Castles and fortifications in 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

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

Otmuchów Castle

The history of the Castle in Otmuchów dates back to the 12th century, when Pope Hadrian gave authority to the land to the Bishop of Wrocław, including the castle. Throughout the next centuries the castle gained its significance, when Bishop Preczlaw of Pogarell called Otmuchów the capital of the Duchy of Bishops. The castle changed its architectural style to that of the Renaissance during reconstruction wo ...
Founded: 1159 | Location: Otmuchów, Poland

Bytów Castle

The castle in Bytów was built by the Teutonic Knights in 1398-1405. The major construction works were supervised by Nicolaus Fellensteyn, a master builder of the Order. The construction of the castle fell to the period when Jacob von Reinach was the procurator of Bytów and Konrad von Jungingen was the Order"s Grand Master. The castle was located on a hill, towering above the town, which guaranteed excel ...
Founded: 1398-1405 | Location: Bytów, Poland

Ciechanów Castle

Castle of the Masovian Dukes in Ciechanów was built on the turning point of the fourteenth and fifteenth century by Prince Janusz I (1379-1429). The towers located in the four corners of the castle"s square formation help to defend the stronghold, and additional 10 metre high defensive walls. Due to dozens of reconstructions and expansions of the castle, the militaristic stronghold transformed into a royal res ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Ciechanów, Poland

Wisloujscie Fortress

Wisłoujście Fortress is located in direct proximity to the Westerplatte peninsula. This was an important area from a strategic point of view, as the movement of ships entering and leaving Gdańsk harbour could be controlled from this place. The first written comments on the existence of a guard post in the place of the present fortress date from the mid-14th century. The first permanent fortifications were b ...
Founded: 1482 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Korzkiew Castle

The first castle in Korzkiew was erected in 1325 by Jan from Syrokomla. It was part of the 'trail of eagles nests', one of a chain of 14th century (reign of King Casimir) medieval castles that protected the north- western border of royal Krakow that went all the way to Czestochowa. The castle is being restored and currently houses a boutique hotel and a conference center-banquet hall.
Founded: 1325 | Location: Korzkiew, Poland

Klodzko Fortress

Kłodzko Fortress is a unique fortification complex of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship in southwestern Poland. The fortress once was one of the biggest strongholds in Prussian Silesia, however, in the whole German Empire, it was regarded as a minor one. Now, together with an extensive network of tunnels, it is one of the biggest attractions of the town of Kłodzko, with its underground labyrinth and a repository of ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Kłodzko, Poland

Srebrna Góra Fortress

Srebrna Góra Fortress was constructed in 1765–1777 when the territory was part of the Kingdom of Prussia. The fort is one of Poland's official national Historic Monuments and has been declared a rare example of a surviving European 18th century mountain stronghold. The fortress in Srebrna Góra was built by the order of Frederick II, the King of Prussia. It was designed by Prussian architect Ludwig Wilhelm Rege ...
Founded: 1765–1777 | Location: Srebrna Góra, Poland

Grafenort Castle

Grafenort (Gorzanów) Castle is a former stately residence in the Kłodzko Land of the Lower Silesia. A sixteenth-century German foundation, it has been in the hands of the von Herberstein family since the second half of the seventeenth century until 1930 — hence its name, and one of the former names of the village in which it is situated. The construction of currently existing castle was undertaken in 1573. In ...
Founded: 1573 | Location: Gorzanów, Poland

Nowe Castle

Nowe is a small town beautifully situated on the high bank of the Vistula River. On the steep bank slope, at the turn of the 12th and 13th century stood a mighty fortress, which, along with castles in Stargard and Świecie used to monitor ship traffic on the Vistula. The importance of the castle in Nowe emphasized the fact that it was a residence of Castellan duke Świętopełek II. According to the chron ...
Founded: c. 1350 | Location: Nowe, Poland

Nidzica Castle

Nidzica castle construction was begun around 1370. The Pfleger of the Teutonic Knights made it his residence in 1409. On 12t July 1410, the undefended castle was captured by the Polish forces on their way into the interior of the State of the Teutonic Order. At the time of the Hunger War of 1414 the castle was put under siege by the Polish knights and taken after eight days on the 6th of July. In 1454 the castle was occup ...
Founded: 1370 | Location: Nidzica, Poland

Debno Castle

Dębno Castle is a late Gothic complex, built in 1470 - 1480 by Chancellor of the Crown and Kasztelan of Kraków, Jakub Dębiński. Before stone castle was built, a complex made of wood and earth had existed on the location. It probably belonged to komes Świętoslaw of the noble Gryfita family, Kasztelan of Wiślica. Some time in the mid-14th century, Dębno passed into the hands of the ...
Founded: 1470-1480 | Location: Dębno, Poland

Swiny Castle

Świny Castle, formerly a gord, as a stronghold existed in its location already in the 5th century - securing the Lubawecki mountain pass, the site was recorded in Cosmas' documents from 1108, where the gord is recorded as Suini in Poloniae. Possibly, soon after, the gord had been expanded into a military stronghold, at which time it was the seat of the castellans. The castle was mentioned in Pope Adrian IV's Pap ...
Founded: 1108 | Location: Gmina Bolków, Poland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.