Chojnik – castle

History

   Chojnik Castle was erected on a mountain with a height of 627 meters above sea level, which south-eastern slope creates a 150-meter cliff. Its origins date back to the fifties of the 14th century. Probably it was founded by the prince of Świdnica-Jawor Bolko II and was one of the elements of the system of fortification on the borders of the duchy. The first reference to the stronghold comes from 1364. In a document issued by Charles IV, Chojnik was mentioned among the castles of Bolko II of Świdnica and Jawor. The next information comes from 1393, when the bishop of Wrocław approved the foundation at the castle of the altar of Saint George.
   From the end of the 14th century, the stronghold was already owned by the Schaffgotsch family, who in the fifteenth century made the first major expansion. The next sixteenth-century modernization added renaissance elements and adapted the strongholds for the use of firearms. The fall brought the year 1675, when during a thunderstorm, a great fire broke out. The building became a ruin that was never rebuilt.

Architecture

   The castle was built on a rocky peak of a high mountain of stones of the local granite. Architectural details were made of red sandstone. Its earliest and oldest part was the upper castle with a round tower from the east and a small three-story western house with dimensions of 9.6 x 8.5 meters, using curtain walls. It was accessible from the level of the courtyard and from the porch that ran around the walls at a height of 9 meters. On the ground floor of the western wall and the first floor of the southern wall there were latrines. The tower with the bergfried function was provided with three floors. On the ground floor there was a narrow, circular room covered with a timber ceiling, and on the first floor a vaulted chamber was erected, in which there was the original entrance to the building. The structure was crowned with a terrace.
   
Probably in the third quarter of the fourteenth century, the northern entrance was extended in four-sided foregate, touching bergfried tower from the north. It was divided into two parts, so that on the south – east side a cross vaulted room was created, and on the north – west side an entry route. In the later period of the fifteenth century, the foregate was raised and equipped with a battlement, and the entire upper castle was surrounded by an outer, lower wall with an oval outline. At the beginning of the fifteenth century, Gotsche Schoff founded the chapel of St. George and St. Catherine over the entrance with no longer existing bay window, decorated with coats of arms and tracery windows.
   At the end of the fifteenth or the sixteenth century, a close to the triangle outer bailey was built, surrounded by fortifications with a cylindrical tower from the north and a half tower in the north-east corner. Economic and residential buildings were erected along the curtains, and a stone pillory stood on the courtyard. The gate in the west wall led to the next courtyard where the castle stables were located. The construction of an attics and a large bastion tower is connected with the renaissance period.

Current state

   The castle is preserved in the form of a ruin, with the main tower of the upper castle, walls of residential buildings, two rings of walls and the 16th century bastion tower, without any further distortions. There is a hostel in the castle, seat of the knight’s brotherhood, and one of the biggest crossbow tournaments of the “About the Golden Bolt of the Chojnik Castle” takes place here. Opening hours and ticket prices can be checked on the castle website here.

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bibliography:
Boguszewicz A., Corona Silesiae. Zamki Piastów fürstenberskich na południowym pograniczu księstwa jaworskiego, świdnickiego i ziębickiego do połowy XIV wieku, Wrocław 2010.

Leksykon zamków w Polsce, L.Kajzer, S.Kołodziejski, J.Salm, Warszawa 2003.