In the 13th century, in the area of the later castle, there was a castellan stronghold of wood and earth structure, which location at the intersection of important trade routes significantly influenced the establishment of the town. The construction of a brick castle was probably started by the Prince of Żagań Konrad II at the beginning of the 14th century. For the first time the term castrum was named under the date 1306 (contained in the 16th century chronicle), but a more reliable source was the document from 1312, in which “casrum Lobyn” became the subject of pledge. That the castle, in addition to its defensive function, was already a residence at the time, was evidenced by the fact that the prince issued several documents in Lubin.
After the death of Konrad II, four sons of Prince Henry III of Głogów ruled jointly in Lubin, so it seems unlikely that any of them decided to invest in the expansion of the castle, not being sure how the division of land in 1312 would take place. Also another ruler here, John of Ścinawa, did not invest in the development of Lubin. It was only Bolesław III of Legnica, who took over the town and castle in 1339, and allocated half of the debt owed to him by the Czech king (a serious sum of 200 stacks of Prague groshen) for construction expenses related to the castle.
Another major expansion of the castle was made after 1349 by prince Louis I, probably for fear of his brother Wacław’s aggressive plans. Until 1359, the castle was the main seat of the prince, who then moved to Brzeg. In the first half of the 15th century, the castle survived the Hussite wars without major damages.
The end of the stronghold was brought by the Thirty Years’ War, when it was almost completely destroyed during the siege by the Swedish army under the command of General Stallhanns in 1641. The castle has never been completely rebuilt again. In 1658, the townspeople turned to the prince with a request to renovate the castle, but due to lack of money, the ruler refused. In the mid-eighteenth century, the castle chapel was still open, but the remaining elements of the castle were demolished.
The castle at the time of Louis I of Brzeg consisted of an irregular quadrilateral of brick defense walls. Their foundation parts were erected from erratic stones and partially worked stones laid on lime mortar. At the north – west corner there was a free standing, foursided tower with dimensions of 10.5 x 13 meters, perhaps the oldest element of the castle, erected originally on a natural hill surrounded by wetlands. The top of the tower had a crenellation, additionally it had two window openings, probably corresponding to its upper storeys. Overall, it probably had three above-ground floors and a basement.
In the south-eastern corner there was a main house with dimensions of 12.3 x 14.9 meters adjoining the walls. Its north-east and north-west walls were added to the perimeter wall. The cellar was covered with a barrel vault made of pebbles and brick rubble, bonded with lime mortar. In the north-west façade, from the side of the courtyard, there were two entry openings to the basements, covered with semicircular arches. Inside, relics of the hypocaustum furnace were discovered, warming the upper rooms with warm air.
In the western curtain there was a gatehouse with pointed arched passage, probably protected with a portcullis. To the south of it, in the corner, erected in front of the curtain, stood a castle chapel, flanked by a small turret. At first the chapel might not have a separate chancel and it consisted only of a rectangular hall measuring 13.5 x 8.1 meters and a wall thickness of 1.2 meters. A northern portal with a tympanum from 1349 led inside it topped with a flat ceiling interior, whereas in the western facade in the Middle Ages there was only an ogival window. The chapel was originally linked with the gatehouse, which at the level of the floor was connected with its matroneum. Probably, there was also a connection between the gatehouse and the main tower.
The castle, lying on lowland, swampy terrain, was equipped with a system of moats. It did not connect directly to the city fortifications, but was turned towards them with a brick gate neck about 25 meters long, under which the moat flowed. The entrance gate leading to the courtyard of the castle was the closure of this neck from which it could be separated by a drawbridge.
From the Lubin fortress has survived only the castle’s chapel, rebuilt in the baroque period, when it was extended by the presbytery, and by the south by two outbuildings. After renovation, the building has been adapted since 1990 to the Castle Gallery. Its most valuable element is the entrance portal with tympanums from the mid-fourteenth century.
Leksykon zamków w Polsce, red. L.Kajzer, Warszawa 2003.
Nowakowski D., Siedziby książęce i rycerskie księstwa głogowskiego w średniowieczu, Wrocław 2008.
Steinborn B., Lubin, Warszawa 1969.