The Morsko castle ruins, Zawiercie
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The Morsko castle ruins

Zawiercie

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A valuable example of a castle whose architects took advantage of the shape of the surrounding terrain and the presence of rock outcroppings when designing the structure. In addition, the ruins form part of one of the most picturesque and highly frequented tourist trials in the region, known as the Trail of the Eagle's Nests.

History

The first written references to the village of Morsko date back to the year 1220; in the 1320s, the site was allocated to the Canons Regular of the Lateran from the town of Mstów. The earliest mentions of the castle itself, known as the Bancowecz or Bąkowiec fortalice (fortalitium), are included in the documents drawn up by the chaplain of the castle in the year 1389. Due to the fact that no archaeological or architectural surveys of the site have been performed so far, historians are still in disagreement as to the exact date of construction of the castle. Some researchers attribute the decision to erect the castle to King Casimir the Great, although the fact that the chronicles of Jan Długosz - who paid particular attention to the castles founded by Casimir the Great - contain no mention of this particular location may indicate that the Bąkowiec castle was not one of them. Others suggest that Władysław Opolczyk (Vladislaus II of Opole) may have been the founder of the castle, although the very first individual who is actually mentioned in written sources as the owner thereof is a knight known as Mikołaj Strzała, referred to in documents dating back to the year 1390. The castle changed ownership on numerous occasions; in 1392, it remained in the hands of Piotr from Marcinowice, while in the years that followed its owners were Jan from Siechowice and Mikołaj Morawiec. In 1435, the Bąkowiec castle was acquired by Krystian from Koziegłowy, the castellan of the Beskid Sądecki region. Other notable owners include the Brzeski and Giebułtowski families. The castle was severely damaged in the 17th century, in the course of the Swedish invasion of Poland known as the Deluge; for the next 300 years, the castle, owned by the Heppen family, was slowly turning into a dilapidated ruin. In 1929, the castle was purchased by Witold Czeczot, an architect, who erected his villa on the southern slope of the castle hill four years later. After World War II, the site served as a holiday resort with an open-air pool accompanied by various utility buildings, operating under the administration of a mining company based in Zabrze. In the 1960s, a series of conservation works were performed on the site of the castle, with the peripheral walls thereof being reinforced and partially reconstructed. In 1999, the castle became home to the Training and Recreation Centre founded by a company called KEM, based in Dąbrowa Górnicza.

Description

The castle ruins are located in the north-eastern part of the village of Morsko, perched atop a small limestone monadnock surrounded by dense woodland.

The castle was constructed using split stone; it was designed on an irregular, elongated polygonal plan, with the underlying rock outcroppings forming an integral part its structure. The castle consists of two main parts - the small high castle, surrounded by a peripheral wall and occupying an area of approximately 500 square metres, preserved in the form of ruins, as well as the now-defunct castle grounds, located on the eastern side of the hill and originally serving various utility purposes; the surface of this part of the castle complex amounts to approximately 800 square metres. The castle grounds had originally most likely been protected by an earthen rampart and a dry moat. A water well, now completely filled with earth and soil, was originally situated at the foot of the monadnock. The upper castle came equipped with semi-circular fortified towers at its corners, with access to the individual sections of the complex facilitated by wooden ladders and walkways. Due to the subsequent addition of a villa, erected during the interwar period, as well as the utility buildings forming part of the nearby recreational centre, clustered around the southern slope of the hill, the original form of the castle complex is now partially distorted. The entrance to the high castle is currently situated in its southern section, near the residential tower.

The building can only be viewed from the outside.

compiled by Agata Mucha, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 29-08-2014.

Bibliography

  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, watchtower ruins, compiled by M. Herczyńska, 2001
  • Sypek R., Zamki i obiekty warowne Jury Krakowsko-Częstochowskiej, Bydgoszcz 2005, pp. 74-75
  • Pleszyniak J., Zamki Jury i ich okolice, Katowice 2007, pp. 41-45
  • Jakubowski R., Szlak Orlich Gniazd, Wrocław 2008, pp. 205-209
  • Kajzer L., Kołodziejski S., Salm J., Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Warsaw 2007, pp. 558-559.

General information

  • Type: castle
  • Chronology: XIV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Zawiercie
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district zawierciański, commune Zawiercie
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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