Residential tower (keep) forming part of the so-called Arian Tower complex, currently serving as the Community Centre, Regional Museum, Blacksmithing Museum and Commune Library, Wojciechów
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Residential tower (keep) forming part of the so-called Arian Tower complex, currently serving as the Community Centre, Regional Museum, Blacksmithing Museum and Commune Library

Wojciechów

photo

One of the few preserved residential towers in Poland, known for the relatively good condition in which its interiors (including the original layout) have survived to the present day.

History

The keep, designed for residential purposes, was erected back in the late 15th century and subsequently underwent a redesign during the 16th century. It is believed that, before 1527, Jan Pilecki ordered the modernisation of the existing earthen and wooden fortifications in Wojciechów in order to adjust them to the new role which they were about to serve as part of the complex with the brick and stone keep at its centre. The tower had the height of 27 metres, with the residential section being constructed first. This section, designed on a square floor plan, was accessible from the northern side of the building, with the northern corners of the structure being reinforced with massive, four-stepped buttresses. An external staircase is believed to have adjoined the southern side of the tower, its spacious landings doubling as observation decks. During the second stage of the building’s construction, the design was modified so that the staircase would now be located inside an annex formed after the previously open structure has been bricked up. Both parts of the tower were topped with Gothic-style gables and covered by gable roofs. Initially, the northern façade featured a balcony at the first-floor level, supported by a trio of stone corbels, while a garderobe projected from the western façade, accessible through a small, pointed-arch doorway. The décor of the keep exhibited a mixture of the Gothic and Renaissance styles, with the stonework decorations being attributed to the workshop of Benedict of Sandomierz. The local name - “The Arian Tower” - is a reference to one of the former owners of the tower, Paweł Orzechowski, who had ties to the Arian movement.

In 1910, the tower was sold to the Association for the Preservation of Historical Monuments.

In years 1913-1914, the first conservation works were performed under the direction of Jan Koszczyc-Witkiewicz; due to the onset of World War I, however, these works were destined to remain unfinished. It was only in 1939 and later in years 1953-56 and 1972 that the restoration project could be completed. During the 1980s, an external staircase and entrance into the hallway were added in the southern part of the building.

Description

The complex, consisting of the residential keep known as the Arian Tower, earthen fortifications and a fortified manor is located at the northern edge of the tightly spaced cluster of buildings of the nearby village, near the junction of the roads leading from Lublin to Kazimierz Dolny and from Bełżyce to Bochotnica (Nałęczów). The keep itself is situated in the northern corner of the quadrangle formed by the defensive ramparts. It is a brick and stone building designed on a quadrangular floor plan, its dimensions being about 12 x 13 metres; the tower, standing at 27 metres tall, was initially accessible from the south, where subsequently a half-turn staircase was constructed. The tower consists of two sections with three and four storeys respectively, with a basement concealed beneath its sturdy structure. The entire building is covered with clipped-gable roofs. The northern corners of the keep are reinforced with four-stepped buttresses. The buttresses which support the southern wall are much more modest, for they only reach the level of the first floor. The façades of the tower feature exposed masonry and follow a single-axial design. The multi-pane windows are either fully rectangular or topped with segmental arches; originally, the windows on the second-storey level of the eastern and northern façades features stone surrounds adorned with Gothic and Renaissance motifs. The gables of the tower are covered with plaster, their design enlivened by the presence of segment-headed window openings and square decorative panels. The façades of the staircase annex contrast with the main body of the keep in that their walls are covered with plaster; like the main keep, they too follow a single-axial design, with the exception of the two-axial western façade. The entrance to the tower is located on the eastern side thereof. The original interior layout consisting of a single chamber on each level has been preserved intact, with access to these chambers facilitated by the staircase in the southern annex. The tower also features a vaulted cellar, divided into two sections; above the cellar lies the ground floor level, also with a vaulted ceiling, believed to have originally served as a gateway. On the first-floor level there is a great hall with a groin vault and three windows. The fourth storey, originally also serving residential purposes, consisted of two rooms, with the top section - only surviving today in the form of parts of walls that had been visibly extended upwards at some point - is believed to have served defensive functions. The surviving parts of the original interior décor include the stone lintel and decorative motifs on a pillar.

Interior tours available from May to September between 10 AM and 5 PM.

compiled by Anna Sikora-Terlecka, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 12-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Jakimowicz T. 1979, Dwór murowany w Polsce w wieku XVI (wieża-kamienica-kasztel), Warsaw-Poznań 1979, pp. 201-202
  • Historical monument record sheet, Castle (Arian tower), Wojciechów, compiled by Jadwiga Chmielewska, 1999, Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Lublin, Archive of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Warsaw
  • Kurzątkowski M., Wieża mieszkalna zwana ariańską w Wojciechowie, BHS, vol. XXIII, issue 3), Warsaw 1961, pp. 293-296.
  • Niedźwiadek Rafał, Drobek Konrad, Pałace, dwory, folwarki w centralnej części Lubelszczyzny w świetle badań archeologicznych, [in:] Banasiewicz - Szykuła Ewa (ed.), Dwory i pałace Lubelszczyzny w badaniach archeologicznych, Lublin 2011, pp. 43-47

General information

  • Type: castle
  • Chronology: 1520-1530
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wojciechów
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district lubelski, commune Wojciechów
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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