Tenczyn Castle was built as a seat of the powerful Tęczyński family. The castle fell into ruin during the Deluge in mid-17th century, after being pillaged and burned by Swedish-Brandenburgian forces looking for the Polish Crown Jewels and rumored treasures of the Tęczyński family. Subsequently rebuilt, after a fire in the mid-18th century it again fell into disrepair and remains in that state to this day.
The first mention of the stronghold is dated in 1308. It is believed that the first wooden structure was erected around 1319 by Jan Nawój of Morawica, Castellan of Cracow. He also built the largest of the castle towers, called today the Nawojowa tower. The medieval castle included three additional round Gothic towers. Further expansion was carried out by Jan"s son Jędrzej, governor of Cracow and Sandomierz. He erected the north-east part of the structure, where he lived, dying there in 1368; he is also known as the first to take the name Tęczyński. Jędrzej"s son Jasko renewed and significantly expanded the castle, and founded a chapel. The first recorded mention relating directly to the castle dates from this period. The king Władysław Jagiełło imprisoned some important Teutonic prisoners, captured during the Battle of Grunwald, in the castle.
Within a short period of time the Tęczyński family rose to a great importance in Poland, holding 45 estates, of which 15 were near the castle. Around the middle of the 16th century, the castle was frequented by Mikołaj Rej, Jan Kochanowski, Piotr Kochanowski and other important figures of the Polish Renaissance. In 1570 Jan Tęczyński, Castellan of Wojnicz reconstructed the castle. It had three wings with a central courtyard open to the west and adorned with Renaissance attics, cornices and arcades. It was also surrounded by a curtain wall on the north, strengthened with a bastion entry (barbican). Two pentagonal bastions were erected on the south. After the reconstruction the castle took the shape of an irregular polygon, measuring over 140 meters from east to west, and 130 meters from north to south. Italian gardens and vineyards stretched out below the castle. The last big expenditure on the castle was a thorough reconstruction of the castle chapel, completed in the early 17th century by Agnieszka Firlejowa née Tęczyńska. In 1637 Jan Magnus Tęczyński, the last representative of the family, died in the castle.
In 1655, during the Deluge, the rumor was spread that Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski, Grand Marshal of the Crown had hidden the Polish Crown Jewels in Tenczyn Castle. The Swedish-Brandenburgian forces led by Kurt Christoph von Königsmarck captured the castle against a defence led by captain Jan Dziula and slaughtered all of its defenders. When they did not find treasure they left the fortress and burned it in July 1656.
After the Deluge the castle was for the most part rebuilt and partially inhabited. At the beginning of the 18th century the Tenczyn estates passed to Adam Mikołaj Sieniawski, later to Prince August Aleksander Czartoryski who had married with Sieniawski"s only daughter Maria Zofia, eventually passing to his daughter Izabela Lubomirska. After the fire in 1768 the structure increasingly fell into disrepair. In 1783, the remains of Jan Magnus Tęczyński were moved from the castle chapel to a new tomb in St. Catherine"s Church in Tenczynek. In 1816, the castle became the property of the Potocki family and remained in their hands until the outbreak of World War II in 1939.References:
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a stone theatre structure located on the southwest slope of the Acropolis of Athens. It was built in 161 AD by the Athenian magnate Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilla. It was originally a steep-sloped theater with a three-story stone front wall and a wooden roof made of expensive cedar of Lebanon timber. It was used as a venue for music concerts with a capacity of 5,000. It lasted intact until it was destroyed and left in ruins by the Heruli in 267 AD.
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