Ząbkowice Śląskie – castle

History

   The first mention of the castle dates back to 1321. Its construction was probably begun by prince Bernard Świdnicki at the beginning of the 14th century. In 1335 it survived the siege of the Bohemian army, and in the following year it was pledged to Luxembourgs by Bolko II. In the end, it was sold together with town by Bolko’s son, Nicholas the Small. Since then it was the seat of the governors of the Bohemian kings. During the Hussite Wars it was destroyed and then modernized and fortified by new owners. In the middle of the 15th century it became the property of the sons of the Bohemian king George of Podiebrad. Attacked by the townspeople of Wrocław, Świdnica and Nysa, it was damaged in 1468. In 1489 it was besieged for several months by Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus. It remained in his possession until 1490.
  
In the years 1522-1532 Karol I, prince of Ziębice, demolished part of the remaining walls and built a new castle in the renaissance style. The builder of this facility was Benedykt Rejt. After the siege, assault and destruction in the following centuries it was finally abandoned in 1728, and its condition was further exacerbated by a fire from 1784. In the interwar period, the castle was home to a regional museum and tourist hostel.

Architecture

   The original gothic castle was irregular, probably oval. The remain of this first building is a bulge on the south wall, forming a line of medieval buildings. Reconstruction from the sixteenth century erased all other traces. The new late gothic – renaissance castle was erected as a quadrangle with dimensions 65×70 meters with two towers and with two, three-storey, cylindrical low towers located in the corners. The inner courtyard was surrounded by cloisters.
   Since the death of prince Charles I interrupted the construction works, the northern range with a monumental great hall was never completed. Everyday life went on the southern range, and court life with its extensive ceremonial in the eastern range, where the entrance was. It housed two rooms with dimensions of 9 x 22 meters, on the high ground floor and the first floor. They stretched between the gatehouse tower and the corner tower, and their representative purpose is proved by the remains of wall polychromes preserved to this day. The lower hall might have a vault, the upper one was topped with a timber ceiling. The western range on the ground floor housed the kitchen. In the upper rooms in the west and south ranges, private living rooms were arranged. This is evidenced by many independent entrances from the inner courtyard, accessible via a gallery or stairs. The ornate portal in the vicinity of the clock tower led to the largest 16.5 by 7.5-meter hall in the southern range. Two side rooms of medium size adjacent with it. The eastern one was warmed by a fireplace, and the western one had access to the latrine. Even further to the east there were two, small vaulted chambers with a latrine. The whole was supplemented by the alcove in the clock tower and the vestibule.

Current state

   The 16th-century renaissance castle is preserved today as a ruin. It have survived the gate tower, the south tower, the walls all around and some corner low towers. The monument is generally available.

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bibliography:
Chorowska M., Rezydencje średniowieczne na Śląsku, Wrocław 2003.
Leksykon zamków w Polsce, L.Kajzer, S.Kołodziejski, J.Salm, Warszawa 2003.