Castles and fortifications in 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

Glogowek Castle

The first castle in Głogówek was built by the Piasts from the Opole line probably in the 13th century. In the years 1532-1561, the Zeidlitz family took the castle over from the previous owners; in 1561 it was in possession of the Oppersdorffs. They decided to demolish the Gothic building and replace it with a Renaissance structure which has survived - only with minor transformations - to the present day. The first proj ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Głogówek, 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

Chudów Castle

Chudów was a privately owned medieval manor purchased in 1532 by the Roman-German Silesian nobility House of Saszowski family, who already owned the neighbouring manor of Gierałtowice. Chudów is famous for its 16th-century Renaissance castle residence, built by the nobleman and scion John Saszowski von Geraltowitz. The village remained part of the House of Saszowski estates and a residence of its branch scions alias Ge ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Paniówki, 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

Przemysl Castle

The location of Przemyśl castle and the earlier settlement lay on an important river crossing on a trade route running from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea and through the Carpathian passes, and was a site of a fortified grod belonging to the Lendians (Lendizi), who were a West Slavic tribe descended from the White Croats. In 1018, the Polish king Bolesław I Chrobry recaptured Przemyśl and built a stone Romanes ...
Founded: 1340 | Location: Przemyśl, Poland

Rzeszów Castle

Rzeszów Castle - one of the main landmarks of Rzeszów rebuilt between 1902-1906, located on the former grounds of the castle of the House of Lubomirski. Currently the castle houses the seat of the provincial court, the building housed a prison up until 1981. An early fortress stood on the castle"s grounds since the sixteenth century. At the end of the same century, Mikołaj Spytek Ligęza built a Motte-and-bailey ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Rzeszów, Poland

Golub-Dobrzyn Castle

Golub-Dobrzyñ Castle was built by Teutonic Knights at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries, later rebuilt and extended in the 15th century. Between 1616 and 1623 it was a residence of Anna of Finland; during this period a Renaissance attic was added. The castle was destroyed during the The Deluge. In the 19th century, it was neglected and a gale caused the collapse of its attic. After 1945 the castle was rebuilt and r ...
Founded: c.1300 | Location: Golub-Dobrzyñ, Poland

Walls of Wieluń

The town walls of Wieluń was erected during the reign of Casimir the Great, probably around the middle of the 14th century as part of the reconstruction of the town after the fire of 1335. Their sponsor was probably the king. In the 15th century the town walls were renovated and probably expanded. The need to maintain the fortifications in high efficiency was due to the threat from Silesia. Around the middle of the centu ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Wieluń, Poland

Czluchów Gate

Czluchów Gate is the only surviving gate out of the three entrances which once led to the town. The remaining two (Młyńska and Gdańska) were pulled down in 1838. The gates constituted a significant element in the town’s defensive system. All of them had drawbridges at the front, with bridgeheads protecting it from the other side. A six-floor Czluchów gate was built on a square plan in th ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Chojnice, Poland

Radzyn Chelminski Castle

Radzyn Chelminski was the seat of the Teutonic Knights" Commandry. The castle is one of the oldest castles built by the Teutonic Knights, built in the 13th century. In 1446 the castle went into Polish control, in 1628 during wars with the Swedes the castle was partially devastated, slowly turning into a ruin. Currently you are still able to see the tower - damaged by artillery fire. In 1780 Prussian authorities order ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Radzyn Chelminski, Poland

Dobczyce Castle

Dobczyce Castle was first mentioned in written sources in 1362, but had been fortified since 1311. In the time of Casimir III the Great, the walls were from 5 to 9 meters thick, and the castle was a fortified stronghold. In 1398, the castle was the abode of King Władysław II Jagiełło and his wife Jadwiga. In 1473, for several months, Prince Casimir stayed here after returning from an unsuccessful exped ...
Founded: 1311 | Location: Dobczyce, Poland

Lagów Castle

Castle of the Order of St. John in Łagów is located on a peninsula between the Łagowski and Ciesz Lakes. The first mention of the castle was under the name of castro Lagowe in 1299. The castle was built by the Order of St. John, and in later years fortificated in a trapezium-like shape. In the eighteenth century the residence was reconstructed into the Baroque architectural style. In 1812, after the secularisa ...
Founded: c. 1299 | Location: Łagów, Poland

Nowy Sacz Castle

The Nowy Sącz Royal Castle is partially restored ruins of the castle. The edifice was built by king Casimir the Great in 1350-1360 on a slope within the fortifications of Nowy Sącz, at the confluence of two rivers Dunajec and Kamienica. Initially the castle had two corner towers, a keep and a residential building. The structure was separated from the city by a moat and a wall. Among the notable inhabitants were king Lo ...
Founded: 1350 | Location: Nowy Sącz, Poland

Warsaw Citadel

Warsaw Citadel was built by personal order of Tsar Nicholas I after the 1830 November Uprising. Its chief architect, Major General Johan Jakob von Daehn (Ivan Dehn), used the plan of the citadel in Antwerp as the basis for his own plan (the same that was demolished by the French later that year). The fortress is a pentagon-shaped brick structure with high outer walls, enclosing an area of 36 hectares. Its construction re ...
Founded: 1834 | Location: Warsaw, Poland

Kliczków Castle

Kliczków Castle was founded as a border fortress at the river Kwisa by Duke Bolko I of Jawor in 1297. In 1391, it fell into the hands of the Rechenberg family from Saxony, who held it for almost 300 years. The main building was built in 1585 in the Renaissance style. After several more changes of ownership, it came to John Christian, Count of Solms-Baruth in 1767. In 1810, the grand ballroom in Empire style was ...
Founded: 1297 | Location: Kliczków, Poland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Luxembourg Palace

The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.

The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.

In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.

During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.

Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.

The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.

During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.