Tykocin Castle, then located on a border area in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, was built in 1433 for Lithuanian noble Jonas Goštautas, voivode of Trakai and Vilnius, replacing the original wooden fortress. In the 1560s, upon the death of the last member of the Goštautas family the castle became the property of king Sigismund II Augustus, who expanded it. The construction was supervised by Hiob Bretfus, military engineer and royal architect. During the reign of Sigismund Augustus the structure served as a royal residence with an impressive treasury and library as well as the main arsenal of the crown. In 1611–1632 the castle was rebuilt again and surrounded with bastion fortifications by Krzysztof Wiesiołowski, starosta of Tykocin.
During the 1655 Deluge, the Radziwiłł army occupied the castle. On December 31, 1655, when the castle was besieged by troops of the Tyszowce Confederation, Janusz Radziwiłł, one of the most powerful people in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth considered by some as the traitor, died here. Ultimately, the castle was captured on January 27, 1657.
In the following years the castle and surrounding lands were donated to Stefan Czarniecki in reward for his contribution in the war. The new owner rebuilt the castle after 1698. In November 1705 the meeting between the king Augustus II the Strong and Peter the Great took place here. During this meeting the Order of White Eagle was established by the King of Poland.
In 1734 the castle was destroyed by fire. Since that time, no inhabited building began to fall into disrepair. In 1771 remains of the castle were destroyed by flood and in 1914, during World War I, the material from the remaining walls was used by the German soldiers to build roads.
Based on the preserved plans of the fortress, found in the archives in Saint Petersburg, the residential part of the castle has been restored (west wing in the style of late Gothic). The original castle was built on a plan of a trapezoid with a courtyard and four cylindrical towers at the corners. The complex was surrounded with fortifications – curtains combined four terrestrial inner bastions.References:
The Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg is situated in a strategic area on a rocky spur overlooking the Upper Rhine Plain, it was used by successive powers from the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years' War when it was abandoned. From 1900 to 1908 it was rebuilt at the behest of the German kaiser Wilhelm II. Today it is a major tourist site, attracting more than 500,000 visitors a year.
The first records of a castle built by the Hohenstaufens date back to 1147. The fortress changed its name to Koenigsburg (royal castle) around 1157. The castle was handed over to the Tiersteins by the Habsburgs following its destruction in 1462. They rebuilt and enlarged it, installing a defensive system designed to withstand artillery fire.
The fortification work accomplished over the 15th century did not suffice to keep the Swedish artillery at bay during the Thirty Years War, and the defences were overrun.