Castle ruins, Sochaczew
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Castle ruins represent a historical value. They constitute a remnant of the oldest building in Sochaczew. The feature is related to the history of the Duchy of Mazovia and the adoption of the “Sochaczew Statutes” in 1377. The ruins, towering over the town on a high embankment of the Bzura river, present landscape values.

History

Settlement in this area dates back to as early as the 12th century. The first fortress made of wood and earth was erected here in the 13th century by Konrad I of Mazovia. The brick castle was founded in the mid 14th century, probably by Duke Siemowit III the Senior and constituted a fortress of the Duchy of Mazovia. This centre was of considerable political importance, which was attested by the organisation of the assembly of Dukes of Mazovia in Sochaczew in 1377 and the adoption of the first written collection of laws for the entire Mazovia region, the so-called “Sochaczew Statutes.” In 1476 the castle, along with the town, fell under the rule of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and became a seat of a town starost.

The fortress, founded on unstable soil, faced the problem of landslides for many years. The most serious construction disaster took place in the early 17th century, when the northern slope of the hill disintegrated along with fragments of walls. Then it was decided to demolish the medieval castle and erect a new building on the foundations of the former. However, the works were lengthy and only in the mid 17th century the new Late Renaissance or Early Baroque castle was erected. Unfortunately, before the completion of works, the building was a target of a military attack and was burned during the Deluge, around 1657. After this act of destruction the castle remained a ruin for more than a century. The feature was erected anew in the years 1789-1790. A chancellery building and a town archive was built on the foundations of old walls. It performed its functions for only four years, since it was destroyed by the Prussians during the Kościuszko Uprising. Nobody has ever attempted to rebuild the fortress again.

Recently, revitalisation works consisting in reinforcing and securing the castle hill took place in 2013.

Description

The castle ruins are located on a tall buttress on the right bank of the Bzura river. They are separated from the town in the north and the east by a dry valley, whereas in the south and the east by a former moat. Currently, the entire feature is surrounded by a “Podzamcze” park established after the war; a contemporary concert shell is situated on the town’s side.

The original castle was a building erected on a rectangular floor plan, with a brick gate tower in the east and a surrounding wall. Buildings next to the wall were probably fully made of wood.

The early modern castle from the 17th century was a three-wing building, with the wings in the east, south and west, and two towers, including a Gothic one, which represented a remnant of the medieval castle. The western side, 12 metres wide, housed representative rooms, including a knights’ room and a large hall on the ground floor. An octagonal tower in the eastern wing contained a castle chapel. Entrance to the castle was located next to the tower; it was routed on an oak bridge laid over a moat. The remaining part of the courtyard from the northern and eastern side was enclosed by a wall.

Only fragments of the old castle have survived. Walls of the western wing with segment-headed window openings have been partially preserved. Eastern and southern wings are more blurred. An octagonal western tower has survived in a residual form.

The castle ruins are widely accessible, the entrance is free.

Compiled by Bartłomiej Modrzewski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Warsaw, 13-10-2015.

Bibliography

  • J. Bednarek, Sochaczew. Ruina zamku książęcego, http://www.zamkipolskie.com/sochaczew/sochaczew.html, dostęp: 13 października 2015.
  • U. Biernat, Ruiny zamku obronnego [karat ewidencyjna tzw. biała], 1982.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. X: województwo warszawskie, red. I. Galicka, H. Sygietyńska, z. 24: powiat sochaczewski, oprac. I. Galicka, H. Sygietyńska, inwent. D. Kaczmarzyk, Warszawa 1973.
  • W. Klimczak, Warownia księcia wkoło murowana, http://to-ci-historia.blog.pl/2014/09/26/warownia-ksiecia-wokolo-murowana/, 26 września 2014, dostęp: 13 października 2015.
  • Oficjalny portal miasta Sochaczew, http://www.sochaczew.pl/home/www/1552?title=Zabytki-i-miejsca-pamieci&filterId=1&tabId=1&sochaczew, dostęp: 13 października 2015.
  • Ł. Popowski, Tajemnice zamku w Sochaczewie, http://histmag.org/Tajemnice-zamku-w-Sochaczewie-819, 17 grudnia 2006, dostęp: 13 października 2015.
  • A. G. Turczyk, Zamek w Sochaczewie, http://dawnysochaczew.republika.pl/zamek.htm, dostęp: 13 października 2015.

General information

  • Type: castle
  • Chronology: XIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Podzamcze , Sochaczew
  • Location: Voivodeship mazowieckie, district sochaczewski, commune Sochaczew (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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