Palace complex with a defensive structure (fortalicium), Sobków
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Palace complex with a defensive structure (fortalicium)



A residential and defensive complex - often referred to as a fortalice or fort due to its spatial layout and architectural build-ups - is among the most interesting complexes of this type in the Świętokrzyskie region. Its history is linked to renowned noble families, and the buildings developed during the subsequent phases of the extension are iconic of their times. Renovated and accessible to tourists, it is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region.


The predecessor of the defensive and residential complex in today's Sobków (formerly Nida Ryterska) was a mansion of the “Lord’s House” type of the 1st half of the 16th century built by Rafał Ryterski, probably along with some wooden outbuildings enclosed within a shared fence. This element is now called the “gateway”. His daughter Anna brought it as dowry to Stanisław Sobek; in the 2nd half of the 16th century, he built a grand defensive residence. It was regularly laid out around the perimeter wall, with storied, pentagonal towers at the corners and residential buildings and outbuildings along the south and north wall. It was then when a new Renaissance manor with apartments and a top-floor loggia was built in the north-east corner. Further to the north-west, an Italian garden and a zoo were set up. Probably at the end of the 16th century or at the beginning of the 17th century, the new owners - the Drohojowski family - modernized the existing fortalice, replacing the north-west tower with a bastion and rebuilding the Renaissance house. A major investment was undertaken by the next owner, Jan Wielopolski. In 1668, he started the construction of a Baroque house/palace in the middle of the great courtyard, probably designed by Tylman of Gameren. This was an extensive two-bay and three-route building with four pavilions (extensions) at the corners; most probably, the investment was finished by the successive owners - the Sarbiewskis and Myszkowskis in the early 17th century. The interior device is attributed to the bishop of Kraków, Felicjan Szaniawski, who became the owner of the estate in about 1725 along with the vast neighbouring land. In the second half of the 18th century, the house is converted into a classicistic palace, in line with the contemporary trends and practical needs; the project was masterminded by Anna Szaniawska, widowed by Józefat, the starost of Chęciny. The form of the building was altered along with the layout of the interior; first, east corned extensions were added and a new south façade was formed with a three-bay, open gallery topped with a semicircular tympanum. At the end of the same century, the west pavilions (from the river side) were dismantled and replaced by an elegant, axial wall with a four-column portico closed with a triangular tympanum. During this period, there were also significant changes to the complex of the former fortalice. The outbuildings within the peripheral walls were rearranged, a new grange and orchard were established to the north-east in place of the former Italian garden. The first residential “Lord’s House" was altered: the former hallway became a gateway to the courtyard where the Renaissance jamb of the old gate was transferred. In the 19th century, the estate fell into disrepair; the property was divided into several settlements and the residence, which separated from the estate, was owned by consecutive individuals. The buildings were partly inhabited and partly occupied by small business and craftsmen. By the end of the 19th century, the property would have become a ruin. Then, it went into the hands of Jewish entrepreneurs who remained owners until WW2. After 1944, the estate was nationalized. The land was given away to the local farmers. The conditions of the buildings gradually deteriorated: it was looted, disintegrated and used as a grazing site for cattle. It was only after 1956 when the property was adapted to tourist and exhibition purposes by preserving some of the original substance and tidying up the area. In 1997 the Sobków complex was acquired by a private owner who conserved the ruins and carried out repairs and converions. Today the facility offers a hotel, restaurant and some tourist amenities.


The fortalice complex is away from the town towards the north-west. It has the plan of a quadrangle, with the longer side parallel to the river and road. The area slopes towards the west and the Nida River. The entrance (and the original gateway) is located in the south wing, and the current main entrance is in the east wing. Today, the complex consists of three wings of the building and the ruins of the palace in the centre of the yard. The north and south wings are one-storey, built of quarry stone covered with gable roofs; on the corners, three one-storey towers are still visible just as the north-west rampart (considerably altered). The south wing is the oldest preserved Gothic and Renaissance manor house - the Lord’s House (with a trigeminal interior arrangement, the vaults and elements of stone jambs), and the north wing, at the east tower, reveals the later Renaissance mansion. The east wing is made up of a curtain wall with a gate and outbuildings. The centre of the courtyard is occupied by the ruins of the palace (of the neoclassicist phase); the west façade with a four-column symmetrical portico and a part of the south wall of the semicircular tympanum are clearly distinguishable. Today the building is a very carefully maintained. The peripheral buildings are renovated and fulfil various catering and hotel functions; the ruins of the palace are safeguarded and the area well cared-for (old trees, paths and manicured lawns). The new owner offers old-Polish and thematic events (also of the Sarmatian times).

The complex is accessible - private property with commercial functions

Compiled by Dariusz Kalina, 20.12.2014.


  • Karty ewidencyjne architektury i budownictwa, „Zespół fortalicji”, „Pałac”, „Skrzydło wschodnie fortalicji”, „Skrzydło północne fortalicji”, „Skrzydło zachodnie fortalicji”, oprac. G. Mętkowska 2003, mps, archiwum WUOZ w Kielcach.
  • Brykowska M., Fortalicja w Sobkowie. Przemiany architektoniczno-przestrzenne w XVI-XVIII wieku [w:] Przemiany architektury rezydencjonalnej w XV-XVIII w. na terenie dawnego województwa sandomierskiego. Wybrane przykłady. Materiały z sesji naukowej - Kielce 18 września 1999, pod red. J.L. Adamczyka. Kielce 2000, s. 67-88.
  • Kalina D., Dziedzictwo kulturowe gminy Sobków, [w:] Z dziejów Sobkowa. W 450. rocznicę nadania praw miejskich, pod red. D. Kaliny, s. 9-183.
  • Kalina D., Zamek rycerski w Sobkowie, oprowadza Dariusz Kalina, Kielce-Sobków 2014.
  • Mirowski R., Zabytki Sobkowa i najbliższe okolicy, [w:] Z dziejów Sobkowa. W 450. rocznicę nadania praw miejskich, pod red. D. Kaliny, s. 219-235.
  • Penkalla A., Fortalicja i pałac w Sobkowie. Sprawozdanie z kwerendy. Dzieje obiektów, PKZ Kielce 1977, mps w archiwum WUOZ w Kielcach.

General information

  • Type: palace
  • Chronology: ok. poł. XVI w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Sobków
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district jędrzejowski, commune Sobków
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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