Zbaszyn Castle Ruins

Zbąszyń, Poland

Zbąszyń castellan stronghold was first mentioned in 1231. In 1242, Duke Przemysł I founded a customs chamber there to facilitate trading operations between Poland and Teutonic Order lands. The castle-town was captured and plundered by marauders ravaging the borderland area.

According to Edward Raczyński, the first owner of Zbąszyń was Piotr Szwenc; he was sentenced to death in 1307 for betrayal of the country. Then, the estate came down to the Zbąski family who, probably in 14th century, erected there a fortified edifice, referred to in 1456 as a fortalitium. The castle was redeveloped, or possibly replaced by a new one, between 1560 and 1577 by Abraham Zbąski, the then estate proprietor. What has remained of it is a quadrilateral gate tower of a gothic wall thread, incorporated in that novel fortified-structure setup, heavily redeveloped at a later date. The project was continued by Abraham’s grandson Abraham Ciświcki, Castellan of Bydgoszcz and Śrem, owner of the Zbąszyń property since 1613. It was on his initiative that a palazzo-in-fortezza-type residence was erected there in the 1620s, featuring rampart fortifications, modelled after old-Dutch fortifications – it only had earth bastions and fortification curtains.

The fortress, founded upon a rectangular (250 m x 350 m) base, is surrounded and reinforced by earth-banks with four sharp-tipped bastions at the angles. The entry led through the gate tower, with a ravelin heaped-up in front of it, connected with the gate through a drawbridge set above a moat fed with the Oder river waters. Due to the warfare taking place at the time, it is not certain if the works actually got completed at that point.

The layout’s central part featured a residential building, not surviving to date. The stronghold was destroyed several times: in the early 17th century, during the Swedish invasion of 1655–1660 and the Great Northern War in 1706, which turned its fortified as well as residential elements, and even the chapel, into ruins.

The gate tower, rebuilt in 19th century, has survived till this day, as has a part of the earth-water fortifications with visible outlines of embankments and bastions at the north, north-west and north-east alike. A branch of the Regional Museum is housed at the site today.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 1231
Category: Ruins in Poland

More Information

regionwielkopolska.pl

User Reviews

Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lednice Castle

The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.

At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.

During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.

In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.

In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.

The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.