Kożuchów – castle


   The brick castle was erected the place of hillfort by the dukes of Głogów at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries. Probably the transformation of the timber-earth hillfort into a stone stronghold took place parallel to the work on the city walls and it was a long process that could last even several dozen years. The castle was mentioned for the first time in a document from 1311, while the castle chapel was recorded in 1409 in a document issued by Princess Catherine, the widow of Henry VIII.
   Around the mid-fourteenth century and again at the turn of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the castle was expanded, in relation to the transfer of the main seat of the dukes of Głogów to Kożuchów. Modernization works related to the popularization of firearms were also carried out around the third quarter of the 15th century. After the transition to the Czech crown, the stronghold was leased. In the years 1491-1506 it was in the hands of Jan Olbracht and subsequent Polish rulers.
   The early modern times brought the renaissance expansion of the castle in the 1570s, but also its gradual decline. During the Thirty Years’ War, in the first half of the 17th century, it was occupied several times by fighting armies. After the end of warfare, it was severely damaged by artillery fire. Abandoned, it was then sold to the Carmelites, who in the years 1686-1706 rebuilt it into a baroque monastery. After the dissolution of the order in 1810, it was taken over by the Prussian army. An armory operated in the castle, and then, until 1945, an evangelical commune.


   The oldest stone part of the castle was a free-standing, four-sided tower made of erratic stones with an adjacent servant settlement. It could be about 9 meters high, and in plan its external dimensions were 10 x 10 meters, with the walls at the ground floor level, reaching 1.9 to 2 meters thick. The form of its finial remains unknown, but it is known that its walls were reinforced with corner buttresses. The arrangement of window and door openings on the façades of the tower is also unknown, but its large dimensions allow us to assume that it served residential functions.
   In the first half of the fourteenth century, the castle already consisted of a quadrangle of perimeter walls with a plan of 25×37 meters. The stone defensive wall was about 2.7 meters thick and about 6.2 meters high to the level of the wall-walk used by the guards and defenders. It probably had a wooden fighting deck from the inside, and the outer part was a breastwork with battlement. Initially, the wall-walk was probably not covered, but later it obtained a covered porch with loop holes in the breastwork.
   The gate was placed in the southern curtain, facing the town with a drawbridge over the moat. At the second stage of expansion, around the mid-fourteenth century, it was reinforced with a four-sided gatehouse measuring approximately 13×8 meters, added from the outside to the defensive wall. The central part of the front wall of the building was occupied by a 2.5 meter wide opening, leading to a 1.9 – 2 meters wide gate passage, which was secured with a lowered portcullis mounted in the guides. The threshold of the opening was placed at a height of about 5.8 meters above the bottom of the moat, while inside the gatehouse there had to be a ramp leading to the castle courtyard, because it was located about 4.5 meters below. Above the gate opening, a frieze panel was located, while the outer corners of the building were reinforced by two buttresses of different heights.

   At the south-eastern corner of the courtyard there was a free-standing tower (bergfried), not directly connected with the defensive walls, built on the basis of an older residential tower, which was raised by an almost 9.8-meter brick cylindrical part. It turned into a cylindrical shape with a diameter of 9.6 meters at a height of about 8-9 meters, and its total height was just over 18 meters. It probably had four floors. The entrance to it was on the eastern side, at a height of about 9 meters, at the level of the second floor, and was preceded by a timber platform mounted on stone corbels. A prison dungeon was placed in the lowest storey, and in the upper storeys there were combat rooms with arrowslits. The upper part of the tower was probably topped with a battlement and could be covered with a roof of unknown form. Around the mid-fourteenth century, loop holes were built in all eight battlement clearances and the tower was raised. The new storey was about 4.4 meters high and was covered with a ceiling with beams arranged during the extension of the tower wall. The crowning of the building was a wooden hoarding, known from the town’s veduta from 1537, surrounding the crown of the cylindrical part.
   Along the eastern curtain, there was a three-part, three-story residential house with dimensions of 12×26.5 meters, covered with a gable roof and with two gables: from the south and north. A defensive walkway, being an extension of the porch in the crown of the perimeter wall, was probably embedded in the thickness of its eastern wall, which was the edge of the castle. Two basement chambers of the building (north and south) were covered with barrel vaults.

   The castle was connected to the town fortification system from the east and west. From the side of the town, which was located south of the castle, it was separated by a 20-meter wide moat, ensuring the possibility of defense even in the event of the capture of Kożuchów.
   At the turn of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, new economic buildings were erected in the castle area (in the north-west corner of the courtyard there was a second, smaller building), the main residential house was rebuilt and a chapel was erected. The defense of the stronghold was raised around the third quarter of the 15th century by building of the second perimeter of the walls with four corner low towers. The new, outer wall encircled the castle from the east, north and west at a distance of 8-10 meters from the curtain walls of the castle. The southern curtain of the castle was rather not preceded by a lower wall, but loopholes were pierced in its ground floor.

Current state

   Currently, the heavily rebuilt castle has three wings, two-storey each. The tower is embedded in the west wing and goes above the roof with only one floor. In the cellars on display are the relics of the oldest residential tower from the end of the 13th century, where you can see its western façade, as well as the northern and southern parts. The castle is surrounded by a dry but relatively well-preserved moat. The building is the seat of the Kożuchów Center for Culture and Sport.

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Andrzejewski T., Szukiełowicz Z., Mury obronne Kożuchowa, Kożuchów 2008.
Legendziewicz A., Od średniowiecznej warowni do barokowego klasztoru. Historia powstania i przekształceń zamku w Kożuchowie [w:] Lubuskie Materiały Konserwatorskie, red B.Bielinis- Kopeć, Zielona Góra 2015.
Legendziewicz A., Zamek w Kożuchowie do schyłku XIV wieku [w:] Początki murowanych zamków w Polsce do połowy XIV w., t.1, materiały z I Ogólnopolskiej Konferencji Colloquia Castrensia zorganizowanej przez Zamek Królewski w Warszawie, red. A. Bocheńska, P. Mrozowski, Warszawa 2017.

Leksykon zamków w Polsce, red. L.Kajzer, Warszawa 2003.
Nowakowski D., Siedziby książęce i rycerskie księstwa głogowskiego w średniowieczu, Wrocław 2008.