n the first centuries of our state, the town of Poznań developed on the right bank of the Warta River, close to 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 river took over the dominant function. This domination was aided by the foundation of new town on the left bank of the Warta River, done by Przemysł I (d. 1257) in 1253. The prince's decision, however, did not mean that the center of power was moved to the other side of the river - despite the fortification activity undertaken on the new land and the foundation of Dominican church, the main seat of the ruler presumably still remained the castle in right-bank Ostrów.
PLAN OF POZNAŃ IN THE XIII CENTURY WITH LEFT-BANK SETTLEMENTS EXISTING BEFORE FOUNDATION OF THE TOWN
his, of course, does't mean, that the mons castrensis hill towering over the left bank of Poznań was previously devoid of fortified buildings. It is probable that a small settlement erected by Władysław Odonic (d. 1239) or
Henryk Brodaty (d. 1238) in the fourth decade of the 13th century was functioning here during their war for Greater Poland. It cannot be excluded that elements of this modest foundation were used later to build a new castle in the left-bank town of Poznań. 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, and so far not supported by hard historical arguments.
CASTLE HILL: ON THE LEFT THE RECONSTRUCTED PART OF THE CASTLE, ON THE RIGHT THE XVIII-CENTURY BUILDING
emains of the tower and the castle walls, which preserved until today, are believed to date from the time of prince Przemysł II (d. 1296), who took power over the whole Great Poland region after the death of his uncle Bolesław the Pious in 1279. Being one of the most powerful district rulers, having aspirations reaching the royal crown, he needed to possess a residence corresponding to his ambitions and expectations. He probably started this project while his uncle was still alive, combining it with building the protective city walls (first documented in 1297). However, the historical references don't provide us with any data which would allow us to recognize the construction phases of the castle and its appearance during the reign of Przemysł. 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:
Wacław II (d. 1305), Henryk Głogowski (d. 1309),
Władysław Łokietek (d. 1333), and perhaps also
Kazimierz Wielki (Casimir the Great) (d. 1370).
CASTLE WALL, HERE ITS SOUTHWESTERN SECTION NEAR THE CASTLE TOWER
The sad story of Ludgard Nikloting, who married Przemysł in 1273, is connected with his authority in Great Poland region. It was commonly believed that she was murdered by the prince 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 commisioned by the nephews of duchess 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 Ludgard was the victim of a crime. Some of the chroniclers of the time wrote that no one could find out about her death, and how she died, which was then considered proof of the prince's innocence, because in the Middle Ages all unexplained deaths were often interpreted to the disadvantage of the rulers.
THE NEW PART OF THE CASTLE IS WELL VISIBLE FROM THE NORTHERN PART OF THE MARKET SQUARE
n the 14th century Poznań became the residence of the royal court and the arena of many important diplomatic and dynastic events. Convenient geographical location simplifying contacts with 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 Kazimierz (the Great) and although there are no traces of his term in this place, he visited Poznań many times and already as a king in 1337 he met here the Czech ruler
Jan Luxemburg (d. 1346) in matters concerning the Polish-Teutonic conflict.
CASTLE GATE, IN THE BACKGROUND WE CAN SEE THE REBUILT TOWER
rince Kazimierz resided in the Poznań castle together with his wife Aldona Giedyminówna (d. 1339), whom Jan Długosz wrote about: 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 Kazimierz with Adelaide Heska (d. 1371) and her coronation as Queen of Poland took place in Poznań. Two years later, a wedding of king's daughter Elżbieta with Bogusław V was held at the castle, stamping the alliance with the Duchy of Słupsk, directed mainly against Teutonic Order.
IN THE CASTLE COURTYARD
he oldest reference to the castle was a description of the armed conflict between knightly families of Grzymalita and Nałęcz over political domination in the region after the death of Ludwig of Hungary. The civil war in Great Poland was ended when the king became
Władysław Jagiełło (d. 1434). In 1386 he arrived in Poznań, where [...] the king stops the bloody fights between the Domaratus of Pierzchno and Wincenty the posnanian voivode. Jagiełło visited Poznań 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 cyclical tours of the kingdom, during which he led an active internal policy, hosted deputies, held courts, and participated in court ceremonies. Władysław Jagiełło was occasionally accompanied by his wives: Jadwiga,
Sonka, which proves the thesis that the size of Poznań castle was considerable, because if necessary it had to accommodate two courts - the king's and the queen's.
MAIN ENTRANCE TO THE 18TH CENTURY BUILDING ERECTED BY KAZIMIERZ RACZYŃSKI
oznań was visited also by
Kazimierz Jagiellończyk (d. 1492), the younger son of Jagiełło, 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 Poznań hosted almost entire royal family. Apart from Kazimierz and his wife
Elżbieta Rakuszanka, their sons appeared here:
prince Kazimierz, then 16-year-old Jan (Olbracht), 14-year-old Alexander, 8-year-old Zygmunt 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 Elżbieta. The reason for such a large presence of ruling family was the official farewell of the daughter of Kazimierz -
Jadwiga Jagiellonka, married to the margrave of Bavaria,
Georg der Reiche. The wedding of Jadwiga and Georg took place in Landshut, Bavaria, and is still celebrated as the so-called
Landshuter Hohzeiten, a colorful festival directly related to this event. At that time condition of the castle required some investments - according to the correspondence of King Jagiełło, the castle tower was in bad shape, and perhaps some walls were already cracked.
CONTEMPORARY MODEL OF THE CASTLE: 1. TOWER (XXI CENTURY), 2. NEO-RENAISSANCE WING (XXI CENTURY),
3. RACZYŃSKI'S BUILDING (XVIII CENTURY), 4. BUILDING ERECTED ON THE SITE OF THE FORMER KITCHEN (XVIII/XIXTH CENTURY)
he year 1493 was exceptional in the history of royal visits to Great Poland region, because
Jan Olbracht (d. 1501) spent here nine months, which made the city an informal capital of the country. The ruler stayed at the Poznań castle from March to November, making an active foreign politics, especially in the field of Turkish question, welcoming quests from Ottoman Port, Venetian Republic and Austria. With participation of Lithuanian and Tatar delegates from the Volga region, the problems of
Ivan the Terrible's aggressive policy were discussed, very important for the security of the country. There was also a lot going on in domestic politics: a new cast of governors and the general governor of Great Poland took place in Poznań, 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 Zygmunt (the Old). The most important and most frequently mentioned event that took place during Jan Olbracht's stay in Poznań was the receiving by him on 29 May 1493 of the feudal homage given by the great master of Teutonic Order
Johann von Tieffen (d. 1497). This ceremony was held 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.
PLAQUES EMBEDDED IN THE EASTERN WALL OF THE CASTLE COMMEMORATING IMPORTANT EVENTS IN ITS HISTORY
GENERAL GOVERNOR OF GREAT POLAND
In years 1314-1793 the castle in Poznań 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 Władysław Łokietek 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 concerning 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.
There were 66 general governors in Poznań. Many of them have made their mark 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 Płowce - Wincenty of Szamotuły, a rebel against the rule of Kazimierz Wielki - Maciek Borkowic, founder of the castle in Smoleń - Otto from Pilcza, Wincenty Granowski - the first husband of Elżbieta, later wife of Władysław Jagiełło and queen of Poland, Andrzej and Łukasz Górka, participant of the Vienna relief - Rafał Leszczyński, and a traitor at the service of Russia - Kazimierz Raczyński.
VIEW FROM THE CASTLE TOWER TO THE MARKET SQUARE WITH RENAISSANCE TOWN HALL,
ON THE RIGHT WE CAN SEE THE FORMER JESUIT COLLEGIUM AND PARISH CHURCH
t the beginning of the 16th century the castle was in urgent need of renovation, and the necessary repairs were made in the years 1502-1504 on the initiative of Ambroży Pampowski from Pępowo (d. 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 [...] through the castle corridor, where she could not jump over one hole, which was in the floor, fell to the ground at 8 meters away and immediately she died. In 1510, a diplomatic meeting was held at the Poznań 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 and to 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, they were advised for some time without any clear hope of agreement, and finally departed without achieving anything.
VIEW TO THE NORTH FROM THE CASTLE: THE WIELKOPOLSKI SQUARE WITH A MAGNIFICENT ARCHIVE BUILDING,
IN THE DISTANCE, ON THE LEFT WE CAN SEE ST. WOJCIECH CHURCH, AND ON THE RIGHT - THE TOWERS OF POZNAŃ CATHEDRAL
hree years later,
Zygmunt (the Old, d. 1548) with his wife
Barbara Zapolya (d. 1515) and a numerous royal court visited Poznań. He was looking for his nephew, grand master
Albrecht Hohenzollern (d. 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, the birth place not in the Poznań castle, but in the bishop's palace in Ostrów Tumski, where the queen resided all this time.
THE RACZYŃSKI'S BUILDING, OR RATHER ITS RECONSTRUCTION ERECTED IN THE 1960S
ON THE RIGHT: A VIEW FROM THE STAIRS AT THE FRANCISCAN MONASTERY
uring the reign of king Zygmunt (the Old),
Łukasz Górka (d. 1542), a representative of the rich nobility of Great Poland, held the post of the General Governor. 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 Szamotuły. Probably in the third decade of the 16th century, Górka began a major reconstruction of the castle in Poznań, which he ran until 1535. Then he handed over the governorship to his son Andrzej Górka (d. 1551). A few months after these events, on 2 May 1536, a fire occurred in Poznań 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 Jew Johel's house burned the right side of Wielka Street, from the side of the cathedral church, one and a half frontages of the market square - with the exception of three houses. The first reconstruction works of the royal castle started in autumn that year and was supposedly completed not earlier than in 1553.
THE OLDEST PRESERVED VIEW OF THE CASTLE AND THE CITY FROM THE WORK "CIVITATES ORBIS TERRARUM"
BY G. BRAUN AND F. HOGENBERG, DATING FROM BEFORE 1618
he royal visits to the Poznań 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, Zygmunt August's sister
Zofia Jagiellonka (d. 1575) paid a visit to the castle. In 1556 she followed prince
Heinrich II der Jüngere, who was married to her. In January 1574, 23-year-old elector
Henri de Valois traveled through Poznań from Paris to Cracow in order to be crowned: king entered Poznań 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, being surrounded by a huge crowd of people, the scream of trumpets and cannons, then ate dinner.
VIEW OF THE POZNAN IN 1626, CASTLE IS LOCATED ON THE HILL ON THE RIGHT
he town chronicles also remember the rather unexpected visit of king
Sigismund III Vasa (d. 1632) returning to Cracow from a distant Scandinavian journey, during which he was crowned king of Sweden. Entering in September 1594, when it rained heavily, the ruler was greeted by a solemn procession with the general governor
Adam Czarnkowski (d. 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 and then to the castle in the greatest noise and uproar of war machines. King Sigismund came to Poznań once again in 1623, when he and his wife,
Konstancja Habsburg, as well as her children: 28-year-old prince
Władysław and tiny princess Anna Katarzyna Konstancja, travelled to Gdańsk on military matters, visiting many cities and noble estates on the way.
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 devastation of its interiors and, above all, to 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 considerable, were not serious enough to prevent the use of the building and shortly after the Swedes left Poznań,
Jan Kazimierz (d. 1672) and his wife
Ludwika Gonzaga (d. 1667) settled in the castle. Their stay lasted only until the time when the more comfortable accommodation in renovated townhouse was ready to receive the royal guests. In the following years further renovations of the castle were undertaken, but their scope was limited mainly to protecting from rain and moisture the documents kept there.
PLAN OF POZNAŃ ON E. DAHLBERG'S ENGRAVING FROM S. PUFENDORF'S WORK "DE REBUS A CAROLO GUSTAVO GESTIS", PO 1656
THE CASTLE MARKED WITH THE LETTER H (AT THE TOP OF THE PLAN)
he castle lost its function of a royal seat in 1694, when for the last time it hosted a member of the royal family. Then 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 Poznań was 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, and 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 (1700-21), 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 Poznań almost turned into ruins.
THE SIEGE OF THE CITY BY THE RUSSIAN-SAXON ARMY IN 1704,
THE CASTLE IS SEEN ON THE HILL ON THE LEFT
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, because there were no 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 Gorzeński (d. 1754) to repair the Poznań castle as soon as possible for a safer conservation of the "actorum castrensium", because this building was ruined and about to collapse. In May of the same year, a major renovation began, which was managed by Jan Fryderyk Vogelsang, a Poznań bourgher. The investment 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 equipment such as copper knobs, decorative ventilators, flags and carved balustrades.
J. RZEPECKI'S VIEW OF POZNAŃ FROM 1728 AFTER DESTRUCTION CAUSED BY WARS AND STRONG WINDS THE CASTLE IN THE BRIGHT CIRCLE
n 1761 the castle was taken over by the Russians, who placed there the gunpowder storehouse. The local government 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 Poznań 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 payment for reparations of the Poznań castle and for conservation of archives, which were much needed. However, the renovation fund was quickly ran out and in the third year after the start of the repair all work was stopped. The immediate reason for the interruption 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.
VIEW OF OLD TOWN FROM 1796, CASTLE ON THE LEFT FROM TOWN HALL (BRIGHT)
PENALTY IN THE TOWER
The castle in Poznań was also used as a prison for the nobility. Penal 'services' were provided in the castle tower in two variants: in lower part of the tower set prisoners convicted of murder, illegal imprisonment, defamation and armed invasion of nobleman's house, while in upper part of the tower there were convicts punished for insolvency and economic crimes. This differentiation results from the fact that the punishment "of upper tower" was a lighter means of repression, nor did it - in the perception of the time - cause an insult to the honour of the nobility. Prisoners housed in the upper tower were also not required to wear handcuffs. All the costs of staying in the upper tower were paid by the convicts. Most often they did not need guards.
Interesting that many descriptions relating to condition and equipment of the castle concerned this function to the royal donjon, because the beginning of the sentence by the prisoner was accompanied by a official 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 Dramińska avoided the punishment of the upper tower because the inspection showed the lack of a door and several outer stairs.
SAPIEŻYŃSKI SQUARE - VIEW FROM THE NORTHWEST, J. MINUTOLI 1833
CASTLE IS ON THE RIGHT, TOWN HALL IS ON THE LEFT
n 1783 the last General Governor of Great Poland,
Kazimierz Raczyński (d. 1824) erected on the preserved walls an archive building in the style of an old Polish manor house. At that time the tower measured only 10-11 meters high. On November 21, 1793, as a result of second 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
Friedrich Wilhelm II (d. 1797). The event took place in the castle courtyard and due to the 300-year anniversary of the Prussian homage, which had been a few months earlier, it was organized to emphasize the domination of the victors (Germans) and to humiliate the losers (Poles).
VIEW OF THE CASTLE FROM THE NORTHWEST IN A DRAWING FROM THE 1850s
n the same year the castle tower was dismantled and only the lower part of it was left. The office of the General Governer was replaced by the President of the Prussian Regency - a royal institution of a judicial nature. For the purposes of new authority, remains of the western residential wing were demolished and replaced by a 30-metre-long, new building. The gate tower and the northern tower were also destroyed, in the place of which a two-storey building was erected for the purpose of housing officials. The castle walls were partially demolished, as well as the city walls. After 1815 the Regency Office was moved to large and more representative buildings of the former Jesuit collegium, and the castle housed the higher national court and appeal court. The court functioned here until 1874, when it was 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 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 existed in the castle until 1943.
CASTLE HILL ON POSTCARDS FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE XX CENTURY
uring the battles for the Poznań 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 damage to the roof and windows was so great that the repairs were necessary. The documents that were not deported in time burned in the fire. After the war, for the first few years the surviving northern building housed apartments of archive employees. The ruined part of the castle remained undeveloped until 1949, when the demolition of Prussian walls began, and archaeological work started, during which the foundations of the gate tower and the castle tower were discovered.
VIEW FROM THE TOWER OF THE FRANCISCAN CHURCH TO THE PRUSSIAN REGENCY BUILDING AND THE RACZYŃSKI'S BUILDING,
STATE IN THE 1930S AND JUST AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR
RACZYŃSKI'S BUILDING SEEN FROM WIELKOPOLSKI SQUARE, 1945
econstruction 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 was placed in it - the Museum of Artistic Crafts, which was transformed into the Museum of Applied Arts in 1991. In the early 90s, a group of enthusiasts 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 because of the poor economic and social situation at that time. However, the action gained momentum and in 2002 the Committee for Rebuilding of the Royal Castle was established, 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.
CASTLE AFTER RECONSTRUCTION IN 1960S: ON THE PHOTO ABOVE, FOUNDATIONS OF THE MAIN TOWER
BELOW: THE RACZYŃSKI'S BUILDING - THEN STILL FREE-STANDING (2005))
The first plans to rebuild the royal castle came after its complete destruction during the Second World War. Already in 1949 two projects were available: 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 Zieliński, 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. Podgórski from 1949
Project by Z. Zieliński from 1949
Nothing came out of these plans and although the castle was rebuilt, its skin did not differ from the pre-war form, which was devoid of any medieval or renaissance accents. Before that, however, in 1960 a brave proposal was prepared by Czesław Sosnkowski and Zygmunt Waschko, combining the historicism of the Raczyński building with the modern concrete form. 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.
Vision of the castle according to C. Sosnkowski and Z Waschko from 1960
Alexander Holas' 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 today also seems archaic.
Concept of A. Holas, 1969
In 2003, the Committee for Rebuilding of the Royal Castle in Poznań 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, due to the lack of detailed iconography, should not be a faithful reconstruction of the building from years ago. The competition met with great interest - 22 works were prepared, and the winning proposal was that of Witold Milewski from 'Arkus' studio - a picturesque, historicizing vision referring to the Renaissance form of the castle from the times of Andrzej Górka. This project with minor changes was approved and implemented in years 2010-14.
Project by W. Milewski from 2003
CASTLE BEFORE THE LAST RECONSTRUCTION, 2005
THE SAME VIEW OF THE CASTLE IN ITS FINAL RECONSTRUCTION PHASE, 2013
he castle was built near the town square, on a small 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. The original, 13th-century defensive unit consisted of two brick fortification lines: the straight section of the western wall erected on a 2-metre thick stone foundation and a southern wall lying on a gentle arch around the central part of the hill. At their crossroads a tower was erected on a plan similar to a square with sides of 11x11.5 meters.
EASTERN FRAGMENT OF THE CASTLE FORTIFICATION WALLS, VIEW FROM ZAMKOWA STREET
he internal buildings probably originally consisted of wooden residential and utility structures concentrated in the western part of the courtyard. Only speculation and hypothesis is the question of the then function of the tower and the existence of brick houses. Some researchers claim that the straight western wall, which is not aligned 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 castle. 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 wife's accommodation.
PLAN OF THE CASTLE IN THE MIDDLE AGES: 1. WESTERN WALL, 2. SOUTHERN WALL, 3. EMBANKMENT/WESTERN WALL, 4. CITY WALL,
5. MAIN TOWER, 6. HYPOTHETICAL GATEWAY, 7. RESIDENTIAL TOWER (XIV CENTURY), 8. ROYAL PALACE (XIV CENTURY)
resumably, during the reign of king Kazimierz (the Great), a large Gothic building on the western wall was built, which may have taken over the representative functions performed so far by the main tower. 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 protruded out of the fortifications. On its 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 describe the look and spatial layout of the castle from the times of Piasts and first Jagiellons. It is also unknown what was the scope of the castle extension carried out in the 16th century by the starost Łukasz Górka, and what changes it brought, apart from the laconical note 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.
RECONSTRUCTION OF THE CASTLE FROM THE SECOND HALF OF THE XIII CENTURY - VIEW FROM THE NORTHEAST
IT TAKES INTO ACCOUNT THE EXISTENCE OF A TOWER WITHIN THE NORTHERN WALL,
WHICH PROBABLY AT THAT TIME DID NOT YET EXIST
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 magnificent Courtroom, which was located in the southern part of the building, supported by two stone columns and illuminated by five glazed windows with iron bars. All chambers were paved with ceramic tiles, had oak doors and window frames, and in some of them there were tiled stoves and benches.
FAÇADE OF THE WESTERN BUILDING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE XVI CENTURY, J. SKURATOWICZ
he layout 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 Grand Chamber - the most representative room in the whole castle. It was located 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, a 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 chancellery. Despite many minor construction works, repairs and renovations carried out thereafter, the castle unit did not change its main form until the reconstruction of Kazimierz Raczyński in the 80s of the 18th century.
he Royal Castle in Poznań is today a partly historical and partly contemporary architectural unit, 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 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 caustic 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. As a result, half a malicious, and a bit funny, name of Gargamel's Castle become popular among the inhabitants of Poznań. The modern forms of the building contain small remains of the former castle, 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. To some extent,
Raczyński's building, reconstructed after 1945 and 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.
Discreet gateway welcoming the museum's guests is the result of 19th century construction works.
PRZEMYSŁ HALL NEXT TO THE TOWER, IN THE FIREPLACE IS HIDDEN A DEVIL FROM THE LEGEND ABOUT THE CREATION OF THE CASTLE HILL
artly reconstructed and partly renovated interiors house the Museum of Applied Arts, established in the 1960s as a division of the Poznań National Museum to present the collections of artistic craftsmanship, which have been collected here since the mid-19th century. On an area of about 1500 square meters an exhibition shows 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. The tour takes place in such a way as to keep the chronology of history.
MUSEUM EXHIBITION AT THE POZNAŃ CASTLE, HERE THE ARMOURY
e start our visit from a small, dark room dedicated to medieval art, from where we go to the magnificent armoury in the hallway of Raczyński'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 an interactive humanist table.
IN THE RENAISSANCE HALL
ur visit to the first floor begins with
the exposition showing the Baroque period in Poland history, with a characteristic Sarmatian enthusiasm on the one hand, and a love for the Orient on the other. Baroque room 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 Table 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 (literally!) smells of the elegant courts of 18th century Europe. Following the direction of the tour we then enter the period of classicism and nineteenth-century historicism, and after a short visit to the representative
Meeting Hall we head to the small room presenting a part of Leon Wyczółkowski's private collection, including mostly Orientalia and his own works.
BAROQUE (ABOVE) AND ROCOCO ROOM
he second floor, dedicated to contemporary times, is divided into collections of artistic glass, Art Nouveau and Oriental art, Art Deco, as well as objects reflecting Polish design from the 1960s and other modern creations. Our attention here is attracted primarily by the Parade of Costumes showing the evolution in shaping human 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 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.
SECOND FLOOR EXHIBITIONS ON CONTEMPORARY ART
Tickets are required to enter the castle. Free entrance to the courtyard.
Photography for personal use is free (no flash allowed).
It is forbidden to bring animals into the castle and the courtyard.
Museum of Applied Arts
Góra Przemysła 1, 61-768 Poznań
tel.: +48 61 85 68 075
he castle is located at the junction of Góra Przemysła/Ludgardy/Franciszkańska Street, about 100 meters west of the Market Square. Leaving the main railway station 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 Wolności Square. There the castle tower is already well visible.
Bicycles can be brought into the castle courtyard (there is a bike rack).
1. Z. Dolczewski: Tajemnice zamku królewskiego w Poznaniu, Dr Roman Dolczewski 2014
2. L. Kajzer, J. Salm, S. Kołodziejski: Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Arkady 2001
3. Z. Karolczak: Zamek królewski w Poznaniu w świetle badań archeologicznych, Muz. Arch. w Poznaniu
4. E. Linette: Zamek w Poznaniu
5. Praca zbiorowa: Zamek książąt, królów, starostów, Kronika Miasta Poznania 2004
6. T. Ratajczak: Średniowieczny zamek królewski w Poznaniu. Uwagi na temat chronologii i genezy...
VIEW OF THE CASTLE FROM GÓRA PRZEMYSŁA STREET
Castles nearby: Chojnica - artificial 'castle' from the 20th century, 15 km Kórnik - knight's castle from the 14th century, 21 km Jezioro Góreckie - ruins of romantic 'castle' from the 19th century, 25 km
ALSO WORTH SEEING:
The Old Town, whose area of 21 hectares was formerly marked by the line of city fortifications, and now is conventionally defined by streets: Garbary from the east, Podgórna from the south, Małe Garbary from the north and Aleje Marcinkowskiego from the west. The central part of Poznań's Old Town is occupied by the 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 there are eight tenement houses. 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 their closet 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 Górkas' 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 Świętosławska Street, you can admire
the plan of former Poznań, which is a copy of Braun and Hogenberg's view from the 17th century. Slightly to the south rises an impressive unit of
the post-Jesuit college with the most beautiful baroque temple in Poland - the 18th century parish church, modest when you look from the front, squeezed between the bourgeois tenement houses and the buildings of the former college. However, it delights with its 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 and the building of the former municipal guard - odwach.
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 former Poznań fortifications. The reason for the improvement of these areas was introduction of Germanic aesthetics in the architecture of the city and creation of high standard places which would be its showcase and encourage (German) clerks to settle in Poznań. Nowadays, the district is a vast educational, cultural and recreational unit, with the buildings of
Collegium Minus and the Academy of Music, the magnificent
Grand Theatre and 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.
The cathedral island, Ostrów Tumski, situated on the other side of the Warta River. You can find there relics of settlements built by first polish rulers and the most valuable sacral buildings in Poznań. 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 Bolesław Chrobry, although there is no clear evidence of this. To the west of the cathedral there is
the church of St. Mary, built in the 15th century on the site of the 10th century palace of Mieszko and a chapel erected for him and his wife Dobrawa. From the south, the cathedral is adjacent to the luxurious
palace of archbishops, while from the north-west - to
the Archdiocesan Museum, the Seminary and
the archaeological park Genius Loci.
In 2007, the eastern bank of Ostrów Tumski was connected by a bridge with
Śródka, years ago neglected, even dangerous microdistrict, which now is one of the most charming and fashionable part of Poznań. In the neighbourhood of medieval sacral buildings its biggest attraction is located: three-dimensional painting on the walls of two tenement houses, called
the Story of Śródka with a trumpeter on the roof and a cat in the background, made in 2015. A year earlier,
the Poznań Gate, an interactive museum centre dedicated to the history of Ostrów Tumski, was opened in concrete modernistic building on the bank of the Cybina River.