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Royal free city... n/Wisła...
By Pogranicze Media
Published: 20.03.2014



... The settlement was build next to a passage across the Vistula, which involved the collection of duties. It ensured a
constant development of Kazimierz. At the beginning of the 14th century, soon after Kazimierz came back into the royal hands, Casmir the Great placed his town there. He was probably also the builder of a parish church and the castle. A bastion was raised earlier.
    The real development of the town took place in the second half of the 16h century and was connected with rapidly growing trade in cereals which were sent to Gdańsk up the Vistula. The greatest prosperity of the town took place in the first half of the 17th century. His most important buildings of Kazimierz were raised then. Around 1565 and 1585, after two fires, the town gained a new architectural image. Wooden buildings were replaced by brick constructions. The rebuilding of the parish church, finished in 1613 by an Italian mason, Jakub Balin, initiated the changes. Balin gave the church a shape which was later imitated in tens of churches, especially in  the Eastern lands of the Polish Republic. Soon, the construction of tenement houses of the Przybyłowski family in the market square with numerous decorations of the facades was finished. A little bit later, St. Anne’s hospital was rebuilt, and in 1626, the Reformates’ church was built. After 1625, a tenement house of the Celej family and a chapel of the Górski family were built. Next to the parish church by the Vistula, few brick granaries, with the most beautiful one called “Under the God’s torment” (“Pod Bożą Męką”; today it does not exist) were built. The town had around 5000 inhabitants then/ for comparison – Lublin had at that time around 10000 inhabitants.
   The war with Sweden, “Deluge”, brought fires, plunders and destruction to Kazimierz.
The ruins of the castle
 ... In the 15th century, the castle was enlarged. In 1502, the king Vladislaus II created a non-town district which was later rented to the magnate families of the Republic of Poland. The Firlej family ruled in the district for the longest period of time - 1509-1644. In the 16th century, one of the representatives of the family, the castellan of Krakow, the grand crown hetman Mikołaj Firlej funded the rebuilding of the castle in Italian Renaissance style. The best royal architects: Santi Gucci and Piotr Likiel provided supervision for the works.
    A process of the slow decay of the fortress began after the destructions made by the Swedes, Cossacks and Rákóczi's army in 1655-1657 and in 1707-1714. The misfortune was completed by the conflagration in 1663. The building was rebuilt again during the reign of Augustus the Saxon. It was to be transformed in a palace style but the civil war with Stanisław Leszczyński caused that these plans were not implemented and the neglected castle soon after that went into ruin. Probably by the end of the 18th century the castle was abandoned. In 1806, the castle was in such a bad condition that Austrian authorities of conquest ordered to demolish an attic which was in danger of collapsing.
    On 18 April, 1831 the fortress in Kazimierz for the last time witnessed military struggles. Under its aged walls a bloody fight between the insurgents of the November Uprising and the Russian wards took place. During this skirmish, the commander of infantry, Col Juliusz Małachowski was killed among others.
   At that time, the castle belonged to the Czatoryski family. However, because Duke Adam Czartoryski took part in the uprising, his possessions were soon confiscated and became the property of the treasury of the Kingdom of Poland.
   After World War II, works aiming at leaving the monument in a form of the permanent ruin and making it available for the tourists were undertaken.
Zhukiewicz Bohdan
translated by Joanna Hardukiewicz
photos Mieczysław Kowal, Antoni Hadała (bo, zakapior)

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