he general opinion is that the brick castle in Otmęt was probably built by one of representatives of the von Stral (Strzela) family, which owned the village between 1316 and 1514. On the other hand, the oldest artifact found in the ruins, which is a fragment of a tile with the date 1516, may indicate its slightly later metric. It could also be that the newer castle was built on the site of an older stronghold, probably a medieval defensive manor, the construction of which legends attribute to the Knights Templar order (there is no historical evidence to prove this thesis). However, the 13th-century origin of the castle fortifications may be indicated by geometry of the tower (now a church tower) and location of residential buildings along the walls, typical of that period.
THE CHURCH OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY'S ASSUMPTION WITH AN OLD CASTLE TOWER
The name of the fishing colony Otmęt comes from the Old Polish word odmęt meaning abyss, deep water. In 1223 the village was mentioned as a monastic settlement Ocnant, and in 1302 its Germanized version Othmant appeared in documents for the first time. Other historical names of the village were: Othmuch (1425), Othmenth (1450), Ottmuth (19th century) and Polish Odmęt (1902).
GATE TOWER, AN OUTLINE OF THE OLD ENTRANCE PORTAL IS CLEARLY VISIBLE
n the 16th and 17th centuries, the stronghold belonged to a number of unrelated Silesian families and was repeatedly modernized. In 1514 it was bought by Lucas Buchta von Buchtitz of the Odrowąż coat of arms (d. 1532). His heir was the eldest son, Buchta von Buchtitz using the surname Bilicki (d. 1582). At that time the building was redesigned in Renaissance style and adapted to serve as the family's headquarters.
ROUNDEL IN THE SOUTHWESTERN PART OF THE CASTLE
n 1608 Georg Buchta, the last male descendant of the Otmęt owners, died. His widow Judith Czettritz married Johann von Reden of Krapkowice, then around 1630 she sold the old and already deteriorated castle to Wenzl von Reiswitz (d. 1638). After his death, the estate remained in the hands of his widow, and then passed to her son Heinrich von Prittwitz (d. 1680). The daughter of Heinrich and Ursula Hedwig von Diebitsch, Helene Constance in 1690 sold Otmęt to Julius Leopold Hoditz (d. 1693), after whose death the castle was inherited by his son Carl Joseph (d. 1741). From him the estate was bought in 1695 by his stepmother, Susanne Polyxena de domo von Mansfeld, paying 20,000 thalers for it. The next owner was Magdalene Engelburg von Kotulirfski (d. 1751), the wife-to-be of Balthasar Ludwig von Larisch (d. 1702), who received the property as a marriage dowry. In 1723, that is after Ludwig's death, Magdalene ceded part of the castle including the tower to the Otmęt parish, receiving 2,403 thalers in return.
CASTLE AND CHURCH IN THE MIDDLE OF THE XVIII CENTURY, FRIEDRICH BERNHARD WERNER: "TOPOGRAPHIA SILESIAE" 1744-68
ne of representatives of the von Larisch family redesigned the residence in the Baroque style, and we can see the effect of this transformation in the sketches made by Silesian draughtsman Friedrich Bernhard Werner (see above). Presumably, however, already in the second half of the 18th century the building proved uninhabitable due to its poor technical condition and was abandoned, and the material from its demolition was used, among other things, to renovate the church standing nearby. After 1771, the Otmęt estate belonged to Count Friedrich von Pückler, who ran into financial difficulties, so that at a bailiff auction in 1799 Ernst Joachim von Strachwitz (d. 1826) acquired it for 60,000 thalers. Subsequent owners of the castle were: from 1800 - Philipp von Thun, and from 1815 - Joseph Friedrich Martini.
THE RUINED CASTLE IN PHOTOS FROM 1929
fter 1839, Otmęt belonged to retired Prussian major Franz von Wyschetzki (d. 1848), and then to his widow Henrietta de domo Heythuysen and son Oscar. By this time the abandoned castle was a complete ruin. In 1867 it was purchased (along with other estates) by Baron von Thieleman for 220,000 thalers, but just two years later it became the ownership of Counts von Pückler. In 1929, then-owner of Otmęt Count von Sponnek sold his local property to Czech industrialist
Tomáš Bata (founder of famous
Bata shoe brand, d. 1932). His son, also
Tomáš (d. 2008), was presumably the last pre-war owner of the ruins.
ue to the fact that archaeological investigations have never been carried out here, little is known today about the appearance of the castle and its spatial layout at the time of the first owners. It probably consisted of stone curtain wall erected on an irregular polygonal plan, a one-story main house standing by the northern wall, a second southern building, and a gate tower built into the southeastern corner. Defensive features of the castle were strengthened by a semicircular artillery bastion protruding to the west, open to the courtyard, as well as a main tower, square at the bottom and octagonal above, which was sold to the parish in 1732 and has been functioning as a church tower ever since.
PLAN OF THE CASTLE AND CHURCH: 1. GATE TOWER, 2. MAIN HOUSE, 3. SOUTH BUILDING, 4. ROUNDEL, 5. MAIN TOWER, 6. CHURCH
hat has survived from the old castle is the curtain wall with a semicircular roundel, relics of the northern house up to the height of the second floor, with fragments of a chimney and traces of barrel vaults in the basement, remains of the southern building, as well as ruins of the gate tower and, of course, the former castle tower, now part of the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary's Assumption.
The area is enclosed. The eastern wall with a gate tower can be seen from the site of the church, and the western wall with a roundel can be seen from the site of the park, which is unfortunately very neglected. The fence surrounding the ruins is in very poor condition, allowing access to the courtyard. However, it could be illegal.
We need about half an hour to tour the castle ruins from the outside, including the church (also inside).
CASTLE RUINS IN OTMĘT, FROM TOP AND LEFT: A FRAGMENT OF THE SOUTH BUILDING,
THE WALL BY THE MAIN (NORTH) HOUSE, THE EAST WALL AS SEEN FROM THE SIDE OF THE CHURCH
he ruin is situated on the right bank of the Oder River, in the Otmęt district, which was once an independent settlement. Driving from the center of Krapkowice, about 600 meters behind the river turn left into Piastowska Street leading towards the church. The nearest train station is located in the town of Gogolin (4 km).
There are some parking lots on Franciszka Duszy Street: in front of the church and by the shopping pavilions.
With the bikes, we can walk up to the castle wall (beware of broken glass in the park!)
1. Z. Bandurska: Ruiny zamku w Otmęcie, PP Pracownie Konserwacji Zabytków 1980
2. L. Kajzer, J. Salm, S. Kołodziejski: Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Arkady 2001
3. A. Wagner: Murowane budowle obronne w Polsce X-XVIIw., Bellona 2019
CHURCH OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY'S ASSUMPTION
RUINS OF THE KNIGHT'S CASTLE ARE HIDDEN JUST BEHIND IT
Castles nearby: Krapkowice - Baroque castle from the 17th century, 2 km Rogów Opolski - Renaissance castle from the 16th/17th centuries, 9 km
Moszna - eclectic palace (called a castle) from the 19th century, 18 km
Głogówek - Renaissance castle from the 16th century, 19 km
Prószków - Renaissance castle from the 16th century, 19 km
Chrzelice - 13th century castle of the Knights of St. John, redesigned, 21 km Opole Górka - relics of a 14th-century ducal castle, 24 km Opole - relics of a 13th-century ducal castle, 25 km Strzelce Opolskie - ruins of a ducal castle from the 14th century, 27 km
Biała - Renaissance castle from the 16th century, 28 km
Kędzierzyn-Koźle - relics of a 14th-century ducal castle, 28 km
Ujazd - ruins of a 13th-century bishop's castle, 37 km
Prudnik - relics of a 13th century knight's castle, 38 km
Dąbrowa - Renaissance castle from the 17th century, 39 km Niemodlin - ducal castle from the 13th-17th centuries, 40 km
Polska Cerkiew - Renaissance castle from the 17th century, 40 km
Łąka Prudnicka - ruins of a 15th-century ducal castle, 41 km