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IMG BORDER=1 style=

RUIN OF MEDIEVAL CASTLE IN MUSZYNA, 2017



istorians and researchers of the Mid­dle Ages in­ter­pret the be­gin­nings of de­fen­se-re­la­ted ar­chi­te­ctu­re in Mu­szy­na dif­fe­ren­tly. Ac­cor­ding to tra­di­tion, in this one of the old­est set­tle­ments in the Pod­kar­pa­cie re­gion, the for­ti­fied cas­tle was built by Du­ke Wla­dy­slaw Lo­kie­tek or on­ly as a re­sult of ro­yal foun­da­tion of Ca­si­mir the Gre­at. Based on mo­re re­cent re­se­arch, ho­we­ver, a do­mi­nant po­si­tion is that much earl­ier a small knight's ca­stle e­xis­ted he­re, lo­ca­ted sligh­tly high­er than a brick cas­tle, about 100 me­ters a­way from it. This mo­dest con­stru­ction, sur­roun­ded by a sto­ne-earth ram­part and a dry mo­at, was built on a cir­cle plan with a dia­me­ter of about 30 me­ters, in the cen­tral part of which stood a wood­en re­si­den­tial buil­ding, pro­ba­bly a to­wer, with ba­se di­men­sions of 6x6 me­ters and no mo­re than two sto­reys. On the ba­sis of archaeological re­se­arch and his­to­ri­cal re­cords, this cas­tle is iden­ti­fied with the land pro­per­ty trans­fer­red in May 1288 by the heirs of the scho­la­stic Wy­sza from Nie­go­wic co­at of arms of Pól­ko­zic to the bi­shop of Kra­kow, Pa­wel from Prze­man­ków (+1292), who was known for the pro­mis­cui­ty of his li­fe. He kept the who­le ha­rem at the bi­sho­pric, and e­ven from the mo­na­ste­ry in Ska­la he kid­nap­ped a nun and in­clu­ded her in his ha­rem.


IMG BORDER=1 style=

VIEW OF THE CASTLE FROM OBSERVATION TOWER LOCATED ABOUT 600 METERS AWAY


he castle remained in the hands of the bis­hops un­til the re­ign of Jan Mus­ka­ta (+1320), who pro­ba­bly at the be­gin­ning of the 14th cen­tu­ry ex­pan­ded it and e­rec­ted a brick to­wer. The­se in­vest­ments we­re pro­ba­bly dic­ta­ted by the need to stren­gthen the brid­ge­head as a re­sult of the con­flict o­ver po­wer in the Cra­cow dis­trict, car­ried out by the bi­shop with Du­ke Wla­dy­slaw Lo­kie­tek (+1333). In 1308 Mus­ka­ta was ac­cu­sed by Arch­bi­shop Ja­kub Swin­ka of church a­bu­ses and re­mo­ved from of­fi­ce to spend six months in a cell un­der the to­wer at Wa­wel Cas­tle a­fter the trial. This si­tu­ation was u­sed by Lo­kie­tek who, in the ab­sen­ce of the main po­li­ti­cal op­po­nent, took Mu­szy­na and then in­cor­po­ra­ted it, to­ge­ther with the sur­roun­ding lands, to the du­ke's pro­per­ty. Cas­trum in Mu­szy­na was al­re­ady men­tio­ned as ro­yal pro­per­ty in 1352, but we do not know whe­ther it was a wood­en-soil stru­ctu­re or a brick fort­ress. At that ti­me it ser­ved as a bor­der guard and cus­toms cham­ber at the tra­de rou­te le­ad­ing a­long the Po­prad ri­ver to Hun­ga­ry. It is li­ke­ly that du­ring the reign of Ca­si­mir the Gre­at (+1370) so­me con­stru­ction work was car­ried out on the cas­tle, but the sca­le of the­se trans­for­ma­tions, if any, re­mains un­known.


IMG BORDER=1 style=

VIEW FROM THE CASTLE OVER THE VALLEY OF POPRAD RIVER, IN THE FOREGROUND A STATUE OF BLESSED VIRGIN MARY SET UP BY LOCAL PEOPLE IN 1979


uszyna remained in the hands of Polish kings un­til 1391 or, at the la­test, un­til 1448, when the first sta­rost is men­tio­ned in his­to­ri­cal re­fe­ren­ces. Due to its fun­ction and bor­der lo­ca­tion, the cas­tle was ex­po­sed to fre­quent Hun­gar­ian and gangs of rob­bers at­tacks. In 1411 Mi­ko­laj Gla­dysz, who com­man­ded the crew of the fort­ress, sub­mit­ted it to the troops of voi­vo­de Sci­bor from Sci­bo­rzy­ce (+1414), one of the rich­est man in me­die­val Eu­ro­pe, own­er of 31 fort­res­ses and 200 other e­sta­tes, so­me­ti­mes cal­led the lit­tle king of Slo­va­kia. In 1448, the dis­trict of Mu­szy­na, con­sis­ting of 2 towns and se­ve­ral do­zen vil­la­ges, was un­doub­te­dly al­re­ady ow­ned by the bi­shops of Cr­acow, who o­bli­ged them­sel­ves to keep a per­ma­nent mi­li­ta­ry crew in the cas­tle. From then on, it ser­ved as the re­si­den­ce of sta­rosts of the so-cal­led Sta­te of Mu­szy­na, an in­de­pen­dent a­dmi­ni­stra­ti­ve u­nit with its own of­fi­ces, the ar­my and the ju­di­cia­ry, which re­mai­ned un­der the ru­le of Cra­cow Cur­ia un­til the par­ti­tions of Po­land. Ho­we­ver, al­re­ady in 1455 a buil­ding ca­ta­stro­phe took pla­ce, whe­re the fourth part of the cas­tle from the top to the foun­da­tion with all walls and buil­dings col­lap­sed. De­stru­ction of the fort­ress was so ex­ten­si­ve that its re­mo­val in a short per­­iod of ti­me ex­ceed­ed the fi­nan­cial pos­si­bi­li­ties of its own­ers. The­re­fo­re, by de­ci­sion of the sta­rost Jan Wie­lo­pol­ski, on­ly tem­po­ra­ry re­pairs u­sing half-tim­be­red con­stru­ctions we­re ma­de in pla­ces of ca­vi­ties.


A HYPOTHETICAL RECONSTRUCTION OF MUSZYNA CASTLE, SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA



The State of Muszyna is a historical la­ti­fun­dium, exis­ting from the 13th cen­tu­ry to 1781, with an a­rea of a­bout 450 squa­re ki­lo­me­ters, with its own ad­mi­ni­stra­tion, ju­di­cia­ry and ar­my. It in­clu­ded two towns (Mu­szy­na and Ty­licz) and 47 vil­la­ges lo­ca­ted in the a­rea of to­day's mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties of Mu­szy­na, Kry­ni­ca-Zdrój, La­bo­wa and Us­cie Gor­lic­kie.

The State of Muszyna as an independent ter­ri­tor­ial u­nit was pro­ba­bly e­sta­bli­shed a­round 1288 after Mu­szy­na with its ad­joi­ning ter­ri­to­ries was be­que­athed by Wysz from Nie­go­wi­cia to Bi­shop Pa­wel from Prze­man­ków. In 1308 Bi­shop Mus­ka­ta lost it to Wla­dy­slaw Lo­kie­tek and from then on it be­lon­ged to the ro­yal e­sta­te un­til the turn of the 14th and 15th cen­tu­ries, or e­ven un­til the mid­dle of the 15th cen­tu­ry, when it was a­gain han­ded o­ver to Cra­cow cur­ia. This ter­ri­to­ry was in its hands un­til 1781, when it be­ca­me pro­per­ty of the Aus­trian go­vern­ment. Earl­ier, ho­we­ver, in 1770 the a­rea was se­pa­ra­ted from Po­land and an­nex­ed to Hun­ga­ry.

The State of Muszyna possessed its own army, the core of which was made up of peasant infantry - har­nic­y, in the num­ber of 200 to 600 sold­iers, and a ca­val­ry cal­led dra­go­nia bis­ku­pia, whe­re on­ly the ma­yors ser­ved. Mo­re­over, eve­ry man was o­bli­ged to ha­ve a fight­ing kit and had to par­ti­ci­pa­te in re­gu­lar mi­li­ta­ry train­ings. It is worth no­ting that du­ring the pe­riod of e­xis­ten­ce of the la­ti­fun­dium, the pla­gue of this a­rea was the bri­gan­da­ge, who­se 'no­ble' a­chiev­ements are com­me­mo­ra­ted by In­ter­na­tio­nal Car­pa­thian Rob­bers' Rou­te.



THE CASTLE IN MUSZYNA, WOODCUT FROM 1836


aving during reconstruction of the castle did not help when it ca­me to its de­fen­ce a­gainst the Hun­gar­ian ar­my in 1474. The u­nits un­der com­mand of To­masz Thar­czay (+1493) pro­ba­bly had an easier task, when in­ste­ad of so­lid wall they had to fa­ce half-tim­be­red con­stru­ction of the ga­te, which bro­ke down al­re­ady on the se­cond day of fights. Un­doub­ted­ly, the bat­tle of 1474 was short, but ve­ry in­ten­se, as e­vi­den­ced by the lar­ge num­ber of mi­li­ta­ria found by ar­cha­eolo­gists in the ground and tra­ces of com­bu­stion from that per­iod. It is as­su­med that the cas­tle was com­ple­te­ly de­stro­yed by in­va­sion. Un­der the pe­ace a­gree­ment sig­ned with Hun­gar­ian King Mat­thias Cor­vi­nus (+1490), it was soon re­tur­ned to bi­shops and was re­built with con­si­de­ra­ble fi­nan­cial sup­port or e­ven at the King's ex­pen­se. Ho­we­ver, due to the lack of pre­ci­se da­ta, to­day we are not su­re whe­ther the­se works in­clu­ded pre­vious lo­ca­tion of the fort­ress or we­re ra­ther re­la­ted to the con­stru­ction of a com­ple­te­ly new re­si­den­ce, lo­ca­ted ne­ar the old one. In any ca­se, they we­re go­ing qui­te fast at first, as can be seen from the men­tion da­ted Fe­bru­ary 1488 that the ad­mi­ni­stra­tor of dio­ce­se of Cra­cow sent a de­le­ga­te to su­per­vi­se the con­stru­ction of the cas­tle, the cost of which was to be 100 flo­rins. Con­stru­ction works, car­ried out un­der su­per­vi­sion of Mu­szy­na's sta­rost Mi­ko­laj La­pis­pa­ta­ky, was com­ple­ted a­fter 1508, when in­stal­la­tion of sto­ne door and win­dow fra­mes was no­ted. At that ti­me, the neigh­bou­ring cas­tle was fi­nal­ly a­ban­do­ned, and per­haps e­ven bur­ned down to streng­then the de­fen­ce of new cas­tle.


A DRAWING MADE BY KAZIMIERZ STRONCZYNSKI FROM THE MID-19TH CENTURY


LITHOGRAPH MADE BY MACIEJ BOGUSZ STECZYNSKI IN 1846


he splendour of the Renaissance residence un­der the aus­pi­ces of Cra­cow bi­shop's Cur­ia las­ted on­ly un­til the end of the 16th cen­tu­ry. At that ti­me, it was al­re­ady an out­da­ted strong­hold which, due to ar­cha­ic for­ti­fi­ca­tion so­lu­tions, could not pro­vi­de an ef­fec­ti­ve de­fen­ce a­gainst re­gu­lar for­ces. The cas­tle, which was not re­no­va­ted and not mo­der­ni­zed, no lon­ger had a re­si­den­tial fun­ction du­ring the reign of the sta­rost Woj­ciech Bed­lin­ski. On his or­ders, in 1645, the of­fi­ces we­re mo­ved to a wood­en ma­nor hou­se si­tu­ated at the foot of cas­tle hill. As a fort­ress the cas­tle was u­sed for the last ti­me du­ring Swe­dish De­lu­ge, when it was a­cti­ve­ly pre­pa­red for de­fen­ce. The im­por­tan­ce of Mu­szy­na and the cas­tle at that ti­me is e­vi­den­ced by the fact that Bed­lin­ski was re­le­ased by king from o­bli­ga­tion to par­ti­ci­pa­te in com­mon mo­ve­ment in ex­chan­ge for guar­ding the town and the bor­der. In la­ter years, the buil­ding was no lon­ger men­tio­ned, al­though ma­ny do­cu­ments is­su­ed by sta­rosts we­re still sig­ned with an­no­ta­tion: at Mu­szy­na Cas­tle. Ho­we­ver, such a form was on­ly a sym­bo­lic act to em­pha­si­ze the im­por­tan­ce of their of­fi­ce. At the be­gin­ning of the 19th cen­tu­ry, the cas­tle was al­re­ady a ru­in, with rem­nants of a to­wer that had been torn and with a pie­ce of wall. The first ar­cha­eolo­gi­cal re­se­arch on si­te of the for­mer cas­tle be­gan in 1963, whi­le in 1991-98 the walls we­re pre­ser­ved and se­cu­red as a per­ma­nent ru­in.



CASTLE HILL WITH RUIN OF THE FORTRESS, POSTCARDS FROM THE EARLY XX CENTURY



As a result of many years of archaeological work car­ried out at the cas­tle, a lar­ge num­ber of mo­nu­ments we­re ex­ca­va­ted, which te­sti­fy to the tur­bu­lent past of this pla­ce. Among se­ve­ral thou­sand items and their frag­ments found he­re, a rich col­le­ction of mi­li­ta­ria de­ser­ves to be dis­tin­gui­shed, in­clu­ding the re­mains of iron and bron­ze bar­rels of hand­guns to­ge­ther with me­tal and mar­ble am­mu­ni­tion, re­lics of bolt­he­ads, buc­kles, kni­ves and frag­ments of ar­mour, who­se o­ri­gins are main­ly re­la­ted to the bat­tle be­tween cas­tle de­fen­ders and Hun­ga­rian ar­my in 1474. From parts of clo­thing and de­co­ra­tions it is worth to men­tion belt buc­kles and rings, e­spe­cial­ly one with the Ger­man in­scrip­tion hilf gott ma­ria ma­de in Go­thic font, which was pro­ba­bly lost du­ring at­tack on the cas­tle by one of the sold­iers of Hun­ga­rian ar­my. Among the finds the­re a­re al­so Hun­ga­rian and Po­lish coins from chro­no­lo­gi­cal per­iod be­tween the mid-14th cen­tu­ry and the end of the 15th cen­tu­ry, in­clu­ding a high-sil­ver de­nar of Lo­uis I be­fo­re 1382 and de­nars is­su­ed by Wla­dy­slaw War­nen­czyk a­fter he took the thro­ne of Hun­ga­ry. In­te­re­sting­ly, two coins with a much youn­ger met­ric we­re al­so found: a sil­ver Hun­gar­ian coin with fa­ce va­lue of 10 fil­lers from 1893 and a Po­lish 5 grosz coin from 1923.



IMG BORDER=1 style=

VIEW FROM THE FORMER COURTYARD TO THE EASTERN CURTAIN OF THE WALLS AND REMAINS OF THE TOWER



he castle was built of local sand­sto­ne, near the bor­der cros­sing, not far from Hun­ga­rian cas­tle Pla­vec. It had a re­ctan­gu­lar plan with si­des of 80x25 me­ters, to which a mas­si­ve qua­dri­la­te­ral to­wer was ad­ja­cent from the east, sup­por­ted in the cor­ners by but­tres­ses. Its re­ctan­gu­lar out­li­ne me­asu­red 10.5 met­res on an east-west li­ne and 12 met­res in a north-south di­re­ction, and the wall thick­ness re­ach­ed 2.5 met­res. The di­men­sions of the to­wer sug­gest that it o­ri­gi­nal­ly fun­ctio­ned as a mul­ti-sto­rey re­si­den­tial and de­fen­si­ve buil­ding, and its o­ri­gi­nal height could re­ach 16-18 me­ters. In the west­ern part the­re was a re­si­den­tial hou­se, pre­su­ma­bly two-sto­rey, fil­ling who­le length of the cur­tain and se­pa­ra­ted from the court­yard by a 2.5-me­tre thick wall. The buil­ding had a re­ctan­gu­lar plan with si­des of 13.5x28 met­res, with walls 1.3 to 1.8 met­res thick, sup­por­ted in the cor­ners by but­tres­ses. The sto­ne stru­ctu­re was com­ple­men­ted by a small, squa­re-sha­ped ar­se­nal, which to­ge­ther with wood­en u­ti­li­ty buil­dings fil­led the court­yard spa­ce in its nor­thern part. The en­tran­ce to the cas­tle was lo­ca­ted in east­ern part of nor­thern cur­tain wall. Per­haps la­ter a three-cham­ber re­si­den­tial buil­ding was e­re­cted on the out­side of sou­thern wall, but due to il­le­gi­bi­li­ty of re­mains he­re, its e­xis­ten­ce is of­ten que­stio­ned.


PLAN OF CASTLE RUINS: 1. TOWER, 2. WESTERN RESIDENTIAL BUILDING, 3. COURTYARD,
4. INNER WALL, 5. ARSENAL, 6. GATE, 7. LOCATION OF HYPOTHETICAL SOUTH WING



he ruins are located at the top of a hill cal­led Ba­szta or Zam­czy­sko (527 m amsl), about 60 me­ters a­bo­ve Po­prad ri­ver­bed. Part­ial­ly re­con­stru­cted frag­ments of cur­tain walls with the ground floor of the east­ern to­wer, whe­re the view­point is cur­ren­tly lo­ca­ted, ha­ve sur­vi­ved to the pre­sent day. The cas­tle is o­pen to tou­rist a­cti­vi­ty, as far as I re­mem­ber, it is free of char­ge. In the ne­ar fu­tu­re (2020), a re­vi­ta­li­sa­tion of the ru­ins is plan­ned, in­clu­ding se­cu­ring e­xist­ing walls, rai­sing the east­ern to­wer to three le­vels, buil­ding a view­ing ter­ra­ce in west­ern part of the court­yard, as well as buil­ding a wood­en brid­ge o­ver the dry mo­at.


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

THE VIEW FROM THE CASTLE RUINS


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

THE VIEWING TERRACE IN THE FORMER TOWN


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

REMAINS OF MEDIEVAL WALLS IN THE COURTYARD, ON THE RIGHT-HAND - ENTRANCE TO THE BASEMENT OF THE TOWER



he ruin is located in the south-western part of the town, ne­ar for­king of the Po­prad and Mu­szy­nian­ka ri­vers, clo­se to brid­ges o­ver Mu­szy­nian­ka (di­re­ction Piw­nicz­na Zdrój). Pe­ople tra­vel­ling by car can park at An­to­nie­go Ki­ty Street, right next to the brid­ges men­tio­ned a­bo­ve. Then, al­re­ady on foot, by­pas­sing the hill on the left, turn right in­to Za­zam­cze Street and a­fter a few do­zen me­ters en­ter the fo­rest, whe­re a the­ma­tic walk­ing path will le­ad us di­rect­ly to the the ru­ins. (cas­tles in Ma­lo­pol­skie Voi­vo­de­ship)




1. B. Chudzinska: Pozostałosci sredniowiecznej recznej broni palnej z zamku w Muszynie, A.M.M. VII
2. B. Franczyk: Zamki sredniowiecznego pogranicza polsko-wegierskiego..., UJ 2010
3. A. Ginter: Zamek w Muszynie w swietle najnowszych badan..., Almanach Muszyny 2014
4. A. Ginter, A. Przybylok: Wybrane militaria z badan archeologicznych zamku w Muszynie..., A.M.M. XII
5. L. Kajzer, J. Salm, S. Kolodziejski: Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Arkady 2001
6. K. Przybos: Zamek w Muszynie
7. A. Wagner: Murowane budowle obronne w Polsce X-XVIIw., Bellona 2019


IMG BORDER=1 style=

VIEW FROM THE TERRACE TO MUSZYNA'S SENSORY GARDENS, THE RUIN OF THE CASTLE SITUATED ON A HILL ON THE RIGHT


IMG BORDER=1 style=

COOL TEDDY BEAR WITH A CASTLE IN THE BACKGROUND


Castles nearby:
Rytro - ruin of royal castle from the 13th/14th century, 36 km
Nowy Sącz - ruin of royal castle from the 14th century, 43 km
Stary Sącz - fortified monastery from the 13th-17th century, 45 km
Szymbark - Renaissance castle from the 16th century, 45 km



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text: 2020
photographs: 2017
© by Jacek Bednarek