From the past of Pułtusk Castle

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The present castle is located on the artificially created hill. The oldest traces of colonization found by the archeologists reach the 13th century.
In the 13th century the city and the vast area around today Pułtusk had been given to the bishops of Płock. From that moment for more than six hundred years they had ruled the castle, calling themselves the princes of Pułtusk.
At the beginning the castle residence was wooden. In the 14th century or maybe in the times of the bishop Paweł Giżycki (1439-1463) on the western part of the hill, there was raised the brick Little House, simple basement building on the rectangular plan with four-sided stone tower.

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The most serious works on the development of the castle were conducted in the 16th century. They gave the renaissance character to the residence.
As far as the castle is concerned, on the north from the Little House, the Large House was raised, presently, the north-western wing. It was the brick two storey, basement building on the rectangular plan with single track inside. On the East, there adhered the gate to it. This building lasted till today. In the 16th century at the regime of the bishop Piotr Myszkowski, there appeared two gardens with fruit-trees and grapevine, separated with fence from the town. At the beginning of the next century, the bishop Marcin Szyszkowski lead to clearing of the castle walls and his successor, Henryk Firlej raised the huge arcade bridge at the entry and brick fence. And in the times of the bishop Stanisław Lubieński, in 1628 the chapel of those times was embroidered with polychrome by the painter Jan Rostwoski.

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The same as in the many other places in our country, The Swedes destroyed the place during the deluge. The castle was almost entirely destroyed, and the Swedes collected huge tributes, in the amount of the thirty year payment within two years from the town and from the close villages.
The reconstruction of the castle was started not before than at the end of the 17th century, in the period when the diocese was ruled in sequence by three bishops from Załuscy line of the Junosz crest. The Large House was raised from the ashes, and from the remains of the Little House there was the western wing erected with the new chapel. On the East from the gate building there was build the entirely new basement north-western wing. The interiors were decorated with stuccowork and the Dutch handmade faience tiles. Nowadays, these tiles may be seen in one of the collegial chapels. In the renovated gardens orangeries, fig-tree areas and gazebo were created. Some time later, in the Italian garden the gardener house was built. At the very end of the 17th century, the bishop Hilary Szembek rebuilt the gate building in the classical style and he added the passage of bungalow rooms from the river side. The castle gained the shape which can be admired till today.

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As the result of the third partition of Poland, Pułtusk got into the Prussian annexation. Then the secularization took place, the town stopped being the ownership of the bishops of Płock, but the castle stayed in their hands. The residence suffered a lot during the Napoleon wars. On 26 December 1806 in Pułtusk the French army waged the bloody battle with Russians. The 30 thousand fifth French corps under the command of marshal Jean Lannes and Gudin division from the third corps of marshal Louis Davot tried to get the bridge on the Narew River and takeover the town. The battle was memorized in the Triumphal Arch in Paris. After the battle the emperor Napoleon I came to Pułtusk. He observed from the one window of the castle through the telescope the column of withdrawing Russians, angry that he had not managed to defeat them and finish the war with the fourth coalition. On that times on the caste there was created a field hospital, what caused the significant deterioration of the interiors.

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The castle was renovated after these deteriorations in the years 1817-24 after the trials of the bishop Adam Michał Prażmowski. It was a result of works of Antoni Piotrowski. The castle was again damaged during the fire in 1841. Despite the fact that the major part of the castle was destroyed, it was again rebuilt. The bishops of Płock resided here to 1852, and the last of them was Franciszek Pawłowski. Finally, the castle was taken back from the bishops by Russian authorities in 1866. Then there was again the army hospital. After regaining the sovereignty in 1918, the building became the seat of the district authorities and had this function to 1975. In the occupation period Germans resided there. There built one more floor above the Eastern wing.

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In 1974 the Polish authorities had decided to reshape the castle in the House of Polish Diaspora. Then started the rebuild which lasted 15 years. Among others the interiors were reshaped, and they were adjusted to the hotel needs. Nowadays, the body of the castle has the shape of asymmetrical, consisting of seven segments horseshoe. The original location of rooms is the best visible today in basements of the Large House and the gate building.

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