Krzyżtopór castle, Ujazd
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Krzyżtopór castle



The Krzyżtopór castle is one of Europe’s largest ruins of a fortified aristocratic residence of the palazzo in fortezza type. It was built by Krzysztof Ossoliński. His education, public and military activity as well as extensive travelling made him one of the finest and most recognizable figures of the Republic of Poland of the 1st half of the 17th century. The castle is an original building; it is one of the projects funded by the Ossoliński brothers, next to their family castle in Ossolin, the palace in Warsaw, the collegiate church in Klimontów or the Loreto Chapel in Gołąb.


The castle was erected in the years 1631-1644, as it says on the inscriptions on the entrance gate and the attic. The construction is often linked to Wawrzyniec Senes, but a more probable designer is an unknown but prominent architect, perhaps an expert in fortifications, and the actual role of Senes was reduced to that of overseeing the construction. Krzysztof Ossoliński bequeathed the castle and the surrounding property to his son Krzysztof Baldwin in 1644; he took it over after his father’s death in February 1645. After the death of Krzysztof Baldwin in the battle of Zborów in 1649 and of Krzysztof Ossiliński’s brothers, Krzyżtopór went into the hands of the related Denhoff family, and then of the Kalinowskis, Morsztyns and Paces. In October 1655 the castle was insidiously seized by the Swedes. Eric Dahlberg, the quartermaster general of the Swedish army and a draftsman, drew a plan of the ground floor. Probably, the Swedes plundered the rich interior, library and family archives. The successive owners rarely stayed at the devastated building and only Jan Michał Pac, a Lithuanian army general and the marshal of the Bar Confederation, renovated some parts of the castle that he though were fit for living. In the years 1768-1770, the right, residential wing was home to the Bar Confederation participants. During the confederate fights, large parts of the castle were destroyed. In 1815 the ruined castle became the possession of Ludwik Łempicki and Kostancja Łempicka nee Sołtyk, but reconstruction was beyond the means of the new owners and their heirs. It was not until the postwar period, primarily in the early 1970s, when, under the supervision of Alfred Majewski, the Wawel Castle Restoration Board conducted the necessary research and protected the castle ruins. It was agreed that the castle should assume the status of a permanent ruin with some part of the edifice being adapted to be used for administrative purposes and exhibitions. The project was carried out by the Inter-University Institute for Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art under the guidance Andrzej Koss.


The ruins preserved in the north part of the village consist of three interlinked elements: the defensive complex, the mansion within and the surrounding garden. Preserved has been the moated, pentagonal defensive system accessible by a bridge resting on a stone arcade. The main entrance is decorated with a crucifix, a symbol of the founder’s piety and attachment to the Roman Catholic religion, and an ax, the coat of arms of the Toporczyk - Ossoliński family and a symbol of the magnate’s pride. Over smaller gates there is a stylized letter W which, together with the crucifix placed above, is the Dębno coat of arms of the founder’s mother, Jadwiga nee Sienieńska, and the date 1631, probably marking the end of construction of this part of the residence. The entrance gateway leads to a spacious, trapezoidal courtyard, closed on the sides by storied outbuildings with tower-like pavilions. The west outbuilding houses utility and auxiliary space while the underground level of the east one contained the famous stables with marble troughs and mirrors. From the courtyard, a narrow corridor leads to an elliptical inner yard enclosed by open go-through galleries. This section of the complex was intended for the most representative chambers of the Ossolińskis’ residence, including the staircase and the chapel. The courtyard has ornamental façades with a “gallery” of 40 individuals set between the windows. It is a collection of portraits of the founder’s ancestors and persons related to the family. Every image goes with a short description underneath, written in old Polish and still legible. The north part of the palace was dominated by a two-storey ballroom designed over the dining room. It accommodated a gallery for the orchestra and lodges along the walls; behind it, an octagonal tower which is said to have had a transparent, probably crystal, decking with exotic fish visible underneath. Behind it, there was a terrace over the rampart which offered a magnificent view of the area and the quartered garden with exotic trees and flowers imported mainly from Italy.

Sightseeing possible within a specified time schedule.

Compiled by Jerzy Zub, 06.12.2014.


  • Tomkowicz S., Krzyżtopór twierdza magnacka XVII wieku i architekt jej Wawrzyniec Senes (w:) Sprawozdania Komisyi do badania Historyi Sztuki w Polsce, T. V, 1896.
  • Gruszecki A., Bastionowe zamki magnackie w Małopolsce, Warszawa 1962.
  • Lutostańska A., Przyczynek do mecenatu artystycznego Krzysztofa Ossolińskiego na tle badań nad zamkiem w Ujeździe (w:) Kwartalnik Architektury i Urbanistyki, T. VIII/1, 1963.
  • Gruszecki A., Niektóre elementy zamku Krzyżtopór w Ujeździe w świetle badań w 1962 i 1965 roku (w:) Rocznik Muzeum Świętokrzyskiego, t. VI, Kraków 1970.
  • Lutostańska A., Trwałe wartości zamku Krzyżtopór w Ujeździe (w:) Kwartalnik Architektury i Urbanistyki, T. XXIV/ 3, 1979.
  • Miłobędzki A. Architektura polska XVII wieku, Warszawa 1980.
  • Meyer N., Krzyżtopór - Pan jako twierdza. Antropomorficzna interpretacja zamku w Ujeździe (w:) Biuletyn Historii Sztuki, Warszawa 1993, T. 55, nr 4, s. 467-81.
  • Fabiański M., O genezie architektury pałacu Krzyżtopór w Ujeździe i jego dekoracji (w:) Biuletyn Historii Sztuki, T. 58, nr 3-4, Warszawa 1996, s. 269-78.
  • Chrościcki J. A., Dzieje recepcji Krzyżtoporu rezydencji Krzysztofa Ossolińskiego wojewody sandomierskiego, (w:) Ars sine scientia nihil est: księga ofiarowana profesorowi Zygmuntowi Świechowskiemu, Warszawa 1997.
  • Mossakowski S., Krzyżtopór a Caprarola, (w:) Orbis Polonus: studia z historii sztuki XVII-XVIII wieku, Warszawa 2002, s. s. 165-81.
  • Kuls T., Krzyżtopór, Warszawa 2014.

General information

  • Type: castle
  • Chronology: 1631 - 1644
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Ujazd 73
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district opatowski, commune Iwaniska
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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