Ducal Castle, Szczecin

Ducal Castle

Eastern facade.
General information
Architectural style Gothic, Pomeranian mannerism
Town or city Szczecin
Country Poland
Construction started 1346
Completed 1428
Demolished 1944
Design and construction
Architect Wilhelm Zachariasz Italus
(mannerist reconstruction)

The Ducal Castle in Szczecin, Poland, was the seat of the dukes of Pomerania-Stettin of the House of Pomerania (Griffins), who ruled the Duchy of Pomerania from 1121 to 1637.


Barnim the Great of Pomerania-Stettin erected the castle within Szczecin's walls against the will of the burghers in 1346. An older Pomeranian burgh had been leveled in 1249.[1] In 1490 the castle was partially reconstructed for Bogusław X's wedding with Anna Jagiellonka (daughter of king Casimir IV Jagiellon).[2]

Between 1573−1582 the castle was rebuilt again, this time in the mannerist style for duke John Frederick by Italian stonemasons according to design by Wilhelm Zachariasz Italus.[3][4] Two new wings were added to close the courtyard before the medieval southern and eastern wings.[3] The main gate was adorned with ducal crest, the eastern wing was enhanced and the northern wing was intended for chapel.

In 1648, due to the tenets of the Peace of Westphalia, the castle become a seat of Swedish governor.[5] Before 1705 another reconstruction occurred to prepare the castle for Queen of Poland - Catherine Opalińska, who lived here with her daughters Anna and Marie Leszczyńska (future Queen of France) and a small court between 1705-1711.[5] In 1711 king Stanisław I Leszczyński, who sought refuge before chasing him Saxon and Russian forces, joined his wife and daughters at the castle.[5]

After the Great Northern War, in 1720, the city of Szczecin become a Prussian property and the castle was allocated to the garrison commander Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, whose daughter was Sophie Friederike Auguste (future Catherine II of Russia).[5] Under Prussian rule in the 19th century many renaissance elements in the castle were devastated (arcades, attics, vaulting).[2] Eventually about 60% of the castle was destroyed during World War II (August 1944).[5] Shortly after the war between 1958–1980, it was rebuilt with some modifications. The castle was restored to its original 16th century appearance according to 1653 engraving by Matthäus Merian (among others).[2]

See also


  1. Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.121, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
  2. 1 2 3 "History". zamek.szczecin.pl. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
  3. 1 2 "Historia". zamek.szczecin.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2009-12-28.
  4. Kazimiera Kalita Skwirzyńska, Ewa Prync-Pommerencke. "Zamki i dwory renesansowe". www.pomorskiezamki.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2009-12-28.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 "Szczecin". www.zamkipolskie.com (in Polish). Retrieved 2009-12-28.
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Coordinates: 53°25′34″N 14°33′37″E / 53.42611°N 14.56028°E / 53.42611; 14.56028

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