Stołpie – tower house

History

   The tower was established at the earliest at the end of the twelfth century and probably functioned until the end of the 13th century, although its use may have lasted longer. Today it is difficult to determine the founder of the tower. It may have been prince of Halych-Volyn Daniel, about whom Ruthenian chronicles indicate that while having settled down in Chełm, he had built a tower. Apart from the military defensive nature of the building, newer sources emphasize the sacral character of the monument. It could have been a monastery tower where the great duchess, Roman Halicki’s wife, lived, who, after her husband’s death at the Battle of Zawichost in 1205, settled in an unidentified location, probably near Chełm. It is believed that it could have come from Byzantium, where similar towers were erected as private chapels for members of the aristocratic elite.
  
The study suggests that in the eighties of the thirteenth century the facility underwent secondary militarization. There was a small fortified complex consisting of a tower, palisades and a moat. This complex was rapidly destroyed at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries as a result of a fire. It was not rebuilt and the tower began to fall into ruin.

Architecture

   The tower of up to 20 meters high, was built from a crushed, local stone. It has a rectangular plan measuring 5,7×6,3 meters. The interior with the four storeys contains circular rooms. The highest storey has an octagonal plan and has in the eastern wall a niche in the form of an apse. It was probably a chapel. Next to the tower was a rectangular stone platform measuring 12,5 meters at 15,4 meters and about 2,5 meters high. In its southern part stood a large wooden building of unknown purpose. The remains of burned palisade fortifications were also discovered.

Current state

   The tower has survived to our times in quite good condition. It is now considered to be the oldest monument of romanesque architecture in Eastern Poland, and by its reference to Byzantine culture its a unique construction.

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