Saturday, July 14, 2012

Old Castle in Grodno

Old Castle in Grodno, the first fortification built by the Russian princes in the XI century. The castle is situated on a high and steep hill on the right bank of the Neman River at the confluence of a river Gorodnichanka. Castle was built as a wooden fortress on which virtually nothing is left. Hrodna Old Castle was a lure for all kinds of invaders - after all, he protected the wealthy city. In the XIII century castle built strong stone tower, very similar to Kamenetsky Vezu. But Grodno tower was dismantled during the next adjustment. Once in the XIII century Grodno became a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the castle became the target of numerous attacks by the Crusaders. Crusaders stormed the fortress of Mazovia and the Teutonic Order in 1284, 1296, 1305, 1306 and 1311, respectively. The knights, having collected an army from all over Europe in February - March 1364 and tried unsuccessfully to acquire the lock. In 1391 the castle became one of the principal residences of Vytautas. What did not the Crusaders made their own. During the civil war in 1390, the year the troops of Prince Jogaila took the castle in a tight 50-day siege. The castle was burned down. In the fire the fire was almost killed himself Vytautas and his family.

          Soon on the site of the Grand Duke Vytautas ruins built a new brick Gothic castle with five towers. Just a few years later, he stood first baptism of fire - storm of the Crusaders. The castle was built around the perimeter of the mountain, and its wall thickness of 2.5-3 m formed a wrong in terms of a triangle. The walls of unequal height, and had ended with teeth. On the walls of structures can only be judged by the preserved remains of brick and stone-boulder. Brick masonry walls used to align the rows of stone, in the towers - as a facing material. The peculiarity of brick-stamps are signs of masters, cut with a sharp instrument to the firing. The castle was five towers. Entry tower, square, located in the southeast corner of the fortress and was connected with the city of lifting a wooden bridge. The tallest tower, a circular cross section, has escaped from the XIII century. and was included in the system Vitovt new fortifications. By its nature, this tower was close to a military-type guard towers Vezha in Kamenetz. The towers have not survived to our time: some were dismantled during the construction of the palace Stefan Batory Foundation in the late XVI century. From other foundations and left side walls. In line the walls, facing the town, placed a new stone two-storey palace Vytautas with thick walls. The building is largely preserved to this day. Separated from the town of Castle 50-meter dry moat.

        In 1445godu Grand Duke of Lithuania Casimir IV Jagiellonian received here of the Polish ambassador, offered him the crown, and in 1492, died in the castle. It is very often stopped Stefan Batory, who did the actual from Grodno capital of the Commonwealth. In the years 1576-1586 Upper Castle became the residence of King Stefan Batory Foundation and the King's initiative was rebuilt by the Italian architect Scotto almost over. From the fortress built by Vytautas, leaving only the walls and some towers. In planning a two-story palace of its apparent adaptation to the defense: no ceremonial hall and staircase, the walls were more thick. Small in size room and several rooms created an asymmetrical composition, and the closed plan. Interior decoration of the ground floor was made of brick: the royal rooms on the second floor finished polished plaster, decorated with tiles and carvings. The floor was paved with marble and ceramic tiles. The tower housed the room, and above it - a hall with stucco. Impressive and elegant bedroom, painted gray and gold paint ....
        The castle has become a richly decorated palace.

         In 1579 there was a meeting of the Senate, which discussed the contribution of the Commonwealth in the Livonian War. Batory carried himself in a castle a long time. The city he loved so much, that often dropped in here, including hunting. There are legends that the king had found here the lady of his heart - the daughter of a forester, who bore him a son. But this, of course, did not know Stephen's wife Queen Anne. The last time King arrived in Grodno in September 1586. September 6, 1586 King of Poland once again arrived in Grodno, as it turned out, forever. On Sunday, December 7, he was, as usual, went to church - Faro Vytautas (200 meters from the castle), but there fell ill. Five days later, at the residence he was even worse. Stefan Batory opened all the windows to breathe easier, but the heart has stopped. To find out the cause of sudden death in Grodno made the first in Eastern Europe, anatomical dissection, but it does not give an exact answer. Interestingly, one and a half years before his death Stefan Batory in his will asked that he be buried in the city across the river. However, breaking the will of the king, he was buried in Krakow, where all Polish monarchs are buried.

         The fate of the old castle has been linked to numerous modifications. In 1655 the castle was completely destroyed by Russian troops during the Russian-Polish war of 1654-1667. Lithuania has built his chancellor and mayor of Grodno Krzysztof Zygmunt Pats. Then the windows lost their borders, and have been increased.

         Since 1678 the castle passed the Diet of Poland third.

        During the Northern War of 1700-1721 the castle was destroyed by the Swedes. A fire in 1735 virtually destroyed what was left of the castle, and he never regained its former importance. In the middle of the XVIII century, was built near New Castle, and the old no longer perform its function. After the partition of Poland and Grodno accession to the Russian Empire in the XIX century it was rebuilt in the royal barracks, hotels, casinos and an officer's military library. Superstructure of the third floor, made in the XIX century, completely changed his appearance.
       To have survived the palace, fragments of defensive walls, the ruins of the Lower and Upper Church, the prince's quarters, the bridge and the Site of ancient castle. Castle with the city connects the stone arch bridge built to replace the wooden in the second half of XVII century.

        In 1925, the former royal palace opened on historical and archaeological museum. At present the castle is located the main exhibition of Grodno Museum of History and Archeology
         The castle has long needed restoration, but the experts did not immediately identified, it should be. The project of reconstruction of the castle, as a result it takes the form, which had at Stefan Batory. Restore the Palace Stefan Batory can with reasonable accuracy, as preserved engraved picture of the building. Work is expected to begin in 2012.

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