Siewierz – Bishop’s Castle


   Urban rights Siewierz obtained in 1276 and probably then a wooden-earth castellan’s seat was erected. The origins of the stone castle have not been clearly defined. The 15th century is usually given, but probably the first brick fragment was created in the 14th century.
Since the 13th century Siewierz was governed by Opole princes. In 1443 the indebted prince of Cieszyn, Wacław I sold the castle together with the land of Siewierz to the bishop of Kraków, Zbigniew Oleśnicki. After a few years of dispute with other Silesian princes, the Cracovian bishops adopted the secular title of Siewierz princes, and the Duchy of Siewierz became an almost independent political organism. Castle became the administrative and political seat of this duchy.
In the sixteenth century the bishops expanded the fortress, giving it a renaissance decoration and adapting it to fire defense. Particular merit is attributed to Jan Konarski, Andrzej Zebrzydowski, Filip Padniewski and Franciszek Krasinski. In the 17th century the castle began to slowly decline, and the devastation deepened the invasion of the Swedes. After the war, the last major reconstruction was undertaken in 1681-1699 on the initiative of bishop Jan Małachowski. In 1790 the Great Sejm liquidated the Siewierz Duchy by incorporating them into the Polish Commonwealth. Abandoned by prince bishop Felix Turski the castle has since fallen into ruin. Even during the Napoleonic Wars, it was used militarily, but since 1807 it has remained unoccupied.


   The castle was situated in the bend of the river Czarna Przemsza on an artificial mound among its backwaters and swamps. In its oldest form it consisted of a cylindrical tower with a diameter of 9 meters and a perimeter wall. The entrance to the stronghold was from the southern side. Initially, it was a simple portal pierced in the wall, but around the middle of the fifteenth century it was reinforced with a gatehouse.
    During the great reconstruction, before 1518, a new gate tower was erected in the northern part of the castle. A residential house east of the tower was also built, which was probably demolished in the 30s of the 16th century. The southern and western wing of the castle was built from its material. In 1575, a terrace for artillery was erected, and the entry gate was reinforced with a two-story foregate to which the drawbridge led. In the gate passage of the gate tower there was a trapdoor, cutting off further access to the castle, in case of capture the foregate.

Current state

   The castle is currently in the form of ruin, which is the remnant of the residence that the castle became after the reconstruction of the 16th and 17th centuries. The exterior walls of the living wings, with the exception of the southern wall, two full walls of residential wings, the tower of the main gate, the barbican, the fragments of the original stonework and the 16th-century defensive walls have survived.
   In the period from May to September the castle can be visited from Monday to Friday in the hours from 10.00 to 15.00. In the weekend from 10.00 to 18.00. On weekends in July and August, from 10.00 to 20.00. The tour takes place via the Tourist Information Center in Siewierz.

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Leksykon zamków w Polsce, red. L.Kajzer, Warszawa 2003.
Rok A., Zamek w Siewierzu wczoraj i dziś, Siewierz 2006.
Sypek R., Zamki i obiekty warowne Jury Krakowsko-Częstochowskiej, Warszawa 2003.