Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Castle, today a regional museum

Sandomierz

photo

The Sandomierz castle is one of the most characteristic elements of the Sandomierz townscape and one of its most precious monuments. Its role and importance in the life of the town over centuries is unquestionable. It was the heart of the life of the province, duchy, voivodeship, and town.  Worth noting is the contribution of outstanding artists, builders and designers working in Sandomierz under the royal patronage, such as Master Benedict know as Sandomierzanin, the royal sculptor and architect Santi Gucci, managing the workshops in Pińczów, perhaps also the Lubomirski’s architect Maciej Trapola.

History

Most probably the castle hill was the site of the former Sandomierz motte. The stone castle of Sandomierz, mentioned by the chronicler Janko of Czarnków as one erected by Casimir the Great, was probably built just before or in parallel with the defensive walls of Sandomierz. The 2nd half of the 15th century saw the conversion of the south, probably the most representative wing of the castle. Another similar project was held in ca. 1480 on the initiative of Starost Rafał of Jarosław. The castle changed its character significantly during the reign of King Sigismund I the Old who ordered the demolition of the most derelict castle buildings in 1513 with a view to preparing a construction site for a new development under the supervision of the master builder Benedykt. So ca. 1520 the east and west wings were erected.  But only in the next stage of construction works in the years 1564-1565 carried out by Sigismund II Augustus, a four-sided spatial arrangement of the 16th-century castle received its ultimate shape. Soon, in 1586 King Stefan Batory decided to complete the construction, mainly in the west wing, by arranging for the preparation of the design and cost estimates by the royal architect Santi Gucci. Further work was taken up in the 2nd quarter of the 17th century in the south-west area of the complex, most probably on the initiative of Sandomierz starost, Stanisław Lubomirski, perhaps with the participation of Lubomirski’s court architect Maciej Trapola. In 1656 the retreating Swedish troop blew up the castle before it was seized by the Polish army.  The unfinished west wing suffered the least and was the basis for the reconstruction undertaken in the years 1680-1688 by King Jan III Sobieski. After the vandalization of the castle interior by the Russian troops stationed here during the Bar Confederation fights, major changes were introduced in the late 18th century, when the Austrian occupant adopted the complex to fulfil a court and jail functions. The authorities of the Congress Kingdom of Poland, when redesigning the layout of Sandomierz as part of the urban regulatory plan of 1820, decided to move the jail to the main building and ordered the demolition of the rest of the complex. The characteristic prison-like façade of the building was created in that period. It was in the spring of 1959 when the prison buildings were transferred to the municipal authorities for comprehensive research (carried out by the Department of Architecture, Warsaw University of Technology) and then renovation and adaptation. After that, in the mid-1980s, the castle was handed over to the Regional Museum in Sandomierz as exhibition space.

Description

Today’s castle sits on a hill, south of the Old Town. The castle was a more or less regular complex on a square plan with the inner courtyard. Only the remains of the stone tower are left after the early structure, dating probably to the period of construction initiatives of King Casimir the Great. The preserved main building was once the west wing of the castle. The fine composition of the façade is an interesting example of the work based on the so-called “characterological" theory of architectural orders. Over the entrance there is a visible older part of the façade: partially reconstructed erection plaque dated 1520 and recalling the works carried by Master Benedict commissioned by King Sigismund I the Old. The museum exhibition features some of the stonework decorations of the time. The south tower is the oldest preserved part of the castle body. It was once part of the representative south wing of King Casimir’s castle and was rebuilt probably in the 2nd half of the 15th century. An interesting piece of interior is the royal kitchen in the north part of the building. It was designed after the Swedish demolition in 1656. Besides there is a monumental staircase to be found in the central part of the wing, leading up to the most splendid upper floor chambers. The Grand Hall features a portal of ca. 1620 with the coat of arms of the Lubomirskis, probably designed by their court architect Maciej Trapola.

The building is accessible; interior tour within the museum opening hours.

Compiled by Jerzy Zub, 15.12.2014.

Bibliography

  • Buliński M., Monografija miasta Sandomierza, Warszawa 1879.
  • Kalinowski W., Lalik T., Rutkowski H., Trawkowski S., Sandomierz, Warszawa 1956.
  • Miłobędzki A., Zamek sandomierski  (w:) Studia sandomierskie, Warszawa 1967.
  • Miłobędzki A., Zamek i więzienie (w:) Romantyzm, Warszawa 1967.
  • Dzieje Sandomierza, red. Samsonowicz H., t. I - IV, Warszawa 1993-94.
  • Zub J., Wstępne rozpoznanie zabudowy północnej części wzgórza zamkowego w Sandomierzu (w:) Pamiętnik sandomierski, t. III, Sandomierz 1997, s. 241-50.
  • Wódz B. E.,  Źródła archiwalne o architekturze zamku królewskiego w Sandomierzu w dobie renesansu (w:) Zeszyty Sandomierskie, nr 28, Sandomierz 2009, s. 29-35.

General information

  • Type: castle
  • Chronology: poł. XIV w.
  • Form of protection: heritage-listed monuments
  • Address: Zamkowa 12, Sandomierz
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district sandomierski, commune Sandomierz
  • Copyright owner: National Heritage Board of Poland

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