Szlakiem polskich zamków nadwiślańskich
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

users tour Adam Paczuski

Szlakiem polskich zamków nadwiślańskich

4

one day

kujawsko-pomorskie

Ruiny zamku Dybów
Toruń

30 minutes

transport time to the next site

1h 19 min

32 min

Castle ruins
Raciążek

15 minuts

An example of a bishop’s fortified residence having the status of a regional landmark.

History

In the mid-13th century, the bishops of Włocławek became the owners of the village of Raciążek, given to them by Casimir, the duke of Kuyavia. Shortly thereafter, a wooden and earthen hillfort was erected there, surviving until the year 1330, when it fell to Teutonic Order forces during the war of 1327-1332 and was razed to the ground. It is believed that once the occupation of the Kuyavia region by the Teutonic Knights finally came to an end, Maciej from Gołańcz, the bishop of Włocławek, ordered the construction of a new, brick castle designed in the Gothic style on the site of the now-vanished hillfort. By the end of his term as a bishop in 1364, he has erected a three-storey brick residence, measuring 12 × 25 metres in total and covered with a tall gable roof. In later years, this edifice came to be known as “the great hall”. His cousin and successor, Zbylut from Gołańcz (1364-1383) had the building extended by 5 metres towards the west, its final dimensions being 17 × 25 metres. It was also during Zbylut’s times that new peripheral walls adjoining the western corners of the building were added, forming an irregular castle courtyard with an entrance gate. New utility buildings were also constructed alongside the defensive walls. In years 1531-1537, bishop Jan Karnkowski reinforced the south-western corner of the peripheral walls by erecting a square tower measuring 6.8 metres at the side. The tower was a three-storey structure with a tented roof. The transformation of the Gothic castle into a Renaissance residence took place under bishop Hieronim Rozdrażewski (1581-1600). The interiors of the great hall were substantially redesigned, with a new, wattle-and-daub house earmarked for the alderman erected alongside the building. A free-standing tower with a gateway, positioned at the western edge of the castle complex, by the dry moat separating the castle from the castle grounds, was added during the same period. This free-standing gatehouse was flanked by a wooden palisade stretching to the north and the south, connecting the structure and the castle itself. Various utility buildings and structures stood in the castle grounds, surrounded by the same type of wooden palisade. During the second half of the 17th century, the castle was abandoned and partially demolished. In years 1706-1720, bishop Felicjan Konstanty Szaniawski erected a wooden manor house in the former castle grounds. His successor, Krzysztof Antoni Szembek (1720-1739), commissioned the renowned Toruń-based architect, Giovanni Battista Cocchi, to transform the old, Gothic great hall into a Baroque palace. The front façade of this two-storey edifice, covered with a tall mansard roof, was most likely reminiscent of the Czapski family palace in Gzin near Chełmno as well as of the various buildings designed by this architect which were erected in the city of Toruń. The construction works were continued under bishop Walenty Czapski (1741-1751). After the Second Partition of Poland in 1793, the entire estate - hitherto owned by the bishopric - was secularised. In 1804, the Prussian authorities decided that the castle was to be torn down; as a result, the complex came to be used as a quarry, leading to the almost complete destruction thereof. In the years 1978-1985, archaeological and architectural surveys of the site were carried out. Once the survey was complete and once the necessary works were performed to prevent further damage, the castle was left in a state of permanent ruin. The former walls of the main residential section and the course of the peripheral walls were appropriately marked, while the remnants of the tower positioned in the southern part of the complex were extended upwards.

Description

The castle ruins are situated at the eastern edge of the village of Raciążek (which had enjoyed the status of a town in the years 1317-1870), at the top of a tall escarpment which cuts into the Vistula river valley and towers above the nearby town of Ciechocinek. The best-preserved parts of the castle are those of the main residential section, including the cellars, the ground-floor level wall base as well as three tall fragments of the wall of the front (western) façade. The walls of the remaining façades have survived in a much less presentable state. The course of the now-vanished peripheral walls along with the lower section of the quadrangular tower erected in years 1531-1537 are marked on the ground level.

The site is open to visitors.

compiled by Lech Łbik, Historical Monument and National Heritage Documentation and Popularisation Department of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Cultural Centre in Bydgoszcz, 01-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Kajzer L., Zamek w Raciążku, Łódź 1990.
  • Kajzer L., Kołodziejski S., Salm J., Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Kajzer L. (ed.), Warsaw 2010, pp. 412-413.

transport time to the next site

1h 1 min

49 min

ruiny zamku
Bobrowniki

30 minutes

transport time to the next site

2h 25 min

1h 8 min

ruiny zamku
Złotoria

15 minuts

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