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IMG BORDER=1 style=

THE ROYAL CASTLE IN POZNAN AFTER THE RECONSTRUCTION, VIEW FROM THE SOUTH



n the first centuries of the former state, the city of Poznan developed on the right bank of the Warta Ri­ver, around the fortified seat of the prince, formed in the 10th century in the north-western part of the cathedral island. The oldest wooden castle, was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt, and it probably ended in the se­cond half of the 13th century as a consequence of changes in the political-administrative organisation of the region, as a result of which the left-bank part of the town took over the dominant function. This dominance fol­lo­wed gradually with the development of settlement transformations after Przemysl I (+1257) established a self-governing municipal commune on the left bank of the Warta River, which took place in 1253. In the light of the latest research, however, the prince's decision was not directly connected with the transfer of the centre of power to the other side of the river - despite the fortification activity undertaken on the new land and the foundation of the Dominican church, the main seat of the ruler presumably still remained the castle in Ostrow, and the com­ment made by Jan of Czarnkow in the Great Poland Chronicle with the content of dux Przemisl Poloniae re­a­di­fi­ca­vit castrum et civitatem posnaniensem is currently interpreted as a description of the investment related to the reconstruction or modernization of the old building on the cathedral island. This does not ne­ces­sa­rily mean, however, that the mons castrensis towering over the left bank of Poznan was previously devoid of for­ti­fied buildings. It is probable that a small town erected by Wladysław Odonic or Henryk Brodaty in the fourth decade of the 13th century during their war for Greater Poland was functioning in this place at the same time. It cannot be excluded that elements of this modest foundation were used later in the construction of a new castle in the left-bank town of Poznan. However, taking into account the results of archaeological and historical research, the statements relating to the beginnings of the castle and its founder are very risky as they are mainly based on assumptions not supported by a hard historical argument.


IMG BORDER=1 style=

CASTLE HILL: ON THE LEFT THE RECONSTRUCTED CASTLE, IN THE MIDDLE THE XVIII-CENTURY RACZYNSKI EDIFICE,
ON THE RIGHT A BUILDING ERECTED ON THE PLACE OF THE FORMER RESIDENTIAL TOWER


emains of the tower walls and the castle walls preserved until today are rather connected with the ac­ti­vi­ty of Prince Przemysl II (+1296) and the period when he took power over the whole Great Poland re­gion after the death of his uncle Boleslaw the Pious in 1279. Being one of the most powerful district rulers, ha­ving aspirations reaching the royal crown, he needed to possess a building corresponding to his ambitions and ex­pec­ta­tions, all the more so because, learned from the experience of the Gdansk events, it seems impossible not to secure the city with his own fortress. He probably started this project while his uncle was still alive, combining it with the construction of city walls first documented in 1297. However, the historical records do not provide us with any data which would allow us to trace the construction phases of the castle and its appearance during the reign of Przemysl - we also cannot identify a specific building serving as his residence until his tragic death in 1296. We can certainly say, however, that during the life of the prince and his short reign on the royal throne the poznanian castle was not finished and that the investment started in the second half of the 13th century was con­ti­nu­ed by his successors: Waclaw (+1305), Henryk Glogowski (+1309), Wladysław Lokietek (+1333), and perhaps also Casimir the Great (+1370).



The unhappy history of Ludgard of Mecklenburg, who married Przemysl in 1273, is connected with his authority in Great Poland region. It was commonly believed that she was murdered by the duke or at his command, as she could not give him a child and did not agree to divorce and return to her family home. Such a perception results directly from the content of Ernst von Kirchberg's poem written for the nephews of the duchess commision almost a hundred years after her death, the message of which evolved in various forms to other documents. Today, however, we do not know for sure whet­her Ludgarda was the victim of a crime. A contemporary vintage journalist wrote that no one could ask about her death as she died, which in some circles is treated as a proof of the prince's innocence, because in the chronicles of that time all un­ex­plai­ned deaths were often interpreted to the disadvantage of the rulers and eagerly blown up.



IMG BORDER=1 style=

THE RECONSTRUCTED PART OF THE CASTLE CAN BE SEEN FROM THE OLD MARKET SQUARE


n the 14th century Poznan became the residence of the royal court and the arena of many important di­plo­ma­tic and dynastic events. Convenient geographical location simplifying contacts with the German Reich and Scandinavia, as well as the presence of an educated group of Greater Poland dignitaries made it a pla­ce where the policy on northern and western issues was realized, and diplomatic alliances were finalized by wed­dings. In 1331 the governorship of the Great Poland district was taken over by Casimir (the Great) and although there are no traces of his term here, he visited Poznan many times and already as a king he met here in 1337 with the Czech ruler Jan Luxemburg (+1346) in matters concerning the Polish-Teutonic conflict. The appointment of Kazimierz as governor was the reason for the betrayal of the former governor of Wielkopolska and Kujawy - Win­cen­ty of Szamotuly (+1332), who established contacts with the Brandenburg margrave promising him military sup­port in case he was harmed by the king. Due to his function, Prince Casimir resided in the Poznan castle to­get­her with his wife Aldona Giedyminowna (+1339), whom Jan Długosz wrote about in 1325: An honest woman, living in harmony with her husband and king, kind and charitable to pious and poor people, but too committed to dances, games and pleasures [...] usually when she was riding on horseback or in a carriage, she was preceded by drums, pipes and violins, various kinds of playing and singing. Therefore, to disgust her deeds, of which she was known in her lifetime, it was said that she had descended from the world with a peculiar and terrible death. In 1341, the wedding ceremony of Casimir with Adelaide Heska (+1371) and her coronation as Queen of Poland took place in Poznan. Two years later, a wedding of king's daughter Elisabeth with Bogusław V was held at the castle, stamping the alliance with the Duchy of Slupsk, directed mainly against the Teu­to­nic Or­der.


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

GATE FROM THE XIX CENTURY, IN THE PHOTO ON THE RIGHT THE CASTLE COURTYARD


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

THE MAIN ENTRANCE TO THE RACZYNSKI BUILDING, ON THE RIGHT - THE EASTERN LINE OF THE CASTLE WALLS WITH A VIEW OF THE OLD TOWN OF POZNAN


he first preserved mention of the castle was the description of the armed conflict between the knight­ly fa­mil­ies of Grzymalita and Nalecz over political domination in the region after the death of Ludwig of Hun­ga­ry. The civil war in Great Poland was ended with the coronation of Wladysław Jagiello (+1434) and his ar­ri­val in Poznan in 1386, where [...] the king stops the bloody fights between the Domaratus of Pierzchno and Win­cen­ty the posnanian voivode. Jagiello visited Poznan at least 36 times, usually for a short time, but at the end of his reign he stayed here for about a month. His visits were connected with the cyclical tours of the kingdom, du­ring which he led an active internal policy, received deputies, held courts, and participated in court ceremonies. Occasionally, they were held in the company of successive wives: Jadwiga, Elzbieta and Sonka, proving the thesis that the size of the Poznan castle was considerable, because if necessary it had to accommodate two courts - the king's and the queen's.


RECONSTRUCTION OF THE XV-CENTURY CASTLE ACCORDING TO J. SERAFIN


oznan was visited also by Kazimierz Jagiellonczyk (+1492), the younger son of Jagiello and the king of Poland in the years 1447-92. His visits often had a ostentatious character, because he liked to travel with the whole court and the huge procession - chronicles mention that such a courtiers could count up to 1500 people! During the first of the royal visits in 1447, a fire broke out, covered the whole town and destroyed almost all the buildings and the church of Mary Magdalene. In 1475 Poznan hosted almost the entire royal family; apart from Kazimierz and his wife Elzbieta Rakuszanka, their sons appeared here: Prince Casimir (Saint Casimir), then 16-year-old Jan (Olbracht), 14-year-old Alexander, 8-year-old Sigismund (The Old) and the youngest of the si­blings, 7-year-old Fryderyk. The brothers were probably accompanied by two sisters, Zofia Jagiellonka and a tiny three-year-old Elzbieta. The reason for such a large presence of the ruling family was the official farewell of the daughter of Casimir - Jadwiga Jagiellonka, married to the margrave of Bavaria, George the Rich. The wedding of Jadwiga and George took place in Landshut, Bavaria, and is still celebrated in the form of the Landshuter Hoh­zei­ten, a festive event directly related to this event. However, returning to Poznan it is worth mentioning that du­ring the reign of the Jagiellons, the condition of the castle required certain investments - according to the cor­res­pon­den­ce of King Jagiello, the castle tower was in bad condition, and perhaps some walls were already cracked.


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

RECONSTRUCTED PART OF THE CASTLE WITH A TOWER, VIEW FROM THE EAST AND SOUTH


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

THE LOGGIA CONCEALS THE MAIN ENTRANCE TO THE MUSEUM


he year 1493 was exceptional in the history of royal visits to Great Poland region, because Jan Ol­bracht (+1501) stayed in Poznan for nine months, which made the city an informal capital of the country. The ruler stayed at the Poznan castle from March to November, conducting an active foreign policy, especially in the field of solving the Turkish question, welcoming quests from the Ottoman Port, the Venetian Republic and Au­stria. With the participation of Lithuanian and Tatar delegates from the Volga region, the problems with the oc­cu­pa­tion of border towns by Ivan the Terrible were discussed, which were important for the security of the coun­try. Much was also happening in internal politics: a new cast of governors and the general governor of Great Po­land took place in Poznan, with the active support of the king his brother was elected as archbishop of Gniezno, and binding decisions were also made here to supply Prince Sigismund (the Old) and to obtain apanages due to his birth. The most important and most frequently mentioned event that took place during Jan Olbracht's stay in Poz­nan was the receiving by him on 29 May 1493 of the feudal homage given by the great master of the Teutonic Order Johann von Tieffen (+1497). This ceremony took place in the hall of the royal castle in the presence of Po­lish and Prussian lords, as well as the manor house and monastic dignitaries. Kneeling before the Polish ruler and holding his hands in his hands, Tieffen took the solemn oath of allegiance and promised his loyalty and ar­med participation in war expeditions.


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

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

PLAQUES EMBEDDED IN THE EASTERN WALL OF THE CASTLE COMMEMORATING IMPORTANT EVENTS IN THE HISTORY OF THE CASTLE



GENERAL GOVERNOR OF GREAT POLAND

From 1314 to 1793 the castle in Poznan was the seat of the General Governor of Great Poland and the centre of his power, as well as the seat of the municipal court and related offices and archives. The governor's office was established by Wla­dys­ław Lokietek in order to strengthen the royal power in the former provinces after the period of district disintegration. The general governor, who served as the royal governor, held administrative and judicial power in the district, exceeding the competence of the castellan and voivode. He was the head of the municipal court, whose tasks included judging the poor no­ble­men and examining cases from four municipal articles: rape, setting fire, robbery on public roads and armed in­va­sion of a noble house. The governor was responsible for road safety, he had the right to execute the judgments of courts of all instances in his subordinate territory, he could also call the people under arms and lead them on war expeditions. La­ter, the starost's duties were taken over by the land courts and so called surrogators who replaced him during his long ab­sen­ce.

In the history of Poznan there were 66 general governors called since the 16th century generals of Great Poland. Many of them have made their permanent place in the history of the city and region, due to heroic actions, impressive foundations or specific character traits. The starosts were, among the others: a participant in the battle of Plowce Wincenty of Sza­mo­tu­ly, a rebel against the rule of Casimir the Great Maciek Borkowic, founder of the castle in Smolen Otto from Pilcza, Win­cen­ty Granowski - the first husband of Elisabeth, later wife of Wladysław Jagiello and Queen of Poland, Andrzej and Lu­kasz Górka, participant of the Vienna relief Rafal Leszczynski, or distinguished for the city of Poznan, and also a traitor at the service of Russia, Kazimierz Raczynski.



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

VIEW FROM THE CASTLE TOWER OVER THE OLD TOWN


t the beginning of the 16th century the castle was in urgent need of renovation, which was carried out in the years 1502-1504 on the initiative of Ambrozy Pampowski from Pepowo (+1510). The bad con­dit­ion of the royal residence is best illustrated by a fragment of the governor's diary, where on August 20, 1503 he wrote that his eight-year-old daughter Katarzyna, following her mother for dinner through the castle corridor, where she could not jump over one hole, which was in the floort, fell to the ground at 8 meters away and im­me­dia­te­ly she died. In 1510, a diplomatic meeting was held at the Poznan castle to resolve a dispute between the King­dom of Poland and the Teutonic Knights, who, being under the protectorate of the mighty German princes, refused to pay homage to and participate in Polish military expeditions. They also demanded the return of Prus­sia and Pomerania and the introduction of a ban on admitting Poles to the Order. The Polish side, on the other hand, intended to enforce the removal by the Teutonic Order of economic restrictions on trade in the territories of the Reich. Despite the presence of many eminent diplomats, bishops and imperial delegates at the congress, they were advised for some time without any clear hope of agreement, and finally collapsed without achieving a­ny­thing. Three years later, Sigismund the Old (+1548) with his wife Barbara Zapolya (+1515) and a numerous royal court was in Poznan. He was looking for his nephew, grand master Albrecht Hohenzollern (+1568), from whom he expected to pay a fief homage, due to the king no later than 6 months after his election. The head of the Order did not come to Great Poland, however, sending the bishop of Pomezania as a deputy with a request to post­po­ne the event to St. Martin's Day (after all, Hohenzollern paid homage only in 1525 in Cracow). Meanwhile, the royal stay awaited another culmination, which was the birth of Princess Jadwiga on 13 March 1513, later Brandenburg Margrave. However, they took place not in the Poznan castle, but in the bishop's palace in Ostrow Tumski, where the queen resided all this time.


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

THE RACZYNSKI BUILDING, OR RATHER ITS SIMPLIFIED COPY ERECTED IN THE 60s XX CENTURY ACCORDING TO THE DESIGN BY A. HOHNE
ON THE RIGHT, A VIEW FROM THE STAIRS AT THE FRANCISCAN MONASTERY


uring the reign of Sigismund the Old, Lukasz Gorka (+1542), a representative of the rich nobility of Great Poland, held the post of the General Governor (+1542). He was remembered by history as a man filled with ambitions to hold power and offices, and in Great Poland region he was associated primarily with the re­build­ing of the castle in Szamotuly. Probably in the third decade of the 16th century, he began a major re­con­struc­tion of the royal castle, which he ran until 1535, after which he gave the governorship to his son Andrzej Gorka (+1551), himself choosing the career of Voivode. A few months after these events, on 2 May 1536, a fire oc­cur­red in Poznan which, apart from the town hall and part of the city, also destroyed the newly erected castle buildings: On Tuesday, the eve of the holiday of the Holy Cross, on May 2nd, when the sound of the bells called for evening prayer, a fire started in a Jewish corner of the Jewish Johel's house burned the right side of Wielka Street from the entrance to the city, from the side of the cathedral church, one and a half frontages of the mar­ket square - with the exception of three houses. The first works on the reconstruction of the destroyed building star­ted in autumn and was supposedly completed not earlier than in 1553, as the last bills for the construction of the castle come from this year.



THE OLDEST PRESERVED VIEW OF THE CASTLE FROM THE WORK CIVITATES ORBIS TERRARUM BY G. BRAUN AND F. HOGENBERG, DATING FROM BEFORE 1618


oyal visits to the Poznan castle in the 16th and 17th centuries were not as frequent as it used to be during the Jagiellons, but each time they were preceded by some renovation or even cleaning works, thanks to which the seat of the magistrate's office was kept in good condition. Shortly after the end of the renaissance re­con­struc­tion, Sigismund Augustus' sister Zofia Jagiellonka (+1575) paid a visit to the castle. In 1556 she followed her husband, Prince Henry II of Brunswick, who was married to her. In January 1574, 23-year-old elector Hen­ryk Wa­le­zy, traveled through Poznan from Paris to Cracow for his crowning: king entered Poznan at two o'clock in the morning, visited the parish church with a few senators and two bishops, stayed there for a short time, at the end with them and with the more important Frenchmen he entered the castle surrounded by a huge crowd of people, the scream of trumpets and cannons, then ate dinner. The town chronicles also record the rather u­nex­pec­ted visit of King Sigismund III Vasa (+1632) returning to Cracow from a distant Scandinavian journey, du­ring which he was crowned king of Sweden. Entering in September 1594 in the streams of heavy rain, the ruler was greeted by a solemn procession with the general governor Adam Czarnkowski (+1627) accompanied by the whole city council, the nobility of Great Poland and a crowd of inhabitants: The King was accompanied by se­na­tors and nobles in gold, silver, silk and various, and expensive clothes, rivaling each other, meeting the King with the greatest kindness. King went first to the cathedral church and there he was congratulated with the greatest reverence. Then he went to the town via the triumphal arches with the highest artwork to the cas­tle in the greatest noise and uproar of war machines. King Sigismund came to Poznan once again in 1623, when he and his wife, Konstancja Habsburzanka, as well as her children: 28-year-old prince Wladysław and tiny prin­cess Anna Katarzyna Konstancja, travelled to Gdansk on military matters, visiting many cities and noble estates on the way.


VIEW OF THE POZNAN FROM 1626, CASTLE ON THE HILL ON THE RIGHT



CASTLE FROM THE EAST, DRAWING FROM 1656


uring the Swedish invasion, the castle was first occupied by the Swedish garrison and then by the Bran­den­burg army, which contributed significantly to the devastation of its interiors and, above all, to the des­truc­tion of the municipal archives and other documents. The chancellery was closed for some time and the no­bi­li­ty and local clergy, especially Jesuits, were imprisoned in its premises. These damages, although painful, were not so severe as to prevent the use of the building and shortly after the Swedes left Poznan, Jan Kazimierz (+1672) and his wife Ludwika Gonzaga (+1667) settled in the castle. Their stay lasted only until the moment when the more comfortable accommodation in the renovated market building was ready to receive guests. In the following years, successive generals from Great Poland undertook ad hoc renovations, but their scope was li­mi­ted to works necessary from the point of view of the functioning of the municipal chancellery, mainly protection against rain and moisture. The castle lost its function of a royal seat in 1694, when for the last time it received a mem­ber of the royal family, when the daughter of Jan III Sobieski, Teresa Kunegunda, who was accompanied by her brothers on the way to her husband Max Wit­tel­sbach, stayed overnight for three december days. In 1703, Poznan and the castle were occupied by Swedish troops, which, despite being besieged by the Saxon-Russian ar­my in 1704, remained in the castle until 1709. The bombardment of the city, led by Jan von Patkula's artillery gun­ners, caused then a huge destruction of living quarters and the castle itself. The devastation was also carried out by the Swedes who were hiding there, and later by the Saxons who were living there, who used the wooden elements of the building as fuel, tore off some of the floors and tore out the window bars. The period of the so-cal­led Great Northern War, the stationing of foreign troops and the economic use of the castle buildings, as well as the lack of any investments caused that in this short time the castle in Poznan almost turned into ruins.



THE SIEGE OF THE CITY BY THE RUSSIAN-SAXON ARMY IN 1704, THE CHARACTERISTIC SHAPE OF THE CASTLE ON THE HILL ON THE LEFT SIDE


ue to the poor condition of the castle, the local council allowed for the books to be taken to a private te­ne­ment house, rented for this purpose for tax exemption. However, due to the lack of other alternatives, the archive was left in the castle, and in one of the rooms, the bodies of people killed in fights were exposed to the public view. In 1720 the resolution of local goverment ordered Marshal Aleksander Gorzenski (+1754) to re­pair the shop in the Poznan castle as soon as possible for a safer conservation of the actorum castrensium, be­cau­se this building was ruined and fell very close to the cum periculo books. In May of the same year, a major renovation began, which was managed by Jan Fryderyk Vogelsang, a Poznan bourgher. The investment, which lasted less than a year, cost 13 thousand zlotys, of which over 5 thousand were allocated to pay for professionals and workers, and the remaining 8 thousand financed the purchase of huge quantities of wood, lime, clay, sand, iron and shingles, as well as new windows, grilles, doors, furnaces, and even quite luxurious for the fi­nan­cial ca­pa­ci­ty of the county equipment elements in the form of copper knobs, decorative ventilators, flags and carved ba­lus­tra­des. In 1761 the castle was taken over by the Russian army and the gunpowder storehouse was placed the­re. The government of Sroda decided then to relocate the municipal archive, which was deposited in a nearby Fran­cis­can monastery. After the end of the Seven Years' War, in 1763 the Tax Commission of Poznan made a­not­her attempt to repair the office buildings. Carpentry work played a special role in it, as the castle was covered with roof tiles and not shingles, as it used to be before. A small amount of 56 zlotys was paid to the master's of­fi­ces for contracts and drawings, which shows that there was an architectural project. The fact that the repair was a priority for the nobility of Great Poland region is confirmed by the resolution of the Parliament in 1764, which ordered to withhold all payments except for the reparations of the Poznan castle and for the conservation of ar­chi­ves, which were much needed. However, the renovation fund was quickly exhausted and in the third year af­ter the start of the renovation all work was stopped, with some orders and materials no longer paid for at that ti­me. The immediate reason for the interruption of the renovation was a lack of money, but the political un­cer­tain­ty and bad moods among the nobility indused by the royal reforms affecting its rights were also important. In consequence the condition of the building did not improve significantly.


J. RZEPECKI'S VIEW OF THE TOWN FROM 1728 AFTER THE DESTRUCTION CAUSED BY WARS AND STRONG WINDS, THE CASTLE IN A BRIGHT FIELD



PENALTY IN THE TOWER

The castle in Poznan was also used as a prison for the nobility. Penal 'services' were provided in the castle tower in two variants: in the lower tower the punishment was performed by people convicted for murder, illegal imprisonment, slander and armed invasion of another nobleman's house, while in the upper tower there were convicts punished for insolvency and economic crimes. This differentiation results from the fact that the punishment of the upper tower was a lighter me­ans of repression, nor did it - in the perception of the time - bring a stain on the honour of the nobility, and the prisoners who held it did not wear handcuffs. All the costs of staying in the upper tower were paid by the convicts, most often they did not need guards. It is curious that many descriptions relating to the condition and equipment of the castle owe this func­tion to the royal donjon, because the beginning of the 'prison sentence' by the convicted prisoner was accompanied by a janitor who, by assessing the condition of the building, confirmed the possibility of serving a sentence or lack of such a possibility. In this way we found out, for example, that in April 1787 a certain Salomea Draminska avoided the punishment of the upper tower because the vision showed the lack of a door, several outer stairs and covering the entrance with rubble.



SAPIEZYNSKI SQUARE - VIEW FROM THE NORTHWEST, J. MINUTOLI 1833
CASTLE ON THE RIGHT, TOWN HALL ON THE LEFT, WITH A TOWER IN FRONT OF IT


VIEW OF THE CASTLE FROM THE NORTHWEST IN A DRAWING FROM THE 50s XIX CENTURY


n 1783 the last General Governor of Great Poland, Kazimierz Raczynski (+1824) erected on the pre­ser­ved walls an archive building in the style of an old Polish manor house. However, he left the re­mai­ning part of the building, including the tower, which at that time was only 10-11 meters high. On November 21, 1793, as a result of the so-called 2nd partition of Poland, Prussian troops entered the castle, beginning the 125-year period of occupation of the city by the Germans. One of the first decisions of the new authorities was to con­ve­ne the local nobility and officials to take a solemn oath of allegiance to the new ruler, King Frederick William II (+1797) in the castle courtyard, which, due to the 300-year anniversary of Prussian homage a few months earlier, was supposed to emphasize the domination of the victors and humiliate the defeated. In the same year the castle tower was dismantled and only the lower part of it was left intact, which is when the castle lost the rest of its pres­ti­gious expression, which can be described as long as the tower existed. The office of the General Governer was abolished and replaced by the President of the Prussian Regency - a royal institution of a judicial nature. For the purposes of the new institution, the remains of the western residential wing were demolished and replaced by a 30-metre-long, characterless building. Next, the gate tower and the northern tower were destroyed, in the pla­ce of which a two-storey building was erected for the purpose of housing officials. The castle walls were par­tial­ly demolished, a similar situation happened to the city walls. After 1815 the Regency Office was moved to the large and more representative buildings of the former Jesuit collegium, and the castle housed a higher national court and an appeal court. The court functioned here until 1874, when it moved to the new building at Pocztowa Street, located at the foot of the castle hill. Its place was taken by the State Archive, where the files of the mu­ni­ci­pal, town and guild offices were kept, as well as documents concerning orders liquidated by the Prussians. For this purpose, ceilings were reinforced in some rooms, new grilles and shutters were installed, and the sur­round­ings of the castle were also arranged with a small garden in the eastern part of the hill. The archives were still hou­sed in the castle until 1943, when the evacuation of its collections began due to a change in the situation on the eastern front.



CASTLE HILL ON POSTCARDS FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE XX CENTURY


uring the battles for the Poznan Citadel in February 1945, the hill was under artillery fire, as a result of which the castle fell into ruins. Its buildings burned down completely, and only the northern residential buil­ding survived, although the damage to the roof and windows was so great that the repairs were necessary. The documents that were not deported in time were irretrievably destroyed by fire. After the war, for the first few years the surviving northern building housed the apartments of the employees of the archive, already then mo­ved to the imperial castle in Swiety Marcin Street, and then to the building of the former appeal court in Pocz­to­wa Street. The ruined part of the castle remained undeveloped until 1949, when the demolition of the Prussian walls began, along with archaeological works, during which the foundations of the gate tower and the castle to­wer were discovered. The reconstruction of the castle in a shape similar to that of the pre-war period was un­der­ta­ken in 1959 and completed five years later, and then one of the branches of the National Museum - the Mu­se­um of Artistic Crafts, which was transformed into the Museum of Applied Arts in 1991. In the early 90s, a group of enthusiasts from the Foundation for the Preservation of Monuments began to propagate actions for the full re­con­struc­tion of the royal castle, which at first was most often either ignored by public opinion, or met with cri­ti­cism of the poor economic and social situation at that time. These first voices in favour of the reconstruction of the castle were transformed into Committee for the Rebuilding of the Royal Castle established in 2002, which after many years of efforts led to the implementation of - seemingly unrealistic - initiative, so that since 2014 a com­ple­te­ly new building stays over the old town, dividing the residents of Poznan into tho­se who loved it and those who laugh at it.



BURNT WALLS OF THE RACZYNSKI BUILDING AND THE REGENCY BUILDING AFTER WORLD WAR II
ABOVE - A PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN FROM THE TOWER OF THE FRANCISCAN CHURCH, AT THE BOTTOM - A VIEW FROM WIELKOPOLSKA SQUARE



The first plans to rebuild the royal castle in the historical spirit came after its complete destruction during the Second World War. Already in 1949 two projects were ready: a simple reconstruction prepared by Florian Rychlicki, similar in sty­le to the vision of Braun and Hogenberg from 1618, and a concept developed by Zbigniew Zielinski, which included the con­struc­tion of two three-storey buildings with transverse roofs and arcade porches in the façade, a high tower and partly reconstructed city walls.


Project by F. Rychlicki and S. Podgorski from 1949


Project by Z. Zielinski from 1949

Nothing came out of these plans and although the castle was rebuilt, the outer skin imposed on it did not differ from the uninteresting silhouette from before the war, which lacked any medieval or renaissance accents. Before that, however, in 1960 a brave proposal was made on the drawing boards of Czesław Sosnkowski and Zygmunt Waschko, combining the his­to­ri­cism of the Raczynski building with the modern concrete form of the exhibition pavilion. Today, we can be grateful to the Ministry of Culture and Art that although it approved the project, it did not grant any money for its implementation, be­cau­se the concept grew old very quickly and today we would probably have the same problem with it as in the case of the modernist BWA building, which has been disfiguring the architecture of the Old Market Square for years.


Vision of the castle according to C. Sosnkowski and Z Waschko from 1960

Alexander Holas's 1969 project was to rebuild the main tower and the southern building in a heavy, rough form that do­mi­na­ted the architecture of the 1960s. We can safely say that this concept did not survive the test of time and today it seems archaic.



Concept of A. Holas, 1969

In 2003, the Committee for the Rebuilding of the Royal Castle in Poznan announced a competition for the architectural de­sign of the building, the formula of which was to be based on a plans from the 14th and 15th centuries and preserved sour­ces, while at the same time, due to the lack of detailed iconographic materials, should not be an attempt at a faithful reconstruction of the building from years ago. The competition met with great interest among architects - 22 works were sent, and the winning proposal was that of Witold Milewski from the 'Arkus' studio - a picturesque, historicizing vision re­fer­ring to the Renaissance form of the castle from the times of Andrzej Gorka. This project with minor changes was ap­pro­ved and implemented in the years 2010-14.


Project by W. Milewski from 2003



CASTLE BEFORE RECONSTRUCTION, 2005


A VIEW FROM THE SAME PERSPECTIVE OF THE CASTLE IN ITS FINAL RECONSTRUCTION PHASE, 2013



he left-bank castle was built near the town square, on a small, probably artificially raised hill with steep slo­pes from the west and north. Such a location was dictated primarily by the representative function of the fortress and its defensive values. The builders did not pay much attention to the poor stability of the ground, which in the initial phase of the castle's existence led to landslides and cracking of the walls, and even to the col­lap­se of a fragment of the north-western wall located on the edge of a 15-metre-high hill. The original 13th-cen­tu­ry defensive complex consisted of two fortification lines: the straight section of the western wall erected on a 2-met­re thick stone foundation and a southern wall drawing a gentle arch around the central part of the hill. At their crossroads a brick south-western tower was erected on a plan similar to a square with sides of 11x11.5 me­ters. Next to it, a narrow passageway was led, situated in a small tower incorporated into the southern corner of the wall. The internal buildings were probably complemented by wooden residential and utility buildings con­cen­tra­ted in the western part, as well as a rampart closing the castle courtyard from the eastern side. In the pha­se of conjectures and hypotheses there is a question of the then function of the tower and the existence of other re­pre­sen­ta­ti­ve buildings, especially the so-called duke's hall. Some researchers claim that the straight western wall, erected in a collision with the topography of the hill, was supposed to be a supporting wall for the prince's pa­la­ce. However, due to the landslide and building disaster, that palace was not completed and the tower was the only representative building in the first period of the existence of the castrum. It had at least three large living rooms, one of which could be used as the ruler's apartments, and the other two were hypothetically attributed to the ceremonial functions and needs of the prince's wife's accommodation. The royal castle has been integrated in­to the city walls connecting the south with its tower in such a way that it protected the outer foreground of both the fortress and the city.



PLAN OF THE CASTLE IN THE MIDDLE AGES ACCORDING TO E. LINETTE: 1. WESTERN WALL, 2. SOUTH WALL, 3. EMBANKMENT/WEST WALL, 4. CITY WALL,
5. MAIN TOWER, 6. HYPOTHETICAL GATEWAY, 7. RESIDENTIAL TOWER (XIV CENTURY), 8. ROYAL PALACE (XIV CENTURY)


RECONSTRUCTION OF THE CASTLE FROM THE SECOND HALF OF THE XIII CENTURY - VIEW FROM THE NORTHEAST
THIS VISION TAKES INTO ACCOUNT THE EXISTENCE OF A TOWER WITHIN THE NORTHERN WALL, WHICH WAS PROBABLY NOT YET IN EXISTENCE AT THAT TIME


resumably, during the reign of Casimir the Great, a large Gothic building based on the western wall was built, which may have taken over the representative functions performed so far by the main tower. At pre­sent we do not know its size or layout, but it is known that it was connected with the north-western corner of the walls and was narrower than the buildings of the 16th century. It was accompanied by a rectangular tower 12.7 x 14.6 meters high, erected at the northern wall, which, like the main tower, was also completely extended be­yond the face of the fortifications. On its preserved lower floors there is now a building called the Royal Kit­chen, but it was probably originally intended for residential purposes. The lack of clear remains of the Gothic cas­tle, as well as scarce knowledge resulting from limited archaeological research, does not allow to present the forms of the castle from the times of the Piasts and the first Jagiellons. It is also unknown what the extension of the fortress was like in the second and third decade of the 16th century by the starost Lukasz Gorka, and what chan­ges it brought, apart from the laconical record that the new buildings were wonderful. The image of the me­die­val residence of the general governor of Great Poland can be partly based on the thickness of the foundation walls and the massiveness of the vaults indicating that the main building of the castle had at least two storeys, and in its central segment there was an entrance hall.


FAÇADE OF THE WESTERN BUILDING FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE XVI CENTURY ACCORDING TO J. SKURATOWICZ


uch more precise information relating to the appearance and condition of the castle comes from the pe­riod of its existence after the reconstruction following the fire in 1535. Due to its considerable length, the western building was divided into four narrow tenement houses, which were roofed with transverse gabled roofs, while the floor with representative chambers was accessible directly from the porch. The first floor was probably occupied by seven rooms, with the the magnificent Courtroom, which was located in the southern part of the buil­ding and supported by two stone columns and illuminated by five glazed windows with iron bars. All the cham­bers were paved with ceramic tiles, had oak doors and window frames, and in some of them there were ti­led stoves and benches. The layout of the rooms on the second floor was similar or even repeated the layout on the first floor, but it cannot be excluded that the rooms in it were higher, which could have resulted from the pre­sen­ce of the Table Chamber, also called the Grand Chamber - the most representative chamber in the whole cas­tle. It took up space in the southern part of the building, directly above the Courtroom, and like the first one, it was equipped with five windows, benches, a chimney and a tiled stove. There was also a porch in this room for the musicians. The cellars of the main building were deeply embedded in the ground, tall and vaulted, among them two wine rooms and two beer rooms. Before it was moved to the northern residential tower, the castle kit­chen was located in a wooden building adjacent to the eastern wall. Next to it, closer to the southern wall, there was a coach house, and at the very gate there was a building of the chancellery. Despite many minor construction works, repairs and renovations carried out at a later date, the castle complex did not change its main form until the reconstruction of Kazimierz Raczynski in the 80s of the 18th century.


POZNAN CASTLE IN XVI CENTURY, AUTHOR: J. SKURATOWICZ



he Royal Castle in Poznan in its present form is a partly historical and partly contemporary architectural complex, referring in its form to the 16th century seat of the governors, but not being a precise copy of that residence. During the reconstruction carried out in the years 2010-14, the southern part of the western buil­ding, i.e. three out of four tracts of its cubic capacity, was reconstructed. The main tower was also reconstructed, but with a design closer to medieval times than the golden Renaissance period, to which the rest of the new buil­ding refers. This quite arbitrary interpretation was met with sharp criticism from some parts of the public o­pi­nion accusing the creators of too much fantasy leading to the loss of harmony between what is new and the o­ri­gi­nal tissue of the Old Town, to which the castle belongs. As a result, half a malicious, and a bit funny, name of Gar­ga­mel's Castle has developed among the inhabitants of Poznan, which certainly does not deserve to be called like this, and we can only accept it, because this nickname has entered the local consciousness so deeply that it will probably be stuck in it for years. The modern forms of the building contain small remains of the former for­tress, including four sections of the ring wall in the eastern and southern parts of the circuit, as well as the basis of the main tower demolished in 1794, now exposed to the public as part of a visit to the museum. To some ex­tent, the building of Raczynski reconstructed after 1945, now shining after a recent renovation, as well as a sligh­tly newer building from the Prussian times, erected on the site of the former castle kitchen, should also be con­si­de­red a relic of the epoch. A discreet gateway welcoming the museum's guests is the result of 19th century con­struc­tion work.


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CASTLE BEFORE RECONSTRUCTION: THE BASE OF THE MAIN TOWER COVERED WITH SHEET METAL ON THE LEFT, THE RACZYNSKI BUILDING ON THE RIGHT


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PRZEMYSL' HALL NEXT TO THE TOWER, IN THE FIREPLACE HIDDEN DEVIL FROM THE LEGEND ABOUT THE CREATION OF THE CASTLE HILL


he partly reconstructed and partly renovated interiors now house the Museum of Applied Arts, e­sta­blis­hed in the 1960s as a division of the Poznan National Museum to present the collections of artistic craft­sman­ship, which have been collected here since the mid-19th century. On an area of about 4000 square meters an exhibition was created on three floors showing changes in the form, aesthetics and functionality of everyday ob­jects, from the Middle Ages to the present day. The exposition is divided thematically into historical periods and presented in separate rooms, and the tour takes place in such a way as to preserve the chronology of history. We start our visit from a small, dark room dedicated to medieval art, from where we go to the magnificent ar­mou­ry in the hallway of Raczynski's building, which refers to the old Polish custom of demonstrating the pos­ses­sed weapons. The collections of exhibits are represented by a various weapons, and the central place of the room is occupied by an 18th century harness presented on a "wire" horse, rococo stirrups and a 17th century Tur­kish saddle captured in the Battle of Vienna in 1683. Visualization of the 17th century battlefield is displayed on mo­nitors to help identify particular types of weapons. It appears to be aesthetically designed to attract the at­ten­tion of the youngest, but due to the view of dead soldiers, it is probably not entirely directed at them. The ar­mou­ry is adjacent to a well-prepared Renaissance room with a sideboard containing curiosities from the world and a humanist table, at which queues of people willing to consume funny and instructive multimedia pre­sen­ta­tions are formed.


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FRAGMENT OF THE EXHIBITION IN THE GROUND FLOOR PART OF THE MUSEUM: ARMOURY AND RENAISSANCE HALL


ur visit to the first floor begins with an exposition showing the Baroque period in the Republic of Po­land, with a characteristic Sarmatian enthusiasm on the one hand, and a love for the Orient on the other. It is adjoined by a spacious rococo room with a collection of elegant chairs richly ornamented tableware and ma­gni­fi­cent porcelain. The pearl of this collection is a fragment of the so-called Swan Service, an artistically so­phis­ti­ca­ted set made in the middle of the 18th century in a porcelain factory in Meissen, which was the most im­pres­si­ve service of its time with over 2200 items for 100 guests. Here we can feel, and literally, the smells of the elegant courts of 18th century Europe. Following the direction of the tour we then visit the period of classicism and nineteenth-century historicism, and after a short visit to the representative Meeting Hall end the ad­ven­tu­re with the first floor in a small room presenting a part of Leon Wyczolkowski's private collection, in­clu­ding mostly Orientalia and his own works. The second floor, dedicated to contemporary times, is divided into collections of artistic glass, Art Nouveau and Oriental art, joyful art deco, as well as objects reflecting Polish de­sign from the 1960s and other modern creations. In this part, attention is attracted primarily by the Parade of Cos­tu­mes showing the evolution in shaping the figure by means of fashion, starting from the 1880s until the chan­ges resulting from the triumph of the sexual revolution of the 1960s. All exhibitions can be visited in­di­vi­du­al­ly, on request with an audio guide or an application using QR codes. After getting acquainted with their con­tent, you can, or even should, enter the viewing terrace located on the top of a 43-metre high tower, from whe­re you can find one of the most interesting perspectives of the city and its surroundings.


Museum of Applied Arts
Gora Przemysla 1, 61-768 Poznan
tel.: +48 61 85 68 075
e-mail: kasa.msu(at)mnp.art.pl

Opening hours

Prices / Tickets




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FRAGMENT OF THE EXHIBITION AT THE 1ST AND 2ND FLOOR, FROM THE TOP AND LEFT: CHINESE ART, MEETING CHAMBER,
ROCOCO, CLASSICISM, COSTUME PARADE, CONTEMPORARY UNIQUE ART



he castle is located at the junction of Gora Przemysla/Ludgarda/Franciszkańska Street, about 100 me­ters west of the Market Square. Leaving the railway station Poznan Glowny you should go east, initially o­ver Dworcowy bridge and Matyi street, then after passing the park turn left into Ratajczaka street and go this way until you reach the Wielkopolski Square, where the castle tower is already well visible. The most convenient way to leave your car is in an underground car park at Wolności Square, one of the car parks at Stawna Street or a large buffer car park at Wielka Street in Chwaliszewo. (map of castles)





1. Z. Dolczewski: Tajemnice zamku krolewskiego w Poznaniu, Dr Roman Dolczewski 2014
2. L. Kajzer, J. Salm, S. Kolodziejski: Leksykon zamkow w Polsce, Arkady 2001
3. Z. Karolczak: Zamek krolewski w Poznaniu w swietle badan archeologicznych, M. Archeologiczne w Poznaniu
4. E. Linette: Zamek w Poznaniu
5. Praca zbiorowa: Zamek ksiazat, krolow, starostow, Kronika Miasta Poznania 2004
6. T. Ratajczak: Sredniowieczny zamek krolewski w Poznaniu. Uwagi na temat chronologii i genezy architektury



Castles nearby:
Chojnica - artificial 'castle' 20th century, 15 km
Kornik - knight's castle 14th century, rebuilt, 21 km
Jezioro Goreckie - ruins of romantic 'castle' 19th century, 25 km



It is worth seeing also:


Located to the east of the castle, the Old Town, whose area of 21 hectares was formerly marked by the line of city for­ti­fi­ca­tions, and now conventionally formed by streets: Garbary from the east, Podgorna from the south, Male Garbary from the north and Aleje Marcinkowskiego from the west. The central part of Poznan's Old Town is occupied by a square market with a length of each side of 141 meters, which makes it the third largest historical city square in Poland and one of the largest in Europe. From each side of the square there are three streets, and on each frontage eight equal plots of land with eight te­ne­ment houses were originally marked out. The dominant element here is the 16th century town hall, very popular among tou­rists because of the famous tin goats, which every day at noon come out from its tower and moved by the clock mechanism tap with the horns 12 times. Next to the town hall there is a building of the former City Scales and colourful houses with characteristic arcades, where fish, candles and salt were once traded. From the southeast of the Market Square, the Gorkas' Palace adjoins, today the seat of the Archaeological Museum, and years ago one of the most magnificent Polish city re­si­den­ces of the Renaissance period. On its western elevation, on the side of Swietolawska Street, you can admire the plan of former Poznan, which is a copy of the view of Braun and Hogenberg from the 17th century. Slightly to the south rises an impressive complex of a post-Jesuit college with the most beautiful baroque temple in Poland - the 18th century fara, from the front modest, squeezed between the bourgeois tenement houses and the buildings of the former college, but stunning interior de­sign, stuccowork and sculpture. Those who have enough free time can also see or visit the remains of medieval walls, the for­mer synagogue, the Franciscan church located vis-a-vis the castle, the tiny church of the Holy Blood of Jesus, or the building of the former municipal guard - odwach.


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Located about a kilometre west of the royal castle, the Imperial District, also known as the Castle District, was established at the beginning of the 20th century in the place of the liquidated fortifications of the Poznan Fortress, in the area of the so-called Berlin Gate. The reason for the improvement of these areas was the introduction of Germanic aesthetics in the ar­chi­tec­tu­re of the city and the creation of high standard places which would be its showcase and encourage (German) clerks to settle in Poznan. Nowadays, they constitute a vast educational, cultural and recreational complex, in which the main em­pha­sis is put on the buildings of Col­le­gium Ma­ius, Col­le­gium Mi­nus and the Academy of Music, the magnificent Grand Theatre and the monumental building of the so-called Castle, the youngest imperial seat in Europe, by some considered to be the leading symbol of Prussian rule in Great Poland. The central part of the district is occupied by green areas with parks: Mickiewicza, Wieniawskiego and the Castle Garden, as well as Mickiewicz Square, where the monument to the victims of June 1956 stands.


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Situated on the other side of the Warta River, in the direction of Gniezno and Warsaw, the cathedral island - Ostrow Tum­ski with relics of the settlements of Mieszko and Boleslaw Chrobry and the most valuable sacral buildings in Poznan. Among them, the leading one is the Archcathedral of Saint Apostles Peter and Paul, one of the oldest temples in Poland, re­built many times in various architectural styles, now Gothic with Baroque decoration and furnishings. King Przemysł II was buried in this temple, and according to tradition, also Mieszko I and Boleslaw Chrobry, although there is no clear evidence of this. To the west of the cathedral there is an auxiliary church of St. Mary, built in the 15th century on the site of the 10th century palace of Mieszko I and a chapel erected for the prince and his wife Dobrawa. From the south, the cathedral is ad­ja­cent to the luxurious palace of the archbishops, while in the north-western part of the former island the monastic and edu­cational activities of the Academy of Lubranski, now the seat of the Archdiocesan Museum, the Seminary and the ar­cha­e­o­lo­gi­cal park Genius Loci, where are exhibited the souvenirs of the beginnings of Poznan and the Polish state. In 2007, the eastern bank of Ostrow Tumski was connected by a bridge with Srodka, years ago neglected, even dangerous mi­cro­dis­trict, which for several years has been working as a name, if not the most charming, then at least the most fashionable part of Poz­nan. In the neighbourhood of sacral monuments as old as in the bishop's part, its biggest attraction is a three-dimensional mural on the walls of two tenement houses, called the Story of Srodka with a trumpeter on the roof and a cat in the background from 2015. A year earlier, the so-called Poznan Gate, an interactive museum centre dedicated to the his­to­ry of Ostrow Tumski, was opened in an ugly concrete block on the bank of the Cybina River.


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text: 2019
photographs: 2005, 2013, 2017, 2019
© by Jacek Bednarek