Castles and fortifications in Poland

Niepolomice Castle

The Niepolomice Royal Castle is a Gothic castle from the mid-14th century and rebuilt in the late Renaissance style. The Niepolomice Castle was built by order of King Casimir III the Great on the slope of the Vistula valley, to serve as a retreat during the hunting expeditions to the nearby Niepolomice Forest. The castle consisted of three towers, buildings in the southern and eastern wing, and curtain walls around the c ...
Founded: c. 1350 | Location: Niepolomice, Poland

Kwidzyn Castle

Kwidzyn contains the partially ruined 14th century Brick Gothic Ordensburg castle of the Teutonic Order, namely the Bishops of Pomesania within the Order. Connected to the castle to the east is a large cathedral (built 1343-1384) containing the tombs of the bishops as well those of three Grand Masters of the Teutonic Knights. The former Prussian fortress in Kwidzyn, which was occupied by the Teutonic Knights in 1233, rec ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Kwidzyn, Poland

Wolf's Lair

Wolf"s Lair (Wolfsschanze) was Adolf Hitler"s first Eastern Front military headquarters in World War II. The complex, which would become one of several Führer Headquarters located in various parts of occupied Europe, was built for the start of Operation Barbarossa - the invasion of the Soviet Union - in 1941. It was constructed by Organisation Todt. The top secret, high security site was in the Masurian wo ...
Founded: 1941 | Location: Kętrzyn, Poland

Bolków Castle

Bolków Castle is located in Bolków on the Castle Hill (Wzgórze Zamkowe), with a 396 metres, where the hillside is cut by the Nysa Szalona river, with a sharp precipice (with a sudden drop of 90 metres); the eastern side of the hill gradually lowers, taken up by the town. The castle is an upland stronghold, covering an area of 7600 m². First mentions of the castle come from 1277, from the time of ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Gmina Bolków, Poland

Fort Legionow

Fort Legionow was built between 1852 and 1854 on the southern foreland of the Warsaw Citadel. Initially, the fort had the shape of a three-storey artillery turret, surrounded by a fortified ditch with three cofferdams and a gallery in the counterscarp. Its task was to guard the citadel from the side of the New Town and also to defend the seasonal bridge over the Vistula River. In the years between 1866 and 1874 the fort ...
Founded: 1852 | Location: Warsaw, Poland

Gniew Castle

The Order of Brothers of the German House Saint Mary In Jerusalem took possession on the land of Gniew in 1283. Based on the law of Che³mno in 1297 the city stood next to the Teutonic castle built to the pattern of convent castles. The monumental silhouette along with the church of St. Nicholas is still constitute the characteristic dominant of the southern panorama of Gniew. The Gniew Castle was the most powerful claim ...
Founded: 1290 | Location: Gniew, Poland

Grodno Castle

Grodno Castle (formerly Kynsburg) is a castle located in the southern parts of the Wałbrzych Mountains, on the Choina Mountain (450 metres), standing to the left of the river Bystryca. The valley of this river, formerly known as the Silesian Valley, creates a natural boundary between the Owl Mountains and to the west of it the Wałbrzych Mountains. The castle is located in Zagórze Śląskie (11 km ...
Founded: 1193 | Location: Walbrzych, Poland

Brzeg Castle

Earliest records of the Brzeg castle"s existence describe a small fortress with a moat and fortified walls, built in 1235 during the reign of Henry I the Bearded. A square tower known as 'The Tower of Lions' was built adjoining the castle. The Piast family branch, which ruled over Duchy of Brzeg, lived in the castle between 1311 until 1675. In 1342, the castle was made the capital seat of the duchy aft ...
Founded: 1235 | Location: Brzeg, Poland

Olesnica Castle

Oleśnica Castle was erected in 1542-1561, replacing a Gothic fortress from the thirteenth century. It was the seat of the Dukes of Oleśnica until the nineteenth century. A fortified settlement was mentioned before the year 1238, and the first record of the castle dates from 1292. After World War II, the surviving buildings held Hungarian and Italian prisoners of war. Later, there was the Soviet branch office of the  ...
Founded: 1542-1561 | Location: Oleśnica, Poland

Slupsk Castle

The Pomeranian Dukes Castle in Słupsk was erected in 1507. At first it was a gothic building, much smaller than now. In the same year duke Bolesław X rebuilt it and enlarged in the Renaissance style. The castle complex consists of the castle itself, a small, half-timbered building housing the board of directors of the Museum of Central Pomerania, the Castle Mill, the Fishermen Gate (the remains of Słupsk fo ...
Founded: 1507 | Location: Słupsk, Poland

Bobolice Castle

The Bobolice Castle was built by King Casimir III the Great in the middle of the 14th century, probably in place of an earlier wooden structure. The castle was a part of the defence system of royal strongholds protecting the western border of Poland on the side of Silesia. In 1370, immediately after becoming King of Poland, Louis I the Great granted the castle to W³adys³aw Opolczyk, Duke of Opole, as a prize for his sup ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Bobolice, Poland

Chojnik Castle

Chojnik Castle remains stand on top of the Chojnik hill within the Karkonosze National Park, overlooking the Jelenia Góra valley. It dates back to the times of the Silesian Piasts and for most of its time was in the possession of the Schaffgotsch noble family. Today the semi-ruined stronghold is a major tourist attraction and houses a hotel and a restaurant. The castle of Chojnik was originally erected by the order of D ...
Founded: 1292 | Location: Jelenia Góra, Poland

Goluchów Castle

The history of the Gołuchów castle goes back to the Middle Ages and its first known owner was ¯egota of Gołuchów  (1263-1282). A defensive fort stood here in the first half of the 15th century, probably where the castle stands today. The terrain definitely provides for adequate defence. It overlooks the Trzemsza River from the west and is surrounded by a moat and a secure embankment. The Gołuchów estates became t ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Gołuchów, Poland

Kórnik Castle

Kórnik Castle is one of the most frequently visited historical buildings in Wielkopolska region. Two of Wielkopolska’s leading dynasties – the Górka family of the Łodzia coat of arms and the Działyński family of the Ogończyk coat of arms – are responsible for its existence and its splendour. The castle was first mentioned in 1426 in a contract between the owner, Miko ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Kórnik, Poland

Grodziec Castle

The first confirmed reference of Grodziec comes from Pope Adrian IV"s bull of April 23, 1155. In 1175, Prince Bolesław I the Tall drew up a privilege for Cistercians from Lubiąż at the castle. In the time of his heir, Henryk I the Bearded, the wooden terrestrial castle was replaced by the building of a brick one. The foundation of the castle church is attributed to Saint Hedwig. In the 14th and partially ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Grodziec, Poland

Reszel Castle

The first Teutonic stronghold was built in Reszel already in 1241 but the construction of a brick castle began only over a century later. It was due to endless rebellions of the Barts, a Prussian tribe, who had never accepted the conquest and continually attacked the Teutonic outpost. Since 1243 Reszel was officially granted to Warmian bishops but the Teutonic squad left the stronghold only in 1300. Bishop John I of Meis ...
Founded: 1350 | Location: Gmina Reszel, Poland

Sandomierz Castle

The Sandomierz Royal Castle was built on a slope of Vistula River by Casimir III the Great and extended in the 16th century. The original building was blown up in 1656, leaving only the west wing standing. It was later transformed into a Renaissance styled residence with the west wing preserved as a museum. The 14th-century castle was built on the site of the existing stronghold in the 10th century. Between 1146-1166 it ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Sandomierz, Poland

Bedzin Castle

The village of Będzin originated in the 9th century. The local wooden fort, that the records show existed as early as the 11th century, was destroyed during the Tatar invasion in 1241 and subsequently rebuilt. During the reign of Casimir III the Great the castle received an upgrade from wooden fortress to a stone one, and the stone fort was operational as early as in 1348. The growing trading village of Bytom was given ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Będzin, Poland

Plock Castle

The Castle of the Masovian Dukes in Płock is a Gothic castle built under the reign of Casimir III the Great, becoming a stronghold of the Dukes of Masovia until the fifteenth century. The castle is located on a steep Vistulan hillside, most likely since the eleventh century, a wooden fortress - defended by walls and dikes, where in the middle there was a small stone built stronghold. On the turning point of the eleve ...
Founded: 1351 | Location: Płock, Poland

Bolczów Castle

The medieval stronghold in Janowice Wielkie is an example of an upland castle extended over several phases and making excellent use of the terrain, including the scenic rock formations found in the Rudawy Janowickie mountains. The ruins of this knights’ castle are situated on a granite hill at an altitude of 561 m, rising over the surroundings. It was known from the Middle Ages by the name of Bolko (in 1375 das Bol ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Województwo dolnoslaskie, Poland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Château de Fougères

The Château de Fougères is an impressive castle with curtain wall and 13 towers. It had three different enclosures, first for defensive purposes, second for day to day usages in peacetime and for safety of the surrounding populations in times of siege, the last enclosure was where the keep was situated.

The first wooden fort was built by the House of Amboise in the 11th century. It was destroyed in 1166 after it was besieged and taken by King Henry II of England. It was immediately rebuilt by Raoul II Baron de Fougères. Fougères was not involved in the Hundred Years' War until 1449 when the castle was taken by surprise by an English mercenary. In 1488 the French troops won the castle back after a siege and the castle lost its military role.

In the late 18th century the castle was turned into a prison. The owner in this period was the Baron Pommereul. In the 19th century the outer ward became an immense landscaped garden. A museum was established in the Mélusine Tower. During the Industrial Revolution, a shoe factory set up shop in the castle grounds.

The City of Fougères took ownership of the Château in 1892. It had been a listed Historical Monument since 1862. A major campaign was launched to clean up the castle walls. While the castle had retained many of its original features, some of the curtain walls needed to be cleared and certain sections required major repairs. The changes made in the 18th century were "reversed," and the castle was finally open to visitors. The first campaign of archaeological excavations, conducted in 1925, unearthed the ruins of the manor house.

Since then, the Château de Fougères has welcomed tens of thousands of visitors every year. The castle's excellent state of conservation, and the historical interest of its architecture, make Fougères an invaluable window onto the Middle Ages. From great lords to simple builders, generations of inhabitants have left their mark on these walls.