Grudziadz Castle Ruins

Grudziądz, Poland

The beginnings of the fortified stronghold on the territory of present-day Grudziadz go back to the 10th century. It was first mentioned in historical sources in 1065. In 1207 the stronghold was ruled by Konrad of Masovia who, in 1218, bestowed Chelmno Land and the stronghold to Bishop Christian. In 1231 the town was conquered by the Teutonic Knights. In 1299 construction of the castle was completed and a town was erected around it.

The town was partially ruined several times during attacks by Pomeranian Dukes (1242, 1244), the Prussians and the Lithuanians (1278-1281). The seat of the commander of the Teutonic Knights was established in Grudziadz. In the 14th century the town was surrounded by a thick, double wall with 10 towers and 4 fortified gates. Moats were dug along parts of the wall. The town became a center of grain trade because of its favorable location on the Vistula waterway. The large granaries on the Vistula River were first mentioned in historical documents in 1365.

During the Polish-Swedish War (1655-1660) the Grudziadz castle became Charles Gustav’s headquarters. In 1711 Peter I, tsar of Russia lived there. From the 16th until the 18th century the town’s development was hindered by wars, plagues, floods, fires, as well as by competition from other developing towns nearby, in particular Torun. In 1772 Grudziadz passed under Prussian rule and soon after became a garrison town, in large part thanks to the mighty fortress built between 1776-1788. King Fredrick William III found shelter in Grudziadz after having lost the Battle of Jena against Napoleon. The town began to deteriorate with the decline of trade on the Vistula. Further destruction occurred between 1806-1807 when the town was under siege by the French for 5 months.

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Founded: 1231-1299
Category: Ruins in Poland

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Quimper Cathedral

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The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

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The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

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The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

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The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.