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Gołuchów Castle

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GOŁUCHÓW

This village in Pleszew County lies 15 km north-east of Kalisz.

Gołuchów Castle is one of the few Wielkopolska residences that was already known and open to the public in the 19th century.

The history of the castle goes back to the Middle Ages and its first known owner was Żegota of Gołuchów (1263-1282). A defensive fort stood here in the first half of the 15th century, probably where the castle stands today. The terrain definitely provides for adequate defence. It overlooks the Trzemsza River from the west and is surrounded by a moat and a secure embankment.

The Gołuchów estates became the property of the Leszczyński family in 1507. The work on the residence, which had progressed in stages from the early 16th century, was completed between 1600 and 1628. This was now one of the most magnificent renaissance castles in Poland. A graphic recreation of its appearance back then was made possible by 18th-century surveys and inventory measurements from 1850.

The castle consisted of a tower house with four octagonal towers in the corners, closing the premises from the north. The basement and three keeps (reconstructed during the 19th century) have been preserved. This building is a throwback to the medieval tradition of tower houses and is unlike any other castle in Poland. It may have been erected prior to 1507. There used to be another building on the southern side. The two wings, which centred around a small interior courtyard with an arcaded cloister, were joined by built-on porches. The sandstone door frames, main entrance portal and marble and stone chimney housings have survived from those days. There are accounts of richly carved doors, decorated floors and polychromed and carved ceilings.

The estate changed hands frequently from the end of the 17th century until the middle of the 19th. Jan Działyński, son of the owner of Kórnik, purchased Gołuchów in 1853 and set about improving the economy of Gołuchów and beautifying the park in front of the castle. Only necessary repairs were made to the residence itself.

The work gathered pace after Jan Działyński married Prince Adam Czartoryski’s daughter Izabela in 1857. The castle became their Polish home. The owner of Gołuchów was forced to emigrate for his part in the January Uprising of 1863. The Prussian authorities sequestered his estate, along with the castle, and all work ceased.

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