he oldest preserved mention of the settlement Siedlecz dates back to 1361. It mentions a donation of the local knight's grange by Abraham of Goszyce and his son Marek,
coat of arms Gryf, to Sandomierz province governor Otto of Pilczacoat of arms Topór (d. 1384) (in return, Abraham received the village Witanowice near Oświęcim). The document also states that the then reigning King
Kazimierz Wielki (Casimir the Great) approved the transaction and granted Sielce the town rights. In 1376 Piotr Szafraniec of
Starykoń coat of arms from Pieskowa Skała (d. 1437), a representative of one of the most influential knightly families in 14th century Poland, became the owner of the estate. In 1383 the village was bought by Wisław and Piotr from Mysłowice,
Szeliga coat of arms, relatives of Bodzanta, the archbishop of Gniezno. The latter brother (d. 1408) is particularly important in the history of this place. According to historians, it was him who founded the first brick castle on the marshy banks of Czarna Przemsza River. Initially, the castle may have had the form of a single residential tower, typical of defensive constructions of the time in Silesia.
(NOT VERY PICTURESQUE) VIEW OF THE CASTLE FROM THE WEST
he first historical report confirming the existence of a stone residence in this place dates back to 1403, while in 1430 the castle was already referred to as a fortalicjum. At that time Sielec was ruled by Bodzanta, son of Piotr, conflicted with the burgrave of
Będzin castle, Mikołaj Siestrzeniec. This conflict, based both on material and ideological grounds (Siestrzeniec supported the Hussites), led to the occupation and plunder of the stronghold in Sielec by the king's burgrave, and ended only after Mikołaj was dismissed from his post, which took place in 1434. The 15th century history of the castle is almost completely lost in the darkness of oblivion, as few archives from that time have survived. We only know that in 1465 it was pledged for 700 grzywnas by the treasurer of the Household, Jakub Duch from Dębno,
Rawicz coat of arms. Then, in 1487 the estate was bought from Grzegorz Śniesz of Morawica (who was a grandson of Małgorzata, the wife of the castle's founder) by polish King
Kazimierz Jagiellończyk (d. 1492). However, we do not know whether this transaction involved only homesteads and farmland or whether the king also purchased the castle together with them.
EASTERN ELEVATION OF SIELECKI CASTLE
n 1502 this land became the property of Stanisław Jarocki of Jaroczyn (d. 1515), the starost of Sławków, who was a favorite and a trustee of kings
Zygmunt Stary (Sigismund the Old). Stanisław had several daughters and eight sons, who inherited not only Sielec but also Klimontów, Pogoń, a feudal right to the town of Będzin with all its villages and manors, as well as chests with jewels and money, and besides that, three thousand zlotys deposited at Jan Boner. The starost's descendants probably sold the estate in Sielec because in 1530 Hieronim (Jarosz) Brenner (d. 1543), the royal goldsmith, is mentioned there. Brenner's daughter, Anna, committed a misalliance by marrying Walenty Klajner (d. 1582), a former butcher and mining entrepreneur. Klajner came from the bourgeoisie class, so he had no right to inherit the noble estate. Therefore, he bought for himself nobility from the Minor family of Przybysławice and from then on he was known as Walenty Minor of
Półkozic coat of arms. This gentleman was famous for his troublemaking character, as evidenced by the frequent presence of his name in court books and the fact that before he married Anna, he simply kidnapped her.
IN THE COURTYARD
rom 1609 the owner of Sielec was Sebastian Minor-Przybysławski, one of eighteen (!) sons of Jan Minor de Biechów, who was so strong that he broke horseshoes and tore ropes. He spent several years in wars in Hungary, conquering various castles as well as fighting in Poland at Byczyna. He rebuilt the castle and gave it the shape of a four-winged Renaissance residence flanked by quadrilateral towers and surrounded by a deep moat. Construction work was completed in 1620, which is commemorated by a
plaque with this date and the coat of arms of the Minors - Półkozic. In 1635 the estate was inherited by his son Konstanty, and after him by Samuel Aleksander, Konstanty's son. After Samuel's death, his widow, Eufrozyna of Jarocki, married Krzysztof of Garby Modrzewski,
coat of arms Ostoja (d. ca. 1679), and thereby Sielec, with Modrzejów and Wola, became the hereditary property of this family. When Krzysztof died, the castle was taken over by his son Franciszek, a nobleman of great fortune, a colonel in the cavalry regiment. He left this world in 1717 when, in despair, he shot himself in the head.
SIELECKI CASTLE AND PARK ON POSTCARDS FROM THE EARLY XX CENTURY
n the first half of the eighteenth century Sielec was owned by Tęgoborscy (coat of arms Szreniawa), for whom the estate was probably purchased by Walerian Tęgoborski (d. 1819), the royal chamberlain and head of king's government for foreign affairs. In 1776, the castle became the property of Michał Żuliński, colonel in the Polish army. Its last Polish owner (or only leaseholder) was court chamberlain Jordan Stojowski of
Trąby coat of arms (d. 1846). In 1802 the village was in the hands of Prussian cavalry general Schimmelpfenning von der Oye, after whose death a legend became popular about a grave located on Jeneralska Góra (Jeneralska Hill), where he was supposedly buried with his favorite horse and faithful dog. From Joanna, a widow, the estate was bought in 1814 (or 1816) by Duke
Ludwik Anhalt-Köthen von Pless (d. 1841), who later became the owner of the Pszczyna state. Until then Sielec was a typical agricultural village, and it wasn't until the beginning of the 19st century that lead and iron ore began to be mined here. The first coal mine was also put into operation.
COMMEMORATIVE PHOTOS FROM SIELCE 1910-13, THE CASTLE VERY NEGLECTED
n 1824 a fire broke out in the castle, which seriously damaged it. As a result, the duke was forced to undertake costly repairs, during which significant changes were made to the architecture and decoration of the building. Based on the plans prepared by Josef Heintz, the eastern wing was demolished and the moats were filled in. In this way, the last traces of the old defensive features were removed, and the building was given a palace character, with an extensive farm and park area. In 1836 Sielec was taken over by Ludwig's niece - Charlotte von Stolberg-Wernigerode de domo Hochberg. From her, in 1856, the castle was bought by Count
Andreas Maria Renard (d. 1874) from Strzelce Opolskie, co-owner of the Warsaw-Vienna Railway Company, who intended to use it as the seat of his son,
Johann Renard. Besides the properties of Sielec-Modrzejów, Johann received from his father estates in Góra Siewierska, Krzyżowice and Klucze, as well as clay and coal mines and lime kilns. He didn't, however, personally take care of the economy in Sielec as he held the office of the Prussian consul in Vienna and lived every day in the Austrian capital, where he died in 1874. After his early and childless death, the property passed to Andreas Maria's grandsons: Mortimer von Tschirschky-Reichel (d. 1908) and Eufemia von Eulenburg auf Prassen.
70S OF THE XX CENTURY (?)
n 1884 the mine and its property and lands were acquired from the heirs of Count Renard by the mining and industrial company Gwarectwo hrabia Renard, which made the castle in Sielec its new seat. From then until the end of World War II, it housed offices of the company. After being taken over by the state, the administration of the Sosnowiec mine and the Mining Museum were placed in the castle. At that time, the castle's surroundings were also changed. The existing farm buildings were demolished and replaced by a housing estate, and in place of the former ponds a
swimming pool and an
were built. In 1977, the new owner, Vitropol glassworks, renovated the palace and then arranged the
modern glass showroom there. After the fall of communism, the castle was adapted to wedding hall of the Registry Office, a restaurant and a conference complex, but due to its very poor condition, in 1995 all activities were stopped and the building was closed. A few years later, a major renovation of the castle was started and, after its completion, the municipal cultural center was placed in it.
EASTERN ELEVATION OF THE CASTLE BEFORE (1984) AND AFTER RESTORATION (2004)
he form and spatial layout of the medieval castle is unknown. It was probably a residential tower or a residential single-wing castle, which may have been strategically connected with the royal fortress in Będzin, located 7 kilometers away. In 15th century documents it is mentioned as fortalicium alias Twyercz called Szydlecz, which undoubtedly proves the existence of fortifications here. Archaeological research shows only that in the area of contemporary courtyard there was a Roman building erected on a square or rectangular plan, which in the final phase of functioning was probably used as a lime kiln. Also, in the corner towers, the remains of earlier (smaller) towers with gun holes were discovered.
PLAN OF THE CASTLE BEFORE REVITALIZATION, THE DASHED LINE MARKS
FOUNDATIONS OF NON-EXISTING WALLS AND BASEMENTS OF THE EAST WING
t the beginning of the 17th century, the castle was transformed into a magnificent four-winged edifice with
square corner towers and four
smaller towers incorporated into residential wings. The castle was built of broken limestone and brick and surrounded by a deep moat.
West Wing was, as it is today, the largest and most important part of the new residence. It contained the main entrance, located on the axis marked by a gate and a drawbridge preceding it. This gate was the main part of the eastern wing (demolished in the 19th century), which served primarily as a communication link, but also for economic and fortification purposes. The other three wings on the first floor facing the courtyard were equipped with arcaded galleries. Today, some of these galleries are bricked up and
some have been turned into windows or doors. There were 38 rooms in the castle, the purpose of which is unknown. It is only confirmed that in the tower (risalit) of the northern wing there was a barrel vaulted chapel, while in the northeastern tower the remains of a medieval lavatory were found. Vertical communication between the castle floors was provided by staircases located in the north- and south-west towers.
BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF SIELECKI CASTLE, VIEW FROM NORTH-EAST (1978)
ON THE PHOTO BELOW, THE WESTERN ELEVATION WITH NEW BUILDING (WHITE PLASTERED)
he castle is currently the seat of Sosnowiec Art Center - Sielecki Castle. Various exhibitions, meetings and artistic events are held here. In one of the towers there is a small exhibition called Discover the Sielec Castle with us, where results of archaeological excavations are presented, which document the former appearance of the residence and changes it has undergone over centuries. We can see there, among others, relics of a medieval tower, as well as a preserved fragment of a stone toilet.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL EXHIBITION TITLED "DISCOVER THE SIELECKI CASTLE WITH US"
owever, the main exhibition space in Sielec castle is used for temporary expositions. When we visited here in spring 2021, we had great pleasure to enhance our knowledge about the structure and functioning of the human brain and learning more about aspects of human subconscious. The exhibition entitled The Brain. Where does thinking come from? absorbed us completely, although it was addressed to...children. At the same time the adult audience was offered a gallery of excellent photographs by Zbigniew Beksiński, titled The point of White. The point of black.
"THE BRAIN. WHERE DOES THINKING COME FROM?"
Admission is free to the courtyard and to main hall (where ticket office and store are located). There is a fee for exhibitions, but the entrance fees are relatively low.
You can take free pictures of the castle interiors (for your own use).
You can enter the castle with your dog!
Sosnowiec Art Center - Sielecki Castle
Zamkowa st. 2, 41-211 Sosnowiec
tel./fax 32 266 38 42
XVII CENTURY POLYCHROMES DECORATE ONE OF THE ROOMS ON THE SECOND FLOOR
he castle is located near the northeastern border of Sielecki Park, on Zamkowa Street. Its immediate neighborhood is not very attractive, and being more blunt, it is quite depressing. The building seems to be wedged between an old, neglected ice rink, post-communist blocks of flats and a noisy (in the summer) swimming pool. This location gives at least the advantage of a large choice of means of transport - you can easily get here both by tramway and bus. If you have come to Sosnowiec by train, you should leave the 'Sosnowiec Główny' train station and turn left into 3 maja Street (direction: northeast), and continue walking straight along the road. The walk takes about 25 minutes.
Bicycles can be left in the courtyard (there are no bicycle racks, 2021).
1. R. Bryła: Zamek Sielecki w Sosnowcu. Historia prawdziwa, Elipsa 2015
2. J. Dzikowski: Zamek Sielecki. Muzeum Szkła Współczesnego w Sosnowcu, Muzealnictwo 1984
3. L. Kajzer, J. Salm, S. Kołodziejski: Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Arkady 2001
4. A. Makarska: Z dziejów Sielca i Pekinu Katarzyńskiego, Uniwersytet Śląski 2014
5. A. Wagner: Murowane budowle obronne w Polsce X-XVIIw., Bellona 2019
Castles nearby: Będzin - royal castle from the 14th century, 7 km
Siemianowice Śląskie - castle-palace of Donnersmarck family from the 18th century., 14 km Siewierz - ruins of the castle of Cracow bishops from the 15th century, 21 km