Castles and fortifications in Poland

Ostróda Castle

The first earth and timber fort was raised in Ostróda (Osterode) by the Teutonic knights in the mid-13th century. It stood in the fork between the Drwęca river branches, replacing an earlier Prussian stronghold. Construction of a brick castle built on a stone foundation was started by the Ostróda Commander (Hauskomtur) around 1349. The old earth and timber fortress together with the unfinished brick cas ...
Founded: 1349-1370 | Location: Ostróda, Poland

Mouse Tower

Mouse Tower, a Gothic brick tower from the 14th century, is the most recognized monument in Kruszwica and the unofficial symbol of the town. It was built by the With the remains of walls, it is a part of defense castle remnants. The castle was founded by king Kazimierz the Great. In 1656, the castle was seized by the Swedish army which burnt it down as they were retreating. In the late years of 18th century, the castle r ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Kruszwica, Poland

Zelazno tower

A tower in Zelazno arose probably at the end of the XVth century, but we do not know anything about its builder. It was subsequently reconstructed in 1727. There is a hypothesis which says that current windows were target ranges originally, so the tower did not fulfill a residential function.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Klodzki, Poland

Ketrzyn Castle

The town of Kętrzyn (until 1946 Rastenburg) was founded by the Teutonic Knights at the Prussian settlement called Rast. Initially there was a wooden watchtower, around which developed a settlement. In 1357 the commander of Bałga Johann Schindekopf granted the settlement civic rights. Shortly thereafter, in the city began construction of the defensive church dedicated to St. George, castle and defense walls. Th ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Ketrzyn, Poland

Frankenstein Castle

Zabkowice Slaskie (German: Frankenstein in Schlesien) is a town in Lower Silesian Voivodeship in south-western Poland. It is the seat of ZÄ…bkowice ÅšlÄ…skie County, and of the smaller administrative district. There is a 13th century fortifications and the ruins of a 14th-century castle. In the early 17th century the plague killed about one third of the population, and it has been speculated that events at that ti ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Zabkowice Slaskie, Poland

Ryn Castle

At the end of the 14th century, Teutonic Knights built a castle in Ryn, serving as a base for fighting with the Lithuanians. Until 1525, the castle was the seat of the commander. After two years of the construction of the castle, then the Grand Master of the Order Winrich von Kniprode arrived in Ryn to inspect and take over the castle, and returned to the Malbork by waterway. In 1723 Ryn received city rights granted by th ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Ryn, Poland

Darlowo Castle

Although documents directly relating to the construction of the castle in Darłowo have not been found yet, the results of archaeological and architectural and historical premises allow us to date back the creation of the castle to the second half of the 14th century. It was during the reign of the prince of the House of Griffins, Boguslaw V and Elizabeth, the daughter of King Casimir the Great. The prince purchased the i ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Darłowo, Poland

Dybów Castle Ruins

Castle Dybów or Dybowski Castle was built by Wladyslaw Jagiello in the years 1424-1428. With time, the castle was a settlement that was called Nieszawa. In 1431 Toruń destroyed the castle, but soon restored and the Teutonic Knights Castle in it judged his crew. After the Peace of Brest Kujawski castle with the left bank of the Vistula, he returned to Polish.
Founded: 1424-1428 | Location: Toruń, Poland

Rydzyna Castle

Rydzyna Castle was built in the early 15th century by Komes Jan of Czernina. Eighteenth-century architecture and town planning were such as to have made it a classic example of a baroque urban configuration joined to a manor house. Rafał Leszczyński, then owner of Leszno, purchased the property in late 17th century. He oversaw construction work in 1690-1694 to convert the medieval castle into a baroque manor with four f ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Rydzyna, Poland

Boyen Fortress

The Boyen Fortress in Giżycko was built between 1843 and 1855 as a point of strategic importance as it blocked the pass between lakes Niegocin and Kisajno. In early April 1843, King Frederick Wilhelm IV gave the order to start construction of the fortress. A plan was developed according to which an earth-and-brick fort was to be erected on the plan of a hexagon. The fort was to be connected with the mainland by four ...
Founded: 1843-1855 | Location: Gizycko, Poland

Stork Tower

The Stork Tower with fragments of the city walls has survived from the medieval fortification of Dobre Miasto. It was built in the 14th century. The tower owes its name to storks which have nested on its top. At present the tower is the residence of one of the sections of the Cultural Society. In the summer season tourists can visit a miniature museum created by the members of the society.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Dobre Miasto, Poland

Olawa Castle

Sobieski"s Castle in Oława is a Renaissance-Baroque style castle located in the site of a former Gothic castle. The original castle had been built by Duke Ludwik I built in the second half of the fourteenth century. It was the third castle structure in Oława, the first being the seat of the castellans, located in the south-east of the town. It remained an integral part of the town"s defenses until the ...
Founded: 1541 | Location: Oława, Poland

Ostrzeszów Castle Tower

Ostrzeszów castle, situated at a short distance north-west of the town’s centre and probably originally separated from it by a moat, constituted an independent fortified establishment, although it was associated in the old times with the town’s fortification system. Built around mid-14th century, the endowment of King Casimir the Great, it was part of the ruler’s large-scale construction venture a ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Ostrzeszów, Poland

Sztum Castle

Sztum Castle was built between 1326-1331. It functioned as a bridge-head protection the Malbork fortress from the South. At that time a stone and brick wall with a gate and one or possibly two corner towers surrounded the territory of the castle hill. The extension of the castle complex carried out in the 14th century was commenced starting from the southern and eastern wings. The wing that functioned as a summer residen ...
Founded: 1326-1331 | Location: Sztum, Poland

Namyslów Castle

The first reliable document suggests the Namysłów castle was built, from wood, in 1360. The order to build the castle was given by the Czech king and the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV, in the location of a former gord of the Dukes of Oleśnica. In 1533, the castle was transferred to the authorities of the city of Wrocław. Soon after the castle"s courtyard was extended with additional housing units. In ...
Founded: 1360 | Location: Namysłów, Poland

Jarocin Castle

A defensive brick building in Jarocin, defined in a 1496 document as a fortalitium, had presumably already been erected by the beginning of the 15th century. This building was then rebuilt, extended and eventually demolished. The building known locally as skarbczyk (the jewel box) is all that remains of it today. A lot of decorative fragments of Gothic furnace tiles, attesting a once opulent castle interior, have been unc ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Jarocin, Poland

Bierzglowski Castle

Bierzgłowski Castle was one of the oldest stuctures built by Teutonic Knights. The Gothic style castle was built between 1270-1305 to the site of previous castle (from the 1260s), which was destroyed by Lithuanians in 1263. Bierzgłowski castle has been rebuilt several times between 15th and 19th centuries. The castle has an unique ceramic relief in a one of portals. It depicts a horseman and two knights and is o ...
Founded: 1270-1305 | Location: Bierzgłowski, Poland

Siewierz Castle

The Castle in Siewierz was built in the first half of the 13th century on a man-made hilltop, where formerly stood a wooden fortress. The oldest of the stronghold"s fortifications come from the 15th century. In 1443 Duke Wac³aw I of Cieszyn sold the town and the castle to Kraków"s bishop Zbigniew Ole¶nicki. The Bishops of Kraków expanded the castle and its fortification walls. The castle began to crumble i ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Siewierz, Poland

Niesytno Castle

The first mentioning of Niesytno Castle dates back to the 13th century, but it is not known by whom it was built. Legends tell of occupation by Hussite and mercenaries, and therefore it was also named Zakątek Strachu or Angstwinkel (Polish and German for 'corner of fear'). From the second part of the 15th century until the 17th century, the castle was inhabited by the 'von Zedlitz' lineage. It h ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bolków, Poland

Golczewo Castle Ruins

Golczewo castle was one of the biggest and best-built castles in Pomerania. There was even a legend saying that it was connected to the Kamień Cathedral through an underground tunnel. The first records mentioning castrum Gülzow date back to 1304. At that time, Bishop of Kamień Pomorski, Heinrich Wacholz, bought from Wulvekin Smeling and Echard Wedel­stedt the castle in Golczewo for 1200 marks, paying th ...
Founded: 1304 | Location: Golczewo, 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.