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

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

Prudnik Tower

Prudnik Castle was located in the defensive bend of the Prudnik river. It was built in 1255. It was founded a Czech knight Wok of Rosenberg. The castle was destroyed in 1428 by the Hussites. After the end of the first Silesian War, Frederick the Great rebuilt the castle. A fire on 27 August 1806 burnt the entire castle except of one tower called 'Wok"s Tower', which is now the only remnant of the castle.
Founded: 1255 | Location: Prudnik, 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

Sielecki Castle

Sielecki Castle is located on the left bank of the Czarna Przemsza River. Originally a defensive fortification, the castle expanded in 1620 into a four-wing complex with corner towers, perhaps using earlier buildings. The castle was built of broken limestone and brick. Storey building with basement. After the fire in 1824, the castle was rebuilt in 1832, but the east wing with the entrance gate was demolished and the moat ...
Founded: 1620 | Location: Sosnowiec, 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

Inowlodz Castle

Inowłódz Castle was built by king Casimir the Great in 1356-1366. Its function was to protect the customs chamber located on the Pilica ford, lying on the trade route running from Lwów, through Sandomierz to Toruń. Inowłódz and his ford were of strategic importance, cutting in between Mazovia and Lesser Poland. The first recorded castle castellan was Piotr Tłuk from Strykowie family. At the end of the fourteenth c ...
Founded: 1356 | Location: Inowłódz, Poland

Besiekiery Castle

Besiekiery Castle was built by the Łęczyca voivod Lawrence Sokolowski at the end of the 15th century. The knights" headquarters had a tower and was surrounded by a moat, the remains of which are visible today. In the year 1597, Cardinal Andrzej Batory rebuilt the castle. The next renovation came after flood damage caused by the invading Swedes, was undertaken by Łęczycka Starosta Jan Szczawiński in 1655. Hi ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Besiekiery, 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

Drzewica Castle

Drzewica Castle was built between 1527 and 1535 by Archbishop of Gniezno Maciej Drzewicki. The Archbishop built the castle on the peripheries of the town, by the river Drzewiczka and encircled the fortress with moats, separated by a bulwark. The building"s plan is based on a regular rectangular shape. Its defence systems are based on four square towers located in each corner of the castle. The building burned down i ...
Founded: 1527-1535 | Location: Drzewica, Poland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Luxembourg Palace

The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.

The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.

In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.

During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.

Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.

The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.

During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.