A castle complex, the so-called Little Treasury (Skarbczyk), Szydłów
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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A castle complex, the so-called Little Treasury (Skarbczyk)

Szydłów

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One of the largest and most interesting castles in Poland with a unique location of the towers and a magnificent Gothic royal palace.

History

In the mid-14th century, Casimir the Great built Szydłów’s defensive walls. Immediately after 1350, a castle complex was built in the north-west part of the city, within the town's fortifications. The whole complex of irregular shape and measuring approx. 60x110m had the area of approximately 7,000 m2 and consisted of the perimeter walls, two cylindrical towers in the north-west corner, probably flanking a gateway, and a stone, one-route, three-chamber and perhaps two-storey building in the north-east corner used for the defence and administration purposes. The west and north sections of the wall were lining the cliff, and the south and east sections were within the town walls, separating the castle area from the urban settlement. In the south-west corner, in the 14th century, Casimir the Great or, more likely, Louis of Hungary, built a heated (hypocaust system) Gothic palace - the so-called "Knights' Hall", decorated with magnificent stonework. It should be noted that Tomasz Olszacki, currently studying the castle relics, suggests that it was originally a four-wing building with a small inner courtyard. In the 15th century, the Little Treasury was built in place of the demolished towers. The castle burnt in 1528. It was rebuilt by Krzysztof Szydłowiecki. After 1533 the castle became the seat of starostwo and starost while remaining the royal property. Probably still in the 16th century, the Little Treasury was converted into a residential building. The castle burned down again in 1541 but was rebuilt before 1564. At the beginning of the 17th century, during the reign of Sigismund III Vasa, the castle was renovated. A gatehouse was added. The castle was destroyed by fire in 1630, 1655 and during the civil war after the election of King Stanisław Leszczyński. It was rebuilt in 1723 by the starost of Szydłów, Count Józef Załuski. In the 2nd half of the 18th century, the gatehouse was converted into the Baroque style and a residential building was added to it. The castle was abandoned in the late 18th century. The north castle edifice was demolished. The gatehouse became a regular dwelling house. In 1793, along with the adjoining house, it became the seat of the land court and a policing committee for the Sandomierz region. The Knight’s Hall probably housed stables and a coach house in the 19th century. At that time, there were still two outbuildings in the courtyard - they have not survived until today. The Little House also fell into disrepair. In 1927 the castle ruins were secured and the defensive walls were partly reconstructed. After 1930 an elementary school was set up on the castle premises. In 1935 or 1936, the Little Treasury and the adjacent wall were secured against disintegration. In 1944 the castle was partly damaged in warfare. In 1946 the castle walls were rebuilt and the Knight’s Hall was raised. The latter was additionally, and in a manner unjustified historically, decorated with a battlement. In the years 1957-1960, the Little Treasury was reconstructed and adapted to house the Regional Museum. In 1963 the formerly existing passage in the ground level of the castle gate was restored. In 1998 a new building and a gym were added to the school edifice, thus the entire north-east section of the castle was damaged. The gatehouse was renovated in 2006.

Description

Szydłów is situated on the boundary of the Kielce-Sandomierz Upland and the Nidzica River Basin, on the so-called Szydłów Upland. It sits on a hill which from the west, north and partly east is surrounded by a gorge with the Ciekąca River. The royal castle complex occupies an irregular area of ​​the area of approximately 0.85 hectares. It is located in the west part of the town, enclosed by a defensive wall from the west, north and partly east and south. It consists of the Knights' Hall in the south-west, the Little Treasury in the north-west corner, the castle gate, a modern house in the east part and the walls. The Gothic palace - the Knights' Hall - was a basementless, two-storey, two-spaced structure of quarry stone, with rich architectural decorations, central heating (hypocaustic system) and featuring magnificent Gothic stonework. It had a rectangular plan with a square projection to the south (believed to have accommodated the castle chapel) and touched the peripheral walls. The outer walls and one internal wall of the building have been preserved. The Little Treasury was a two-storey building with a basement made of quarry stone on the plan of two rectangles set against each other at the right angle; its south-west part is slightly protruding. It has a square extension at the corner between the wings. The building stands at the highest point of the town, incorporated into the defensive walls. The gatehouse was a two-storey building, without a basement, erected of quarry stone on a square of plan. The adjacent residential house was made of brick.

The site is accessible to visitors.

Compiled by Nina Glińska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Kielce, 04.12.2014.

Bibliography

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General information

  • Type: castle
  • Chronology: po 1350 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Szydłów
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district staszowski, commune Szydłów
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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