The Lublin Castle (Castelul Lublin)

The Lublin Castle is located in Poland, in close proximity to the center of the city Lublin. It is a medieval citadel and one of the oldest castles which have survived the passage of time. The castle was erected by king Casimir II the Just and it served as royal dwelling.

History

The structure of the Lublin Castle, as it is today, is the result of years of construction and renovation. The castle is situated on a hill which has been fortified for the first time in the 12th century when a wall made out of wood and stone was erected. The first decades of the 13th century witnessed the construction of the stone keep. This is not only the oldest edifice within the city of Lublin but also the highest one in the area.

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King Casimir the Great gives order for the castle to be reconstructed in the 14th century. The reason behind the reconstruction work is the king’s wish to fortify the edifice, by making it out of stone. The Lublin Castle also holds a church, the Holy Trinity, and even though the actual period when the church was constructed is unknown, there are reasons to believe that it dates from the reign of Casimir the Great.

The painting work for this chapel, initiated in the first years of the 15th century, were finished in 1418. It is remarkable the fact that the illustrations did not suffer massive deterioration, and even today, tourists can admire the original painting done by Master Andrej.

The painter’s inimitable artistic design which draws inspiration from both the eastern and western orthodox elements has transformed the castle into a valuable monument which has gained universal praise.

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When Poland was ruled by the Jagiellon family, the castle was one of their favorite places.  Because of this, the castle was reconstructed in the 16th century but the result was impressive. Everything was “updated” so that it would be fit of a royal family. In order to meet the Jagiellon family’s expectations, architects were brought from Italy to supervise the reconstruction work.

Important historical events took place within the walls of this castle and probably the most important one is the moment when the document attesting the Union of Lublin was signed in 1569.

The 17th century was not a very good period for the castle as this was badly damaged during the wars that ravaged Poland at that time. It was between 1826 and 1828 that the castle underwent restoration work. This was possible due to the territorial settlement reached upon by the Congress of Vienna in 1815.

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Following the decision of the congress, Poland decided to initiate the renovation of the edifice. The architectural design used for the castle was English Neo-gothic. The renovation led to a completely new edifice which had nothing in common with the old one it replaced.  But the purpose was also different: the castle was meant as a criminal prison.

The only sections that maintained their original look were the keep and the chapel. The castle maintained its status as a prison for 128 years and it was not until 1954 that the role of the castle as a penitentiary ceased. It took 3 years to reconstruct the edifice and ever since the Lublin Castle has been the home of the Lublin Museum.