Castles and fortifications in Poland

Toszek Castle

The history of the Toszek Castle dates back to the tenth-eleventh century, when an early defensive castle was located on the castle"s grounds. The castle was built two centuries later, in about the year 1222. When the Kingdom of Poland was under feudal fragmentation, the castle housed the following Silesian dukes and castellans. The most important part of the castle"s being, was that under the rule of Duke Przem ...
Founded: c. 1222 | Location: Toszek, 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

Kamieniec Castle

The original small castle on the site of Kamieniec Castle was erected before the mid-14th century, during the reign of Casimir the Great. It was a royal property handed over to the management of burgrave Mikołaj.  In the fifteenth century the descendants of Klemens from Moskorzewo (Pilawici family) took over the name Kamienieccy, thus emphasizing the role of the castle as the main seat of the family. Despite the tempor ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Odrzykoń, Poland

Zywiec Old Castle

A castle (cum castro) in Żywiec was first mentioned in 1467, as destroyed by an army, under Casimir IV Jagiellon's command against the House of Komorowski, with the Korczak Coat of Arms, recorded by Jan Długosz. However it is not certain whether it denoted the castle in the town or a fortifications on a nearby Grójec hill. Archaeological scrutiny dates the origins of the castle in the first half of the 15th century. A ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Żywiec, 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

Uniejów Castle

Uniejów Castle castle was built between 1360-1365 on the site of a former wooden fortress, destroyed after a raid by the Teutonic Knights in 1331. The initiator of the construction of the castle was Gniezno"s Archbishop Jarosław Bogoria Skotnicki, one of the closest associates to Casimir III the Great. The building was greatly expanded and modernised between 1525-1534, when after a fire most of the castle&qu ...
Founded: 1360-1365 | Location: Uniejów, Poland

Tykocin Castle

Tykocin Castle, then located on a border area in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, was built in 1433 for Lithuanian noble Jonas Goštautas, voivode of Trakai and Vilnius, replacing the original wooden fortress. In the 1560s, upon the death of the last member of the Goštautas family the castle became the property of king Sigismund II Augustus, who expanded it. The construction was supervised by Hiob Bretfus, military engineer ...
Founded: 1433 | Location: Tykocin, 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

Sanok Castle

The first mention of Sanok is found in 12th-century chronicles. The stronghold was destroyed in the 13th century during the Tatar invasion in 1241. In the 14th century the town of Sanok became fortified and a defensive castle was built. During the reign of King Władysław Jagiełło, his wedding with Elisabeth of Pilica took place at the castle on May 2, 1417. The town and district authorities with a castellan at the ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Sanok, Poland

Piotrków Trybunalski Castle

The Piotrków Trybunalski Royal Castle is a Gothic-Renaissance structure, today a museum. The stronghold on the left bank of the Strawa River existed in the 13th century. The conventions, which were held here in the 14th century gave the city greater importance in the Kingdom of Poland and according to contemporary chronicler Jan of Czarnków, Casimir III the Great ordered a residence to be built here, which was accomplis ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Piotrków Trybunalski, 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

Racibórz Castle

The 11th century wooden stronghold of Racibórz was rebuilt as a brick castle in the third quarter of the 13th century. Around 1290 a chapel was built in the castle with the significant dedication of Saint Thomas of Canterbury. At present, its most valuable element is the castle chapel, due to its high artistic level called the pearl of Silesian gothic. Fortunately, the reconstructions from the seventeenth and nineteenth ...
Founded: | Location: Racibórz, 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

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar is one of Scotland’s most perfectly preserved castles. It began as a simple tower-house residence. Gradually, over time, it developed into a complex of structures and spaces, as subsequent owners attempted to improve its comfort and amenity. As a result, there are many nooks and crannies to explore.

The surrounding gardens and parkland were also important. The present-day Craigmillar Castle Park has fascinating reminders of the castle’s days as a rural retreat on the edge of Scotland’s capital city.

At the core lies the original, late-14th-century tower house, among the first of this form of castle built in Scotland. It stands 17m high to the battlements, has walls almost 3m thick, and holds a warren of rooms, including a fine great hall on the first floor.

‘Queen Mary’s Room’, also on the first floor, is where Mary is said to have slept when staying at Craigmillar. However, it is more likely she occupied a multi-roomed apartment elsewhere in the courtyard, probably in the east range.

Sir Simon Preston was a loyal supporter of Queen Mary, whom she appointed as Provost of Edinburgh. In this capacity, he was her host for her first night as a prisoner, at his townhouse in the High Street, on 15 June 1567. She was taken to Lochleven Castle the following day.

The west range was rebuilt after 1660 as a family residence for the Gilmour family.

The 15th-century courtyard wall is well preserved, complete with gunholes shaped like inverted keyholes. Ancillary buildings lie within it, including a private family chapel.