Construction of the Royal Castle in Poznań was probably started by Przemysł I in 1249 on hill later called Góra Zamkowa. The first building was a habitable tower made of bricks with a well inside, and the rest of the hill was surrounded by a rampart with a palisade. A small ducal residence was incorporated into the system of city walls in the late 13th century.
The son of Przemysł I, Przemysł II, hoping for reunification of Poland under his rule decided to build a larger castle, more proper for a king. In 1295 Przemysł became king of Poland, but he was assassinated a year later. The castle wasn"t finished. Work started by Przemysł was continued by a branch of the Piasts from Głogów ruling in Greater Poland, and finished before 1337. The castle served as the residence of prince Casimir, then-governor of Greater Poland.
In 1337, the Royal Castle in Poznań was the largest castle in the Polish Kingdom, modelled after the palatium of Henry I the Bearded in Legnica. The castle consisted of a tower built by Przemysł I and a huge building (63,0 m x 17,5 m) with three levels and a basement. It is uncertain whether the castle"s characteristic roof, consisting of four parts, existed at that time.
Basements served as prisons and for storage of wines, and on the ground floor there were charring rooms. Those two condignations were covered by vaults. Two higher floors probably had wooden ceilings. On the edges of first floor were representative chambers, and between them were habitual rooms. The whole second floor was occupied by achamber for 2000 guests. On the south end of the large building was a defense tower. Since the reign of Władysław I the Elbow-high the castle served as the residence of starosta generalny of Greater Poland. Later only one king, Władysław II Jagiełło, ordered some minor work in castle.
During the fire of Poznań in 1536 the castle also burned. It was rebuilt in the renaissance style by the governor of Greater Poland, Andrzej II Górka. In the next years the oldest part of castle was transformed into a kitchen. The castle was later destroyed during the Swedish invasion, sacked in 1704 by the armies of Russia and Saxony during Great Northern War, and in 1716 during Confederation of Tarnogród by the confederates. The castle was partially renovated in 1721, but it didn"t stop the devastation. The last starosta generalny, Kazimierz Raczyński, rebuilt the remains of the medieval buildings into an archive (finished in 1783). In 1804, after The Second partition of Poland, Prussians demolished the southern part of the castle, replacing it by buildings which, together with Raczyński"s archive served as the office of the local Regierungsbezirk. Later on the castle was also as a seat of the Court of Appeals and the State Archive (the castle served as an archive until 1939). During the battle for the Poznań Citadelle, in February 1945, Przemysł Hill was in line of artillery fire, and the remaining part of the castle was demolished.
In the years 1959–1964 Raczyński"s archive and part of Prussian building were rebuilt, and on base of the oldest tower stands a small pavilion called the Royal Kitchen (Kuchnia Królewska). Today the Castle holds a Museum of Utilitary Art.
In 2002, a committee for rebuilding of the castle was founded. Still extant from previous construction are two-meter-wide supports from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the inner walls of the basement and the western wall from the same period, and a slightly newer eastern wall, now integrated into Raczyński"s Building. On the surviving part of the castle are three plaques: the foundation plaque of Kazimierz Raczyński from 1783, one from 1993 marking the five-hundredth anniversary of homage of Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, Johann von Tiefen, and another plaque commemorating the seven-hundredth anniversary of the coronation of Przemysł II.
On 20 December 2010, work began on the total reconstruction of the demolished parts of the castle, and meticulous restoration of the surviving buildings.References:
Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.
The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.
In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.
Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.
About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.
Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.
A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.