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

Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania

The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania was built originally in the 15th century for the rulers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Royal Palace in the Lower Castle evolved over the years and prospered during the 16th and mid-17th centuries. For four centuries the palace was the political, administrative and cultural center of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Soon after the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was incorporated into Tsarist Russia, Tsarist officials ordered the demolition of the remaining sections of the Royal Palace. The Palace was almost completely demolished in 1801, the bricks and stones were sold, and the site was bowered. Only a small portion of the walls up to the second floor survived, that were sold to a Jewish merchant Abraham Schlossberg around 1800 who incorporated them into his residential house. After the 1831 uprising, the czarist government expelled Schlossberg and took over the building as it was building a fortress beside it. Before the Second World War it was the office of the Lithuanian Army, during the World War II it was the office of the German Army, and after World War II it was used by Soviet security structures and later transformed into the Palace of Pioneers. Fragments of Schlossberg's house have become part of the Eastern Wing of the restored Royal Palace.

A new palace has been under construction since 2002 on the site of the original building. The Royal Palace was officially opened during the celebration of the millennium of the name of Lithuania in 2009.