The castle was probably built at the beginning of the fourteenth century during the times of Prince Bernard of Świdnica and his brother, Bolko II of Ziębice. The exact date of construction is unknown, while the oldest known source document for the castle dates from 1315. It mentioned a burgrave named Kilian, the castle itself was then called Kinsperch (Kinsberg), and from the sixteenth century, Kunigsberg, or Kynsberg in the eighteenth century. Its primary function was probably the protection of the trade route running through the Bystrzyca valley.
In 1392, after the death of Bolko II’s wife, princess Agnies, the castle passed into the hands of the Czech Crown. In the fifteenth century, it was in possession of knight’s families, which during the Hussite Wars dealt with robbery. According to sources from 1443 to 1450, it was owned by the robber George von Muehlheim, and from 1465 George von Czettritz and later other members of his family.
Since 1535, Grodno became the property of the Hochberg family, who bought it from Herman Czettritz. They owned the castle for ten years, and then passed it to the starost of the Duchy of Świdnica and Jawor, Matthias von Logau. His family was associated with Poland, and its members belonged to the eminent personalities of those times. Matthias, the Elder, repaired the walls and renovated the residential part, while his son George, who was the owner from 1568, carried out a renaissance expansion. These works were completed by 1587, but unfortunately, as a result, George fell into debts. For this reason, after his death, the widow Catherine relinquished the inheritance and in 1596 the castle was for unpaid obligations taken over by Emperor Rudolf II.
During the Thirty Years’ War, the castle was occupied and partly destroyed by the Swedes. According to the preserved information, it was damaged by the Swedish colonel Davos, encouraged to demolish with stories about alleged treasure. In the second half of the eighteenth century, the stronghold was besieged during peasant riots. During this period, poverty prevailed and when the then owner of the castle, baron George von Ebem und Brunnen, began to enforce regular and timely tribute, local peasants and craftsmen rebelled. Only the intervention of the army brought from Świdnica stopped the siege and suppressed the rebellion. Two leaders were sentenced to hang: a baker from Lubachowo, Hans Hoehn, and a carpenter from Jawornica, Opitz.
In the second half of the eighteenth century, the slow decline of the already not repaired castle began. The last owners since 1774 was Otton von Lieres, but Grodno was no longer inhabited. In 1789, the southern wing of the upper castle partially collapsed, but in 1824, at the initiative of pastor Busching, the owner of the castle, renovation work was undertaken. Unfortunately, they have made changes that were not consistent with the historic shape of the building. Further work was conducted between 1868-1869 and at the end of the 19th century. In 1904 the sgraffita was renewed and the inn was opened. Further restoration works took place after the Second World War.
The castle was built of local unworked stone on a narrow ridge of a hill with steep slopes. The promontory of this hill was cut off from the rest of the area by a ditch, while the other sides were secured by high and steep hillsides.
The perimeter walls of the castle were laid on a polygon with buttresses in the corners and a small quadrangular tower in front of the southern curtain. The wall with a thickness of 2.4 meters was provided with a sidewalk covered with battlements, running in the thickness of the wall at the height of the present second floor. In the south-west corner there was gate tower with a recess that hold the portcullis. The inner building in the first stage was confined to two buildings that had been added to the southern section of the peripheral wall. In its basement there was a cellar partially carved into the rock. A water tank was hollowed out in the inner courtyard. Perhaps from the west there were economic ward.
In the sixteenth century buildings were built around the courtyard and a gate with foregate and a residential floor. At that time, the octagonal superstructure of the tower and attics were erected over the outer facades of the living wings, and the entire upper castle received an additional ring of outer walls with a thickness of only 0.65 meters and a height of 2.5 meters, equipped with a row of slit loop holes and semi-circular, low towers. At the same time the western part was expanded and fortified. In the south-western curtain was created a late-renaissance gate with rich sgraffiti decoration.
The castle is preserved in a renaissance style with readable medieval elements and it is now being gradually revitalized and refurbished. It is under the care of PTTK, which provides it with a small museum to explore. Opening times, price list and information about special events can be found on the official website of the castle here.
Boguszewicz A., Corona Silesiae. Zamki Piastów fürstenberskich na południowym pograniczu księstwa jaworskiego, świdnickiego i ziębickiego do połowy XIV wieku, Wrocław 2010.
Dudziak M., Zamek Grodno, Konin 2010.
Leksykon zamków w Polsce, red. L.Kajzer, Warszawa 2003.
Rozpędowski J., Zamek Grodno w Zagórzu Śląskim i zamki Nowy Dwór, Radosno, Rogowiec, Wrocław 1960.