Castle complex, Rzeszów
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The monument is one of the most valuable historic complexes in Rzeszów. The complex consisting of a castle and bastion fortifications authored by Tylman van Gameren and Karol Henryk Wiedemann was an important component of the defence system of Rzeszow and is closely related to the history of the city. It is an important monument of defensive architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries and a dominant architectural feature in the spatial layout of the southern part of Rzeszów.


Around 1600, Mikołaj Spytek Ligęza with his wife Zofia Rzeszowska moved his seat from Staromieście to Rzeszów. The new seat was a masonry multi-storey two-bay castle. It was surrounded probably by curtain walls on four sides with square corner fortified towers. The extension to the castle began in 1620. Four residential wings with an inner courtyard and at least one corner pentagonal tower, so-called puntone, were built on the inner side of the curtain walls. The castle was surrounded by New Italian bastion fortifications with characteristic orillons providing defence at the flanks of the bastions. Despite the unfinished construction, in 1624 by using cannons the castle managed to stop the attack of the Tatars trying to cross the bridge on the Wisłok river near the castle. Work on the construction of permanent fortifications probably lasted until 1637, when Ligęza died. The next owner, Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski, stopped work in Rzeszów in order to focus on the construction of a castle in Łańcut. The castle was rebuilt by his son, Hieronim Augustyn Lubomirski. The design of the bastion fortifications consistent with the Dutch school system was made by Tylman van Gameren in 1682. The works were carried out under the direction of Piotr Belotti, and later his son Jan Chrzciciel Belotti. They also involved conversion of the castle building into a multi-storey building with a gate on the west wing axis and a courtyard articulated by arcades. The corner tower was demolished. The works were completed by 1695. The castle was the main component of the architectural and garden complex created at that time. The next alterations involving redesigning the castle in a Baroque style and modernisation of the fortifications according to the French school (Vabauna) were carried out by Karol Henryk Wiedemann in 1719-1733, at the request of Jerzy Ignacy Lubomirski. The tower was extended upwards and surmounted by a slender cupola. Cannon casemates with arsenal in one of them were erected on both sides of the tower. A ravelin was built in front of the bridge. Stone corner pillars, on which wooden cavaliers were set, were added to the bastions. After the fire of the castle in 1735, in 1735-1762 the façades were altered, a chapel was added, fortifications were reinforced by adding a redan on the south-west side of the ravelin. A new drawbridge with lateral sections for pedestrians, preceded by a defensive bridge with embrasures in the side walls, was built in front of the gate. The appearance of the castle after alterations was shown by the author of the alterations on a map of Rzeszów from 1762. In 1820, the castle was purchased by the Austrian government and allocated for use as the seat of a court and circular office. A three-storeyed prison was built next to the east curtain wall. In 1901-1906, the castle was demolished leaving only the lower part of the tower. The earthen ramparts at the bastions and curtain walls were levelled replacing them with brick walls; a causeway was built on the site formerly occupied by a bridge. The prison building was demolished. According to a design by Franciszek Skowron, based on the inventory and concept developed by architect Zygmunt Hendel, a new castle wing was erected for use as the seat of a court and a prison. The castle served that function until 1981, when the prison was liquidated, and the building together with fortifications underwent full-scale renovations and conservations in 1983-1993 according to a design by the branch of state-owned enterprise Monument Conservation Workshop (PP PKZ) in Rzeszów. The works revealed the place of executions during the Stalin's terror times, under the castle courtyard. One of the repair designers, architect Adam Sapeta, also revealed a castle chapel liquidated after World War II.


The castle complex in Rzeszów consists of a castle and bastion fortifications. It is located south of the old town complex, at Śreniawitów Square.

The castle with four wings and a quadrangular courtyard was built on a rectangular floor plan. The western wing on its axis is adjoined by a tower on a square plan, originally with a pass-through hallway.

The castle wings have three storeys and a basement. The tower consists of six overground storeys; up to the second floor level it dates from the 17th century, whereas its upper sections are from 1906; it is topped with pyramid-like roof with a cupola and a spire. The western wing is characterised by a pronounced double avant-corps on the axis facing the courtyard and housing the main staircase. The middle parts of the north, east and south wings feature a slightly projecting avant-corps on the outer side. The wings and avant-corps are covered with gable roofs.

The castle is made of brick. The interiors are topped with groin vaults and flat brick Klein's ceilings on steel beams; the basements have segmental arches on steel beams. The walls are covered with plaster. The roofs are covered with ceramic tiles, and the tower cupola is clad with copper sheet.

The castle façades on the outside feature pseudo-rustication on the ground floor, triangular gables at the top of the middle avant-corps (except the western façade) and pilasters in the strips between windows. The outermost parts of the façades are characterised by false avant-corps. The outer façades and façades facing the courtyard are horizontally partitioned by cornices with modest profiles and finished with a pronounced cornice in the form of an entablature. The corners of the building and avant-corps are adorned with pseudo-rusticated lesenes. On the ground floor, the façades facing the courtyard are embellished pseudo-rusticated arcaded decoration. Above there are lesenes located in the strips between windows. The windows in the wing façades are rectangular in shape, framed by flat surrounds, with cornices above the windows and window sills. The tower façades are divided by cornices into three parts gradually tapering upwards. Above the cornices, there are narrow galleries with balustrades. The tower corners are accentuated by lesenes. The top storey of the tower is surmounted by a triangular gable with clock faces and laurel wreaths. The windows in the tower are square in shape and adorned with chambranle surrounds. At the level of the galleries, there is a wide glazed door topped with a semicircular arch. The entrance gate on the ground floor of the tower is a copy of the original seventeenth-century gate.

The hallway and rooms in the tower on the upper storey, corridors on the ground floor and first floor are covered with groin vaults; the remaining roofs are topped with flat ceilings. In the middle part of the west wing, there is an imposing staircase, and on the second floor of the north and south wing there is an impressive meeting room and chapel used as a courtroom. The tower is fitted with the original clock.

Bastion fortifications in the Dutch school system consist of a dry moat and four corner bastions of irregular front sections, elongated from the most dangerous sites, i.e., to the west and east. The preserved lower parts of the bastions and curtain walls are clad with stone and topped with a stone string course. At the corners of the bastion front sections and in the middle of the east curtain wall, there are four guard towers with cartouches from 1906; the south-eastern bastion features an original pillar and an eighteenth-century cartouche. At the site formerly occupied by the demolished earthen ramparts, there is a plastered brick wall with false embrasures, erected at a later time. On the west side of the fortifications, there are remnants of the ravelin and redan, and on the north side there is a seventeenth-century postern connecting the basement to the moat.

The monument is open to visitors. Viewing of areas open to the public is possible during the working hours of the court.

compiled by Mieczysław Kuś, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Rzeszów, 13-12-2014.


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General information

  • Type: castle
  • Chronology: XVII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: plac Śreniawitów 3, Rzeszów
  • Location: Voivodeship podkarpackie, district Rzeszów, commune Rzeszów
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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