Grodziec Castle

Grodziec, Poland

The first confirmed reference of Grodziec comes from Pope Adrian IV's bull of April 23, 1155. In 1175, Prince Bolesław I the Tall drew up a privilege for Cistercians from Lubiąż at the castle. In the time of his heir, Henryk I the Bearded, the wooden terrestrial castle was replaced by the building of a brick one. The foundation of the castle church is attributed to Saint Hedwig. In the 14th and partially in the 15th centuries the castle was the property of the knightly family of Busewoy.

In the period of the Hussite Wars, the building was captured and plundered by a Hussite detachment. In 1470, the Prince of Legnica, Friedrich I repurchased it. Master bricklayers brought from Wrocławand Görlitz gave the establishment its present-day spatial structure.

After the Prince's death by the order of his son, Friedrich II, work on the castle continued. It then become one of the most beautiful Gothic-Renaissance residences in Silesia. The final work coincided with the wedding of the Prince to Princess Sophie von Hohenzollern. A grand feast was held in the castle and a great knightly tournament outside was arranged.

In the time of the Thirty Years' War, the castle was captured and burned by the forces of Prince Albrecht von Wallenstein. Because of the amount of damage due to the war, the fortress was left with some parts of the stronghold missing.

In the 17th and 18th centuries efforts were made to rebuild Grodziec, however they were not completed. The Swiss art dealer Martin Usteri acquired 32 glass panes in 1796, which were sold from his legacy in 1829, and thereafter installed in the Gröditzberg castle. From there, six of the former stained glass windows of the Augustinerkloster Zürich were bought by the Gottfried Keller Stiftung in 1894, exhibited in the cloister of the Fraumünster cathedral in Zürich, and then entrusted to the Swiss National Museum on deposit.

In the 19th century, when the owner of property became Prince of the Reich Johann Heinrich IV von Hochberg from Książ, more work of preservation and reconstruction was taken up. Reconstruction was stopped during the Napoleonic Wars, but in the mid-1830s the castle became an object of many tourist excursions. At this time, it developed the reputation of being one of the most attractive historical buildings in Europe.

Reconstruction was started again in the 20th century, when Dr. Baron Wilibald von Dirksen became the owner of the castle. He ordered an elaboration of the design to the most well-known and respected architect and conservator, Bodo Ebhardt, who also supervised the work. In 1908, Emperor Wilhelm II was a guest during the solemn reopening of the cassle after the completion of renovations. The castle was inherited by Dirksen's son, Herbert von Dirksen, who become a prominent German diplomat serving as the ambassador to the Soviet Union, Japan and Great Britain. In 1945, the castle, with some of its possessions, was burnt.

The castle was later transferred to Silesian Society of History and Antiquarianism Lovers for use as a museum, restaurant and a shelter-home.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Poland

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

David Howard (2 years ago)
Been all over Europe looking at castles and this is one of the best if not the best. I wish I had more time to explore.
avinash kaur (2 years ago)
Pleasantly surprised by this castle. Very well maintained and beautiful medival castle. I wonder why it is not well advertised. I found it even better than Zamek Grodno.
Ivan Dubovych (2 years ago)
Historical place with special atmosphere and beautiful landscape view.
Piotr Fröhlich (2 years ago)
Prices are low but so does the interior. But you are sleeping in a castle, isn't that great? Plenty of rooms with one similar drawback - cold, old and ugly. Then you go outside and everything is forgiven - magical place underinvested so badly.
Rykunov Anton (2 years ago)
Beautiful castle with history and wonderful landscape views
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.

Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.

When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.

Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.

Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.

In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.

The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.

Architecture

The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.