Bodzentyn – castle

History

   According to the chronicler Jan Długosz, the stone castle was erected in the second half of the 14th century by the Cracow bishop Florian from Mokrsko. Perhaps sooner, just after the location of the town in 1355, the first timber buildings were erected by the bishop Bodzęta (Bodzanta), but it were removed during the construction of a stone castle, which became a defensive residence and administrative center of episcopal estates. In the following centuries, on the initiative of the Kraków bishops (Zbigniew Oleśnicki and Fryderyk Jagiellończyk), numerous late-medieval extensions and modernizations were carried out. Some of them could have forced a fire from 1413 that damaged the castle, especially its wooden elements. In 1572, Franciszek Krasiński began the renaissance rebuilding, which finished bishop Piotr Myszkowski at the end of the sixteenth century.
   The importance of the castle began to decrease after 1642, from the moment of completion of the construction, at the behest of bishop Jakub Zadzik, the new palace of bishops in Kielce. Still, in the years 1657-1691 baroque transformations were made, as a result of which the castle gained the form of a comfortable palace residence, devoid of defensive features. The end of splendor brought 1797, when the castle was taken over by the Austrian authorities, which transformed it into a granary and a military hospital. From 1815 it fell into disrepair.

Architecture

   The castle was erected in the western part of the town, on the steep bank of Psarka River. Probably its earliest element was the four-sided tower with top passing into a cylindrical part. In the first half of the fifteenth century, the castle consisted of a perimeter wall connected with the town walls and a two-storey building at the northern curtain, added from the east to the older tower. The entrance to the castle courtyard led from the town side. Probably still in the fifteenth century, the southern ward was fortified, surrounded with its own defensive wall with four or five small, rectangular towers.
   At the turn of the 15th and 16th century, a three-storey residential wing (the so-called large house) was erected to the east, adjacent to the older building on the south side. It was a two-story building with dimensions of 14×38 meters, equipped with two turrets in the corners from the west. In the following years of the 16th century, the eastern avant-corps housing the chapel was added to the building.

Current state

   Fragments of all three wings of the residential building have survived to this day, of which the southern wing is in the best condition. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find elements of the original medieval building among the late renaissance baroque elements. The castle is open to visitors throughout the year.

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bibliography:
Leksykon zamków w Polsce, L.Kajzer, S.Kołodziejski, J.Salm, Warszawa 2003.
Wróblewski S., Zamki i dwory obronne województwa sandomierskiego w średniowieczu, Nowy Sącz 2006.