Castle complex, Przemyśl
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The Castle of Przemyśl, erected in the 1st half of the 16th century, was the first tower-and-roundel complex in the Ruthenian territory of the Republic of Poland, becoming a model for numerous later defensive works erected in this area in the early modern era.

History

After the incorporation of the Przemyśl region to the Kingdom of Poland in the 1340s the king Casimir the Great erected a brick castle in place of an early medieval fortress built by the first rulers from the Piast dynasty, which had been under the rule of Tthe Ruthenian Dukes fro, the Rurykowicz dynasty from the second half of the 12th century. During the Tatar and Moldovan invasion in 1498 the castle, set on a quadrilateral floor plan, was seriously damaged and plundered. In the years 1511-1553, by order of King Sigismund I, the new fortified complex of the tower-and-roundel type was built. This defensive complex includes a roundel castle and an antecastrum established on an irregular floor plan and located south of the castle. The antecastrum included wooden residential and utility buildings (stables, coach houses, sheds). The roundel castle, set on a quadrilateral plan, featured four brick fortified towers on corners. Entrance to the castle courtyard led through a two-storey gatehouse located in the middle of the north-western curtain wall. The main residential building adjoined the south-eastern curtain wall. In the years 1616-1631 the then Starost of Przemyśl, Marcin Krasicki, carried out a full-scale modernisation of the castle. During these works a new building with cloisters at the north-eastern curtain wall was erected, while corner fortified towers were extended upwards and crowned with Mannerist parapets. During the 2nd half of the 17th century the castle gradually began to lose its defensive values, despite planned renovations works and multiple resolutions of the Przemyśl nobility, ordering the Starost Marcin Madaliński and Artillery General of the Crown Marcin Kątski to enhance its defensive potential. In the 1st half of the 18th century the castle was visibly neglected and insufficiently funded. Southern and western fortified towers and the curtain wall between them were devastated. Only in the years 1759-1762, upon initiative of the Starost of Przemyśl Stanisław Poniatowski, the later-to-become king Stanislaus Augustus, ordering works were carried out in the castle. Before 1772 a new wall in the south-western wing of the complex was erected. In 1842 a municipal park was established in the area surrounding the castle, which led to the destruction of the remnants of wooden development. In 1865 the castle was taken over by the city of Przemyśl, while in 1867 the northern fortified tower and the north-eastern wing of the castle was renovated. In the 1980s the southern fortified tower, the western roundel and the curtain wall between them were subject to reconstruction. At the same time, the wall in the south-western wing was demolished. Archaeological works conducted on the castle yard in the 1960s and 1980s uncovered the foundations of previously existing Early Roman buildings, namely a rotund and a monastery.

Description

The castle complex is located west of the location town, occupying the south-eastern part of the castle hill, surrounded by a landscape park. The castle was erected on a quadrilateral floor plan, including four fortified towers on corners and curtain walls between them. Inside the castle complex, there is a two-level courtyard with remains of Romanesque buildings - a rotund and a monastery - situated in the south-western part as well as foundations of Duke Wołodar Rościsławowicz tserkva in the central part.

The main body of the castle. The north-eastern wing of the castle forms a core of the castle. It forms a single-bay building with a basement and mansard windows, covered with a gable roof. Currently, the building houses a “Fredreum” theatre with an events hall. The west façade with two storeys, smoothly plastered with architectural decorations, with marked window axes in the southern part. East façade has one storey and no decorations, smooth plasterwork and rectangular window openings. A two-storey front building with a basement, covered with a shed roof, towers between the gatehouse and the northern fortified tower. The north façade is a two-storey structure with smooth plasterwork. The south façade is a brick and stone curtain wall.

Gatehouse. A masonry, two-storey gatehouse without a basement is located in the north-western curtain wall. It features a passage with a barrel vault, covered with a shed roof with two attic windows, reinforced in the north by two stone buttresses. The building gable has a Baroque Revival style and includes volutes surrounding the passage. There is a niche over the passage, which terminates in a pointed arch.

Defensive walls with southern and western fortified towers. Four brick fortified towers are found on corners of the castle complex; three of them have a cylindrical shape, while the southern fortified tower has a quadrangular contour. The northern fortified tower, with a diameter of 10 metres and five storeys with a buttress located in the west, has a basement, plasterwork on the surface and is crowned with a parapet featuring asymmetrically arranged windows. The second and third storeys include embrasures. The eastern fortified tower, with a diameter of approx. 13 m, has three storeys, a basement, plasterwork on walls and is crowned with a parapet with a viewing terrace in the upper part. The southern fortified tower was erected on a quadrangular floor plan; it is made of brick, has two storeys and no basement. The western fortified tower has a cylindrical shape, two storeys without a basement and includes embrasures. A low stone defensive wall covered with a roof extends between the eastern, southern and western fortified towers. A defensive perimeter between the western fortified tower and the gatehouse is formed by a tall stone defensive wall with an entrance gate.

Archaeological findings. The western part of the castle courtyard includes relics of a Romanesque rotund and monastery on a rectangular floor plan, coming from the 10th or 11th century, in the form of stone foundations that were uncovered during archaeological works carried out in the 1960s. The central part of the courtyard includes foundations of the Romanesque building, which was presumably a tserkva erected by the Russian Duke, Wołodar Rościsławowicz. The building made of ashlar stones, featuring three naves and three apses, was demolished in the early 15th century.

Castle hill and a park. The place with an old settlement tradition, combining sacred and secular (residential, defensive and utility) architecture, which is now surrounded by a landscape park.

The feature is open to visitors, during the working hours of the Zamek Culture and Science Centre of Przemyśl.

compiled by Mieczysław Kuś, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Rzeszow, 01-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Czołowski A., Dawne zamki i twierdze na Rusi Halickiej, Lwów 1892, s. 102-103.
  • Frazik J. T., Zamki i budownictwo obronne ziemi rzeszowskiej, Kraków 1971, s. 65-81.
  • Guerquin B., Zamki w Polsce, Warszawa 1984, s. 262-264.
  • Proksa M., Studia nad zamkami i dworami ziemi przemyskiej od połowy XIV do początków XVIII wieku, Przemyśl 2001, s. 341-343.
  • Marszałek J., Katalog grodziski zamczysk w Karpatach, Warszawa 1993, s. 181-184.

General information

  • Type: castle
  • Chronology: 1511-1553
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Al. XXV Polskiej Drużyny Strzeleckiej 1, Przemyśl
  • Location: Voivodeship podkarpackie, district Przemyśl, commune Przemyśl
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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