Rydzyna Castle was built in the early 15th century by Komes Jan of Czernina. Eighteenth-century architecture and town planning were such as to have made it a classic example of a baroque urban configuration joined to a manor house.
Rafał Leszczyński, then owner of Leszno, purchased the property in late 17th century. He oversaw construction work in 1690-1694 to convert the medieval castle into a baroque manor with four four-storey wings arranged around an internal courtyard, with four alcove towers in the corners. The conversion was led by the Royal Architect Giuseppe Józef Szymon Belotti. The interior arrangement, with its economical basement, first floor private apartments, and lavishly decorated second floor with its elegant interiors, are his work as well. The architect Pompeo Ferrari was commissioned to complete the work c. 1700. He redesigned the western wing of the castle with a two-storey ballroom over an elliptical vestibule. To the west, a garden was built over the former castle moats.
Rafał’s son, Stanisław Leszczyński, became King of Poland in 1704. The castle was burnt down during the Saxon Wars and Rydzyna was placed under Saxon administration from 1709. Stanisław Leszczyński left for France.
Aleksander Józef Sułkowski, a minister of Augustus II the Strong, purchased the Leszczyński property in 1738. Sometime around 1740, he hired Silesian architect Karol Marcin Frantz and set about reconstructing the manor. The monumental, elegant stairway added to the north wing is his work. The stairway is connected to each floor via a stately vestibule. The west wing ballroom was rearranged and stucco decoration added by Jan Chrystian Grünewald from Legnica. The polychrome ceiling features Apoteoza Rodu Sułkowskich (The Apotheosis of the Sułkowski Family) by Silesian painter Georg Neunhertz. He probably painted the polychrome on the internal courtyard walls as well (their remains were uncovered during work carried out in the 1970s and 1980s.
The castle island was also extended and new moats were dug. A semi-circular courtyard was installed in front of the northern elevation of the castle. This was enclosed by annexes, a stable, a coach house and a dressage arena connected via galleries. August Sułkowski inherited the property in 1762. He aligned the manor and the city along a composition axis. In 1776, Ignacy Graff placed a semi-circular closed pool in the garden, surrounded it with stone sculptures by Jan Rimpler, and designed several park pavilions, including an orangery in which plays were staged. Graff is also credited with rebuilding the ballroom and having monumental marble columns installed inside it. The city also experienced a boom during the time of August Sułkowski, who created Rydzyna as an entailed estate in 1775.
The German government purchased the estate and turned the castle into a collegiate school when the last male heir in primogeniture died in 1909. When the country regained independence in 1918, the Rydzyna property was acquired by the Ministry of Education and converted into a boys’ high school with a dormitory. The castle was seized by Germany during WWII and was almost completely burnt down in 1945. Renovation, restoration and conservation work was carried out in the 1970s and 1980s.References:
Narikala is an ancient fortress overlooking Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and the Kura River. The fortress consists of two walled sections on a steep hill between the sulphur baths and the botanical gardens of Tbilisi. On the lower court there is the recently restored St Nicholas church. Newly built in 1996–1997, it replaces the original 13th-century church that was destroyed in a fire. The new church is of 'prescribed cross' type, having doors on three sides. The internal part of the church is decorated with the frescos showing scenes both from the Bible and history of Georgia.
The fortress was established in the 4th century and it was a Persian citadel. It was considerably expanded by the Umayyads in the 7th century and later, by king David the Builder (1089–1125). Most of extant fortifications date from the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1827, parts of the fortress were damaged by an earthquake and demolished.