Holckenhavn Renaissance castle was built in the late 16th and early 17th century by three consecutive owners. Previously known both as Ulfeldtsholm and Ellensborg, it received its current name in 1672 when it was acquired by Eiler Holck, who at the same time founded the Barony of Holckenhavn. The estate has been in the possession of his family ever since.
Originally known as Kogsbølle, the estate traces its history back to the late 14th century when it was owned by Anders Jacobsen Ulfeldt. The house remained in the possession of the Ulfeldt family for more than 200 years. The original house was located further inland but shortly after 1580 it was moved to its current position next to a small arm of the Great Belt and its name was changed to Ulfeldtsholm.
In 1616, Chancellor of the Realm Jakob Ulfeldt sold the family estate to Ellen Marsvin after Ulfeldt acquired Egeskov Castle. Marsvin had been widowed for the second time a few years earlier at the age of 39, turned to farming and became one of the largest land owners of her time. She expanded the castle with two more wings and carried out extravagant interior alterations.
Ellen Marsvin was the mother of Kirsten Munk who was married to King Christian IV until she fell into disfavour due to her infidelity and left the king. When Kirsten Munk died in 1658 the castle was passed on to their daughter Leonora Christina, whose husband, former Steward of the Realm Corfitz Ulfeldt had joined forces with Sweden in its invasion of Denmark. For this act of treason the couple was imprisoned at Hammershus fortress on the island ofBornholm. After their release in 1661, they took up residence at Ellensborg until they left the country in 1662 and the estate was confiscated. After its confiscation, Ellensborg was left empty for almost a decade but in 1672 it was granted to Eiler Holck, the commandant at Kronborg. He renamed it Holckenhavn and founded the Barony of Holckenhavn (dissolved in 1921).
Situated on an almost quadratic castle bank, Holckenhavn is a four-winged complex designed in theRenaissance style and built over the course of three generations. The north and east wings, as well as the gate wing, were completed by 1585. The large bell tower was added somewhat later. The master builder was probably Domenicus Badiaz. Ellen Marsvin added the west wing in 1631 and a low south-facing gate wing in 1634. She is also responsible for a chapel installed in 1637 richly decorated with wood carvings by Hans Dreier, and a richly decorated knights' hall.
The main building was altered in the 18th and 19th century and thoroughly refurbished from 1904 to 1910. The site also includes a barn from 1629 which is the only surviving component of a farm which burned down in 1912.References:
Czocha Castle is located on the Lake Leśnia, what is now the Polish part of Upper Lusatia. Czocha castle was built on gneiss rock, and its oldest part is the keep, to which housing structures were later added.
Czocha Castle began as a stronghold, on the Czech-Lusatian border. Its construction was ordered by Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, in the middle of the 13th century (1241–1247). In 1253 castle was handed over to Konrad von Wallhausen, Bishop of Meissen. In 1319 the complex became part of the dukedom of Henry I of Jawor, and after his death, it was taken over by another Silesian prince, Bolko II the Small, and his wife Agnieszka. Origin of the stone castle dates back to 1329.
In the mid-14th century, Czocha Castle was annexed by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. Then, between 1389 and 1453, it belonged to the noble families of von Dohn and von Kluks. Reinforced, the complex was besieged by the Hussites in the early 15th century, who captured it in 1427, and remained in the castle for unknown time (see Hussite Wars). In 1453, the castle was purchased by the family of von Nostitz, who owned it for 250 years, making several changes through remodelling projects in 1525 and 1611. Czocha's walls were strengthened and reinforced, which thwarted a Swedish siege of the complex during the Thirty Years War. In 1703, the castle was purchased by Jan Hartwig von Uechtritz, influential courtier of Augustus II the Strong. On August 17, 1793, the whole complex burned in a fire.
In 1909, Czocha was bought by a cigar manufacturer from Dresden, Ernst Gutschow, who ordered major remodelling, carried out by Berlin architect Bodo Ebhardt, based on a 1703 painting of the castle. Gutschow, who was close to the Russian Imperial Court and hosted several White emigres in Czocha, lived in the castle until March 1945. Upon leaving, he packed up the most valuable possessions and moved them out.
After World War II, the castle was ransacked several times, both by soldiers of the Red Army, and Polish thieves, who came to the so-called Recovered Territories from central and eastern part of the country. Pieces of furniture and other goods were stolen, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the castle was home to refugees from Greece. In 1952, Czocha was taken over by the Polish Army. Used as a military vacation resort, it was erased from official maps. The castle has been open to the public since September 1996 as a hotel and conference centre. The complex was featured in several movies and television series. Recently, the castle has been used as the setting of the College of Wizardry, a live action role-playing game (LARP) that takes place in their own universe and can be compared to Harry Potter.