Janowice Wielkie – Castle Bolczów


   It is believed that the Castle Bolczów was built around 1375 by the hofmeister of the Świdnica princes, Clericus Bolcze, who a few years earlier bought extensive lands between the Ołowiane Mountains and Karpniki. At the beginning of the 15th century, the owners of Bolczów favored the Hussite movement coming from the Czech, initiated by burning of Jan Hus at the stake in 1415  – a philosopher, church reformer and rector of the University of Prague. In addition, they carried out robberies on trade routes, which in 1433 provoked a retaliatory armed expedition of the townsmen of Świdnica. The Bolczów Castle was then conquered and destroyed, as was the Sokolec Castle, which is known that its burgrave was yet in the fourteenth century Clericus Bolcze.
Bolczów was rebuilt after the end of the Hussite wars in the middle of the fifteenth century and at the same time enlarged by the outer wards. Its history in the next fifty years is not known, but it probably avoided major damages. It was not until 1517-1518 that it was restored by Hans Dippold von Burghaus, and then in the years 1537-1543 by Just Dietz, courtier of king Zygmunt Stary, modernized the defense system by building a barbican and new tower. These works were carried out on the wave of fear and danger of Silesia against the progress of the Turks. Probably at the beginning of the 17th century, Daniel Schaffgotsch, the then owner of Janowice, commissioned further works at the castle. The fall of the Bolczów took place in 1645 thanks to the Swedes who captured it during the Thirty Years’ War and then burnt it. From that time, the castle was not inhabited.


   The oldest part of the stronghold was the upper castle, occupying the area between two rock formations on the north-western side. A stone house, shaped on a trapezoidal plan, stood on a rocky block called the Kapelania. Another house was placed from the north. It was rectangular in plan, with dimensions 7.8 x 20 meters and basement with vaulted chamber with vestibule. It had two rooms in the ground floor. On the opposite side, from the south-west a corner, four-sided defensive tower was built. The gate was located in the southern curtain.
   On the south and east sides of the upper castle there were irregular outer ward (lower castle), probably created after 1433 (the extension of the lower castle could also take place only at the beginning of the 16th century). It consisted of two courtyards separated by a group of rocks, which were then bounded by a defensive wall inserted between the breaks in rocks in the north-east and a longer, bent curtain in the south-west. Nine shooting holes were placed in its length. On the south corner the entry to the lower castle was defended the four-sided gatehouse, using the rock as the eastern side. In the south-eastern part of the wall, surrounding the higher situated courtyard, there was probably an additional passage, hidden between the piled up rocks.
   In the first half of the 16th century, a gate complex on the south-eastern side was developed. The late medieval gatehouse was then complemented with a semi-circular tower from the north-east, and the entrance was preceded by a semi-circular foregate in the form of a barbican. Five shooting holes were placed in its walls. Timber bridge over a ditch was leading to it.

Current state

   Among the two main parts of the castle, the 16th century part has been preserved best to this day, with the barbican, the semi-cylindrical tower and the gatehouse. You can also see a fragment of perimeter walls with arrowslits, a water cistern, the ruins of the corner tower and fragments of a residential house on an upper castle. Rectangular, large window openings in the gatehouse and at the semi-cylindrical tower most probably come from the 20th-century adaptation of the monument. The ruin is open to the public for free.

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Leksykon zamków w Polsce, red. L.Kajzer, Warszawa 2003.
Przyłęcki M., Zamek Bolczów, Wrocław 1965.