Sieraków Castle was built at the end of the 14th century on the initiative of the Nałęcz family. Maćko Borkowic, the Poznań voivode or his daughter Wichna, most probably began the process, and her grandson Wincenty continued it. In the middle of the 15th century Sieraków received Łukasz Górka coat of arms Łodzia, who rebuilt the castle. In 1571 it was taken over by the starost Jakub Rokossowski, and in 1591 Sieraków bought the castellan Jan of Bnin Opaliński, who raised the castle houses and converted them into a baroque residence. In 1763 castle and estate were bought by the baron Piotr Mikołaj Neugarten von Gartenberg, using the Polish name Sadogórski, and probably during his time demolition of the northern wing was carried, leaving only the southern wing. In 1829 in relation with the construction of a new road, the remains of the castle were demolished. Only the south wing survived. In 1991 it was decided to restore the remains of the castle and to put in it the tombs of the Opalinsk family. Construction work lasted two years. In the lack of the sources of the castle’s appearance, it was decided to reconstruct the southern range only.
The castle was east of the town and was separated from it by a moat. It stood on a regular, artificial mound. Its defenses was increased by the river, surrounding from the south. The earliest phase is connected with the emergence of brick curtain walls with the gate from the east. From the south, a residential range, initially timber or half-timber framed, was located. In the 15th century a brick north range with a width of 8 meters was erected with characteristic corner buttreses. At the same time, or slightly later, a new southern building of similar dimensions was constructed. Another redevelopment introduced new partition walls and a shorter west range connector.
Today, in the rebuilt south range of the castle, there is a museum which expositions present the history of the Sieraków Region from the earliest to the present. Particular attention should be paid to the tombs of the Opalińsk family, discovered in 1991 in the crypt of the church of St. Bernard.References:
The Château de Foix dominates the town of Foix. An important tourist site, it is known as a centre of the Cathars. Built on an older 7th-century fortification, the castle is known from 987. In 1002, it was mentioned in the will of Roger I, Count of Carcassonne, who bequeathed the fortress to his youngest child, Bernard. In effect, the family ruling over the region were installed here which allowed them to control access to the upper Ariège valley and to keep surveillance from this strategic point over the lower land, protected behind impregnable walls.
In 1034, the castle became capital of the County of Foix and played a decisive role in medieval military history. During the two following centuries, the castle was home to Counts with shining personalities who became the soul of the Occitan resistance during the crusade against the Albigensians. The county became a privileged refuge for persecuted Cathars.
The castle, often besieged (notably by Simon de Montfort in 1211 and 1212), resisted assault and was only taken once, in 1486, thanks to treachery during the war between two branches of the Foix family.
From the 14th century, the Counts of Foix spent less and less time in the uncomfortable castle, preferring the Governors' Palace. From 1479, the Counts of Foix became Kings of Navarre and the last of them, made Henri IV of France, annexed his Pyrrenean lands to France.
As seat of the Governor of the Foix region from the 15th century, the castle continued to ensure the defence of the area, notably during the Wars of Religion. Alone of all the castles in the region, it was exempted from the destruction orders of Richelieu (1632-1638).
Until the Revolution, the fortress remained a garrison. Its life was brightened with grand receptions for its governors, including the Count of Tréville, captain of musketeers under Louis XIII and Marshal Philippe Henri de Ségur, one of Louis XVI's ministers. The Round Tower, built in the 15th century, is the most recent, the two square towers having been built before the 11th century. They served as a political and civil prison for four centuries until 1862.
Since 1930, the castle has housed the collections of the Ariège départemental museum. Sections on prehistory, Gallo-Roman and mediaeval archaeology tell the history of Ariège from ancient times. Currently, the museum is rearranging exhibits to concentrate on the history of the castle site so as to recreate the life of Foix at the time of the Counts.