Człuchów – Teutonic Castle

History

     The Schlochau castle, intended for the seat of the Teutonic commander, began to be erected in 1325 on a narrow isthmus between two lakes. The construction work lasted until 1365, and as a result Człuchów was one of the strongest strongholds of the Teutonic Knights. The first commander who lived in the castle was from 1332 Gunthere von Snoze. Although Człuchów was the most western commandry of the Teutonic Order, the castle played a very important military role, and at the same time was also an expression of the power of the Order.
    
During the wars with the Order, Polish troops tried unsuccessfully to capture the castle in 1414 and 1433. It remained in the hands of the Teutonic Knights until the Thirteen Years War, when the royal army captureed it in 1454. From that time, up to 1772, it was the seat of the starost. Still in 1454, the Teutonic Knights tried unsuccessfully to take back the castle, and then in 1455 and 1456, however, the Polish troops repulsed the attacks. Another attempt to win the castle was carried out in 1520 during the Prussian war and in 1563, when the castle was attacked by the army of Dytrych Schoenberg supporting the Teutonic Knights.
  
The stronghold was partially destroyed during the Swedish wars, next was gradually dismantled, among others to rebuild the city after the fires at the end of the 18th century. Demolition was stopped only in the second decade of the nineteenth century.

Architecture

     The layout of the castle was typical of large commandry  residences built in the first half of the 14th century. The complex consisted of the upper castle and three fortified and moated outer baileys. Through two of them, the west and the middle led the way to the upper castle. The eastern outer bailey was the largest, occupying an area measuring 100×150 meters.
     
The upper castle was built on a square plan with side 47.5 meters. It consisted of four wings with cloisters from the side of the courtyard. In the north-west corner, a massive 45-meter, octagonal main tower stood. Originally it was crowned with a steep roof, and the entrance to it was at the level of the fifth floor after crossing the small drawbridge. The stairs placed in the wall thickness of the tower led to the upper floors. From the east, it adjoined the main entrance, preceded by a neck, leading to the drawbridge. The main rooms were located on the first floor: in the north wing, the chapel, in the eastern two three-bay rooms, and in the western refectory. In the shorter southern wing there could be guest rooms and a passage to the dansker, erected 25 meters towards the lake. The ground floor was occupied by the kitchen, arsenal, brewery and heating stove. Probably the upper castle was devoided of corner turrets.

Current state

     The main element of the castle which has survived to this day is the tower of the upper castle. In addition, you can see the ground floors, castle courtyard and cellars. In the place of the north wing there is now a 19th-century evangelical temple. Unfortunately, the recent revitalization led to another criminal move on the Polish monument. The main tower has two elevators and a modern staircase for lazy tourists.

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bibliography:
Leksykon zamków w Polsce, L.Kajzer, S.Kołodziejski, J.Salm, Warszawa 2003.
Torbus T., Zamki konwentualne państwa krzyżackiego w Prusach, Gdańsk 2014.