Iłża – bishop’s castle

History

   The brick castle was built in Iłża at the beginning of the 14th century on the initiative of bishop Jan Grot. It served as the fortified seat of the bishops and the administrative center, from where the vast lands of estate was administered. The successive bishops of Cracow were carrying out numerous extensions and modernizations. The first one was carried out by bishop Florian from Mokrsko, on the occasion of surrounding the town with walls between 1367 and 1380. In the 16th century, successive bishops, including Jan Konarski and Marcin Szyszkowski, transformed the castle into a renaissance residence with bastion fortifications. It was seriously damaged by the Swedes and Rakoczi’s army in 1655. Reconstruction and renovation was carried out in the second half of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was then, that an early modern bastion was built on the eastern side of the castle, residential buildings were also enlarged and modernized. Unfortunately after the fire at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the castle fell into complete ruin.

Architecture

 
   The castle was built on a high hill, rising above the Iłżanka River to a height of 42 meters. The first stage of castle development includes a stone perimeter walls with a gate from the west side and cylindrical tower. It probably acted as a bergfried, a place of final defense, not inhabited in peace times, but only used as a prison or warehouse. The residential house was erected on the north-west side. This part was created either in the late thirteenth century or at the beginning of the fourteenth century. Further extensions led to the creation of a two-part complex, consisting of an upper castle on a plan similar to a triangle, and an adjacent outer bailey to the north.

 

   In the fifteenth century (before 1442), the entrance to the castle was rebuilt, strengthening it with the buttressed tower and bridge on the stone pillars, bent right in front of the gate at right angles. In the sixteenth century, most of the buildings adjacent to the perimeter wall and surrounding the inner courtyard were erected. The outer bailey was surrounded by fortifications.

Current state

   The castle is now in a state of secured, accessible to explore ruin. Historical events, such as knights tournaments, take place regularly on its premises. In recent years, restoration works have been carried out.

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bibliography:
Architektura gotycka w Polsce, red. T. Mroczko i M. Arszyński, Warszawa 1995.

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.