Oświęcim – castle

History

Oświęcim has been a castellany center since at least the 12th century. In 1179, it was handed over to the prince of Opole, Mieszko Plątonogi, by Casimir the Just, and since then it belonged to the Opole Duchy. We do not know the exact date of the construction of a brick castle in the place of an older hillfort. It could have happened in the 13th century during the reign of prince Casimir I of Opole or his sons. The castle is mentioned for the first time in a document from 1324. In later times, both castellans and judges as well as starosts of Oświęcim resided in the castle. In 1457, the Duchy of Oświęcim became the property of the Crown of Poland. The great catastrophe hit the building in 1503, when the fire consumed the castle and the city. Rebuilt by the starost Jan Jordan, it suffered again during the invasion of the Swedes in the mid-17th century. Despite the renovations, it slowly lost the character of the fortified residence. In Austrian times, it contained a warehouse of salt. In 1813, the flood of the Soła river caused some parts of the castle buildings to slip. Renovations from the beginning of the 20th century largely changed its appearance and spatial layout.

Architecture

The oldest element of the castle is a tower built of brick on a square plan with a side of 10,5 meters and a 4-meter thick wall. Currently, it has three floors. The original entrance, topped with a pointed arch portal, is located at a height of 10 meters. In the 16th century, apart from the tower on the castle hill, there was a four-sided brick house, which was the residence of the starosts.

Current state

Today, the oldest objects on the castle hill are the gothic defensive tower and a fragment of the defensive wall. The tower is one of the first brick structures in Małopolska. The castle, which has been renovated in recent years, is now the seat of the museum. Opening hours and price list can be read on the official website here.

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bibliography:
Leksykon zamków w Polsce, L.Kajzer, S.Kołodziejski, J.Salm, Warszawa 2003.