Kurozwęki – castle

History

   The Kurozwęki settlement appeared for the first time in historical sources in 1246. From the next document issued in the mid-13th century, it is known that its population was obliged to guard the system of watchtowers in the wilderness of the Raba river basin, extending to the Hungarian border. In the first half of the fourteenth century, a timber castle was built in Kurozwęki, where in the second half of the fourteenth century, the magnate Dobiesław from the Poraj family, the castellan of Kraków, built a stone castle. Later, it was gradually expanded by his son Krzesław from Chodów, also writing “de Kurozwanky”.
   In the fifteenth century, the Kurozwęcki-Poraj family still played an important role in national life, and Kurozwęki remained the main seat of their Małopolska branch. The greatest significance was achieved by the son of Krzesław, Mikołaj of Michałowo, who was a staroste and castellan of Kraków. This corresponded to the small size of the castle and its modest buildings, which did not reflect the political power and wealth of the owners.

   In 1521, the castle was taken over by Lanckoroński, who ruled it until the mid-18th century. They carried out a rebuilding of the castle in the 16th and 17th century, which led to the obliteration of its defensive features. In the years 1752-1833, the owners of Kurozwęki were Sołtyk and after them, until 1944, Popielowie family.

Architecture

   The castle was built on a slight hill raised above marshlands, of which edges were reinforced with wooden logs. Originally it consisted of an oval, stone defense circuit, surrounding timber buildings. The entrance probably was located on the south side, and the courtyard was paved with irregular boulders. Then, still in the fourteenth century, a four-sided, stone residential tower with a height of about 14 meters and four floors was added to the inner face of the wall on the south side. A small arrowslit from the side of the courtyard and openings on beams, perhaps remains from hoarding, have survived. In addition to a residential and defensive function, the tower also flanked the entrance gate next to it. Also in the 14th century, the area adjacent to the castle from the south was surrounded by an earth ramparts. Probably it served as an economic outer bailey.
   In the fifteenth century, wooden buildings of the courtyard were gradually replaced with stone ones. First, the eastern part of the perimeter of the walls was closed with a one-bay building with two floors, however, not exceeding the height of the crown of the defensive wall. Shortly thereafter, the eastern part of the northern house was added to the building, the highest storey of which was erected on the perimeter wall. At the end of the fifteenth century, the western building was erected. It probably had three floors and did not reach the north curtain wall at first. It was only later that the corner was cut off with another room.
   In the sixteenth century, the western part of the northern building was built, and then a representative corner building, the so-called “chicken leg”, was erected from the north. This caused a slight blurring of the oval shape of the castle and at the same time adding a flanking element to the northern curtain. In the southern part, a four-sided gatehouse, supported by two sloping buttresses was added to the external face of the walls.

Current state

   The residence, now in the hands of the heirs of the last owners, has been renovated and made available for sightseeing. Unfortunately, subsequent, numerous reconstructions led to blur the original stylish features of the castle.

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bibliography:
Grzybkowski A., Zamek w Kurozwękach, Warszawa 1981.

Leksykon zamków w Polsce, L.Kajzer, S.Kołodziejski, J.Salm, Warszawa 2003.
Sypek A., Sypek.R., Zamki i obiekty warowne ziemi sandomierskiej, Warszawa 2003.