Krzyżtopór Castle in Ujazd - once the largest palace complex in Europe
Location show on map
Ujazd 73, Poland
Date of build
1620 - 1644
The Krzyztopór Castle is located in Poland, in the village of Ujazd in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains on the territory of the parish of Iwaniska. The castle is an abandoned monument of international class.
The history of the castle dates back to 1619, when Ujazd together with the parish of Iwaniska became the property of Polish nobleman Krzysztof Ossoliński. The governor decided to build a palace that would overshadow all other magnate's offices in Poland and abroad. His idea was realized in the years 1621-1644 and assumed the construction of the largest residence in Poland and all Europe.
The castle was the largest palace complex in Europe until the famous French Versailles was built.
The construction took place between 1619/21 and 1644 in three phases and cost PLN 3 million. The main building was built during the first 6 years, then the clock tower with a gateway was extended, which was documented by engraving with the inscription "Cross defense/support cross/grandfather of our Axor". (today there is no trace of this inscription anymore).
The owners enjoyed their new premises only for a short time. The owner died a year after the construction was completed, in 1645, while his heir and only son, Krzysztof Baldwin, died in 1949 at the battle of Zborow. Since then, the castle has passed from hand to hand several times.
The castle in Krzyżtopór is a typical example of a palazzo in Fortezza, a mixture of a presidential palazzo and a fortress. Inspired by Italian palaces, it is as magnificent as it is rich.
The construction plan consists of a bastion inscribed in a pentagon with axes of about 120 m and 95 m. The palace, fortifications and garden are connected axially. The shape of the building was designed on a pentagonal base, modelled on the number of calendar days. Four towers reflect the four seasons, the number of rooms corresponds to the number of weeks in a year, with rooms for each month, and the number of windows corresponds to the number of days in a year.
In the center there is a three-story palace built on a rectangular plan with an elliptical inner courtyard. A wing with a large hall on the first floor, topped with an octagonal tower, was added to the main body of the palace, on the axis from the north-western side. The side wings of the palace surrounded the large entrance courtyard.
Through the glass ceiling in the dining room in the tower, visitors could see an aquarium with exotic fish.
The stable on the right side of the castle has excellent acoustic conditions admired by the specialists who proposed to the owners of the castle to organize concerts there. It is said that the horses living there had crystal mirrors in their stables and their mangers were made of marble.
The basement of the tower hides a spring with water of extraordinary taste and healing qualities called Krzyztopożanka.
This once the largest palace building in Europe occupies 1.3 hectares. The gardens occupy an area of 1.6 ha.
The total length of the walls is 600 meters and their area is 3730 square meters. The castle is surrounded by a 3-metre-high rampart. It is 5-7 meters high outside, and even 15 meters by the northern bastion. <11 thousand tons of quartzite sandstone, 300 cubic meters of kunov sandstone, 5 thousand cubic meters of sand, marble, alabaster and exotic wood were used for construction. 200,000 bricks and 30,000 tiles were needed for the construction, 1 million egg whites were used for the mortar.
The castle was robbed and destroyed during the Swedish invasion in 1655. At that time, numerous archives containing, among others, documentation related to the construction of the palace were destroyed. The family stayed in the palace and lived in one of the wings, because it was too expensive to rebuild the castle.
After the war, the state took over the castle in Krzyżtopór. Despite the plans to restore the castle to its former glory, which are repeated from time to time, it remains unbuilt to this day. Nowadays, it is the seat of the Castle Culture Institution in Ujazd, and it hosts numerous tournaments, festivals and shows of knightly fights.
The castle has many legends, according to one of them, the spirit of Krzysztof Baldwin Ossoliński circulates around the building, which does not appear in person, but you can hear his traces, the sounds of horse hooves, and sometimes you can see the shadow of a hussar on the castle walls.
Another legend tells of the White Lady, who is said to be a relative of Ossoliński's who once lived in the castle. She was holding a small white dog that recognized bad people. When the dog barked at the man, the man was immediately thrown into the castle dungeon. Knowing the unpleasant customs of this lady, one of the guests killed her as soon as the dog started barking at him. Therefore, on some nights she still appears with her pet on the castle walls.
"He was put on the rock by Krzysztof the Governor,
Ossoliński, as fashion demanded at the time -
Eagle-shaped. It was defended by high ramparts
From the invasion of enemies and deep moats." - Franciszek Xawery Bartkowski, "Dożynki" (1882 r.)