Pułtusk – Bishop’s Castle


   Pułtusk from the 12th century, was probably the property of the bishops of Płock, who in the 13th century built a hillfort, then transformed from the end of the fourteenth century into a brick castle. The direct reason for replacing the old fortifications could have been the Lithuanian invasion of 1368 which destroyed the old stronghold. In the 16th century, bishop Rafał Leszczyński began transforming the medieval castle into a renaissance residence, which was continued by his successors, especially Andrzej Krzycki and Piotr Myszkowski.
The castle was seriously damaged in the middle of the 17th century when fighting between Stefan Czarnecki and the Swedes took place. Further damage was brought by the Third Northern War, during which in 1703 the castle occupied the Swedish army. The castle was rebuilt in baroque style, also in this style castle’s chapel was erected. After the destruction during the Kościuszko Insurrection, it was rebuilt in the late 18th century in the classicist style by bishop Krzysztof Hilary Szembek. During the Napoleonic wars it was again damaged when it was used as a military lazaret. In 1866 the Russians requisitioned the castle of bishops and then placed the gendarmerie and hospital there. During the fighting in the winter of 1945 the castle burned down. It was rebuilt in 1976-1989 with a new wing and a stylized tower.


   The Pułtusk stronghold occupied an area of about 3500 m2 on a plan similar to an oval elongated on the north-south line. Its main communication route was a street running through the long axis, to which smaller eastern and western streets reached, both at an angle of about 45 degrees. All the routes connected in front of the gate on the north side, which probably had a tower character. The inner buildings of the stronghold are estimated at around 30-40 huts, but it is not known where the buildings belonging to the bishop were located. The whole was surrounded by timber and earth fortifications consisting of an earth rampart, probably topped with a palisade. The waters of the Narew River flowing from three sides provided external protection. Only from the north the moat was dug.
   The castle was founded on the hill remaining from the former stronghold, in the southern part of the town, from which it was separated by an irrigated moat.
Originally a quadrangular tower and house adjacent to it from the north-east were erected. In the middle of the 15th century, in place of the shafts, the brick walls were erected, and in the western part of the hills the main dwelling house, called a large one. It was on the plan of an elongated rectangle, one-bay, with basement and one-story. The curtain with two arcades was connected a Large House with a tower at the height of the floor. Loose economic development was adjacent to the northern and eastern sections of the peripheral walls. The gate was from the city side. It was later reinforced with two half-cylindrical towers.

Current state

   The castle in its present appearance completely lost its primal, medieval features. The hotel and recreation complex is located in it.

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Leksykon zamków w Polsce, red. L.Kajzer, Warszawa 2003.
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