Poland 5 Złotych 2016 -Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle in Szczecin
Discover Poland series
1 200 000 2016
The Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle in Szczecin was the historical residence
of the House of Griffins who ruled Western Pomerania for nearly 500 years. The building, best seen from the bank of the Oder, has undergone multiple conversions, bearing witness to the complex and turbulent history of the region. As early as in the 12th century, it was home to the duke’s court. In the following century, Barnim I made it the main family residence, while in the 14th century Barnim III built the so-called Stone House and St. Otto’s Chapel. Casimir V added the so-called Big House and the prison tower, while at the end of the 15th century Bogislaw X had the castle enlarged significantly. In the 16th century, thanks to Barnim XI, the building gained a new shape. The south wing was raised, a clock tower and an east wing were built, and traceries (openwork elements in brick or stone) were added.
In Johann Friedrich’s time, the castle was significantly remodelled in Renaissance style and – by adding a north and west part – a four-winged structure was created. In the early 17th century, Philip II added a mint wing. It housed an armoury, ducal library collections and a kunstkamera – a cabinet of curiosities.
Following Bogislaw XIV’s death in 1637, the Duchy of Pomerania was split between
Sweden and Brandenburg. In 1720, the southern part of Swedish Pomerania was ceded to Prussia and the castle became the seat of the Prussian administration.
Restoration of the building to its former residential character started in the early 20th century, to be interrupted by World War II. The reconstruction of the Renaissance form of the castle was resumed only in the 1950s, on the basis of historical prints, paintings and drawings. The foundations of older buildings and the Griffins’ crypt with family sarcophagi, among others, were excavated in the course of the works.
At present the Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle in Szczecin houses a local government cultural
institution bearing the same name, the Opera in the Castle and the Marshal’s Office of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship. In 2015, the antique polychromy in the prison tower was renovated, and in 2014-2015 the north wing was refurbished: ceilings in the Duke Bogislaw X’s room were decorated with Renaissance style paintings, fragments of the 14th-century foundations of St. Otto’s Church were displayed, the ducal sarcophagi were returned to the crypt and the Stone House foundations were uncovered in front of the crypt.
source: nbp.pl / own