In mid-14th century, the owner of Koźmin, upon royal conferment, was Maćko Borkowic, Voivode of Poznań, famous for his wealth and robberies, whom King Casimir the Great ordered to be starved to death, on account of his numerous crimes. His brother Jan of the Nałęcz family took over the property after him; since mid-14th century, accounts mention a certain Bartosz Wezenborg, son of Peregryn, to whom erection in Koźmin around the year 1360 of a new mediaeval fortified castle edifice is ascribed.
Built of bricks around mid-14th century, the castle was quadrilateral-shaped, close to square-shaped. The inner yard was surrounded by high-rising walls on three sides; on the fourth, it was closed up with a two-storey single-tract residential building founded on a quasi-L-shaped projection and covered with a tall roof. The ramparts’ angles were reinforced by powerful buttresses; to the east, where the town was situated, a quadrate gate tower was situated, with a bridge crossing the moat surrounding the castle.
Around 1470, the property was purchased by the Gruszczyńskis of the coat-of-arms Poraj; the family’s line settled down in Koźmin started naming themselves Koźmiński soon after. It was on their initiative that, still in 15th century, the castle was reconstructed and redeveloped, a project that was mainly due – it is believed – to the changes having taken place in that period in the fortification system, which themselves were caused by the invention of firearms.
The building survived in such form to mid-16th century when it was transferred to the Górka family of the coat-of-arms Łodzia. The rebuilding exercise managed by this family has altered the castle’s shaping, giving it certain features of modern-era residence.
It was only after the estate was taken over in 1701 by the Sapieha family, who lasted in Koźmin by the end of 18th century, its developments gained a uniformed character, the façades being given a baroque décor.
In one of the inner yard’s corners, a tower containing a stairwell was built; also, the interiors were reconstructed, gaining a more representative character. The scale of the project then undertaken can be testified to by the theatre room arranged by the Sapiehas on the premises, or the fountain, once in operation at the yard, as historic records tell us. The castle as pictured in a panorama of the town from 1772 shows an impressive edifice whose solid is dense and consists of three two-storied wings, forming an U-like shape to frame the inner yard with a turret and a tremendous corner donjon.
In 1904, the estate came to the hands of the so-called Colonisation Committee. The buildings were henceforth to serve schooling purposes – as they have been doing to date.
The castle is presently home to Post-Junior-High Schools and the Museum of the Koźmin Land.References:
The Erfurt Synagogue was built c. 1094. It is thought to be the oldest synagogue building still standing in Europe. Thanks to the extensive preservation of the original structure, it has a special place in the history of art and architecture and is among the most impressive and highly rated architectural monuments in Erfurt and Thuringia. The synagogue was constructed during the Middle Ages on the via regia, one of the major European trade routes, at the heart of the historical old quarter very close to the Merchants Bridge and the town hall. Many parts of the structure still remain today, including all four thick outer walls, the Romanesque gemel window, the Gothic rose window and the entrance to the synagogue room.
After extensive restoration, the building was reopened in 2009. On display in the exhibition rooms is an collection of medieval treasures discovered during archaeological excavations. This includes 3,140 silver coins, 14 silver ingots, approx. 6,000 works of goldsmithery from the 13th and 14th centuries and an intricately worked wedding ring of the period, of which only two others are known to exist anywhere in the world. A mikveh (Jewish bath) has been excavated close by (13th/14th century). The Old Synagogue, the Small Synagogue and two Jewish cemeteries together form a network of historical buildings and sites which vividly portray the role of Jewish life in the history of Erfurt.