The history of the Castle in Otmuchów dates back to the 12th century, when Pope Hadrian gave authority to the land to the Bishop of Wrocław, including the castle. Throughout the next centuries the castle gained its significance, when Bishop Preczlaw of Pogarell called Otmuchów the capital of the Duchy of Bishops. The castle changed its architectural style to that of the Renaissance during reconstruction work in the seventeenth century. In 1810 the partially devastated south-eastern wing of the residence was deconstructed. Currently two wings of the castle survive, both having four levels.
After the secularisation in 1810, the castle was left in ruins, while the lands were given off to the powerful House of Humboldt; the Duke of Humboldt used the material from the former, other two wings to repair the currently standing reconstructed wings. In the location of the former wings, the owner built a small castle-garden, while his brother Alexander von Humboldt sent in exotic trees, such as the smoketree, ginkgo, or the Canadian lime tree.
One of the most unusual parts of the residence's interior is located in the castle's two small cells of death, where prisoners were told to enter, and fall down a 20-metre drop, where there is a scripture Go you are free (Idź jesteś wolny); the sudden drop let to the stone courtyard with a sharpened birch perch.References:
Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.
The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.
In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.