here is an opinion that the fortified settlement defending the Silesian-Czech or Czech-Saxon border may have existed here already in the 11th or 12th century. Presumably at the beginning of the 13th century, it was transformed into a wooden-earth castle for the needs of Prince Henry the Pious, and then handed over by Prince Bolesław II Rogatka as a hereditary fief with the village of Chemnice and seven fields of land to the castellan Sibotho Schof, allegedly the forefather of the excellent and mighty family of Silesian knights von Schaffgotsch. And although the reference to the deed of granting (signed on 30 December 1242) comes from a forgery, this does not undermine the credibility of the very fact that the castle was handed over.
THE OLDEST PRESERVED VIEW OF STARA KAMIENICA DRAWN SEVERAL YEARS BEFORE THE GREAT FIRE
F. B. WERNER 'TOPOGRAPHIA SILESIAE 1744-68'
nly Johannes Heinze and Ulrich Schoff, and later Gotsche Schoff I (d. ca. 1380) are known as the early successors of Sibotho Schof. The son of the latter,
Gotsche Schoff II (d. 1419), a member of the barons' council, owner of Cieplice town and
the castle Chojnik, contributed greatly to expending the family power and its great wealth. For respect, his sons added the name 'Gotsche' to the existing name part and from then on they named Schaffgotsch. The village of Kamienica was inherited by the son of Gotsche Schoff II and Anna von Berka - Heinrich, who later handed it over to the grandson of his great ancestor - Johannes Schaffgotsch (d. 1480). Johannes wrote the village and the castle in his will to sons: Heinrich (d. 1500) and Peter (d. 1503), who both died early and childless. As a consequence, at the beginning of the 16th century the line of the family extinguished. Then Stara Kamienica became the property of the Fischbachers, and later (ca. 1550) - of Kaspar von Schaffgotsch (d. 1573), the Duchy of Świdnica and Jawor administrator's son. He was the founder of the great reconstruction of the castle, as a result of which it lost his raw Gothic forms in favour of a Renaissance presence considered by his contemporaries to be one of the greatest in the Jelenia Góra Valley. After Kaspar's death, the estate was taken over by his nephew Christoph (d. 1601), followed by
Hans Ulrich von Schaffgotsch (d. 1635), a tragic figure of future events at the court of
THE CASTLE RUINS ON DRAWINGS FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE XX CENTURY
In December 1615 Bernhard von Schaffgotsch, a cousin of the castle owner - Hans Ulrich, visited Stara Kamienica. The two young men, although their social status was different, studied together at several universities and travelled extensively across Europe. And it was this impoverished cousin who became a victim of the tragedy that took place in the castle cellars on the 17th of December in the evening, for reasons unknown to us. It was then that Wolf Friedrich Rottig, Bernhard's servant, pushed his lord with a rapper into his left chest and pierced him through. The murderer was quickly captured, imprisoned and, two weeks later, executed with cruel sentencing: Rottig's right hand was cut off, then the executioner pierced the heart, which after a while was cut out of the dead body. Later the corpse was dismembered and nailed to four pillars of the gallows.
A GRUSS POSTCARD FROM 1900, THE CASTLE TOWER IS IN THE UPPER LEFT CORNER
oon came the bad times for the castle and its owners. Their prelude was the fire in the summer of 1616, when the building burned down. Reconstruction began quickly and around 1630 the castle could again shine with its former splendour. However, less than ten years later, it was occupied by the Swedish troops of General
Torsten Stalhandske, who caused large damages, deepened during the battle with Prussian units. Hans Ulrich von Schaffgotsch, the owner of this land, five years earlier has been accused of a conspiracy against the Austrian Emperor, imprisoned in the Kłodzko fortress, and later in Vienna and Regensburg, and then beheaded. All his property were confiscated, parcelled and sold - the village of Stara Kamienica and its surroundings purchased for 100,000 guilders the Hungarian magnate Nikolaus, Count Palffy von Erdod. When he died in 1679, the estate belonged for a short period to Eleonora von Palffy, Countess von Harrach (d. 1693), and then to Walter von Gallo (d. 1685) and his wife Sybille, Countess von Zierotin.
TOWER RUIN AND CELLAR ENTRANCE, CONDITION IN 2008
n 1706 Johann Joachim von Zierotin (d. 1716) became the owner of the castle, but he was a rare visitor here, putting estate under the administration of a trusted official. His son Ludwig, Count von Zierotin, Baron von Lilgenau (d. 1761), the landlord of Stara Kamienica from 1718 to 1756, did the same. In 1756 the castle was bought by a merchant from Jelenia Góra, Friedrich Schmidt. A few months after his sudden death in 1757, a fire broke out in the village, which destroyed the castle with its dyeery and ten other houses. The old building was no longer renovated and fell into ruin, although until the end of the 19th century its tower was used to store crops, which resulted in a new roof in the 1880s. However, the remaining castle walls were treated as a depot for cheap building material and gradually dismantled. After the Second World War the remains of the former residence came 'under the care' of the communal agricultural cooperative, which did not protect them from further devastation.
THE CASTLE TOWER SEEN FROM THE WEST, PHOTOS FROM 2008 AND 2019
he Gothic castle was built of a stone on a plan similar to a rectangle with sides of 37x55 meters, and then surrounded by a moat, perhaps adjacent directly to the walls, hence sometimes the object is considered to be a so-called water castle. It was a two-winged system of unknown height, with a three- or four-storey tower added on the western side. In 1562, the castle was rebuilt in the Renaissance style, which was demonstrated by an inscription with the completion date located above the main entrance and busts of the founder and his wife above the gate. Also in the 16th century the entrance to the castle took place from the east on a four-span stone bridge. Next to it there was a park with an area of 6.5 hectares, to which a Baroque gate led (preserved to the present day).
PLAN OF THE CASTLE RUINS ACCORDING TO J. SAWIŃSKI: 1. TOWER, 2. SOUTHERN WING, 3. EASTERN WING, 4. RENAISSANCE BRIDGE
he ruin of the tower with
relic of the window stonework, the foundations of the residential buildings with partially buried cellars and the four-span stone bridge have survived. The neglected relics of the building, hidden under a layer of rubble, and in summer almost entirely covered by weed, received new life thanks to the initiative of the Chudów Castle Foundation, which since 2010 has been carrying out cleaning works on their premises, and since 2015 - a partial reconstruction
of the bridge and the tower, as well as adaptation of the castle cellars. The ruins cannot be visited during the renovation, but they are clearly visible from almost every side, especially from the east. It is also worth to approach from the south, where stands a
gate from 1705, which is a remnant of the former castle and palace complex.
CASTLE RUINS UNDER RECONSTRUCTION (2019)
tara Kamienica is a large village located 10 km west of Jelenia Góra. You can get here by public transport: bus or train running on the way Jelenia Góra - Zgorzelec (the distance from the railway station to the ruins is 1 km). The castle ruin is located in the northern part of the village, about 150 meters south-west of the church tower.
There are no parking lots - the car can be left on Kasztelańska Street or Basztowa Street.
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2. L. Kajzer, J. Salm, S. Kołodziejski: Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Arkady 2001
3. R. Łuczyński: Ruiny dwóch zamków, Sudety nr 11/2004
4. R. Łuczyński: Chronologia dziejów Dolnego Śląska, Atut 2006
5. R. Łuczyński: Zamki, dwory i pałace w Sudetach, WA 2008
6. A. M. Rosiek: Siedziby rycerskie w księstwie świdnicko-jaworskim do końca XIV wieku, Kraków 2010
RENAISSANCE STONE BRIDGE
Castles nearby: Rybnica - the ruins of a Gothic castle from the 14th century, 4 km Siedlęcin - the residential tower from the 14th century, 11 km
Czarne - the fortified manor house ftom the 16th century, 16 km Chojnik - the ruins of ducal castle from the 14th century, 17 km
Dziwiszów - the fortified manor house from the 16th century, currently the palace, 19 km Proszówka - the ruins of a Gothic castle from the 13th century, 21 km Wleń - the ruins of ducal castle from the 12th/13th century, 24 km
The Gothic Church from the 14th century, with a stone morgue, a Gothic baptistery, a baroque altar and an 18th-century parsonage. By the church, a 41-metre-high tower topped with a baroque cupola, equipped with the 15th century bell.