upposedly, as early as the 7th century, a fortified settlement, possibly belonging to the Slavic tribe of Thafnezi (Drawians), already existed at this site. It was an elliptical-shaped lowland castle, erected on a narrow isthmus between the Drawsko and Żerdno lakes, with a 6-8 meter high and 12 meter wide wooden-earth rampart and perhaps a wooden palisade. In addition, from the south and north a moat protected it, while from the east and west access to the stronghold was blocked by the aforementioned lakes. It seems that this early Slavic settlement was irretrievably destroyed in the first half of the 12th century, probably as a result of fights between the Polish prince Bolesław (d. 1138) and rulers of the Pomeranian states.
GENERAL VIEW OF AN EARLY MEDIEVAL CASTLE ACCORDING TO J. NEKANDA-TREPKA
Within the castle ruins, archaeologists have found the remains of a wooden coffin and the skeleton of a 45-50 year old man. The presence of a skeletal burial within the castle grounds raises many questions about the special significance of the deceased to the local community, because such a location is generally considered unusual. Perhaps, then, we are dealing here with the grave of one of early medieval rulers, who, for reasons of rank and respect, was buried in the place where he lived and reigned.
MAN'S SKELETON FOUND AT DRAHIM CASTLE
PHOTO IS FROM THE BOOK: 'GRÓD I ZAMEK W STARYM DRAWSKU'
n November 12, 1286, prince Przemysł II (d. 1296) handed over the territories located in the vicinity of Drawa River and Drawsko Lake to the Templars, who pledged in return to defend the borders of Greater Poland against invasions by Brandenburg troops. They chose Tempelburg (Czaplinek) as the seat of their new commandery, but as early as 1312 the order was dissolved, and its properties - at least formally - were given to another congregation of knights called the Order of St John (Hospitallers). In fact, however, the lands were taken over by margrave Waldemar the Great(Waldemar der Große, d. 1319), followed by Henry II the Child(Heinrich das Kind, d. 1320), the last of the Asscan line of the Brandenburg margraves. Then the commandery came under the authority of the bishops of Kamień Pomorski, and in 1345, with the consent of margrave Ludwig Wittelsbach (d. 1361), it was given to the Hospitallers, who soon erected two watchtowers: in Machliny near the border with Greater Poland, and Drahim near the border with Pomerania. The latter they built on the isthmus of Drawsko and Żerdno lakes, exactly on the site of the early Slavic settlement destroyed in the 12th century.
LOCATION PLAN OF THE CASTLE HILL ON THE ISTHMUS BETWEEN DRAWNO AND ŻERDNO LAKES
DRAWING IS FROM THE BOOK: 'GRÓD I ZAMEK W STARYM DRAWSKU'
he construction of brick castle presumably lasted from 1360 to 1366. However, just two years later, the elector of Brandenburg Otto V the Lazy(Otto der Faule, d. 1379) was forced to sign a treaty, unfavorable to him, by virtue of which he relinquished the commandery of Tempelburg to king
Casimir the Great(Kazimierz Wielki, d. 1370), thus the land became part of the Kingdom of Poland. The changes in boundaries and the establishment of a new sovereign found their reflection in property relations, although in principle they did not somehow significantly affect the monastic settlement in the territory of New March. Although the Hospitallers formally lost all their castles, in fact they continued to use them - but no longer as owners, but only as fiefs of the Polish king.
DRAHIM CASTLE - SOUTHERN WALL
espite the fact that these lands belonged to the Polish kingdom, the Order of St. John sought independence from the Polish king by pursuing its own policy, often directed against Poland and its ally Pomerania. After the death of Casimir the Great, a conflict broke out between the order and one of the Pomeranian dukes - presumably Świętobór I (d. 1413) or
Warcisław V (d. 1390) - whose troops invaded New March in 1376 capturing the castles of Czaplinek and Machliny. That invasion was resisted only by Drahim, which certainly benefited from its strong fortifications and convenient location in the vicinity of large lakes. At that time Poland was ruled by
Louis of Hungary(Nagy Lajos, d. 1382), who was not particularly interested in the affairs of Pomerania, what Hospitallers skillfully took advantage of by strengthening ties with the Teutonic Order and Brandenburg. Breaking the obligations of 1368, they introduced independent rule in the Drawsko area, and at this time they also began the large-scale counterfeiting of coins in their castles.
MATRIX AND STAMP, RAW MATERIAL, COPPER BAR AND FAKE COINS FOUND IN DRAHIM CASTLE
PICTURE IS FROM THE BOOK: 'GRÓD I ZAMEK W STARYM DRAWSKU'
The medieval matrix, half-finished products and coins found among the ruins of Drahim castle indicate that at the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries copper and bronze money, originally minted by Pomeranian mints, but also coins of Silesian rulers, Polish kings and even Teutonic money, was being counterfeited here. About 1,500 pieces of finished products and disks prepared for stamping were found during archaeological research. Judging from the location of a large number of coins, dies, and raw material the minting workshop was probably located in the eastern part of the southern wing of the castle.
FRAGMENT OF THE MATRIX WITH COIN PATTERNS, FOUND AT DRAHIM CASTLE
PICTURE IS FROM THE BOOK: 'GRÓD I ZAMEK W STARYM DRAWSKU'
n 1400-1402, Grand Master of the Teutonic Order Konrad von Jungingen (d. 1407) bought the town of Drawsko and the nearby territory of New March from
Sigismund of Luxemburg (d. 1437). The territorial development of Poland's greatest enemy resulted in the invasion of
Władysław Jagiełło (d. 1434) in 1407, during which, after a three-day siege, Polish troops under the command of Sandomierz castellan Tomasz of Węgleszyn captured the castle, thus ending the 50-year reign of the knightly orders in these lands.
AT THE LAKE ŻERDNO, NEAR THE CASTLE
fter expulsion of the Hospitallers, the castle served as the seat of royal governors. It also provided a base for Polish troops to raid Teutonic lands as well as to attacks on merchants following nearby routes and couriers carrying mail from Malbork to western provinces of Teutonic state. In 1415, after one such plunder expedition, which ended with the capture of a huge herd of 1,500 sheep, horses and cattle from Drawsko, the Drahim castle successfully resisted a retaliatory expedition organized by Człuchów commander Jost von Hohenkirchen.
THE CASTLE SEEN FROM THE SOUTHEAST, DRAWSKO LAKE IN THE BACKGROUND
n 1422, the starost of Drahim, Dobrogost Ostrorógcoat of arms Nałęcz (d. 1444), imprisoned Wedegon von Wedel, who was allied with Teutonic Knights. This caused widespread indignation among the Drahim burghers and led to their spontaneous expedition to Drahim and seizing it by force of arms on June 10. The townspeople later tried to "sell" the castle to Teutonic Knights, but the latter took it forcibly, paying nothing for it. Eventually Drahim was returned to Polish hands, presumably through some kind of treachery or a trick, but we do not know the exact date of its takeover. However, this must have happened no later than 1426, since by then the castle was managed by Polish governor Jan Jarogniewski of
Orla coat of arms (d. after 1438), and in the same year king Władysław Jagiełło himself arrived here.
VIEW OF THE RUINS FROM THE ROAD SIDE IN THE 1960S AND TODAY
fter Poland's victory in the 13-year war (against the Teutonic state, 1454-66), the stronghold ceased to serve a strategic function and for the next two centuries operated in relative peace as the seat of Drahim's administrative district. From this period, it is worth noting, as a somewhat tragic event, the fire of 1525, after which governor Joachim Natzmer (d. 1553) and his son Wilhelm carried out some repair and conservation work here, including rebuilding castle interiors, repairing defensive walls and deepening the moat. The Natzmers also expanded the castle's farmstead, where they erected new stables, barns, a brewery and other necessary equipment related to the operation of these facilities.
AT DRAHIM CASTLE
n 1555, King
Sigismund Augustus handed over Drahim castle to Janusz Kościelecki of
Ogończyk coat of arms (d. 1564), on condition that the latter would pay an appropriate sum to the aforementioned Wilhelm Natzmer. This payment, however, did not occur until four years later, and with it the official handover of the castle, accompanied by a royal inspection. We learn from it that the castle's staff at the time and the staff of the nearby farmstead numbered 21 people, including a scribe and a starost-assistant. Among castle's servants were two gunners, a key-keeper, four watchmen, a hunter, a cook, a gate-keeper and a stableman. The annual upkeep of the castle and its crew cost around 400 florins at the time.
DRAHIM CASTLE: CANNON REPLICA AND COPIES OF MEDIEVAL ARMOR
n 1576 (or 1583) Jan Sędziwój Czarnkowski of
Nałęcz coat of arms (d. 1611) became starost of Drahim. Soon after, he made another modernization of the castle, including the construction of a wooden chapel in its courtyard, as well as two buildings with a half-timbered structure, called the starost's house and the vice-starost's house. The office was inherited by his son, also Jan Sędziwój, married to
Anna Mohilanka (d. 1666), who, after Jan's death in 1642, married Władysław Gonzaga Myszkowski of
Jastrzębiec coat of arms (d. 1658), bequeathing him the Drahim starosty. During the Polish-Swedish War, in 1656 the Swedes seized the castle without actually fighting, after a 400-strong Polish contingent had escaped.
PLAN OF THE CASTLE IN ENGRAVING BY ERIK DAHLBERGH FROM 1657
n 1657, Polish king
Jan Kazimierz (d. 1672) pledged Drahim to the Elector of Brandenburg
Friedrich Wilhelm (d. 1688) in exchange for his military support. He did not repay the debt, and in 1660 the castle and its subordinate land formally became part of Brandenburg. In fact, however, it was still administered by Polish hetman
Stanisław Potocki called Rewera (d. 1667), who - despite the specter of debt hanging over the castle - renovated and fortified it. The Brandenburgers took over the stronghold by force only a year after Potocki's death (1668) and from then on ruled it as a princely domain, and after Brandenburg had been incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia (1701) - as royal property. The castle, called Alt Draheim in German, was administered by an official known as an amtmann, who had judicial power and police authority over the area.
VIEW OF THE CASTLE FROM THE FIRST HALF OF THE XIXTH CENTURY
fter the death of amtmann Konrad von Homboldt (d. 1726), the Drahim district, along with its police and court jurisdiction, became a leasehold. It was taken over by a certain Johann Warnshagen, followed by his son, Carl Friedrich, and then by Johan Phillip Holz, the third and last private tenant of the castle. By this time the building was already in a very poor technical condition. That condition was further worsened by the invasion of the Russian troops, which shelled the castle, then looted it and set it on fire. Later it still housed offices of the Prussian tax land administration, but as early as 1784 part of the walls were demolished to obtain bricks for the construction of a Protestant church (which stands next to the castle). From then on, Drahim declined more and more until it became just a picturesque ruin.
EVANGELICAL CHURCH IN STARE DRAWSKO WAS BUILT PARTLY USING MATERIAL OBTAINED FROM THE CASTLE
n 1853, the ruin passed from private hands to the Prussian state for 270 thalers, and then - as early as 1927 - it was bought for 250 thalers by district authorities in Szczecinek (Neustettin), on whose initiative first work to secure and consolidate the castle walls began. More widespread rescue work, including archaeological research, did not take place until 1963-68. After their completion, however, there was a lack of ideas and funds to manage the castle, causing it to fall into neglect again. This state of affairs lasted until the 1990s when the ruin was bought by a private entrepreneur, who adapted it for tourism.
CASTLE RUIN IN THE 1920S
ARCHAEOLOGICAL WORKS CARRIED OUT AT THE CASTLE IN THE 1960S
he castle was situated on an embankment (remnant of an early medieval borough), which for this purpose was raised by 2 meters and reshaped from an oval into a quadrangle. On the lake side, the slopes of this hill were reinforced with stone paving and wooden beams to prevent erosion and landslides of fortification elements. The castle was cut off from the mainland by two moats, about 5 meters deep, enclosing it from the north and south, while Drawsko and Żerdno lakes formed a natural barrier from the east and west. Access to the stronghold led by a wooden drawbridge over the northern moat, supported by thick, vertical pillars.
CASTLE RUIN AND EVANGELICAL CHURCH, PHOTO FROM THE 1930S
DRAHIM SEEN FROM THE NORTHERN SHORE OF LAKE ŻERDNO
he outer wall, built with stones at the ground level and bricks above, formed a quadrilateral regular square with sides of ca. 41 x 46 meters. It is interesting to note that the walls, up to 2.5 meters thick, varied in height: on the south side, where the greatest danger was expected, it was almost 13 meters, while the other sides did not exceed 8 meters. They were crowned by a roofed porch for guards, along which shooting holes were placed at an interval of ca. 2.5 meters. The main gateway to the castle was situated in the northern curtain, while in the western wall there was a narrow pedestrian gate. It should be mentioned that the castle never had a tower.
REMAINS OF THE GATE IN THE NORTH WALL OF THE CASTLE
he main house, 37 meters long and 11 meters wide, occupied the entire space along the southern wall and its area covered about ¼ of the entire castle. It was a three-story edifice, the ground floor of which contained a mint workshop, a kitchen and a 8-meter-deep cone, presumably serving as a prison dungeon, although according to some opinions it may have been the beginnings for a future tower. The second floor of the south wing consisted of living chambers and representative halls, while the top floor was probably used for storage purposes. Natural light reached them only from the north side, since from the south the wall of the house was adapted for defense, and therefore it had only small shooting holes here.
RECONSTRUCTION OF THE XIV-XV CENTURY CASTLE BY ZBIGNIEW RADACKI
EXPOSED DUNGEON (?), PICTURE FROM: 'GRÓD I ZAMEK W STARYM DRAWSKU'
he medieval castle probably also had wooden workshops and outbuildings arranged around a rectangular courtyard. In its northeastern corner, a 4 x 8-meter cellar with a large number of crossbow bolts, traces of iron ore smelting and a furnace was discovered, as well as a cellar dating from the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries, which is a relic of a blacksmith's workshop. In the medieval phase, there was also a circular horse drinker and a timbered well with a diameter of ca. 180 cm. The castle courtyard had a stone pavement. Near the entrance gate, as well as at the western gate, gutters shaped in it for draining excess rainwater from the castle grounds have been preserved.
GUTTER FOR DRAINING WATER FROM THE COURTYARD, PICTURE FROM: 'GRÓD I ZAMEK W STARYM DRAWSKU'
RECONSTRUCTION OF A BLACKSMITH'S WORKSHOP
ore information about the spatial layout of the castle is provided by documents from inspections conducted here by royal officials. Thanks to them, we know that in the second half of the 16th century two half-timbered edifices were erected in the courtyard: in the western part a one-story and straw-covered so-called starost's house (19 x 10 meters), and in the eastern part a building called vice-starost's house (21 x 7.5 meters). Both buildings were connected by their shorter sides with the medieval southern wing, but did not directly adjoin the defensive walls - a two-meter space left between them and the wall, so they gained additional light (the outer walls had no windows).
VIEW OF THE CASTLE FROM THE NORTHEAST: 1. REMAINS OF THE SOUTH WING, 2. MAIN GATE, 3. SITE OF THE STAROST'S HOUSE,
4. SITE OF THE VICE-STAROST'S HOUSE, 5. WICKET, 6. MOAT
e learn from documents that in 1565 a stable for 16 horses operated by the west wall, with a feed store in the attic. In the corner between the southern and western wings there was a shed with a cellar capable of holding 20 tons of beer. In addition, a reed-coveredguardhouse stood right next to main gate, and nearby - an ammunition storehouse. North of the castle a farm area extended.
IN THE CASTLE COURTYARD
he gatehouse (dating from the 16th century), equipped with an oak gate and a drawbridge with a counterweight, also had a half-timbered construction. In addition, in the 16th century, earthen ramparts with corner semicircular roundels were erected. In 1565, the artillery defense of the castle consisted of 14 falconets, as well as the other armaments included armor for 6 servants and a rifle belonging to the starost. In the middle of the 17th century, a project was made to surround the castle with bastion fortifications, but it was probably never realized.
RECONSTRUCTION OF A XVII-XVIII CENTURY CASTLE ACCORDING TO ZBIGNIEW RADACKI
he full perimeter of the stone and brick defensive walls has survived, with the remains of the main castle house. The courtyard buildings, on the other hand, are already contemporary and not historically related to the original layout of the medieval stronghold. The buildings form something like a medieval settlement, shaped to suit the taste of the mass tourist. In my opinion, this scenery is highly controversial, although acceptable, while the most criticism, however, is due to the general neglect that prevails here.
AT THE CASTLE WE CAN FIND PLACES WHERE IT IS PLEASANT TO BE ...
...AND THOSE THAT CAUSE A FEELING OF EMBARRASSMENT
Admission fee. For people who only want to see the ruins "from the inside", the ticket price may be difficult to accept (6€ in 2022), as the tour will not last more than 15-20 minutes. More attractions the castle offers to families with children, who may find here typical entertainment for them.
You can enter the castle grounds with your dog.
The ruin is not suitable for people with physical disabilities.
AT DRAHIM CASTLE
The castle is located on a narrow isthmus between two lakes, just by the road no 163 connecting Czaplinek with Połczyn-Zdrój. Buses from Wałcz, Koszalin and Poznań pass through Stare Drawsko (a bus stop right next to the castle).
There is a large, free parking lot near the castle.
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2. H. Janocha, F. Lachowicz, D. Ptaszyńska: Gród i zamek w Starym Drawsku, WP 1972
3. L. Kajzer, J. Salm, S. Kołodziejski: Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Arkady 2001
4. J. Leszczełowski: Henrykowscy Golczowie, Kamera 2013
5. E. Rymar: Historia polityczna i społeczna Nowej Marchii w średniowieczu, Gorzów Wielkopolski, 2016
6. Z. Szultka: Natzmerowie - z badań nad zróżnicowaniem politycznym..., Słupskie Studia Hist. 19, 2013
7. A. Wagner: Murowane budowle obronne w Polsce X-XVIIw., Bellona 2019
AT LAKE ŻERDNO
Castles nearby: Połczyn Zdrój - knight's castle from the 14th century, rebuilt, 22 km
Złocieniec - relics of a 14th century knight's castle, 24 km
Mirosławiec - relics of a 14th century knight's castle, 34 km Świdwin - Gothic castle from the 13th-15th centuries, 48 km
Szczecinek - Ducal castle from the 14th century, rebuilt, 49 km