Wędrówka po Chęcinach
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

users tour Łukasz Młynarski NID OT Kielce

Wędrówka po Chęcinach

34

one day

świętokrzyskie

układ urbanistyczno-krajobrazowy miasta
Chęciny

Franciscan monastery complex
Chęciny

30 minutes

The Franciscan monastery complex constitutes an excellent example of Franciscan architecture, adapted to the requirements imposed by order rules, and at the same time used for various purposes and restored to the original state. Construction works were carried out by local construction workshops, including the workshop of the renowned builder Kacper Fodyga.

History

The Franciscan monastery, created after 1368, was founded by the Casimir the Great. The oldest part of the complex is constituted by a Gothic church built in the 2nd half of the 14th century and reconstructed after the fire in 1465. In the late 16th century, it was temporary used by Protestants who caused considerable damages in the church. Inspection documents of 1598 contain the following description: a wooden processional cloister on a quadrilateral plan, adjoined from the west by a row of one-storey, brick and stone buildings, and a wooden dormitory on the first floor; the monastery did not feature house for novices, house of study, or infirmary. In years 1612-1620, thanks to the efforts of starost of Chęciny Stanisław Branicki, the church and monastery were converted. The nave and church's presbytery were vaulted, new roofs and western gable were made, and monastery buildings were converted; also utility buildings with an entrance gate were erected. It is suspected that local builders, stonecutters and sculptors were employed for the purposes of the works. In the north-eastern corner of the monastery, a late-Renaissance St. Leonard chapel (chapel of the Branicki family) was built. Its interior was finished in 1641. The renovated and extended structure was vandalised once again in 1656-1657, and reconstructed in the 2nd half of the 17th century by starost Stefan Bidziński. The reconstruction was commemorated on a plane plaque with the coat of arms of the starost (Janina), placed in front of the entrance to the retreat. It seems that the works focused on the monastery buildings; the western wing was converted, and other wings were extended upwards; a quadrangle of monastery buildings was created which has survived until today. In the times of the Kingdom of Poland the buildings, after the monastery was dissolved, was taken over by the State Treasury and earmarked for a prison. After some adaptations, the monastery buildings were used for prison purposes until 1928; then the monastery housed a municipal court and a school. During the World War II, the monastery was used by the German army. The complex underwent restoration in years 1946-48. After the war, it housed a stonecutter school, meat processing plant, Employment Cooperative, municipal bath and Łysogóry hotel (in 1960s and 70s, adaptation to serve as a House of Tourist with a restaurant in the church was carried out, involving removal of secondary partitions and maintenance works, but also stripping of the sacred fittings). Currently, the complex is owned by the Franciscan convent to which it was returned in 1991. Some renovation, and mainly cleaning works were carried out, necessary to restore the structure to a condition suitable for religious practices.  In 1997, the church was re-consecrated. At present, the reclaimed monastery also houses an Addiction Treatment Centre.

Description

The monastery occupies a corner plot located in the north-western part of the town. In the central section of the plot, there is the church and a quadrangle of monastery buildings adjoining it. From the north and west, the site is delimited by administration and utility buildings forming a perimeter; the entrance gate is situated on the western side, otherwise the site is fenced by a high wall. The monastery church (of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary) is oriented, made of split limestone, windows and doors are surrounded by stone decorations. The church itself is comprised of a two-bay nave and a narrower, three-bay presbytery with a polygonal ending section. The church features double barrel vaults with overlaid decorative ribs; gable roofs (over the presbytery, the roof was later lowered). In 1947, fragments of wall painting on the rood wall originating from the mid-15th century were discovered, with a signature by the brother Angel from Sącz. The walls of monastery wings create an internal, almost square garth. Wall façades are plain, window surrounds made of sandstone; on the ground floor the walls are supported by buttresses. External façades are plastered (until the end of the 20th century there were bare stone); roofs are low, of gable type. In the south-eastern corner of the complex, there is the St. Leonard chapel, called Branicki chapel. It is oriented, built on a square plan, with an apse from the east, covered with a cupola ceiling. Interior of the apse is opened inner-ward through a rood arch. On the pendetives, there are late-Renaissance stucco cartouches with coats of arms. At the northern wall, there are elongated, one-bay stone buildings — the former guest house and the former prison hospital. Façades of the buildings are style-less and topped with a plain cornice. By the western wall, there is a two-storey gate building with a passageway opening to the courtyard through wide semi-circular arcades. The monastery complex is currently used in line with its purpose. Elements reminiscent of past times are still there, but the yard is well maintained, and the structures are successively renovated.

The historic building is partly accessible.

Compiled by Dariusz Kalina, 15.12.2014.

Bibliography   

  • Karty ewidencyjna architektury i budownictwa,: „d. Klasztor oo. Franciszkanów”, „Kaplica św. Leonarda”, „Kościół franciszkanów pw. Wniebowzięcia NMP, „Zabudowania gospodarcze klasztoru oo. franciszkanów pw. Wniebowzięcia NMP”, compiled by S. Parafianowicz 1983, mps, archiwum Wojewódzkiego Urzędu Ochrony Zabytków w Kielcach i Narodowego Instytutu Dziedzictwa w Warszawie.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, vol. III: Województwo kieleckie, fasc. 4: Powiat kielecki, oprac. zbiorowe, Warszawa 1959.
  • Barbasiewicz M, Kubiak J., Chęciny Studium historyczno-urbanistyczne, Warszawa 1981, archiwum WKZ w Kielcach.
  • Hałambiec M. J., Franciszkański klasztor w Chęcinach (Historia od fundacji -1368, poprzez zabór -1817, do odzyskania 1991), Chęciny 2003.
  • Kalina D., Dzieje Chęcin, Chęciny 2007.
  • Kalina D., Klasztor franciszkanów, [in:] Chęciny na starej fotografii. Szkice z dziejów miasta, Kielce 2008, s. 199-212.
  • Palewicz M., Kościoły i kaplice Chęcin, „Nasza Przeszłość. Studia z dziejów Kościoła i Kultury Katolickiej w Polsce”, R. 57, Kraków 1982, pp. 225-226.
  • Rawita-Witanowski R., Dawny powiat chęciński. Z ilustracjami prof. Jana Olszewskiego, compiled by D. Kalina, Kielce 2001.

dom
Chęciny

zajazd, ob. dom mieszkalny
Chęciny

dom
Chęciny

chałupa
Chęciny

chałupa
Chęciny

dom
Chęciny

d. kościół pw. Świętego Ducha i przytułek, ob. dom
Chęciny

Poor Clare monastery complex
Chęciny

The Poor Clare (Franciscan), and currently Bernardine sisters monastery complex is an example of local architecture built up over time that received its final shape in the 17th century. Of extraordinary value is the virtually unchanged, Baroque décor of the church's interior, maintained in a uniform style, and complemented to a small extent in the 18th century.

History

The Poor Clare (currently Bernardine sisters) monastery complex was created spontaneously out of illumination of a couple of pious third-order sisters from the 1st half of the 17th century, and at the beginning, it operated next to a male monastery. The situation changed when before 1634 the sisters received a brick and stone house in the town from a wealthy citizen Sebastian Fodyga, and in 1634, foundation of the monastery was approved by primate M. Łubieński. The next year saw a solemn ceremony at which the sisters were introduced to the monastery, and the complex itself was consecrated. The nearby hospital church, officially donated to the monastery by the town in 1673, was probably already used then. It was also on that time when, after the havoc of the Swedish deluge, at the initiative of starost of Chęciny Stefan Bidziński, the main construction of the monastery was founded — the monastery absorbed a former brick and stone tenement house, and was connected with the former hospital church and extended by a purchased orchard. The church (initially built in 1569 and preserved inside in the western part of the building in the form of a small chancel and a nave, which is square in projection) was then extended, thoroughly converted and consecrated in 1685 as St. Mary Magdalena church.   Until 1673, also the second main building of the monastery was built, housing monastic cells; in the older building, general and auxiliary rooms were located. In the 18th century, the monastery started to decay, two times there was a fire, and in the 18th century, it met its end — the last nuns left the structure in 1902. The decaying monastery buildings were taken up by the congregation of Bernardine sisters only in the 1930s.  During the World War II, part of the monastery was seized by German gendarmerie, and after the war nuns were forced to leave their buildings, where a dormitory was arranged and people accommodated (the storey was partially transformed).  The reclamation process lasted until 1990s. Currently, all buildings are used by the order of Bernardide sisters. In the last years, the monastery was extended by an eastern section, and thoroughly renovated (roofs, façades, and fencing walls included) along with the church, which did not undergo significant transformations over time.

Description

The complex is located in the south-western part of the town; it is comprised of the church, monastery buildings, and fenced area. Main buildings are arranged along Małoposka Street. In the corner of the spacious monastery estate, there is a church (of the St. Mary Magdalene) with its roof ridge parallel to the street. Its windowless façade faces west, and is available from the street through the porch, and also from the monastic garden. The external outline of the church is rectangular, with porches added from south and north, and a belfry from the south, at the south-eastern corner. In the late 18th century, the church was extended to the west with a choir gallery; the nave and chancel were vaulted; internal door openings were furnished with sandstone surrounds. The result is the present two-storey building, covered with a gable, two-section roof with a steeple. The buildings is made of split stone and partially also of brick, it features barrel and double barrel vaults with stucco decoration; the roof truss is of king post type. The Baroque décor of the church, which has survived to a significant degree, originates from the 2nd half of the 17th century. From the east, along the street, the church is adjoined by the monastery. The latter is constituted by two two-storey rectangular buildings — the central section's layout is two-and-a-half-bay, the western section is a former, converted tenement house (probably the original monastic house), and from the east, there is a new structure which presently houses the entrance. In the western section, there is a corridor, staircase, halls, kitchen, and refectory; from the refectory one may access the sacristy in the church. This section features basements and it is buttressed. In the basements and part of the ground floor there are barrel vaults, with beam ceilings above; the whole structure is covered with a gable roof. The buildings are made of stone and brick, their walls are plastered (with local architectural sandstone detail). The house for novices, once located on the south, and constituting a side wing, was demolished in the 1960s. The monastery buildings, renovated and restored together with the church not so long age, are presently in a good condition. A valuable element of the monastery fittings are two sculptures of the Virgin Mary with Child originating from the 15th century.

The historic complex is partially accessible.

Compiled by Dariusz Kalina, 20.12.2014.

Bibliography

  • Karty ewidencyjne zabytków architektury i budownictwa, „Klasztor ss. Bernardynek (d. ss. Klarysek)” i „Kościół ss. Bernardynek (d. ss. Klarysek) pw. św. Józefa”, compiled by S. Parafianowicz 1983, mps, archiwum Wojewódzkiego urzędu Ochrony Zabytków w Kielcach i Narodowego Instytutu Dziedzictwa w Warszawie.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, vol. III: Województwo kieleckie, z. 4: Powiat kielecki, Warszawa 1959.
  • Barbasiewicz M, Kubiak J., Chęciny Studium historyczno-urbanistyczne, Warszawa 1981, archiwum WKZ w Kielcach.
  • Hałambiec M. J., Franciszkański klasztor w Chęcinach (Historia od fundacji -1368, poprzez zabór -1817, do odzyskania 1991), Chęciny 2003.
  • Kalina D., Dzieje Chęcin, Chęciny 2007.
  • Rawita-Witanowski M., Dawny powiat chęciński. Z ilustracjami prof. Jana Olszewskiego, compiled by D. Kalina, Kielce 2001, pp. 61.
  • Kalina D., Dawny kościół i klasztor zakonu św. Klary w Chęcinach, [in:] Chęciny na starej fotografii. Szkice z dziejów miasta, Kielce 2008, pp. 27-42.
  • Palewicz M., Kościoły i kaplice Chęcin, „Nasza Przeszłość. Studia z dziejów Kościoła i Kultury Katolickiej w Polsce”, R. 57, Kraków 1982, pp. 225-226.

Niemczówka complex
Chęciny

An example of tenement house from the first half of the 17th century; it is sufficiently special and unique to talk about "Chęciny house" type, formed in the 17th century. With no doubt, the house is a town attraction.

History

The oldest part of the building is constituted by a Renaissance house erected in 1570 by Walenty and Anna nee Niemiec Wrzesień. In the 30s of the 17th century, the building was substantially extended by its new owner — mayor of Chęciny Walenty Soboniewski. The extension consisted in adding a "great room" from the yard. The interior layout formed then is typical of Chęciny of the 17th century; it can be found in many tenement houses (there are still around 20 such houses here) — the central drive-hall leads to the yard, and on its side there are two vaulted rooms, next to them a kitchen without windows, and a spacious day room from the yard. Such houses featured vaulted basements, accessible from the hall. Since the 18th century, the house had been owned by a Jewish Najfeld family, who run a bakery and a forge at the back of the house. Since 1945, the building has been communal property; in the 1950s, its technical condition was very bad. In early 1970., the house was converted and renovated — among other things partition walls were removed, a landing was added, and the roof was laid with wood shingles. In 2006, the building along with the yard was thoroughly restored and modernised — to serve tourist traffic. Currently, it houses the Centre of Tourist and Historical Information of the Commune of Chęciny.

Description

The complex is comprised of main building and surroundings — yard. The main building is a one-storey house on a plan shaped like the letter "L", with front façade within the street's frontage. It features basements and currently, also an usable attic, additionally lit by dormers. The basement level is comprised of three vaulted rooms with plain stone portals; it is accessible from the drive-hall. The main entrance from the street leads to the roofed hall whose walls feature stone portals (inter alia with a Renaissance cartouche with the first construction date), leading to side rooms and the basement. Further on towards the yard, there is a nearly square room ("great room") with an old ceiling beam (of 1643, with the name of the mayor inscribed), and original, triple window in the southern wall, divided by pillars reminiscent of Tuscan columns. The usable attic was created in the 19th century, and it is accessible by the staircase located in the south-western part of the house. The front façade is 4-axial, rests on a low foundation, and in the top section features a profiled eaves cornice; window surrounds are of stone, and above the entrance gate, there is a modern, stone cartouche. The ending section of the yard inside was originally adjacent to the parallel Jędrzejewska Street, where a craft workshop operated. Currently, the yard is significantly smaller, surrounded by walls with seats in niches and covered with roof tiles, with access to a well cased with stone. The building is made of local stone — limestone slits with some bricks here and there, some rooms features vaults, some flat ceilings; on the wooden truss over the attic, there is a gable and shed roof covered with wood shingles. The entire building is renovated and in good condition.

The historical building is open to visitors.

Compiled by Dariusz Kalina, 20.12.2014.

Bibliography 

  • Karta ewidencyjna architektury i budownictwa, d. dom mieszczański zwany „Niemczówka”, compiled by S. Parafianowicz, Kielce 1983, mps, archiwum Wojewódzkiego Urzędu Ochrony Zabytków w Kielcach i  Narodowego Instytutu Dziedzictwa w Warszawie.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, vol. III: Województwo kieleckie, fasc. 4: Powiat kielecki, Warszawa 1959.
  • Barbasiewicz M, Kubiak J., Chęciny Studium historyczno-urbanistyczne, Warszawa 1981, archiwum WKZ w Kielcach.
  • Kalina D., Dzieje Chęcin, Chęciny 2007.
  • Rawita-Witanowski M., Dawny powiat chęciński. Z ilustracjami prof. Jana Olszewskiego, compiled by D. Kalina, Kielce 2001.

Kamienica Fotydzińska
Chęciny

dom zajezdny Pod Srebrną Górą
Chęciny

oficyna
Chęciny

dom
Chęciny

kamienica
Chęciny

kamienica
Chęciny

ratusz
Chęciny

15 minuts

dom
Chęciny

kamienica
Chęciny

kamienica
Chęciny

kamienica
Chęciny

kamienica
Chęciny

kamienica
Chęciny

kamienica
Chęciny

kamienica
Chęciny

kamienica
Chęciny

kamienica
Chęciny

kamienica
Chęciny

Synagogue
Chęciny

15 minuts

The synagogue is an excellently preserved example of late-Renaissance architecture of Chęciny, then one of the most important construction and artistic centres in the Republic of Poland. The scale of the project, lavishness of architectural detail inside and outside indicate an important role of the house of prayer in the local Jewish community.

History

First mentions about the existence of a Jewish community in Chęciny date back to the mid-16th century. The existence of a house of prayer before 1597 in this location is confirmed by a decree of King Sigismund III Vasa, forbidding to run a house of prayer in the town. In 1638, king Władysław IV Vasa permitted Jews to build a brick and stone house of prayer in the town. The building was erected on a square purchased from a townsman from Chęciny, Marcin Furgat. The privilege precisely defined its size and general layout, which corresponds to the layout and size of the building existing today. It was constructed by the Jewish construction guild mentioned in the preserved town files originating from the first half of the 17th century. After the fire in 1905, the building underwent thorough renovation, and in 1906, one suite of rooms was added on its north side. During the World War II, the synagogue was closed by the Germans, and the buildings was heavily damaged. After the war, it was taken over by municipal authorities, and it was reconstructed and converted in years 1957-1958 (among others, the roof was replaced and the stonework was renovated). In that time, it housed a municipal library, a communal and municipal cultural centre, "Marmury" cinema, and headquarters of commune authorities. Currently, the structure is owned by the Jewish community with the head office in Katowice; it is not used. According to some, a rabbi house was located next to the synagogue, and somewhat away, a mikvah, and to the north — a school, which are, however, poorly discernible in the converted buildings.

Description

The building is located in the eastern part of the city, on a platform lower in relation to the street surface, and is slightly receded from the frontage. In front of it, there is a metal, modern fence with a brick gate and pillars. The building is sturdy, perpendicular, and two-storey in general, covered with a two-hipped roof (of Polish type). The older part of the building is flanked in the corners by bulky buttresses with vertical faces.  The interior layout is delimited by a main room which is rectangular in projection and vaulted, and located in the front part below the ground level, preceded from the south by a hallway, with a room separated in the south-eastern corner and a women's section on the first floor, accessible by external staircase. The main entrance in the southern wall of the building is embraced by a late-Renaissance portal. Also the entrance to the room from the hallway features a stone portal from the 2nd quarter of the 17th century. Inside, in the room on the eastern wall, there is a late-Renaissance stone Torah ark of black marble, inlaid with Chęciński marble, once painted, with a cartouche with a crown in the top. Part of the fittings of the rooms (wood panelling, floors) survived from the period of the preceding public (community) use. Façades of the oldest part of the building are separated with corner buttresses, with freely arranged windows of various sizes in plain, late-Renaissance stone surrounds. Walls are plastered, with a couple of layers of paints; the roof is covered with wood shingles. The structure is still in moderately good shape, but decay of the shingles is starting to be visible, as well as depletion and dampness of plasterwork; it requires an urgent, general renovation.

Access to the historical building is limited; property of the Jewish commune in Katowice.

Compiled by Dariusz Kalina, 21.12.2014.

Bibliography

  • Karta ewidencyjna zabytków architektury i budownictwa, Dawna synagoga, compiled by S. Parfianowicz, Kielce 1983. archiwum Wojewódzkiego Urzędu Ochrony Zabytków w Kielcach i Narodowego Instytutu Dziedzictwa w Warszawie.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, vol. III: Województwo kieleckie, fasc. 4: Powiat kielecki, Warszawa 1959.
  • Barbasiewicz M, Kubiak J., Chęciny Studium historyczno-urbanistyczne, Warszawa 1981, archiwum WKZ w Kielcach.
  • Baranowski J., Synagoga w Chęcinach, „Ochrona Zabytków”, R. 1959, fasc. 3/4.
  • Bergman E, Jagielski J., Zachowane synagogi i domy modlitwy w Polsce - katalog, Warszawa 1996.
  • Miłobędzki A., Architektura XVII wieku w Polsce, Warszawa 1980.
  • Kalina D., Dzieje Chęcin, Chęciny 2007.
  • Mirowski R., Chęciński album, Kielce 2001.
  • Penkalla A., Żydowskie ślady w województwie kieleckim i radomskim, Radom 1992.

dom
Chęciny

Jewish Cemetery
Chęciny

15 minuts

One of the oldest survived Jewish cemeteries in the voivodeship with the only (apart from Sandomierz) preserved gravestones originating from the 17th century as well as examples of sarcophagus-shaped gravestones, double gravestones and gravestones decorated with a convex inscription, which are rare in the voivodeship.

History

The first records related to Jews in Chęciny come from inspection documents of 1564-65. In a Catholic house, there lived then four owners and two Jewish tenants. One year later, the town received a privilege forbidding the Jews from building a synagogue or employing Christian servants. Chęciny did not have the privilege de non tolerandis Judaeis, but in 1581, the town received a letter from Stefan Batory, limiting the number of Jewish homes to two. In 1583, dwellers of Chęciny demanded that the excessive number of Jews be removed from the town. As a result of a pledge to the king, Jews were allowed to leave in Chęciny, but only by virtue of residential tradition. In 1597, Sigismund III Vasa granted economic privileges to Jews. The right to build a synagogue they received back in 1638 from Vladislav IV. In the 1st half of the 17th century, there was an organised Jewish commune here with a rabbi, teacher, and hazzan, keeping a cemetery, which can be evidenced by the fact that in 1660, Jews gave testimony to the royal inspector that they had a privilege for "Kirhof"  In 1668, starost of Chęciny Stefan Bidziński permitted Jews to freely trade and purchase real property. In the same year, they were ensured right to restore the cemetery. The privilege was approved in 1677 by John III, confirmed in 1720 by Augustus II the Strong, and in 1765 by Stanisław August Poniatowski. By decree of the Permanent Council of 1777, all settlement limitations against Jews in Chęciny were withdrawn, which was conducive to settlement development, to a significant extent because of a small distance from Kielce, were Jews were usually not allowed to settle. For the same reason, until the mid-19th century the cemetery was also used by Jews from Kielce. In 1928, it was fenced, featured a stone gate laid with wood shingles and a pre-burial house. The cemetery was closed in 1964. In 2007, cleaning works were carried out on it.

Description

The Jewish cemetery is located in the south-eastern part of the town, away from dense urban development, on the north-eastern slope of Zamkowa Góra, between a forest and a farm field. It occupies a plot of irregular shape, and area of 2.81 ha. Borders of the cemetery are partially discernible thanks to the preserved earth embanking. Around two hundred gravestones are located here. Originally, they were oriented and arranged in rows. Matzevot with priestly symbols are grouped in one place. A couple of the oldest stelae come from the 17th century, and part of them might be prepared by stonecutter Hersh bin Shifra, but the most numerous are those of the late 19th and early 20th century. Matzevot are usually rectangular, with straight, triangular, or arched top section. Moreover, one gravestone shaped as sarcophagus and one double gravestone have survived. Stelae are decorated with architectural elements and symbolic relief works with lavish ornamental motifs of plants, animals and items used for religious purposes. Some of them bear traces of painting. Until mid-17th century, matzevot with concave inscriptions were predominant, but in the early modern period, at least until the 2nd half of the 18th century, the convex technique started to prevail, including a bar between verses. The first matzevah made with the use of the convex technique comes from 1684, and the first one with the bar between verses dates back to 1707. Since mid-19th century, concave inscriptions have returned.

The historic building is accessible to visitors.

Compiled by Nina Glińska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland Kielce, 23.12.2014.

Bibliography

  • Karta ewidencyjna cmentarza, Cmentarz żydowski /kierkut/, compiled by Penkalla Adam, Chęciny 1987, Archiwum Wojewódzkiego Urzędu Konserwatorskiego w Kielcach.
  • Burchard P., Pamiątki i zabytki kultury żydowskiej w Polsce, Warszawa 1990, pp. 136.
  • Paulewicz M., Osadnictwo żydowskie w Chęcinach, „Biuletyn Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego”, 1975, no 2, pp. 25-36.
  • Penkalla A., Żydowskie ślady w województwie kieleckim i radomskim, Radom 1992, pp. 15, 17-19, 29-32.
  • Sabat T., Zub J., Konserwacja zabytkowych cmentarzy [in:] Cedro J., Prace konserwatorskie w woj. świętokrzyskim w latach 2001-2012, Kielce 2014, pp. 184.
  • Sabor A., Sztetl. Śladami żydowskich miasteczek. Działoszyce-Pińczów-Chmielnik-Szydłów-Chęciny. Przewodnik., Kraków 2005, pp. 152-175.
  • Stępkowski L., Przemiany ludnościowe w Chęcinach w XVII i XVIII wieku, [in:] Guldon Z. (ed.) VII wieków Chęcin. Materiały z sesji naukowej 24 V 1975 r., Kielce 1976, pp. 103-114.
  • Trzciński A., Hebrajskie inskrypcje na materiale kamiennym w Polsce w XIII-XX wieku, Lublin 2007, pp. 19, 146-147, 167.
  • Urbański K., Gminy żydowskie małe w województwie kieleckim w okresie międzywojennym, Kielce 2006, pp. 160-168.

zespół kościoła parafialnego pw. św. Bartłomieja
Chęciny

30 minutes

Castle ruins
Chęciny

one hour

A royal castle originating from the turn of 13th and 14th century, one of the first brick and stone defensive structures in Lesser Poland and at the same time one of the most recognisable and most frequently visited monuments of the Świętokrzyskie voivodeship.

Location and description

The castle is located approximately 15 km south-east from Kielce, on a rocky hill - Zamkowa Góra, belonging to the chain of hills Wzgórza Chęcińskie, to the south from Chęciny. The layout of the castle clearly demonstrates separation into two parts: eastern one — the lower castle, and western one — the upper castle, both on a plan of elongated polygons. The upper castle is comprised of peripheral walls, two cylindrical towers flanking them from east and west, remains of a foregate, gate, and a two-storey building, as well as remains of a rectangular building by the northern wall. In the lower castle, peripheral walls, quadrangular tower, and remains of the gate building have been preserved.

History

The castle was probably built on the turn of 13th and 14th century, under the rule of Wenceslaus II, as a military centre and watchtower of the mining centre in construction, but first of all as a clear indication of monarchical authority. The first mention comes from 1306, when Władysław the Short promised to donate "castrum Chancin" along with subordinate villages to the chapter of Cracow. In 1308, there was a mention of a duke's starost of Chęciny, Wrocław, addressed in the document as castellan. In 1318, archbishop of Gniezno Janisław, due to dangers stemming from the war with the Teutonic Order, placed the treasury of the Gniezno cathedral here. In 1331, a summit of masters of Lesser Poland and Greater Poland, convened by Władysław the Short, was held. In that time, the castle was comprised of peripheral walls, flanked from the east and the west by two round towers and a building advancing over the eastern tower as avant-corps (the later treasury). The entrance was through the gate from the east. In the early 14th century, a rectangular residential building was erected by the northern wall. In that century, a foregate was created over which, no later than at the turn of 14th and 15th century, a chapel was built, and the space between the foregate and the avant-corps buildings was also developed.  In the 15th century, the lower castle was constructed with peripheral walls and a corner, quadrangular tower in its north-western part. In the upper castle, a kitchen was built, the towers were extended upwards with brick, and the gate section was modernised. From that time, the upper castle served residential purposes. In times of the Casimir the Great, income of the starostry of Chęciny became endowment of royal wives and widows. In times of Jagiełło, the castle was probable also a detention place for political prisoners and the headquarters of the starost of Chęciny, acting also as the mine administrator of Chęciny, and a place of stationing of soldiers. In 1410 and 1421, significant bequests on the castle and property of Chęciny was obtained by Piotr Szafraniec. It seems that the Szafraniec family had a substantial influence on the operation of the castle until the mid-16th century, as they held the position of starost for long periods of time. In that time, the castle was also headquarters of a court and a municipal chancellery.In years 1569-76, restoration works were carried out which, however, did not change the architecture of the castle. After the fire in 1607 which was related to the rebellion by Mikołaj Zebrzydowski, the castle was reconstructed in the Renaissance style by starost of Chęciny Stanisław Branicki. The Branicki family held this position until 1663. After the invasion of Swedes in 1655 and Rákóczi's army in 1657, the castle started to dilapidate. In 1707, it was destroyed once again by Swedes.  For some time, there was still the municipal court and chancellery here. Finally, in the 18th century, the castle was abandoned. In the 2nd half of the 19th century, restoration works were carried out. In winter 1914-15, the upper part of the central tower and part of peripheral walls at the eastern section were destroyed. After 1945, the eastern and central tower were reconstructed, and in years 1959-60 - also the wall.

Condition and results of archaeological research

First archaeological examinations were conducted in years 1959-61 by Bohdan Guerqin and Jerzy Rozpędowski. In 1968, small works in the lower castle were directed by Maria Rogińska. Also there, short examinations in 1974 were carried out. In years 1996-99, works in the upper and lower castle were carried out by Czesław Hadamik and Waldemar Gliński, with participation of Stanisław Kołodziejski. Further works, in 2007, were conducted by Czesław Hadamik. In 2013-14, Waldemar Gliński headed studies whose still unpublished results thoroughly change the picture of the castle. Discovery of a free-standing tower in the highest point of the hill allows an entirely different reconstruction of the 1st stage of the structure's life cycle, examinations of the lower castle enable to change its chronology, and discovery of a two-room building with a hypocaust furnace next to the western tower of the upper castle enables different reconstruction of this part of the complex. In the light of this research, it is also necessary to consider at what stage the so-called "Grand House" was created — in times of the Casimir the Great or Jagiellonians.

The historic building is accessible to visitors.

Compiled by Nina Glińska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland Kielce, 18.11.2014.

Bibliography

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