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IMG BORDER=1 style=

BOBROWNIKI, VIEW OF THE RUINS FROM THE NORTH



earby the village of Bobrowniki, pro­ba­bly al­re­ady in the first half of the 14th cen­tu­ry, the­re was an un­known wood­en ca­stle, as evi­den­ced by the do­cu­ments is­su­ed he­re by the Du­ke of Do­brzy­ce and Le­czy­ca Wla­dy­slaw Sie­mo­wi­to­wic cal­led Gar­bacz (+1351/52). Se­ve­ral do­cu­ments sig­ned in this lo­ca­tion ha­ve sur­vi­ved to the pre­sent day, which may in­di­ca­te that at the turn of the fourth and fifth de­ca­de of the 14th cen­tu­ry, Bo­bro­wni­ki hou­sed the a­dmi­ni­stra­ti­ve cen­tre of the re­gion. To­ge­ther with the al­re­ady e­xis­ting cus­toms and the Vis­tu­la ri­ver cros­sing, it cre­ated one of the ge­opo­li­ti­cal­ly most im­por­tant points on the map of the du­chy. It is li­ke­ly that a­fter the death of Wla­dy­slaw Gar­bacz, the ca­stle ca­me un­der the ru­le of Ca­si­mir the Great (+1370), be­ing still in his li­fe­ti­me se­lec­ted to be han­ded o­ver to Kaz­ko Slup­ski (+1377), the king's grand­son, who was in­di­ca­ted by him as his di­rect suc­ces­sor. Ho­we­ver, this did not hap­pen, be­cau­se a­fter the an­nul­ment of Ca­si­mir's will, the Po­lish thro­ne was ta­ken o­ver by Lud­wik Hun­ga­rian (+1382), who in 1377 gran­ted Do­brzyn Land and the ca­stle in Bo­bro­wni­ki to Du­ke Wla­dy­slaw Opol­czyk (+1401). In 1391, this ru­ler, who was run­ning a po­li­cy a­gainst Po­land and be­ing in con­flict with King Wla­dy­slaw Ja­giel­lo, pled­ged Do­brzyn Land to the Teu­to­nic Or­der. This led to the ar­med in­ter­ven­tion of Po­lish troops and the sie­ge of the ca­stle, suc­ces­ful­ly de­fen­ded by Wla­dy­slaw Bo­rzym the Grey main­ly thanks to Teu­to­nic Knights' sup­port. At that ti­me the fort­ress al­re­ady had so­me brick for­ti­fi­ca­tions, but the lay­out, de­gree of de­ve­lop­ment and sca­le of the­se in­vest­ments re­main un­known.


IMG BORDER=1 style=

VIEW OF THE CASTLE FROM THE WEST


ppreciating the strategic location of the strong­hold, Teu­to­nic Knights be­gan to or­ga­ni­ze the lo­cal a­dmi­ni­stra­tion in this pla­ce, they pro­ba­bly al­so ex­pan­ded the ca­stle, and per­haps e­ven built a new foun­da­tion ba­sed on the plan of the Piast ca­stle. Bo­bro­wni­ki al­so be­ne­fi­ted from the pre­sen­ce of the Ger­mans, be­cau­se du­ring the reign of the ma­yor Gott­fried von Hotz­feld the set­tle­ment was gi­ven the sta­tus of a town and from that mo­ment on it fun­ctio­ned as Stadt Be­be­ren for a short ti­me. Ho­we­ver, not re­con­ci­led with the loss of the­se lands, Ja­giel­lo stro­ve to re­gain them. He suc­ceed­ed in do­ing so in 1405, when, on the ba­sis of pe­ace tre­aty sig­ned in Ra­cia­zek, Do­brzyn land re­tur­ned to the Po­lish King­dom. The ca­stle was de­sig­na­ted as the se­at of the ro­yal sta­rosts, and the first to be ap­poin­ted to the of­fi­ce was War­ci­slaw Go­tar­to­wic. On­ly four ye­ars a­fter Bo­bro­wni­ki was sta­tio­ned with the Po­lish troops, the Or­der star­ted the war with Ja­giel­lo, oc­cu­py­ing sur­roun­ding towns and for­tres­ses, in­clu­ding the Bo­bro­wni­ki strong­hold. Si­tu­ation of the be­sie­ged crew was still be­ing sa­ved by the Arch­bi­shop of Gnie­zno, Mi­ko­laj Ku­row­ski, who, after ne­go­tia­ting a tru­ce one day, pro­mi­sed to pro­vi­de sup­port in the strength of fi­fty sol­diers. Ho­we­ver, due to the pas­si­ve at­ti­tu­de of Du­ke of Ma­zo­via and Bis­hop of Plock, he was not a­ble to re­ali­ze it and the ca­stle fell a­fter be­ing da­ma­ged by he­avy Teu­to­nic ar­til­le­ry. The de­ci­sion to ca­pi­tu­la­te met with dis­ap­pro­val of Wla­dy­slaw Ja­giel­lo, who, as a pu­nish­ment for lack of bra­ve­ry, or­de­red to pla­ce the sta­rost and other com­man­ders in the to­wer of Che­ci­ny ca­stle. Ho­we­ver, all of them we­re soon re­le­ased, and they wi­ped out their dis­gra­ce by figh­ting in the fields of Grun­wald.


CASTLE IN 1627, THE DRAWING MADE BY A. BOOT


fter the Teutonic Knights took over the ca­stle, which took pla­ce on 28th Au­gust 1409, Bo­emund Bren­del set­tled he­re and ne­ces­sa­ry re­pairs to the walls we­re ma­de. Ho­we­ver, Bo­bro­wni­ki was in the hands of the Or­der on­ly un­til 1410, and for­mal­ly a year lon­ger when, by de­ci­sion of the First To­run Pe­ace, they re­tur­ned to the King­dom of Po­land. Po­les ap­pre­cia­ted the de­fen­si­ve va­lu­es of the fort­ress by un­der­ta­king its mo­der­ni­za­tion, as a re­sult of which the ca­stle re­cei­ved an ad­di­tio­nal, ex­ter­nal li­ne of walls, for­ti­fied fo­re­ga­tes and cor­ner to­wers a­dap­ted to use fi­re­arms. De­spi­te high in­vest­ments, Bo­bro­wni­ki didn't play any mi­li­ta­ry ro­le for the next two cen­tu­ries, ser­ving pri­ma­ri­ly as the seat of the sta­rost and the pla­ce whe­re the town courts we­re held. After the end of the Thir­teen Ye­ars' War, du­ring which the ca­stle was u­sed to de­tain ca­ptu­red Teu­to­nic Knights, the bor­ders of the King­dom of Po­land we­re mo­ved, thus de­pri­ving the ca­stle of its stra­te­gic im­por­tan­ce, be­co­ming a ty­pi­cal ad­mi­ni­stra­ti­ve cen­tre. The loss of ba­sic mi­li­ta­ry fun­ctions and ne­gli­gen­ce in the cur­rent main­te­nan­ce of the strong­hold led to a si­gni­fi­cant de­te­rio­ra­tion in its tech­ni­cal con­di­tion, as evi­den­ced by in­for­ma­tion from the mid-16th cen­tu­ry that the­re is not e­ven a brid­ge to the ca­stle. Al­though on the ini­tia­ti­ve of the sta­rost Mi­chal Dzia­lyn­ski (+1576) so­me re­no­va­tion works we­re un­der­ta­ken he­re a­fter 1570, their sco­pe was not lar­ge and the ef­fects did not stop the de­gra­da­tion of the walls for long. In 1616 Mi­chal Dzia­lyn­ski (+1618), the ne­phew of the a­fo­re­men­tio­ned Mi­chal, on­ce a­gain ma­de an at­tempt to mo­der­ni­ze the ca­stle by re­no­va­ting its in­ter­nal buil­dings and put­ting the ram­parts pro­tec­ting it a­gainst wash­ing a­way as a re­sult of fre­quent floods of the Vis­tu­la ri­ver.


THE RUINS OF CASTLE IN BOBROWNIKI ON WATERCOLOUR, N. ORDA BEFORE 1883


W. GERSON RUINS OF THE CASTLE BOBROWNIKI AT THE VISTULA RIVERSIDE, 2. HALF OF THE 19TH CENTURY


uring the war between Poland and Swe­den over the Vis­tu­la e­stu­ary, the ca­stle no lon­ger had a roof and part of the ou­ter pe­ri­me­ter of the walls was de­mo­li­shed, which is shown in a dra­wing ma­de in 1627 by the me­dia­tor in this con­flict A­bra­ham Boot (+1636). In 1629 the strong­hold was al­re­ady in such a bad con­di­tion that it was in­ha­bi­ted on­ly by the ser­vants, whi­le the sta­rost re­si­ded in the buil­ding in the ca­stle farm. The ur­gent need for ef­fi­cient fun­ctio­ning of the seat of the mu­ni­ci­pal ad­mi­ni­stra­tion was re­flec­ted in the re­so­lu­tion of the Sejm in 1641, by who­se de­ci­sion it was to be re­built at the ex­pen­se of the ci­ti­zens of the Do­brzyn Land. Ho­we­ver, this in­vest­ment was not suc­ces­sful, and the Swe­des con­tri­bu­ted to the fi­nal col­la­pse of the ca­stle by bur­ning it in 1656 to­ge­ther with the ar­chi­ves sto­red he­re. Short­ly a­fter the Swe­dish ar­my left Po­land, small re­pairs we­re ma­de to walls and roofs, thanks to which the buil­ding was still in­ha­bi­ted and u­sed for so­me ti­me. In the ab­sen­ce of a­de­qua­te fi­nan­cial re­sour­ces, its poor tech­ni­cal con­di­tion con­ti­nu­ed to wor­sen and in 1765 it is de­scri­bed as par­tly still stan­ding wi­thin the walls. In 1776, the chan­cel­le­ry was mo­ved to Lip­no, thus clo­sing the ne­ar­ly 400-ye­ar-old his­to­ry of the ca­stle, which from then on was on­ly a de­ser­ted ru­in. At the be­gin­ning of the 19th cen­tu­ry, by de­ci­sion of the cen­tral ad­mi­ni­stra­tion, so­me of the for­ti­fi­ca­tions and ca­stle buil­dings we­re de­mo­li­shed in or­der to ob­tain buil­ding ma­te­rial. Over the fol­lo­wing de­ca­des, the ob­ject was ra­pid­ly e­ro­ded. Short­ly a­fter the walls we­re de­mo­li­shed, the high le­vel of the Vis­tu­la led to its e­xit from the main ri­ver­bed and spre­ading o­ver the sur­roun­ding fields, cut­ting off the ro­ad to ru­ins, which we­re on is­land un­til the 1980s. The first ar­cha­eolo­gi­cal and ar­chi­tec­tu­ral re­search was car­ried out he­re in the 1970s, and a de­ca­de la­ter wi­de-ran­ging work was do­ne to se­cu­re the walls and part­ial­ly re­con­struct them.


BOBROWNIKI IN THE DRAWING BY J. OLSZEWSKI, 1903


ARCHIVAL PHOTO FROM THE 1930S



he castle was built on an ar­ti­fi­cial­ly rai­sed hill, abo­ve the le­vel of the sur­roun­ding a­rea, in the im­me­dia­te vi­ci­ni­ty of the right bank of the Vis­tu­la ri­ver. Its ex­te­rior walls and ba­ses of the re­si­den­tial buil­dings we­re ma­de of sto­ne rein­for­ced with mor­tar, whi­le when the in­ter­ior walls and the to­wer we­re e­rec­ted, the ba­sic buil­ding ma­te­rial was brick. The ol­der part of the buil­ding had a squa­re plan with a si­de of 46.5 me­ters and was sur­roun­ded by wall (1), which was so­me­ti­mes 3.5 me­ters thick. The main part of in­ter­ior lay­out was a brick re­si­den­tial hou­se (2) me­asu­ring 15x46 me­ters, co­ve­ring the en­ti­re length of the west cur­tain. It was a three-sto­rey buil­ding, with a li­ne in­ter­ior ar­ran­ge­ment and a ga­ble roof with trian­gu­lar pe­aks to the north and south. At ba­se­ment le­vel its in­ter­ior was di­vi­ded in­to three rooms and pro­ba­bly this di­vi­sion was al­so re­pe­ated on up­per floors. On the nort­hern si­de, the re­si­den­tial hou­se was ad­ja­cent with a to­wer (3) pro­tru­ding slig­htly in front of walls, built on a re­ctan­gu­lar plan with si­des of 10.5x11.5 me­ters, in which two nar­row ga­tes and a ga­te­way a­bout 3 me­ters wi­de we­re pla­ced on the ground floor. Do­mi­na­ting in the sha­pe of ca­stle was the main to­wer (4) e­rec­ted in the east­ern cor­ner of the court­yard, in the lo­wer parts squa­re, hig­her cy­lin­dri­cal. In­ter­nal lay­out of the fort­ress was com­ple­men­ted by a nar­row brick buil­ding (5) lo­ca­ted a­long the sout­hern cur­tain of the walls, be­tween the to­wer and the west­ern hou­se, as well as wood­en e­co­no­mic buil­dings con­cen­tra­ted in the east­ern part of the court­yard. The ou­ter pe­ri­me­ter of the ca­stle may ha­ve ad­di­tio­nal rein­for­ce­ments li­ke a sto­cka­de.


RECONSTRUCTION OF THE XV CENTURY CASTLE ACCORDING TO J. SALM, VIEW FROM THE NORTH



RECONSTRUCTION OF THE XV CENTURY CASTLE ACCORDING TO J. SLAWINSKI, VIEW FROM THE SOUTH


fter 1410, the castle was sur­roun­ded by a se­cond pe­ri­me­ter of the ou­ter walls (6), 12 me­tres a­way from the ol­der li­ne of for­ti­fi­ca­tions, al­so re­in­for­ced with but­tres­ses (7). In this way, an in­ter-wall (8) was cre­ated, cut from the north-west by the ga­te neck (9) con­ne­cting the ol­der en­tran­ce to­wer with the fo­re­ga­te. The ou­ter walls we­re ad­di­tio­nal­ly for­ti­fied by pla­cing small to­wers (10) in their cor­ners, ada­pted to the use of fi­re­arms. The who­le was sur­roun­ded by a moat fed by the wa­ters of the Vis­tu­la. Mo­der­ni­sa­tions car­ried out in la­ter ye­ars we­re dic­ta­ted by the ca­stle's ad­mi­ni­stra­ti­ve fun­ction and had no mi­li­ta­ry cha­ra­cter. It is li­ke­ly that in the 16th cen­tu­ry new buil­dings we­re e­rec­ted or exis­ting o­nes we­re en­lar­ged, re­du­cing the area of the court­yard.




IMG BORDER=1 style=

PLAN AND VIEW OF THE CASTLE RUINS IN BOBROWNIKI: 1. INNER WALL, 2. WESTERN RESIDENTIAL BUILDING, 3. GATE TOWER,
4. MAIN TOWER, 5. SOUTHERN BUILDING, 6. OUTER WALL, 7. BUTTRESS, 8. INTER-WALL, 9. GATE NECK, 10. CORNER TOWERS



he present appearance of the ru­ins is the re­sult of far-re­aching re­con­stru­ctions to which the ob­ject was sub­je­cted in the mid-eigh­ties. The­se works in­clu­ded lo­we­ring the court­yard to its his­to­ri­cal le­vel, dis­co­ve­ring the ground floors of the walls, de­bris re­mo­val from cel­lars, as well as re­con­stru­cting sig­ni­fi­cant frag­ments of ex­ter­nal cur­tains with but­tres­ses. Pre­ser­ved walls we­re se­cu­red by fil­ling in the ho­les and cracks, mo­re­over, in or­der to pre­vent fur­ther da­ma­ge, the Vis­tu­la bank was wi­den­ed and a con­cre­te bar­rier was ma­de on it. Con­ser­va­tion a­cti­vi­ties al­lo­wed to pre­ser­ve the his­to­ri­cal stru­ctu­re and ar­ti­fi­cial­ly ex­po­se the cha­ra­cte­ri­stic e­lem­ents of the ca­stle in its tra­di­tio­nal form. Thanks to this, to­day we can see a cle­ar­ly out­li­ned se­quen­ce of in­ter­nal walls with mas­si­ve but­tres­ses and a slig­htly less vi­si­ble pe­ri­me­ter of ex­ter­nal cur­tain walls with an out­line of the ga­te neck , as well as re­lics of re­si­den­tial buil­ding walls and their in­ter­nal di­vi­sions. The re­lics of the to­wer are do­mi­na­ting o­ver the who­le, who­se cur­rent height re­aches 11.8 me­ters.


IMG  BORDER=1 style= IMG  BORDER=1 style=

VIEW OF THE RUINS FROM THE WEST, IN THE FOREGROUND ON THE RIGHT A FRAGMENT OF A PARTIALLY RECONSTRUCTED BUTTRESS


IMG  BORDER=1 style= IMG  BORDER=1 style=

REMAINS OF MAIN TOWER


IMG BORDER=1 style=

VIEW FROM THE NORTH, IN THE FOREGROUND A RELIC OF THE MOAT


owever, more than three decades have pas­sed sin­ce the re­con­stru­ction of the ca­stle ru­ins, which can un­for­tu­na­te­ly be seen in the num­ber of ca­vi­ties in the fa­ce of the walls and in the nu­me­rous de­bris as a na­tu­ral con­se­quen­ce of their ra­pid e­ro­sion. The­re is al­so a no­ti­ce­able lack of the strong­hold's host, which ur­gen­tly needs to be cle­ared of self-seed­ers, and of the hu­ge a­mount of gar­ba­ge that is ly­ing in its cel­lars, now a­dap­ted to the den. Whi­le vi­si­ting the ruins wit­hin the court­yard is not as­so­cia­ted with gre­ater risk, ex­plo­ring the walls in pla­ces of for­mer buil­dings can be dan­ge­rous not on­ly be­cau­se of sig­ni­fi­cant dif­fe­ren­ces in height, but al­so and a­bo­ve all be­cau­se of pie­ces of steel pro­tru­ding from con­cre­te blocks, which are ea­si­ly stum­bled u­pon. Sin­ce 2017 the ow­ner of the ca­stle is the Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty of Bo­bro­wni­ki.



Castle in Bobrowniki
Zamkowa Street, 87-617 Bobrowniki
tel.: +48 54 230 51 32 - secretariat
e-mail: sekretariat(at)ugbobrowniki.pl
Free admision



IMG BORDER=1 style=

A CASTLE ON THE VISTULA RIVER SIDE


IMG BORDER=1 style=

CURTAIN WALLS PARTIALLY RECONSTRUCTED IN THE 1980S



obrowniki is located about 17 km north of Wlo­cla­wek, on the op­po­si­te si­de of the Vis­tu­la. Dri­ving from the ci­ty si­de, be­hind the ri­ver you must turn in­to Grodz­ka Street and then a­fter a­bout 1.5 km turn right in­to Wi­to­szyn­ska Street. In No­wy Wi­to­szyn turn left to Win­du­ga and Rach­ci­nek, and con­ti­nue straight to Bo­bro­wni­ki. The ru­ins are lo­ca­ted by the ri­ver, to the west of the Mar­ket Squa­re, from whe­re you should dri­ve a­long Kos­ciel­na Street (di­re­ction Czer­ni­ko­wo), and then dirt Zam­ko­wa Street. Cars can be par­ked on field ne­ar the ga­te. (cas­tles in Ku­jaw­sko-Po­mor­skie Voi­vo­de­ship)




1. T. Graff: Kosciól w Polsce wobec konfliktu z zakonem krzyzackim w XV wieku, Ksiegarnia Akademicka 2010
2. L. Kajzer, J. Salm, S. Kolodziejski: Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Arkady 2001
3. M. Krysinski, M. Trochonowicz: Zamek w Bobrownikach - problematyka techniczna i konserwatorska, 2013
4. S. Szybkowski: Elita ziemi dobrzynskiej na przelomie XIV i XV wieku..., Sredniowiecze Polskie... 3 (7) 2011
5. A. Wagner: Murowane budowle obronne w Polsce X-XVIIw., Bellona 2019


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CARS AND MOTORBIKES WE PARK NEAR THE FORMER GATE, AND BIKES IN THE COURTYARD ;-)


Castles nearby:
Raciazek - the ruin of Kujawy bishops' castle from the 14th century, 17 km
Wloclawek - relics of Kujawy bishops' castle from the 14th century, currently the palace of the bishops, 20 km



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text: 2020
photographs: 2017, 2019
© by Jacek Bednarek