History of The Castle

The first mention of "the castle Przymiłowice" (later Olsztyn) comes from 1306.It was built at the place where an early medieval castle had been before. Between  1349-59 it was enlarged at the initiative of Casimir the Great to defend the frontier of Silesia and Malopolska. In 1370 castle passed into the hands of Wladyslaw Jagiello.

View of the ruins of the castle and its surroundings. Watercolor Z. Vogel of 1787

Since 1406 the fortress had been a seat of a non-town district mayor and had a permanent military garrison. The first mayor was Paul Odrowaz. In the mid-sixteenth century mayor Mikolaj Szydlowiecki rebuilt the fortress into its Renaissance style.


In 1587 the army of Maximilian Hapsburg , a pretender to the Polish crown, had destroyed the castle, but they did not capture the fortress. Subsequent damages occurred during the Swedish attack in 1656. Since that time, the castle had been turning into ruins, limestone rocks crumbled and damaged  the walls and between 1722-29 lower parts of the castle had been demolished in order to obtain materials to build a church in Olsztyn. In 1818 the local properties had been united under the Olsztynian economy of government property. What preserved  to this day is the ruins of a tower and fragments of walls. 

During its glory in 16th century the castle consisted of 5 main parts: two approaches of the castle, a lower castle, a middle castle and an upper castle. At the south-east side of the hill there was an entrance with a drawbridge and a gate positioned in the tower and combined with the walls. Next there was the first elongated approach of the castle with farm buildings. It was separated from the bottom of the castle by a wall with a gate. In the lower castle there were farm buildings and a dwelling house called Kamieniec  - A Stony Place. Another gate led to the middle castle, situated at the foot of a round tower. This part was connected with the upper castle by a drawbridge over a moat and a gate in the wall near the tower. There were kitchens here and the three so-called royal rooms (bedroom, dining room and the courtroom).

One of the distinctive features of the ruins is a Gothic tower from the second half of the 13th century. It was 35m high, round at the bottom, octagonal at the top and made of stone.  In the 15th century the superstructure of brick was added. It served as a prison. Macko from Borkowice - Poznan's governor on behalf of Casimir the Great – died here from starvation. In the south-west part there was the second approach of the castle, with a square observation tower called Soltysia. The whole castle was surrounded by a fortified wall.

The Olsztynian fort is an example of a gothic building in the uplands style.  Its design integrates limestone outliers and karst caves which categorises it as a cave castle.

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