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The former Benedictine abbey with elements of a castle of Dukes of Mazovia - Zabytek.pl

The former Benedictine abbey with elements of a castle of Dukes of Mazovia

monastery Late 11th century Płock

Płock, Tumska 2

woj. mazowieckie, pow. Płock, gm. Płock

A complex of buildings forming the Benedictine abbey and the castle of Dukes of Mazovia represents a valuable historical source when learning about the beginnings of the Polish state.

The complex displays a high documentational value due to the clarity of historical layers in the preserved historic substance. The preserved fragments of the oldest relics of the Gothic castle and church are presented as an element of the exhibition. A relic of the stone palatium that survived in the wall of the Clock Tower stands out as a unique feature.


Advantages of the Tumskie Hill, with a height of approx. 40 m above the valley of the Vistula river, in terms of defensive features constituted a decisive factor for the location of the ducal gord on its top in the late 10th century. It was the main centre of power in Mazovia after its incorporation to the Polish state of the Piast dynasty. In 1079 Władysław I Herman relocated the capital of the Piast state from Cracow to Płock, which contributed to the development of the gord. Most likely in the late 11th century a stone residential and defensive tower - palatium - was built. The wooden Benedictine abbey of St Adalbert was established within the gord in the 12th century, most likely being founded by Bolesław III the Wrymouth. After the death of the king in 1138, Płock lost the function of the state capital, but remained the seat of Dukes of Mazovia and the Bishop. In the 13th century the Tumski gord was destroyed by invasions multiple times.

The first brick castle on the hill was probably erected by Bolesław II around 1290. He built new defensive walls with a residence on the side of the Vistula river. In the years 1351-1370 Płock was under the rule of king Casimir III the Great, who restored and fortified the castle, surrounded it with another brick wall with towers and moat filled with water. In the late 15th century a castle tower was extended upwards on Romanesque foundations to host cathedral bells relocated from the bell towers at risk of collapse. After the installation of the clock the tower began to be named the Clock Tower. In 1532 a part of the castle collapsed due to the landslide of the escarpment to the Vistula river. The residence of dukes was relocated to the southern part of the complex, while the rest of the building became property of the Benedictines in 1538. In the years 1538-1545 a Gothic church of St Adalbert was erected, extended along with the monastery in 1632, according to the design of Giovanni Battista Gisleni. The development of the Tumskie Hill was looted and destroyed during the Swedish wars and the Northern War. In 1781 the Benedictines abandoned Płock and relocated themselves to Pułtusk.

During the Prussian regime, after 1803, the remnants of the defensive walls of the castle were demolished, while in the 1820s the hill was flattened and cleaned up. Only the Clock Tower, the Noble Fortified Tower and a fragment of defensive walls have survived of the Gothic castle.

After 1918 the former abbey with relics of the castle returned to the property of the Church. In the 1960s and 1970s the former abbey complex was researched and adapted as the seat of the Mazovian Museum. After the major renovation in the years 2006-2008 a treasury of the Diocesan Museum and the Diocesan Curia of Płock were located in the former abbey complex.


A complex of the former Benedictine abbey with the relics of the Castle of the Dukes of Mazovia is located in the neighbourhood of the cathedral basilica on the other side of Tumska street. The following elements are arranged on an irregular quadrilateral plan, around the internal courtyard: two castle towers from the mid- 14th century, built of bricks in the Gothic arrangement: the Noble in the south-west corner and the Clock in the north-east one; a fragment of the walls of the Gothic castle, three early modern wings of the monastery and the northern wing hidden behind the curtain wall (20th century).

The Noble Tower (Gate Tower, High Tower) is quadrangular at the base, octagonal in the upper part, with a multi-hipped roof clad with roof tiles. The lower storey features a groin vault, on the ground floor there is a Gothic pointed arch of the gate.

The Clock Tower is quadrangular, with cylindrical turrets on the upper storey, covered with a bulbous cupola. Relics of the Romanesque building are exposed on the ground floor.

Three wings of a former monastery (the 1540s, rearranged: 1632 and 1850-1864), currently the treasury of the Diocesan Museum and the Diocesan Curia, are brick buildings on an elongated rectangle plan. They have three storeys, are plastered and include gable roofs clad in roof tiles. Their façades are partitioned with cornices, with rectangular window and door openings. The southern wing include the preserved relics of the church of St Adalbert, visible on the external façades in the form of buttresses and residual deposits, in the roof part through a partially visible end wall and a difference in the height of the roof ridge as well as in the interior of a room on the second floor of the Museum, where the western arcaded gable of the church is exposed. The remaining part of the southern wing is located to the east from the old church and terminates on the east side in a two-axial end wall with the main entrance to the feature from an external porch. The east wing is nine-axial, symmetrical, with a gate passage on the axis. The west wing is added to the fragment of the Gothic wall, exposed only on the side of the courtyard, similarly as the north wing from the 20th century.

The building can be viewed from the outside. The interior can be viewed after purchasing a museum admission ticket.

Compiled by Bartłomiej Modrzewski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Warsaw, 14-10-2014


  • T. Glinka, M. Kamiński, M. Piasecki, K. Przygoda, A. Walenciak, Mazowsze północne. Przewodnik, Warszawa 1998.
  • K. Pacuski, Początki benedyktyńskiego opactwa św. Wojciecha na grodzie płockim, „Notatki płockie” 1995, nr 4/165, s. 3-9.
  • B. Pisz, Benedyktyni na grodzie płockim, „Notatki płockie” 1977, nr 3/91, s. 22-25.
  • Przewodnik. Płock i okolice, red. K. Strumińska, S. Płuciennik, Płock b.r.
  • Wzgórze Tumskie oraz dawny zamek. Serwis miasta Płock, http://www.plock.eu/pl/wzgorze_tumskie_oraz_dawny_zamek.html, dostęp: 14-10-2014.

Category: monastery

Protection: Register of monuments, Monuments records

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_14_ZE.54182, PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_E_14_ZE.21110