Strzelce Opolskie Castle

Strzelce Opolskie, Poland

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 structure in the 13th century. The castle was first mentioned in Liber fundationis episcopatus Vratislaviensis as Castrum Strelecense. The document is believed to be compiled in 1305.

The castle was built on a simple rectangular plan measuring 16,1 x 13,9 m and was, in fact, a limestone tower. In 1323 Albert became the duke of an independent Duchy of Strzelce/Strehlitz. He carried out extensive renovations to the castle and built a series of fortifications and a moat around it. After his death the castle and the duchy was taken over by the Piasts of Niemodlin and after the extinction of the line in 1382 it was passed to the Piasts of Opole. The dynasty owned the castle up to its extinction in 1532.

In the first half of the 16th century the castle was in very poor condition. From 1562 to 1596 major renovation works were carried out. From the middle of the 17th century to the beginning of the 19th century it was in hands of the Colonna family. The castle's heyday came after 1815 when Andreas Renard took its ownership and made it his main residence. An English-style landscape park was created in 1832. In 1840 Andreas Renard extended and remodelled the palace adding an adjacent tower and building horse stables near the west wing.

From 1932 to 1945 the palace was possessed by the Castell family. On 21 January 1945 Soviet troops set the town and castle on fire. The building remains in ruins to this day.



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Founded: 14th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Poland

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User Reviews

Grzegorz R. (6 months ago)
The building survived until January 21, 1945, when Soviet troops entered the city. And that was actually the most painful period in his history. After the rooms were thoroughly plundered by the so-called The "liberators" were set on fire. The fire lasted for several days by no one. When it self-extinguished, only the walls blackened by fire remained of the palace, which have not risen from the ruins until today. In modern times, little has been done, only the walls have been secured and the castle tower has been renovated. Currently, the castle is in private hands and, frankly speaking, in Strzelce Opolskie, hardly anyone believes that the castle will be rebuilt. A four-star hotel with conference rooms was to be built here. Initially, the work was stopped by the provincial conservator of monuments, who did not agree to the planned appearance of the castle after its reconstruction. Later, the problem was setting out fire roads. In the end, work was stopped by the need to lay underground 1,000 eight-meter reinforced concrete piles to strengthen the foundations, which turned out to be too expensive. Only plans to revitalize the castle remained on the advertising boards.
Zuzanna Kowalczyk (6 months ago)
Beautiful, super renovated tower. A must-see.
Sebastian D (6 months ago)
Big park, you can take a walk, but there is not much to see the ruins, a new tower and some walls
Aleksander Chudy (7 months ago)
The ruins can only be viewed from the outside, they are closed and partially fenced. There is information on the fence that the castle ruins are under revitalization. There is a beautiful park next to the ruins of the castle, a good place for a Sunday walk, and you can see what's left of the castle from all sides.
Arkadiusz Stanczyk (8 months ago)
You don't need to write anything here. The most beautiful ruins in the world. I know every corner of them, so that's why for me it's magic and childhood memories
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Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.

Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.

When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.

Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.

Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.

In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.

The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.


The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.