Golub Dobrzyń – teutonic castle


    The beginnings of a brick castle in Golub are related with the years 1300-1311. At that time, a perimeter wall and two ranges of the upper castle were erected for the seat of the Teutonic commander. The initiator of these works was the Prussian land master Konrad Sack. The next expansion took place after 1320. The castle was already so strong, that it resisted attempts by Władysław I the Elbow-high to conquer. In spite of this, subsequent works were carried out from the mid-fourteenth century, fortifying the outer ward and erecting towers adapted to the use of firearms. It was not until 1410 that the castle was occupied by Polish knights and handed over by king Władysław Jagiełło in command to the Niemiesta from Szczytnik knight. Soon, however, it was recaptured by forces of Livonian Brothers of the Sword, assisting the Teutonic Knights. Under the castle there was a battle in which the army of the starost of Bydgoszcz, Dobiesław Puchała, beat the majority of Livonian troops. After signing the First Peace of Toruń in 1411, the castle returned to the Teutonic Knights. It was seriously damaged in 1422, during the Golub War, as a result of the artillery fire of king Jagiełło’s army. It was rebuilt in the years 1433-1449.
After the outbreak of the Thirteen Years War in 1454, the castle was captured by the forces of the Prussian Union acting in consent with Poland. Being besieged in 1460 by the mercenary Teutonic army under the command of Bernard Szumborski, castle managed to repulse attacks for the next two years. After the end of the war, based on the Second Peace of Toruń in 1466, it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Poland for the seat of the starost.
The stronghold was rebuilt in 1616-1623 at the request of the sister of king Zygmunt III Waza, the princess Anna Wazówna, who took over the Golub starosty. Then were added late-renaissance attics, a building on the outer baily, the shape of windows was changed and turrets in the corners were added. Repeatedly destroyed, among others, during the Swedish wars or by natural factors, however, it was always rebuilt and refurbished.


    In the first stage of construction (1305-1340), a quadrilateral wall was created on a rectangular plan with dimensions of 39×42 meters. Then four ranges were built surrounding the inner ward, the main tower in the north-west corner (probably never completed) and the dansker tower erected in front of the northern curtain.
The main castle range was on the south side. It contained a chapel of the Holy Cross on the first floor and a refectory warmed by an accumulative furnace. It received the rib vaults and the chapel received stellar vault. The characteristic porch, decorated with a rich portal, was situated in the wall thickness. In the northern range, a kitchen was placed on the ground floor. Higher storeys, illuminated only with slotted windows, were occupied with food storages and kitchen equipment. The eastern range housed a dormitory, and western range maybe chambers of a commander. The inner ward was surrounded by two-story wooden cloisters, with a well in the middle. All ranges were crowned with corner turrets and gothic gables made at the end of construction.
On the western foreground of the castle there was an economic outer ward, separated by a dry ditch and a zwinger wall from the upper castle. It had a symmetrical, trapezoidal shape, probably resulting from the original arrangement of timber and earth building. Around the mid-fourteenth century, it was reinforced with a defensive wall with two corner towers and a gatehouse with a foregate from the west. Along the western curtain of the  outer ward, to the south of the gatehouse was a long economic building, probably serving as a stable. The economic buildings were also probably located on the north side of the gate. Another large, rectangular building was located in the south-eastern corner of the castle, probably originated from the Middle Ages, perhaps it contained a bath or a smithy, known from historical sources.
In the third stage of works, at the end of the fourteenth century, a round south-west tower was built with an underground prison cell and a cylindrical tower in the north-west corner. They were adapted to fire fighting and had radial arrowslits. The south-western tower, preserved until today, was not originally much higher and probably had only one more floor. On the upper floor it was accessible from the level of the convent house by a timber bridge.
In the fourth stage of construction, at the beginning of the fifteenth century, buildings were built on the zwinger area, on both sides of the entrance to the upper castle. One of them was occupied by the commander’s apartments. Perhaps during this period also a small building of unknown destiny was erected, pressed into the corner between the south, cylindrical tower and the wall closing the moat.

Current state

   To this day the upper castle has survived in the gothic-renaissance form. It stands out also, preserved in the original shape, and only slightly reduced, south-west tower. The castle houses a museum, hotel and restaurant, and regular outdoor events are organized. The tour starts at full hours, every half hour in the season.

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Leksykon zamków w Polsce, L.Kajzer, S.Kołodziejski, J.Salm, Warszawa 2003.
Torbus T., Zamki konwentualne państwa krzyżackiego w Prusach, Gdańsk 2014.
Wasik B., Budownictwo zamkowe na ziemi chełmińskiej od XIII do XV wieku, Toruń 2016.