Sobieski's Castle in Oława is a Renaissance-Baroque style castle located in the site of a former Gothic castle. The original castle had been built by Duke Ludwik I built in the second half of the fourteenth century. It was the third castle structure in Oława, the first being the seat of the castellans, located in the south-east of the town. It remained an integral part of the town's defenses until the wars with the Hussites.

The Renaissance castle was built by master Jakub of Milan, continued by his brother-in-law Bernard Niuron in 1588. After various reconstructions, this part of the castle now houses the local parish church's rectory of St. Apostle Peter and Paul. The reconstruction covered the whole of the Gothic castle, this included the now former west and northern wings of the castle-church. The castle-church's tower, the last fragment of the northern wing, collapsed in the later years of 1970s.

The current castle-church also has a two-level pavilion constructed in the early-Baroque architectural style, built onto the western side of the Renaissance castle. The pavilion was constructed by Italian masters during the reign of Christian, Duke of Brieg (1618–1672); the castle's building is called Christianbau. It was probably designed and built by Carlo Rossi, an Italian architect who spent most of his career in Russia and Poland. The site included a terraced garden which was incompatible with the Polish climate, causing in its rapid devastation.

The castle was part of the defenses used by the House of Piast to protect their lands from incursion by their various enemies; their royal rule in Poland ended in 1370, but the family continued to dominate the areas bordering on Bohemia and Moravia. In the 17th century, the last duke, Christian, left the castle to his widow, Louise of Anhalt-Dessau, as her dower house; she was also the regent for her son, Georg William until his death of smallpox in 1675; the boy was the last male Piast. She remained at the castle until her own death in 1680, after which the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph I confiscated the Piast lands and castles.



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plac Zamkowy 17, Oława, Poland
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Founded: 1541
Category: Castles and fortifications in Poland

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Glimmingehus, is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).

Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.

Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.

An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.

On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".