The Bedzin Castle

The Bedzin Castle is a castle in Bedzin in southern Poland. The stone castle dates to 14th century, and is predated by a wooden fortification that was erected in 11th century. It was an important fortification in the Kingdom of Poland.

The site of Bedzin Castle was in earliest known a 10th century grod, subsequently destroyed in the 12th century. In 1228 a wooden castle with stone foundations and a stone tower was on the hill by King Boleslaw the Bashful, but it was burned by the Mongols in 1241. It was rebuilt in wood, but in 1358 Casimir the Great (1333-1370) replaced the mainly timber structure with the current masonry castle. The old stone watch tower was heightened, apparently to twice its current height, and a large square keep served as the royal residence. The inner curtain walls were 26 to 39 feet tall. A 16 foot tall outer curtain formed the middle ward. There are etchings of an outer ward with two entrance gate towers on the internet, but I've seen no sign of ruins. A stone wall protecting the town was added six years later, some of which remains.

Bedzin is located between Katowice and Krakow on the main road leading from southwest Poland into Silesia, which was for centuries at the edge of the Holy Roman Empire and for a time was part of Prussia. Casimir's castle was built to protect the border of Poland from the incursions of the Germanic Silesians. It was an important market town, enhanced by the salt trade. The Swedish invasions of 1655 partially destroyed the castle, but it was rebuilt in 1855 by Francisco Maria Lanci, who lowered the tower. The town of Bedzin is frequently sadly remembered for the vibrant Jewish community that was destroyed in 1939. The Nazi SS destroyed the synagogue and eventually transported almost 10,000 Jewish citizens to Auschwitz for extermination. The castle's last major restoration took place in 1956 - it now houses a very popular museum. The current population of Bedzin is about 60,000.

The castle became the site of a museum, Zaglebie Museum in 1956.[5] The museum has several collections: one of armament, from medieval to World War II times; second dedicated to the history of the Będzin Castle; third to the castles of the other nearby castles founded by Casimir the Great (Eagle Nests Trail or Szlak Orlich Gniazd) and the final one, to the military history of the Bedzin region.

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