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In mid-14th century, King Kazimierz the Great built a spacious Gothic castle on the cliff on the ancient valley of the Vistula, and simultaneously established Niepo³omice settlement which provided service for the court and castle. The castle was also a hunting lodge, with hunts arranged in nearby Niepo³omice Forest.

The work of King Kazimierz was continued by his heirs, kings W³adys³aw Jagie³³o, Zygmunt I the Old and then Zygmunt August who re-built the castle into the present rectangular building with a Renaissance courtyard inside. Queen Bona added Italian gardens at the South wing. Throughout centuries, the castle was the residence of Polish kings, the meeting place of Crown Assemblies, a place where judgements were passed and statutes granted. The King’s Chancellery was issuing a lot of various documents in Niepo³omice. The Swedish incursion in mid-17th century put an end to the golden age of the royal residence..

After Poland’s partition in 1772 the castle and town fell under Austrian rule. The Austrians changed the interior decoration of the castle converting it into barracks, and they removed part of the 2nd floor. Before WWII and afterwards the castle was a public building, but it did not protect it from destruction. Since 1991 when the castle became the property of Niepo³omice commune on request of the Mayor Stanis³aw Kracik, local authorities, following consultation with the officer for the conservation of historic buildings, launched a many years’ programme for the renovation of the castle, financed mostly by the commune. After 13 years of work which cost the commune more than PLN 100 million, the royal residence regained its former splendour. At present, the castle is open to the public. Its historic rooms host congresses, meetings and symposia.

The re-created gardens of Queen Bona have one addition: a bronze statue of the founder of the castle and Niepo³omice king Kazimierz the Great with a plaque saying: From the people of Niepo³omice to the King who built our castle and church, and adorned our love for our forefathers with the marvellous tale of old". According to that tale king Kazimierz the Great, who had the habit of dressing up as a vagabond to learn more about the life of his subjects, visited once a peasant who lived on the edge of the forest. The people in the house were desperate, because the woman had just borne a child, but nobody wanted to be a Godfather for a poor man’s son. “I will bring a godfather for your son tomorrow before noon,” said the vagabond to the peasant with great confidence. Next day, the king himself with his retinue came to the poor man’s hut. The child received a pouch or trzos with money for his baptismal gift. Since that time, surname Trzos is has been quite popular among residents of Niepo³omice...

http://www.niepolomice.com/pl/readarticle.php?article_id=48

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Additional Photos by Pawel Kozlowski (Bradley) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 62 W: 47 N: 10] (270)
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