Sulechów – castle

History

   The castle was built on the site of an early medieval Slavic stronghold around 1304 by Konrad III, the duke of Głogów, as a local center of ducal administration. Sulechów was mentioned for the first time in 1319 in an agreement concluded between the dukes of Głogów: John, Henry and Przemek, and the margrave of Brandenburg, Waldemar. Another reference was made in a document ten years later, containing a list of towns and castles given to John of Bohemia as a fief by Henry of Żagań.
   In 1378, as a result of the division of the Duchy of Głogów, Sulechów was incorporated into the borders of the Kożuchów district, and in 1477 it was seized by Prince John II of Żagań. Five years later, the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus sold the town and the castle to the Brandenburg electors. In 1489, by a document issued by Elector John of Brandenburg, the management of Sulechów was taken over by the staroste Kasper Kracht.
  
In 1557, most of Sulechów, including the castle, was destroyed by fire. The reconstruction and at the same time the rebuilding was carried out at the end of the 16th century on the initiative of Elizabeth Brandenburg, as a result of which the castle was transformed into a Renaissance residence. In 1633, the castle and the town were destroyed by another fire, and at the end of the 17th century castle was rebuilt again, this time in the Baroque style. In the 19th century, the useless eastern and northern parts of the castle were demolished, and new residential buildings were erected its this site.

Architecture

   The castle was situated on a small, quite regular knoll measuring 30×40 meters, in the north-eastern corner of the medieval town. It was built of bricks on a stone plinth (which protected the bricks against earth moisture), as a compact, small structure with an internal courtyard, located within the town walls. Together with the town, it created a uniform defense system, but to protect it against the townspeople, it was isolated from the Sulechów by a moat.
   The oldest part of the complex was a massive four-sided tower, later forming the south-west corner of the castle. It was erected on a square plan with a side length of about 10 meters. It was four storeys high and had a basement. It was topped with a hip roof, at the base of which there was a hoarding, i.e. a wooden porch with loop holes in the floor and walls, probably closed with special hatches. The hoarding ran around the tower on all sides, and was based on supports made of thick logs, providing the porch about 1.2 meters wide. The entrance to the tower was located on the north side, at a height of about 10 meters, so external wooden stairs or a ladder had to lead to it.
   Inside, the lowest, basement floor was occupied by a dark, stuffy and cramped prison dungeon, accessible only from the upper floor through an opening in the ceiling (the vault was established only at the end of the 16th century, then the dungeon was also divided into two levels). The second floor was about 5 meters above the level of the courtyard and was covered with a wooden ceiling. Above it, the next floors were also separated by wooden ceilings, with beams embedded in openings in the wall. Communication between them was originally provided by ladders. The interior of the second floor (entrance floor) was lit only by slit windows. The third floor, in addition to splayed windows, had two passages crowned with segmental arches: to the latrine and in the south-eastern corner to the stairs hidden in the wall thickness, leading to the level of the hoarding’s porch.
   The perimeter of the defensive wall was 1.8 meters thick in the ground floor and 8.5 meters high, it circled a courtyard measuring about 30 x 40 meters. At a height of 6.5 meters, there was a defensive wall-walk on the wall, while the breastwork with battlement was another two meters high. The entrance gate led to the courtyard from the south. It was preceded by a drawbridge and a moat. A residential building was erected along the northern curtain of the wall.

Current state

   The four storeys of the tower are the remains of the medieval castle. Later reconstructions unfortunately blurred its old communication system and the original shape of the window openings. Adjacent to the tower is a two-story building erected at the end of the 16th century, but rebuilt several times in the following centuries. The castle, restored in 2007, now houses cultural institutions.

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bibliography:
Legendziewicz A., Zamek w Sulechowie – w okresie od średniowiecza do początku XX wieku [w:] Lubuskie Materiały Konserwatorskie, tom 5, red. B. Bielnis-Kopeć, Zielona Góra 2008.

Leksykon zamków w Polsce, red. L.Kajzer, Warszawa 2003.
Nowakowski D., Siedziby książęce i rycerskie księstwa głogowskiego w średniowieczu, Wrocław 2008.