Poznań – royal castle

History

   The ducal castle in Poznań was located within the city walls, occupying the western part of their perimeter. Its main framework, that is the defensive circuit and the tower, was erected by the prince and king Przemysł II around 1280, including the city walls. In 1295 Przemysł II was crowned as king of Poland, unfortunately a year later he was murdered, and the extension of the castle unfinished. The interruption of construction in the first stage is witnessed by the change of the monk bond wall to flemish bond and different foundations. Works could be continued by the wielding Wielkopolska, Głogów-Żagań Piasts, and finished it before 1337 king Casimir III the Great. In contrast, the castle residential building, originally probably wooden, was added to the western side of the founding in the days of Casimir the Great or Władysław Jagiełło.
  
Castle was the residence of successive kings: Wacław II, Władysław Łokietek and Casimir III the Great, who in 1341 took a wedding in Poznań with Hessian Adelaide. The military independence of the castle from the city was reflected in the events of 1383, when the Grzymalits defended themselves in the castle, despite the fall of the city. In the 15th century, the castle served as a royal residence during subsequent weddings, among others, Hedwigs, daughter of Kazimierz Jagiellończyk. This testifies to its residential and representative qualities. In 1536, the building burned down, but before 1565 the starost Andrzej Górka rebuilt it, giving it a renaissance character. Again, it was seriously damaged in 1657 and in 1704 when it was occupied by the Swedes, it defended the access of the Muscovites and Saxons. The destruction caused him to lose his meaning. In 1783, Kazimierz Raczyński transformed the castle into a court building containing an appellate court and then an archive. After the destructions of World War II, the building of Raczyński was rebuilt.

Architecture

   The castle was closed with a perimeter wall on all sides, also from the city side. From the west and north, it was closed by straight lines that were bend at right angles, and from the side of the city it constituted a curvilinear contour adapted to the form of the hill. From the south there was a large tower, protrude outside the town wall. It was built from brick, bound in the monk bond, on a square plan with a side length of about 11 meters and a wall thickness of 3 – 3.5 meters. In the lowest level, it had a chamber with an area of just over 29 m².
  
The only entrance to the castle led from the south of the city, defended by the tower.
It was the only possible place, because the hill was protected from all other sides by a strong decline. Directly next to it was a four-sided flanking tower with dimensions (along with the thickness of the perimeter wall) 4.6 x 4.9 meters, with an internal chamber measuring 1.3 x 1.95 meters, perhaps supported by two perpendicular buttresses from the south.
   At the turn of the fourteenth and fifteenth century, the northern curtain was extended, at a length of just over 9 meters, which gave it a total of about 60 meters in length. In times of Kazimierz the Great or what is more likely Władysław Jagiełło, the main castle house was built, with the longest straight section of the walls. Its large dimensions made it divided into four houses, covered with transverse, double-pitched roofs.
  
Between the castle and the town, remained a free square, which facilitated the defense of the object in all directions. Leaving the free space next to the castle was additionally justified by the sloping terrain that hindered development

Current state

   From the former castle remaines, the foundations from the 13th and 14th centuries, about 2 meters thick, the partition walls of the lowest storey, the western wall to about 10 meters high from the same period, and the eastern wall dating from the 14th century, 7 to 8 meters high, incorporated into the Raczyński building. These elements, from 2016 are covered with a new, ugly object, whose appearance does not have much in common with the historical castle, and in addition is made of contemporary and poor quality elements. What is worse, the preserved historical elements, namely the ground floor and the basement, are closed to tourists. There is an observation point on the new tower at the moment.

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bibliography:
Badania terenowe zamków z obszaru Wielkopolski i Polski Centralnej w XXI wieku, [w:] Gemma Gemmarum, red. Różański A., Poznań 2017.
Leksykon zamków w Polsce, L.Kajzer, S.Kołodziejski, J.Salm, Warszawa 2003.