Earliest records of the Brzeg castle's existence describe a small fortress with a moat and fortified walls, built in 1235 during the reign of Henry I the Bearded. A square tower known as 'The Tower of Lions' was built adjoining the castle. The Piast family branch, which ruled over Duchy of Brzeg, lived in the castle between 1311 until 1675. In 1342, the castle was made the capital seat of the duchy after which it was refurbished many times. In 1370, Prince Ludwik I extended the castle and constructed its chapel which includes the Piast dynasty mausoleum.
During Frederick II of Legnica's reign in 1544, more buildings were added to the castle, with the construction completed in 1560. The additions were in the form of two new buildings, a large courtyard enclosing the buildings and an ambulatory. Additional structures built during this period included a tower gate which was the entrance to the structure. Busts of the Piast princes were part of the gate's decor. Modifications in design were from the Gothic style fort to the Renaissance type of architecture in Silesia.
In 1741, the castle was destroyed by the Prussian forces in the First Silesian War, during which the ruins were used as a warehouse for the Prussian Army. After the war, the town with most of Silesia was annexed from Austria to Prussia. Brieg remained in Prusso-German possession until most of Silesia was transferred to Poland in 1945.
During a fire in 1801, there was further damage to the castle. In 1920, reconstruction of the abandoned castle began, but during World War II, damage to the castle was quite extensive. The castle was rebuilt in Renaissance style during 1966–78 and again from 1980–94. It currently serves as the Museum of the Silesian Piasts.
The rebuilt castle is also called 'The Silesian Wawel'. It was rebuilt by Jakub Parr, Franciscus Pahr, and Bernard Niuron from Italy. Its present facade is known as one of the finest Renaissance period structures in Central Europe. The courtyard has been restored with triple story galleries. The interior of some rooms in the eastern wing, which are in the Renaissance style on the ground floor, are well preserved.
The museum, which is part of the castle, has exhibits which trace the history of the Silesian Piasts. Some of the notable paintings exhibited are from a collection of the National Museum of Wrocław and paintings of Michael Leopold Wilmann, a well known Silesian Baroque painter. The museum also has well-preserved sarcophaguses of the dukes of Legnica and Brzeg.References:
Tyniec Benedictine abbey was founded by King Casimir the Restorer probably around 1044. Casimir decided to rebuild the newly established Kingdom of Poland, after a Pagan rebellion and a disastrous Czech raid of Duke Bretislaus I (1039). The Benedictines, invited to Tyniec by the King, were tasked with restoring order as well as cementing the position of the State and the Church. First Tyniec Abbot was Aaron, who became the Bishop of Kraków. Since there is no conclusive evidence to support the foundation date as 1040, some historians claim that the abbey was founded by Casimir the Restorer’ son, King Boleslaw II the Generous.
In the second half of the 11th century, a complex of Romanesque buildings was completed, consisting of a basilica and the abbey. In the 14th century, it was destroyed in Tatar and Czech raids, and in the 15th century it was rebuilt in Gothic style. Further remodelings took place in the 17th and 18th centuries, first in Baroque, then in Rococo style. The abbey was partly destroyed in the Swedish invasion of Poland, and soon afterwards was rebuilt, with a new library. Further destruction took place during the Bar Confederation, when Polish rebels turned the abbey into their fortress.
In 1816, Austrian authorities liquidated the abbey, and in 1821-1826, it was the seat of the Bishop of Tyniec, Grzegorz Tomasz Ziegler. The monks, however, did not return to the abbey until 1939, and in 1947, remodelling of the neglected complex was initiated. In 1968, the Church of St. Peter and Paul was once again named the seat of the abbot. The church itself consists of a Gothic presbytery and a Baroque main nave. Several altars were created by an 18th-century Italian sculptor Francesco Placidi. The church also has a late Baroque pulpit by Franciszek Jozef Mangoldt.