Castles and fortifications in 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

Strzelce Opolskie Castle

Strzelce Opolskie Castle was a former residence of the Dukes of Opole located in Strzelce Opolskie. The castle was burned down during World War II by the Soviets and remains in ruins to this day. The town of Strzelce Opolskie was situated on the trade route Kraków–Wrocław–Dresden. The settlement was initially surrounded by a thick forest. An original wooden hunting lodge was probably replaced by a stone struc ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Strzelce Opolskie, Poland

Tarnowice Stare Castle

The first castle in Tarnowice was mentioned in the 14th century, but the current Renaissance style residence was built in the 16th century.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Tarnowskie Góry, Poland

Dzików Castle

Dzików or Tarnowski Family Castle with the park complex and gardens is located in Tarnobrzeg. The building of the castle was started in the 15th century as a fortified residence. Between the 17th and 18th centuries, it was acquired by the Tarnowski family and reconstructed. The castle was a site of Dzików Confederation of 5 November 1734, led by Adam Tarło, starosta from Jasło, organized in order to reinstate Stanis ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Tarnobrzeg, 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

Bakowa Góra Castle

Bąkowa Góra castle was probably built at the end of the 14th century. A stone manor house stood on the site of an earlier, small, timber motte and bailey castle and was surrounded by an earth ramparts. In the documents it was mentioned for the first time in 1398 under the name Góra.   From 1408 Zbigniew Bąk occupied the office of the subcamerarius of Sieradz, while he was a castellan of Rozprza since 1411. Perhaps ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: piotrkowski, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Palazzo Colonna

The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.

The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).

With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).

Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.

The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.

The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.