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 Władysław Łokietek or only as a result of royal foundation of Kazimierz Wielki. 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 diameter of about 30 meters. In its central part 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 Wysz from Niegowicia coat of arms of
Półkozic to the bishop of Kraków, Paweł from Przemanków (d. 1292), who was known for the promiscuity of his life. He kept the whole harem at the bishopric, and even from the monastery in Skała he kidnapped a nun and included her in his harem.
VIEW OF THE CASTLE FROM OBSERVATION TOWER LOCATED ABOUT 600 METERS AWAY
he castle remained in the hands of bishops until the reign of Jan Muskata (d. 1320), who probably at the beginning of the 14th century expanded it and erected a brick tower. These investments were presumably dictated by the conflict over power in the Cracow district, carried out by the bishop with Duke
Władysław Łokietek (d. 1333). In 1308 Muskata was accused by Archbishop
Jakub Świnka of church abuses, removed from office and imprisoned. This situation was used by Łokietek who, in the absence of main political opponent, took Muszyna and then incorporated it, with 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 guardhouse and customs chamber at the trade route leading along the Poprad river to Hungary. It is likely that during the reign of
Kazimierz Wielki (Casimir the Great) (d. 1370) some construction work was carried out here, but the scale of these transformations, if any, remains unknown.
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 any robbers attacks. In 1411 Mikołaj Gładysz, who commanded the crew of the fortress, submitted it to the troops of voivode Ścibor from Ściborzyce (d. 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 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, army and judiciary, which remained under the rule of Cracow Curia until the partitions of Poland (18th century). 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 short period of time exceeded the financial possibilities of its owners.
HYPOTHETICAL RECONSTRUCTION OF MUSZYNA CASTLE, ORIGIN: WIKIPEDIA
The State of Muszyna is the historical latifundium, existing from the 13th century to 1781, with an area of about 450 square kilometers, 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, Łabowa and Uście 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 Paweł from Przemanków. In 1308 Bishop Muskata lost it to Władysław Łokietek 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 Muszyna 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 (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
n 1474 the castle was besieged by the Hungarians. The units under command of Tomasz Tharczay (d. 1493) probably had an easy 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 (d. 1490), Muszyna was soon returned to bishops and 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 fortress or rather were related to the new residence, located near the old one. Construction works, carried out under supervision of Muszyna's starost Mikołaj Lapispataky, was completed after 1508, when installation of door and window frames was noted. At that time, the neighbouring (the older) castle was finally abandoned, and perhaps even burned down to strengthen the defence of new castle.
LITHOGRAPH MADE BY MACIEJ BOHUSZ STĘCZYŃSKI IN 1846
he splendour of the Renaissance residence under the auspices of Cracow bishop's Curia lasted only until the end of 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 performed residential function during the reign of starost Wojciech Bedliński. On his orders, in 1645, the offices were moved to 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 Bedliński 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 CASTLE, 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 with 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 Władysław Warneńczyk 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.
VIEW FROM THE FORMER COURTYARD TO THE EASTERN CURTAIN OF 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. 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
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 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.
he ruin is located at the top of hill called Baszta or Zamczysko (527 m amsl), about 60 meters above Poprad riverbed. Partially reconstructed fragments of curtain walls with ground floor of the eastern tower, where the viewpoint is currently located, have survived to the present day. In 2021
a revitalisation of the ruins began, which includes securing existing walls, raising the eastern tower, building a viewing terrace in western part of the courtyard, as well as building a wooden bridge over dry moat. For this reason, the castle is temporarily closed (status in 2021).
THE VIEW FROM THE CASTLE RUINS
REMAINS OF MEDIEVAL WALLS (THE TOWER)
FORMER COURTYARD (ALL PHOTOS WERE TAKEN BEFORE THE RUINS WERE REVITALIZED)
HOW TO GET THERE?
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). (castles in Malopolskie Voivodeship)
If You travel by car You can leave it
at Antoniego Kity Street, right next to the bridges mentioned above. Then, on foot, bypassing the hill from the left, turn right into Zazamcze Street and after a few dozen meters enter the forest, where a thematic
walking path will lead You directly to the the ruins.
1. B. Chudzińska: Pozostałości średniowiecznej ręcznej broni palnej z zamku w Muszynie, A.M.M. VII
2. B. Franczyk: Zamki średniowiecznego pogranicza polsko-węgierskiego..., UJ 2010
3. A. Ginter: Zamek w Muszynie w świetle najnowszych badań..., Almanach Muszyny 2014
4. A. Ginter, A. Przybyłok: Wybrane militaria z badań archeologicznych zamku w Muszynie..., A.M.M. XII
5. L. Kajzer, J. Salm, S. Kołodziejski: Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Arkady 2001
6. K. Przyboś: Zamek w Muszynie
7. A. Wagner: Murowane budowle obronne w Polsce X-XVIIw., Bellona 2019
VIEW FROM THE OBSERVATION TOWER ON THE SENSORY GARDENS, CASTLE ON A HILL ON THE RIGHT
COOL TEDDY BEAR WITH THE CASTLE IN THE BACKGROUND
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