Castles and fortifications in 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

Jawor Castle

Jawor Castle was originally a wooden stronghold until Duke Bolesław the Tall built a stone tower house. The castle has been a seat of both the Piast dynasty and the Duchy of Jawor-Świdnica. Several politically significant events took place in the castle during the Middle Ages. In 1648, the castle saw damage when it was besieged by soldiers loyal to the Holy Roman Empire, but it was renovated later during the same ...
Founded: 1663-1665 | Location: Jawor, Poland

Bierutów Castle

Bierutów Castle, (formerly Bernstadt) is believed to have been built in the 13th century under the orders of Henry III the White, Duke of Wrocław. It underwent renovation in the Renaissance style between 1534 and 1540, but was rebuilt after a fire in 1603 during the rule of Henry Wenceslaus, Duke of Oels-Bernstadt. Later that century, Christian Urlich Wirtemberg renovated the castle, adding another floor and a Baroqu ...
Founded: 1534-1540 | Location: Bierutów, Poland

Angerburg Castle

The current Węgorzewo town was first mentioned in a 1335 chronicle as Angirburg, or 'eel castle', a settlement of the Teutonic Knights with a block house, a palisade, and a watchtower. The Grand Duke of Lithuania, Kęstutis, destroyed the wooden castle in 1365. Teutonic Knights built new brick castle in 1398. It was situated 2 km away from burnt castle on river island. Near by the castle grew settlement ...
Founded: 1398 | Location: Węgorzewo, Poland

Dzialdowo Castle

Teutonic Knights conquered the Dzialdowo region and built a castle in the early 14th century. A wing of the castle still remains. The new settlement near the castle founded by Mikołaj z Karbowa and named Soldov was granted town privileges on 14 August 1344 by the Grand Master Ludolf König. The name Dzialdoff was first written on a 1409 map during the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Dzialdowo, Poland

Olsztynek Castle

Olsztynek Castle was built by Ostródan Gunter von Hohenstein, the commander of Teutonic Order, between 1349 and 1366. The brick Gothic castle was conquered by Wladyslaw II Jagiello in 1410. It was destroyed in 1656 by Tatars of Crimean Khanate and left to decay. The castle was reconstructed in 1847-1849 and moved as a school.
Founded: 1349-1366 | Location: Olsztynek, Poland

Miedzyrzecz Castle

Międyrzecz Castle was built around 1350 by Casimir III the Great in the place of a former gord from the second half of the ninth century, located on a small hill in between two floodplains of the Obra and Paklica Rivers. Due to the location of the stronghold, the castle was expanded and modernised, although that caste itself did not go through any major battles in the medieval times. In 1474, King Matthias Corvi ...
Founded: c. 1350 | Location: Międzyrzecz, Poland

Lebork Castle

Lębork Castle history begins from the first half of the 14th century. It was built and the town founded by Teutonic Knights. The stronghold was built on a square-like plan, with a residential building adjacent to a section from the stronghold’s southern part to the defensive wall, along the entire side of the square. The other two corners were fitted with quadrangular towers. One peculiarity of the Castle desig ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Lebork, Poland

Elk Castle

Teutonic Knights conquered the Ełk area in 1283. They built first a wooden castle to the site of former Old Prussian settlement and the town grew around it. It was first documented in 1398. The brick castle was built in 1497. In 1888 the castle was rebuilt - it became a prison and had that function until 1976. In 1958 during renovation of part of ther castle, under its walls, there was a collapsed tunnel found. After 198 ...
Founded: 1497/1888 | Location: Ełk, Poland

Mirów Castle

Mirów Castle was the residence of the House of Myszkowski. Designed and built in between 1585-1595 by Santi Gucci, by on order of the Bishop of Kraków Piotr Myszkowski. During the first quarter of the 18th century, the castle went into the hands of the Wielkopolski family, and was reconstructed in a Baroque style. Currently the castle is housing the Wincenty Witos Institution and an Agricultural School. The ...
Founded: 1585-1595 | Location: Książ Wielki, Poland

Niemodlin Castle

The origins of the Niemodlin stone castle can be connected with the prince Kazimierz I of Opole in the first half of the 13th century. The castle, or actually the defensive tower, was located near the river ford, where princely fees were collected from travelers. In 1294 the castellan of Niemodlin was first recorded. During the Hussite Wars Niemodlin was destroyed. In 1428, the taborites burned it during the armed march ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Niemodlin, Poland

Barciany Castle

The first wooden castle in Barciany was built by Teutonic Knights in 1325. The construction of the stone castle to the site began in 1377. It was completed in the 15th century. In 1945 the castle was acquired by State Agricultural Farm and today it is privately owned. Barciany castle is a well-preserved sample of medieval architecture of Teutonic Order.
Founded: 1377 | Location: Barciany, Poland

Szczecinek Castle

As early as at the end of XIII century, there was a Slavic settlement on the island nearby the place of current Szczecinek Castle. The border nature of the settlement and its excellent defensive qualities contributed to the decision made around the year 1310 by Duke Warcislaw IV to build there a castle. This way the castle of Szczecinek became the seat of Starostes who in the name of the duke held the power here. First of ...
Founded: 1310 | Location: Szczecinek, Poland

Lesko Castle

On the peak of a steep mountain situated on the right bank of the San river, the ruins of Sobień castle from the second half of the 14th century can be seen. The castle was owned by the wealthy chivalry house of Kmita. Then the Kmita family moved their abode to Lesko, where Piotr Kmita erected a castle in the16 th century, which was subsequently extended by the Stadnicki family. The castle is open to visitors. An Italia ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Lesko, Poland

Boryslawice Zamkowe Castle

Boryslawice Zamkowe Castle was built around 1425 in Gothic style. It was devastated by Swedish army in 1656.
Founded: 1425 | Location: Grzegorzew, Poland

Sobien Castle

First mentioned as Soban, Sobień Castle was a Royal castle guarding the merchant route along the San River. The castle was built by order of King Casimir the Great in 1340. In 1389 Władysław II Jagiełło conferred the castle to a noble family of Kmita. The castle was destroyed in 1474 and again in 1512 by Hungarian forces. In 16th century the Kmita family sold the estates and the castle to Stadnicki family, who h ...
Founded: 1340 | Location: Manasterzec, Poland

Czluchow Castle

Człuchów Castle consists of some of the defence walls and the 46-metre tower. The Człuchów stronghold was built during the 14th Century by the Teutonic Order. The exact date of completion is unknown but it is assumed to be the year 1365. During the history, the castle was considered an unconquerable fortress, and was an important element in the defence system of the monastic State. The glory days o ...
Founded: c. 1365 | Location: Czluchow, Poland

Kozmin-Wielkopolski Castle

In mid-14th century, the owner of Koźmin, upon royal conferment, was Maćko Borkowic, Voivode of Poznań, famous for his wealth and robberies, whom King Casimir the Great ordered to be starved to death, on account of his numerous crimes. His brother Jan of the Nałęcz family took over the property after him; since mid-14th century, accounts mention a certain Bartosz Wezenborg, son of Peregryn, to who ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Koźmin Wielkopolski, Poland

Golancz Castle

The castle in Gołańcz, which was the seat of the Pałuk family, was most likely built in the second half of the 14th century. The site was previously occupied by an older settlement, and later possibly also a fortified manor house of the Pałuks. The building was referred to as castrum for the first time in 1383; at that time, it belonged to Jakub Kusz. In the 1470s, the castle became the property of the Grudziński fam ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Gołańcz, Poland

Sieraków Castle

Sieraków Castle was built at the end of the 14th century on the initiative of the Nałęcz family. Maćko Borkowic, the Poznań voivode or his daughter Wichna, most probably began the process, and her grandson Wincenty continued it. In the middle of the 15th century Sieraków received Łukasz Górka coat of arms Łodzia, who rebuilt the castle. In 1571 it was taken over by the starost Jakub Rokossowski, and in 1591 Siera ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Sieraków, 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.