Castle ruins, Wenecja
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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An example of a medieval castle serving both the local knightly families and the Catholic Church. The importance of the structure goes beyond the region in which it is situated, mostly due to the presence of four proto-roundels from the 1430s, positioned at the corners of the outer peripheral wall.

History

The castle was erected in the second half of the 14th century, most likely before the year 1383, becoming the centre of the vast domain held by Mikołaj Nałęcz from Chomiąża, also known as the Blood Devil of Wenecja (the name of the village meaning “Venice” in Polish), who served as the castellan of Nakło (years 1365-1377) and a judge of the Kalisz land court (years 1381-1400). The castle was erected on a square floor plan, its sides measuring 33.5 metres; the structure consisted of peripheral walls, a quadrangular tower in the north-eastern corner as well as a residential building spanning the entire length of the western curtain wall. The entrance into the courtyard led through the southern foregate positioned on the axis of the curtain wall. In the year 1400, after Mikołaj Nałęcz died, the village of Wenecja was taken over by his son-in-law, Mikołaj Pomian from Warzymowo. The castle was lost to the blaze between 1411 and 1420; in the year 1420, Mikołaj of Warzymowo sold the ruins to Mikołaj Trąba, the archbishop of Gniezno. In years 1420-1436, the archbishops of Gniezno extended the castle and adapted it to serve as their official residence in the Pałuki region. It was at their initiative that a number of new rooms were added, including the chapel which adjoined the southern curtain wall, next to the foregate area. In the 1430s, the fortifications around the gate were reinforced, with the entire complex now being surrounded by an outer peripheral wall with cylindrical proto-roundels (an early type of round bastions) at the corners, designed with artillery warfare in mind. In the second half of the 15th century, the castle lost is importance both as a defensive structure and as an official residence. In years 1479-1480, during the period of administrative reform of the archbishop’s domain in Żnin, the castle was partially demolished, with the construction materials thus obtained being used for the purposes of erecting a brick and stone archbishop’s residence in the nearby town of Żnin. From that moment onwards, the castle remained in a state of ruin; in the 1980s, it was secured against further damage and left in the state of a permanent ruin right after the archaeological and architectural survey of the site has ended, having begun in 1968 and continuing intermittently ever since.

Description

The castle ruins are situated on a narrow strip of land between the Biskupińskie and Weneckie lakes, in the vicinity of the Museum of Narrow-gauge Railway in Wenecja. The full circumference of the peripheral walls up to the top section of the ground-floor level from the period when the castle was originally constructed (i.e. before 1383) has been preserved intact despite the passage of time. The walls are made of field stones and reinforced with buttresses. There also fragmentary remains of the higher sections of the castle, made of brick, much like the remains of the tower, the foregate structures and the chapel. Inside, there are remnants of the main residence positioned in the western part of the castle, a smaller, northern building as well as the quadrangular corner tower. The outer peripheral wall with its four proto-roundels designed as artillery emplacements dates back to the 1430s and has been preserved up to the level of its stone foundations only.

Accessible historic building. The ruins of the castle form part of the tourist trail known as the Piast Trail.

compiled by Lech Łbik, Historical Monument and National Heritage Documentation and Popularisation Department of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Cultural Centre in Bydgoszcz, 26-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Kajzer L., Kołodziejski S., Salm J., Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Kajzer L. (ed.), Warsaw 2010, pp. 532-534.
  • Sikorski Cz., Zamek w pałuckiej Wenecji, Bydgoszcz 1986.
  • Sikorski Cz., Zamek w Wenecji, “Żnińskie Zeszyty Historyczne”, no. 4, 1992, pp. 4-17.

General information

  • Type: castle
  • Chronology: 2. poł. XIV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wenecja
  • Location: Voivodeship kujawsko-pomorskie, district żniński, commune Żnin - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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