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 them was Otto von Wedel. At the same time, the settlement on the mainland was awarded town privileges.
The location of the castle in Szczecinek was also affected by building a fortress in Czluchow by the Teutonic Knights and the growing threat from the Teutonic Order and Brandenburg. In 1356, the buildings from the times of Wartislaw IV were dismantled and a new castle was built from the obtained material, this time fully made of bricks. At the very beginning, the castle consisted essentially only of the south wing. The courtyard was surrounded by a wall and all the buildings were settled in a rectangle related plan.
The gate was facing the city, which means it was north-facing. The wooden bridge supported by characteristic piles, known for the later drawings, connected it with the mainland. The construction of the castle was carried out until the year 1364. However, there were a few interruptions. The first one took place when the border of the Teutonic Knights state was moved, as a result of which Szczecinek partly lost its military and strategic importance. However, by the end of XIV century, the works resumed and even another floor of the main wing was built.
The north wing which included the entrance gate was probably built during the expansion carried out in the years 1459-1474, at the times of Duke Eric II. The building had three floors and there was a four-sided tower at the eastern corner. In the years 1606-1610, Duke Philip II rebuilt the south wing giving it a shape typical of Renaissance architecture. In 1619, Duke Ulrich erected in place of the dismantled north wing a new one, which survived until 1801. Another reconstructions took place in 1690 and 1780. The building was also reconstructed several times during XIX and XX century. In 1653 the castle was taken over by Brandenburg and as a result it began to fall into decline. In the years 1780 to 1793 it housed Frederick the Great's abdominal belts manufacture. In the years 1800-1880, in turn, it served as hospital and poorhouse. During World War II, if you believe some stories, the castle was a Gestapo torture chamber in which, among others, soldiers of Battalion 'Odra' were interrogated.
After the war, the army occupied the castle and later it served as Jantarii travel lodge. In 2011, the Municipal Office of Szczecinek began a comprehensive revitalisation of the historic south wing of the castle, which will serve as a training and conference center.References:
Hluboká Castle (Schloss Frauenberg) is considered one of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic. In the second half of the 13th century, a Gothic castle was built at the site. During its history, the castle was rebuilt several times. It was first expanded during the Renaissance period, then rebuilt into a Baroque castle at the order of Adam Franz von Schwarzenberg in the beginning of the 18th century. It reached its current appearance during the 19th century, when Johann Adolf II von Schwarzenberg ordered the reconstruction of the castle in the romantic style of England's Windsor Castle.
The Schwarzenbergs lived in Hluboká until the end of 1939, when the last owner (Adolph Schwarzenberg) emigrated overseas to escape from the Nazis. The Schwarzenbergs lost all of their Czech property through a special legislative Act, the Lex Schwarzenberg, in 1947.
The original royal castle of Přemysl Otakar II from the second half of the 13th century was rebuilt at the end of the 16th century by the Lords of Hradec. It received its present appearance under Count Jan Adam of Schwarzenberg. According to the English Windsor example, architects Franz Beer and F. Deworetzky built a Romantic Neo-Gothic chateau, surrounded by a 1.9 square kilometres English park here in the years 1841 to 1871. In 1940, the castle was seized from the last owner, Adolph Schwarzenberg by the Gestapo and confiscated by the government of Czechoslovakia after the end of World War II. The castle is open to public. There is a winter garden and riding-hall where the Southern Bohemian gallery exhibitions have been housed since 1956.