Książ Wielki, the castle continued to serve the consecutive administrators of the surrounding manor. In the mid-17th century as well as in the early 18th century, the castle was partially destroyed during the Swedish invasion of Poland. In 1787, the complex was ultimately abandoned and began rapidly descending into a state of ruin. Even as far back as in the mid-19th century, it was noted during the preparation of the first inventory of the complex that the castle lost its roofs as well as parts of both inner and outer walls. A series of preservation and conservation works took place on the site of the castle in the 1950s.

Description

The ruins of the Mirów castle are situated on the Cracow-Częstochowa Upland in the village of Mirów; the castle is perched on a limestone outcropping which forms part of the so-called Grzęda Mirowska, an ensemble of limestone monadnocks scattered across the area in the immediate vicinity of the village, about 1.5 kilometres west of the Bobolice castle and approximately 2.5 kilometres to the south-east of the watchtower in Łutowiec. The complex, preserved in the form of a permanent ruin, consists of the so-called high castle as well as the lower castle spreading at its foot, with the entire complex being encircled by the remnants of a moat and earthen ramparts as well as defensive walls attached to various smaller limestone outcroppings. The area of the lower castle, designed on an irregular plan, is marked by the vestiges of the perimeter walls. The site of the lower castle comprises three utility yards, the largest of which, located in the south-western and northern part of the site, is divided by a wall into two distinct sections, preceded by the preserved remnants of gatehouse towers on the south-eastern and western side of the complex. A small inner courtyard designed on a roughly rectangular plan lies in the eastern part of the site, its eastern boundary marked by a tall curtain wall with half-towers, while vestiges of a square-shaped fortified tower can be seen on the northern side. Ruins of the residential keep are situated at the southern edge, while west of the courtyard lies the limestone monadnock surmounted by the structure of the high castle. Remnants of a hoarding with arrowslits can be seen projecting from the uppermost storey of the northern half-tower, while the residential keep features a trio of stone portals, including two Late Gothic portals from the late 15th century, topped with trefoil arches, as well as a single, moulded portal from the Renaissance period (ca. 1530). The permanent ruin of the high castle takes the form of a complex designed on a polygonal, roughly trapezium-shaped plan, its constituent parts being predominantly two-storey structures with a two-bay interior layout; the dominant feature of the high castle is the monumental tower in the south-western part of the structure, designed on a roughly triangular plan, its uppermost section being elliptical in shape.

Limited access. Due to its poor state of preservation as well as the ongoing conservation works, the castle may only be viewed from the outside.

compiled by Agnieszka Olczyk, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 23-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Antoniewicz M., Zamki na Wyżynie Krakowsko-Częstochowskiej, Kielce 1998.
  • Błaszczyk W., Sprawozdanie z badań archeologicznych przeprowadzonych w roku 1962 na zamku w Mirowie pow. Myszków, “Biuletyn Śląskiego Instytutu Naukowego” 1964, no. 40, pp. 87-94.
  • Bogdanowski J., Dawna linia obronna Jury Krakowsko-Częstochowskiej. Problemy konserwacji i adopcji dla turystyki, “Ochrona Zabytków”, 1964, no. 4, pp. 3-36.
  • Guerquin B., Zamki w Polsce, Warsaw 1984, pp. 216-217.
  • Janczykowski J., Zakres ingerencji w zabytki w przypadku utrwalania ruiny - zamki Mirów i Tenczyn. Praktyka stosowania karty z Ciechanowca, [in:] Zamki w ruinie - zasady postępowania konserwatorskiego, B. Szmygin, P. Molski (eds.), Warsaw - Lublin 2012, pp. 251-264.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, Vol. VI: Województwo katowickie, issue 9: Powiat myszkowski, I. Rejduch-Samkowa, J. Samek (eds.), Warsaw 1962, pp. 16-18

General information

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

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