Castles

Around 400 castles have survived in Poland until today. In the times of first Piast rulers, fortified settlements were built in Poland. Starting from 13th century, many of them were replaced with castles – originally Gothic, then enlarged and modernized until the 17th century.

When artillery developed, medieval towers were substituted by low bastions for mounting cannons. Later, those were replaced by five-sided bastions in the shape of a star. Since the 17th century castles were no longer built and fortresses were erected around towns. Most castles were destroyed during the Swedish wars in the 17th-18th century and in Lower Silesia during the Silesian wars in the 18th century. So most of today’s castles are, to a lesser or greater extent, impressive ruins; some however notwithstanding rebuilding and undergoing repairs, have survived in very good condition and have become either museums or hotels.

Amongst those castles which survived, best known are: Wawel Castle in Krakow, Malbork Castle, Lancut Castle, Lublin Castle, Castle in Baranow Sandomierski, Ksiaz Castle, Teutonic Castle in Lidzbark Warminski, Reszel Castle, ruins of Ogrodzieniec Castle, ruins of Olsztyn Castle etc.

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