Nowy Wiśnicz – castle


   The castle in Wiśnicz was erected by the starost of Sieradz, Ruthenian and Kraków, John Kmita in the second half of the 14th century as the defensive residence of the owner. It remained in the ownership of Kmita family until the death of Piotr, voivode of Kraków in 1553. Later, it was owned by Barz family, Stadnicki family, and in 1593, the estate was purchased by Sebastian Lubomirski. His son Stanisław in the years 1615-1621 rebuilt the residence and strengthened it with bastion fortifications. However, it did not resist the Swedes invasion in the 17th century. The castle was devastated and plundered. It remained in the Lubomirski family until the middle of the 18th century. After a fire in 1831, it was abandoned and fell into disrepair. From the total destruction, it was saved by the repairs undertaken by the Lubomirski Family Association, which bought back the former seat in 1901. After World War II, the castle became the property of the state, and from 1949 work was carried out to restore its old appearance.


   The castle was erected to the east of the village, on the northern edge of the cape, above the valley of the Leksandrówka River. The steep slopes of the hill were especially from the north and west, while from the east the approach was slightly milder. The original seat of the Kmita family consisted of a rectangular wall of 30×50 meters and one tower on a square plan in the south-east corner, erected from the local sandstone. The remaining buildings were then wooden. From the south-east the castle was protected by a moat carved into the rock, reinforced on the outside by an earth rampart, and from the north by a palisade, semicircularly joining both ends of the ramparts.
   In the fifteenth century, internal wooden structures were replaced with stone one, based on internal faces of defensive walls, and at the end of that century, the earth rampart was enlarged and its western part was reinforced with stone wall. At the end of the rampart from the west side, a gatehouse was situated, a similar one was built at the northern end of the rampart. On the western and southern ends of the headland an additional earth rampart was built. Between the embankments and in the northern part, relics of wooden buildings were discovered.

   At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the residence obtained the shape of a four-wing palace with a courtyard and three towers in the corners. It was a south tower with a rectangular base and upper cylindrical part, a northern cylindrical tower and an older tower in the eastern corner. The latter had a square base with a side of 9 meters, and from the height of the second floor, cut corners and a plan of an irregular hexagon. Its walls in the ground floor were 2.5 meters thick, above were 2 meters thick. The southern tower was 7 meters in diameter, and part of it above the second floor was hung on stone corbels. The north tower received a similar appearance with the upper part on the corbels, but a slightly smaller section with a diameter of 6 meters. Additional strengthening was made up of older two gatehouses, erected at the ends of the earth ramparts. After 1516, Piotr Kmita raised the residential wings by one floor and added a large outbuilding to the south wing. The former western gate was transformed into a bastion. Instead of a palisade, a curtain wall was built.

Current state

   Currently, the castle is in very good condition and is made available for sightseeing. It is administered by the Wiśnicz Land Museum. It presents the form obtained after rebuilding from the 17th century. Inside, there are photographs depicting the former look of the castle, nineteenth and twentieth-century furnitures, models and artworks of high school students. There is also a ballroom, a room with a gilded ceiling, an acoustic hall once used as a place of confession, a castle chapel and a crypt with an exposition of six sarcophagi. Dates and prices can be checked on the official website here.

show this monument on map

return to alphabetical index

Kołodziejski S., Średniowieczne rezydencje obronne możnowładztwa na terenie województwa krakowskiego, Warszawa 1994.
Majewski A., Zamek w Wiśniczu, Nowy Wiśnicz 1992.

Moskal K., Zamki w dziejach Polski i Słowacji, Nowy Sącz 2004.
Leksykon zamków w Polsce, red. L.Kajzer, Warszawa 2003.
Sypek A., Sypek.R., Zamki i obiekty warowne ziemi krakowskiej, Warszawa 2004.