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:
From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.
Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia"s rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.
In March 1242 at Klis Fortress, Tatars who were a constituent segment of the Mongol army under the leadership of Kadan suffered a major defeat while in pursuit of the Hungarian army led by King Béla IV. After their defeat by Croatian forces, the Mongols retreated, and Béla IV rewarded many Croatian towns and nobles with 'substantial riches'. During the Late Middle Ages, the fortress was governed by Croatian nobility, amongst whom Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the most significant. During his reign, the House of Šubić controlled most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. Excluding the brief possession by the forces of Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, the fortress remained in Hungaro-Croatian hands for the next several hundred years, until the 16th century.
Klis Fortress is probably best known for its defense against the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the early 16th century. Croatian captain Petar Kružić led the defense of the fortress against a Turkish invasion and siege that lasted for more than two and a half decades. During this defense, as Kružić and his soldiers fought without allies against the Turks, the military faction of Uskoks was formed, which later became famous as an elite Croatian militant sect. Ultimately, the defenders were defeated and the fortress was occupied by the Ottomans in 1537. After more than a century under Ottoman rule, in 1669, Klis Fortress was besieged and seized by the Republic of Venice, thus moving the border between Christian and Muslim Europe further east and helping to contribute to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress, but it was taken by the Austrians after Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. Today, Klis Fortress contains a museum where visitors to this historic military structure can see an array of arms, armor, and traditional uniforms.