o documents have survived to the present day that would clearly indicate the existence of a medieval royal seat in Piotrków. However, we can learn from other sources that perhaps in still wooden castrum Pyotrkow knightly congregations were held, king
Władysław Jagiełło (d. 1434) issued royal acts, and the Teutonic captives were kept. Whereas in 1469 the Czech deputies presumably offered here the royal crown to
Władysław (d. 1516), the son of Casimir Jagiellończyk, as a reward for the help given by Poles in the war against the Hungarian king
Maciej Korwin. The oldest surviving source message referring directly to the royal residence is a note dated 1487, informing about the donation of 2 cetnars of lead, which was given by treasurer to the tenant Dobiesław from Kurozwękiof Poraj coat of arms (d. 1496) for renovation the windows in the castle. This note, as well as all previous relations, prove the functioning of some residence within the borders or in the vicinity of Piotrków. However, both its location and architectural form remain unknown, although it was probably a relative small object, used for short stays of the kings.
VIEW OF THE CASTLE FROM THE CROSSING OF ZAMKOWY SQUARE AND ZAMKOWA STREET
The central location of Piotrków, on the borderland of the provinces of Małopolska and Wielkopolska, caused that already in the first half of the 13th century the first congregations of knights of the Łęczyca province and the ducal courts were organized there. These traditions were continued in the times of polish king
Władysław Łokietek (d. 1333), under whose leadership the congresses of the land families were held here. It is likely that the village was granted town rights. After the reunification of the Polish lands, during the reign of the last two Piasts, Piotrków developed intensively, was surrounded by a defensive wall, and its economic significance in relation to neighbouring urban centres became dominant. During the life of Casimir the Great the town was the seat of the noble courts: the land courts and the town councils, which during the reign of king Władysław Jagiełło became the national congresses, where privileges were issued and confederations were established. The first General Sejm in Piotrków took place in 1444 and was mainly focused on Władysław III's involvement in the war with Turkey. In the following years, new rulers of Poland were elected here, constitutions were established, noble and royal privileges were granted and abolished, taxes were imposed, and even the prices of some products were set.
Piotrków lost its status as the Sejm town with the signing of the Lublin Union between Poland and Lithuania in 1569, as a result of which - due to its more convenient location - the parliament was moved to Warsaw. Due to good accessibility and a large number of beds, the town was burdened with other tasks, becoming from 1578 the seat of the Crown Tribunal for the regions of Wielkopolska, Mazowsze, Kujawy and Royal Prussia. However, the sessions of the tribunals were usually held then not in the castle but
in the town hall.
HISTORICAL PLAN OF THE TOWN PIOTRKÓW: 1. ROYAL CASTLE, 2. PARISH CHURCH OF ST. JACOB, 3. JESUIT ORDER MONASTERY,
4. DOMINICAN MONASTERY, 5. DOMINICAN MONASTERY (FEMALE), 6. BERNARDINE MONASTERY, 7. FRANCISCAN MONASTERY,
8. TOWN SQUARE, 9. DEFENSIVE WALLS, 10. WOLBÓRZ GATE, 11. SIERADZ GATE
ith development of the town's parliamentary functions, the expectations of the ruler and royal officials regarding the standard of stay have changed. In the new reality, the existing form of the building did not meet the needs of the royal court, so the natural tendency was to build a comfortable palace, which in addition to its residential function was to be a center of royal power. Thus,
Zygmunt I Stary (d. 1548) commissioned to erect a new Turris In Modum Arcis which would meet the requirements of the Grand Crown Sejm. He assigned the construction work to Benedict, probably coming from Upper Hungary, who was also acting as a royal architect in Cracow and Sandomierz. From archives dated 1511, documenting the payment 10 florins by the Crown Chancellor
Krzysztof Szydłowiecki, it can be assumed that organization of the royal investment started that year. The main construction work on the three-storey tower building probably lasted until 1519, and certainly not longer than 1521, when the private mass celebrated for the king in his apartment was mentioned. During his reign, Zygmunt Stary visited Piotrków at least 16 times, but it should be noted that the palace was generally used by the ruler only for a few weeks a year, during the sessions of the Sejm.
BURNING CASTLE IN E. DAHLBERG'S FIGURE FROM THE WORK BY S. PUFENDORF DE REBUS A CAROLO GUSTAVO GESTIS, 1656
ON THE RIGHT, THE NO LONGER EXISTING FRANCISCAN MONASTERY
fter the death of Zygmunt Stary, the Piotrków tower lost its function as a royal residence, although
Queen Bona (d. 1557) was still here for some time. Also
Zygmunt August (d. 1572) was not interested in adapting the building to his own needs and during his stays at the Sejm he chose a more private manor house in the suburb of Bugaj. Thus, in the second half of the 16th century, the building became only the place of Sejm's meetings, and when it was moved to Warsaw in 1567, the tower was designated as the seat of the starosts. In 1588 the starost of Piotrków was Andrzej Zebrzydowski of
Radwan coat of arms, who died that year. The competences of his office included judging cases concerning the so-called four municipal articles. A reminder of those times are the 16th century names engraved by defendants on the walls of the lowest floor of the castle, among them Mikołaj Odrzywolski 1581, Roch Sierakowski 1565 etc.
NAMES AND DATES ENGRAVED BY PRISONERS OF PIOTRKÓW CASTLE
arginalisation of political function of the tower and collapse of prestige of the former royal residence have been reflected in expenses incurred for its maintenance, which have been significantly reduced. As a result, as early as 1611 the building was very neglected, which is indicated by a fragment of the vetting: the moat was flooded with sludge, the palisade was almost entirely overthrown, and only ruins of the former gate remain. However, the real destruction was caused during the wars with Sweden, especially the siege of 1657, when the castle was first completely robbed by the Swedes and then burnt down by Polish army of Stefan Czarnecki. Its reconstruction was undertaken by the starost of Piotrków, Michał Warszycki of
Abdank coat of arms (d. 1697), who in the years 1668-71 established a new division of interiors with Baroque decoration and new fireplaces. He also plastered the walls and covered the building with a tent roof. However, the works carried out on Warszycki's initiative did not include the reconstruction of the Renaissance attic nor the surrounding fortifications, so in the second half of 17th century the castle finally lost its military significance.
CASTLE IN PIOTRKÓW TRYBUNALSKI, "KŁOSY" 1868
TOWER ON POLKOWSKI'S ENGRAVING, "TYGODNIK ILUSTROWANY"
THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENTS AND LEGAL ACTS ESTABLISHED IN PIOTRKÓW
- the Grand Teutonic Master
Henrik von Plauen pays homage to
Kazimierz Jagiellończyk, 1469
- adoption of Constitution, 1493
- enactment of the so-called Piotrków privilege limiting the economic basis of town development, weakening the rights of townsmen and tying peasants to the land, 1496
- limitation of royal power: no consent for the king to use the crown property on his own, 1503/4
- reduction in the price of spices and liquors, 1524
- resolution prohibiting the purchasing of landed property by townspeople, 1538
- conflict between king Zygmunt August and the nobility regarding his marriage to
Barbara Radziwiłłówna, 1548
- proposal of the Protestant nobility to establish a Polish national church independent from the Pope, 1555
- deep tax reform (increasing taxes paid by the nobility and the church, fiscal relief for peasant state) and military (establishing rules for financing the army), 1562/63
- monetary reform to set the exchange rate of a foreign currency in relation to its own, 1567
THE TOWER ON XIX-CENTURY DRAWINGS, BELOW WE CAN SEE A SKETCH SHOWING THE APPEARANCE OF THE TOWER AFTER CONVERSION INTO AN ORTHODOX CHURCH
ue to increasing negligence, in the 18th century the building fell into a worse and worse condition. After the liquidation of Polish offices by occupying Prussian administration, warehouses were set up here. When in 1865 a fire destroyed the entire eastern district of the town, the damaged building was handed over to Russian troops stationed in Piotrków. Following the decision of the local authorities, the highest storey of the castle was demolished, as well as cornices and window sills and Renaissance portals were removed. The preserved interiors have been renovated and then the upper floors were adapted for an armoury and a military office, and the cellars for a bakery. Between them, a garrison church was set up on the ground floor, whose presence in this place was emphasized by a new roof with a characteristic church dome. After Poland regained its independence, the building was handed over to the town' s division of the Sightseeing Society, and then, after carrying out necessary renovation and adaptation works, it served as the seat of the local museum. The castle survived the Second World War without any damage and already in 1947 the Regional Monument Conservator decided to restore its Renaissance features. The main construction works were carried out here in 1963-72 and resulted in, among other things, reconstruction of the second floor of the building.
CASTLE IN THE INTERWAR PERIOD AND AT PRESENT: HIGHER - WESTERN ELEVATION, LOWER - VIEW FROM THE SOUTH
he royal tower was erected on the eastern peripheries of the town, on a mound, and was surrounded by a moat supplied by the waters of Strawa River, whose bed separated the castle from the town. The term "castle" has a symbolic meaning in this case and is often questioned. Apart from the external defence systems such as a palisade or a moat mentioned above, the tower did not have evident military features and from the very beginning its purpose was to realise the ruler's residential and representative ambitions rather than to provide a strategic advantage in case of armed conflicts. The Gothic-Renaissance tower palace was raised above the surrounding area to the height of three storeys with the ground floor, which was built with a solid wall
made of eratic stones. The building was designed on a rectangular plan with sides of about 18.5x20 meters, longer sides facing south and north. The walls are diversified by window frames made of limestone with decoration referring to architectural details of the royal castle in Cracow. The characteristic feature of windows is that starting from the ground floor their size increases with the height of the building.
ZABYTKOWE ODRZWIA I PORTALE OKIENNE ZA ZAMKU W PIOTRKOWIE, TYGODNIK ILUSTROWANY 1864
he lack of windows in the outermost axes of the northern and eastern elevations indicates a staircase situated here, and their absence in the central part of western elevation results from the latrine bays originally placed there. The front walls are devoid of decorations, only in the strip between the ground floor and the first floor of the southern wall
a stone cartouche with an image of the Jagiellonian Eagle was placed in the interwar period. The main entrance to the tower is located at eastern corner and is surrounded by an arcaded sandstone portal. It is assumed that the building was originally covered with a gable roof, perhaps decorated with a Renaissance attic. In the 16th century, the royal residence was surrounded by wooden buildings or a half-timbered structure, in which the royal court could reside and meetings of the Sejm took place.
GROUND FLOOR PLAN ACCORDING TO TERESA JAKIMOWICZ
n all storeys of the tower a division into three rooms formed by crossing of two walls at right angles was used. In this way, two western chambers on each floor got a square plan, and a large chamber on the eastern side received a plan of a rectangle. The two lowest storeys of the castle were intended to perform tasks supporting its residential and administrative functions. In vaulted cellars the treasury and archives were kept, and sometimes the detainees were also imprisoned there. On the ground floor, which, like all the other floors, was covered with a wooden ceiling, the apartment of the chamberlain, the court official responsible for personal safety of the king, was arranged. Above them there were the king's private rooms with a large chamber called Palatium Stubam Superiorem, while the highest level was occupied by the main parade hall. All aboveground floors of the tower had a repetitive layout. Vertical communication was carried out by a vaulted staircase located in the northeastern corner of the building, opening to huge chambers on each level. It is worth mentioning that the top floor of the tower was demolished by Russians in the nineteenth century, and currently existing is a reconstruction made after World War II.
TOWER CROSS-SECTION ACCORDING TO TERESA JAKIMOWICZ: 1 . BASEMENTS, 2. CHAMBERLAIN'S SUITES,
3. ROYAL APARTMENTS, 4. REPRESENTATIVE HALL
he barrel vaults of the cellars and Baroque lintels on the first floor with the coat of arms of Michał Warszycki have been preserved until today. Modest fragments of red marble flooring have also survived, as well as part of the richly ornamented
stonemasonry of window frames and
portals in the doorways leading from hallway to royal chambers. On the walls we can also see remnants of 16th century paintings and plasters, perhaps still remembering the times of royal sejms. At present, the castle houses the Museum with permanent exhibition covering issues from the fields of archaeology, ethnography, history, militaria and art. Apart from artefacts documenting the prehistory of Piotrków's land,
a reconstruction of a 19th century country homestead and
an exhibition of Renaissance and Baroque interiors with a collection of Gdańsk furniture are available on the floors of the tower.
he Museum also has a rich collection of old weapons, of which the oldest swords are particularly noteworthy (including Teutonic Knights' sword from the beginning of XIV century and the short sword used in executions), scythes used during the Kościuszko Insurrection and other nineteenth-century uprisings, and a
collection of over 200 firearms. The walls of the tower are decorated with portrait painting gallery with images of Polish kings and dukes, created in the second half of the 18th century by an unknown artist. The exhibition is supplemented by sculptures and objects of artistic craftsmanship, as well as numerous historical memorabilia connected with Piotrków and its inhabitants.
Interiors can be photographed. It is free of charge when you take pictures for your own purposes.
he tower is situated on Castle Square in the older, formerly Jewish district of the city, about 300 meters east of the Market Square. A large car park is located vis-a-vis the southern elevation of the castle, on Zam­ko­wa Street. People travelling by train, after leaving the railway station should head north on Polskiej Organizacji Wojsko­wej Street and then east on Wojska Polskie­go Street. A walk along this way takes 20 minutes.
1. L. Kajzer, J. Salm, S. Kołodziejski: Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Arkady 2001
2. A. R. Sypek: Zamki i warownie ziemi mazowieckiej, TRIO 2002
3. Piotrków Trybunalski i okolice - przewodnik, it 1997
4. T. Ratajczak: Podróże władcy i architektura. Przebudowa królewskich rezydencji...
5. T. Ratajczak: Nie tylko Wawel. Przebudowy monarszych rezydencji w Królestwie Polskim...
6. T. Ratajczak: Udział mistrza Benedykta w przebudowie zamku wawelskiego, Studia Waweliana 2009
7. A. Wagner: Murowane budowle obronne w Polsce X-XVIIw., Bellona 2019
THE GROUND FLOOR OF THE TOWER: ABOVE THE WESTERN ELEVATION, BELOW THE NORTHERN ELEVATION
WITH AN ENTRANCE TO THE HALLWAY AND CELLARS
Castles nearby: Piotrków Trybunalski-Byki - fortified manor house from the 15-17th century, 5 km Sulejów - fortified Cistercian abbey from the 13-16th century., 21 km Ujazd - relics of a knight's castle from the 15th century, 28 km
Mikorzyce - ruins of fortified manor house from the 16th century., 30 km Majkowice - ruins of fortified manor house from the 16th century, 40 km Pabianice - fortified manor house from the 16th century, 40 km Bąkowa Góra - ruins of fortified manor house from the 15th century, 41 km
ALSO WORTH SEEING:
Situated on Tadeusz Kościuszko Square, the church and monastery of Bernardines, erected in the first half of the 17th century. The sacral buildings represent the Baroque style, with rich interior decoration, where the "miraculous" image of Our Lady from 1625, painted on a copper sheet, is especially prominent. In the eastern part of monastery there is a characteristic Baroque gate, while in the west there is a former monastic garden, taken away from the Bernardines in the 19th century and transformed into a park. On the opposite side of the square there are buildings of the historic female Dominican monastery, which, when integrated into medieval defensive walls, are some of the most characteristic symbols of the city. After renovation in 2015, a cultural institution called the Centre for Ideas Towards Democracy was opened here. Heading towards the castle we pass the 14th century Trybunalski Market Square, the largest historical square in the city with original urban layout, consisting of eight streets intersecting at its four corners. The central part of the market was occupied by the town hall (no longer existing), probably erected in the 15th century, in which the Crown Tribunal was held until 1792.