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.References:
From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.
Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia"s rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.
In March 1242 at Klis Fortress, Tatars who were a constituent segment of the Mongol army under the leadership of Kadan suffered a major defeat while in pursuit of the Hungarian army led by King Béla IV. After their defeat by Croatian forces, the Mongols retreated, and Béla IV rewarded many Croatian towns and nobles with 'substantial riches'. During the Late Middle Ages, the fortress was governed by Croatian nobility, amongst whom Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the most significant. During his reign, the House of Šubić controlled most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. Excluding the brief possession by the forces of Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, the fortress remained in Hungaro-Croatian hands for the next several hundred years, until the 16th century.
Klis Fortress is probably best known for its defense against the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the early 16th century. Croatian captain Petar Kružić led the defense of the fortress against a Turkish invasion and siege that lasted for more than two and a half decades. During this defense, as Kružić and his soldiers fought without allies against the Turks, the military faction of Uskoks was formed, which later became famous as an elite Croatian militant sect. Ultimately, the defenders were defeated and the fortress was occupied by the Ottomans in 1537. After more than a century under Ottoman rule, in 1669, Klis Fortress was besieged and seized by the Republic of Venice, thus moving the border between Christian and Muslim Europe further east and helping to contribute to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress, but it was taken by the Austrians after Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. Today, Klis Fortress contains a museum where visitors to this historic military structure can see an array of arms, armor, and traditional uniforms.