Castles and fortifications in 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

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

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

Oporów Castle

Oporów Castle is built of bricks in the Gothic architectural style in between 1434–1449 in the village of Oporów  The castle was raised by the Deputy Chancellor of Poland (1429-1434), and highly regarded religious leader Władysław Oporowski. The first wooden stronghold located in Oporów was recorded in the fourteenth century. The castle is said to have been raised by Mikołaj Oporowski and his son Władysław Opo ...
Founded: 1434-1449 | Location: Oporów, Poland

Rawa Mazowiecka Castle

Rawa Mazowiecka Castle is a Gothic style square formation castle located in the lowlands of the river Rawka and the river Rylka. Currently it is a renovated ruin. According to the scriptures of Jan Długosz, the castle was built by Casimir III the Great, and the stronghold"s function was to protect the southern borders of Masovia. Although reconstruction efforts have been raised by Franciszek Lanckoroński, the reco ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Rawa Mazowiecka, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Derbent Fortress

Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.

Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.

A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.

The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.

The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.

In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.

In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.