The construction of the castle began around 1319 Cracovian castellan and Sandomierz voivode, Nawój z Morawicy. The work was continued by his son, the voivode of Cracow, Andrew. Soon the Tęczyński family came to great importance, and the castle began to serve as a fortified residence and administrative center of extensive property. In the 15th century, king Władysław Jagiełło imprisoned in it some of the most important Teutonic captives, captured during the Battle of Grunwald. In the sixteenth century, Mikołaj Rej from Nagłowice, Jan Kochanowski, Piotr Kochanowski and other important figures of the Polish rebirth often visited the castle.
In 1570, the castellan Jan Tęczyński made a great rebuilding of the castle to the renaissance residence. It remained in the hands of the Tęczyński until 1639. Then Izabela Tęczyńska, daughter of the last of the lineage, brought in the castle and huge fortune to Łukasz Opaliński. Tenczyn ceased to function as an ancestral seat and was handed over to the care of burgraves. In 1655 the castle was taken without a fight by the Swedes, and during the retreat they burned it. It was later rebuilt and partly inhabited by successive heirs of the Sieniawski family, then Czartoryski and Potocki. In 1768 the castle was burned down as a result of a lightning strike and since then it remained in ruin.
The primal castle was erected on top of a hill. It was guarded by a defensive wall. In south-east a cylindrical tower called Dorotka was erected. From the northwest the wall was flanked by a second tower, whose relics lay in the walls of the later tower. Apartment wings first appeared from the north and north – east.
In the 15th century, the castle was expanded and divided into upper and lower wards, with the latter taking up the lower area on the slopes of the hill on the southern and western sides. It was also then that the gate tower was built on a quadrilateral plan, located in the southern part of the upper ward. The north-east range was also enlarged from the south, by a three-story building on a rectangular plan.
During the sixteenth-century expansion, the upper ward received cloisters, and the lower ward was reinforced with bastions and a barbican, or a circular gatehouse, to which a long gallery (neck) led from the lower ward. To the four-sided gate tower, which originally housed a chapel on the first floor, a new chapel building was added from the east, orientated, with a polygonal closure.
The castle is preserved in the form of ruins with legible Gothic and Renaissance elements. Until recently neglected and threatening collapse, for a few years is fortunately gradually renovated and secured. Admission to its area is free.
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Krasnowolski B., Leksykon zabytków architektury Małopolski, Warszawa 2013.
Leksykon zamków w Polsce, red. L.Kajzer, Warszawa 2003.