Strzelce Opolskie – castle

History

   Strzelce appeared for the first time in written sources in 1271. Before the construction of a stone buildings, there may have been here a hillfort and a small hunting manor, from which hunts were arranged to the surrounding dense forests. The very name of the settlement indicates that it was the seat of princely shooters, guarding security on an important trade route connecting Kraków and Wrocław.
   The stone princely castle was probably built at the beginning of the 14th century on the initiative of Bolesław I of Opole. It was mentioned for the first time in 1303 as “Castrum Strelecense”. After the separation of the Strzelce Duchy, which existed for almost the entire 14th century, it became the seat of an independent ruler – Albert of Strzelce. The ruler surrounded the town with walls, which he connected with the castle (the first mention of them comes from 1227). He took care of the development of his capital, giving it Magdeburg municipal law, enriched with the privilege of charging fees from passing merchants and led an active international policy. He strengthened his relations with the Hungarian kingdom, among others, by serving on behalf of king Louis to the Pope in Avignon and with the king of Poland, Władysław Łokietek, with whom he was related. Thanks to this, the town and the castle were away from all disputes and wars. After the death of Albert in 1370, the duchy and the Strzelce and castle went to the Piasts of Niemodlin dynasty, and after their expiration in 1382 to the Dukes of Opole.
   During the Hussite Wars and the invasion of 1430, the castle did not suffer, due to the intercession of pro-Bohemian prince Bolko IV of Opole. Also, no damages occurred during the passage of Polish troops of prince Kazimierz towards Prague. In the later fifteenth century, the castle was rebuilt, and after the death of the last prince of Opole, Jan II the Good in 1532, it became the property of the Czech king Ferdinand Habsburg. Two years later, it was pledged to Georg Hohenzollern-Ansbach. On this occasion the urbarium was written down, according to which the castle was in a bad technical condition and required urgent renovation.
   Since 1562, Strzelce found itself in the lease of the Redern family. Georg von Reder began a long renovation and renaissance reconstruction of the castle, stretching almost to the end of the sixteenth century. In the following centuries, the castle was used and transformed into a palace residence by the great Silesian families, among others Collons and Promnitzs. The last major reconstruction took place in the 19th century. During World War II the palace was destroyed.

Architecture

   The castle was built south of the town, directly at its defensive walls. Its main element was a four-sided tower house built of limestone, measuring 13.9 x 16.1 meters. The thickness of its walls was not too big, as it varied between 1.7 and 1.89 meters. On the south side, the castle was shielded by an earth rampart, surrounding the entire town on the section from the Kraków Gate to the Opole Gate. It was not necessary to dig a moat here because these areas were boggy and hard to reach. The moat was only on the north side of the town.

Current state

   The medieval castle has not survived to our times. Remnants of a residential tower are located in a preserved gatehouse. The early modern palace, despite the announcement of the restaurant, is since the war in a state of ruin.

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bibliography:
Gaworski M., Zamek i park w Strzelcach Opolskich, Opole 2004.

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