The Niepolomice Royal Castle is a Gothic castle from the mid-14th century and rebuilt in the late Renaissance style.
The Niepolomice Castle was built by order of King Casimir III the Great on the slope of the Vistula valley, to serve as a retreat during the hunting expeditions to the nearby Niepolomice Forest. The castle consisted of three towers, buildings in the southern and eastern wing, and curtain walls around the courtyard. Sigismund I the Old rebuilt the structure, giving it the form of a quadrangle with an internal courtyard. Queen Bona Sforza's gardens were located on the southern flank.
In 1550 the great fire destroyed the east and north wings. The reconstruction works were conducted in 1551-1568 under the supervision of Tomasz Grzymala and a sculptor Santi Gucci. Since the end of the 16th century the castle passed into the hands of noble families of Curylo, Branicki and Lubomirski. At that time, only the small changes were made in the castle's interiors (fireplaces, ceilings). The construction of an arcade courtyard began in 1635 and was completed in 1637.
The Swedish-Brandenburgian invasion in 1655 brought an end to the magnificence of the building. The castle was transformed into a food store during the occupation. In the 18th century it was acquired by King Augustus II the Strong and Augustus III. The reconstruction of the former royal residence began in 1991, when it became the property of Niepolomice Municipality.References:
Czocha Castle is located on the Lake Leśnia, what is now the Polish part of Upper Lusatia. Czocha castle was built on gneiss rock, and its oldest part is the keep, to which housing structures were later added.
Czocha Castle began as a stronghold, on the Czech-Lusatian border. Its construction was ordered by Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, in the middle of the 13th century (1241–1247). In 1253 castle was handed over to Konrad von Wallhausen, Bishop of Meissen. In 1319 the complex became part of the dukedom of Henry I of Jawor, and after his death, it was taken over by another Silesian prince, Bolko II the Small, and his wife Agnieszka. Origin of the stone castle dates back to 1329.
In the mid-14th century, Czocha Castle was annexed by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. Then, between 1389 and 1453, it belonged to the noble families of von Dohn and von Kluks. Reinforced, the complex was besieged by the Hussites in the early 15th century, who captured it in 1427, and remained in the castle for unknown time (see Hussite Wars). In 1453, the castle was purchased by the family of von Nostitz, who owned it for 250 years, making several changes through remodelling projects in 1525 and 1611. Czocha's walls were strengthened and reinforced, which thwarted a Swedish siege of the complex during the Thirty Years War. In 1703, the castle was purchased by Jan Hartwig von Uechtritz, influential courtier of Augustus II the Strong. On August 17, 1793, the whole complex burned in a fire.
In 1909, Czocha was bought by a cigar manufacturer from Dresden, Ernst Gutschow, who ordered major remodelling, carried out by Berlin architect Bodo Ebhardt, based on a 1703 painting of the castle. Gutschow, who was close to the Russian Imperial Court and hosted several White emigres in Czocha, lived in the castle until March 1945. Upon leaving, he packed up the most valuable possessions and moved them out.
After World War II, the castle was ransacked several times, both by soldiers of the Red Army, and Polish thieves, who came to the so-called Recovered Territories from central and eastern part of the country. Pieces of furniture and other goods were stolen, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the castle was home to refugees from Greece. In 1952, Czocha was taken over by the Polish Army. Used as a military vacation resort, it was erased from official maps. The castle has been open to the public since September 1996 as a hotel and conference centre. The complex was featured in several movies and television series. Recently, the castle has been used as the setting of the College of Wizardry, a live action role-playing game (LARP) that takes place in their own universe and can be compared to Harry Potter.