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The Warsaw Voice » Society » December 2, 2009
Mazovia Heritage
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Szyd這wiec and Its Castle
December 2, 2009   
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Szyd這wiec is a town with a fascinating history in the southern part of Mazovia. Szyd這wiec castle is one of the most beautiful Renaissance residences in Poland.

The first historical mention of Szyd這wiec, which today is a county capital, dates back to 1360, the times of King Casimir the Great. Szyd這wiec flourished in the 15th and 16th centuries and has a wealth of historic sites dating from the Polish Renaissance. The town benefited from numerous royal charters and was a major center for handicrafts. In the following centuries, workshops producing stone for construction opened in the area, and Szyd這wiec sandstone was famous across Poland.

The town center has kept its original Medieval urban layout. The main square surrounds a large Renaissance town hall, built in the 17th centuries by the Fodige brothers from Italy. The town hall, with a rectangular design, is adorned by a tall attic, a polygonal clock tower and round turrets on the corners. A historic pillory decorated with gargoyles still stands in front of the town hall.

The oldest building in Szyd這wiec is a late-Gothic church, completed in 1509. The church has massive buttresses, while the interior has astonishing Gothic vaults. The church boasts a late-Gothic polyptych in the presbytery with a depiction of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. It was made in the early 16th century in Szyd這wiec.

The main tourist attraction is Szyd這wiec castle, one of the most beautiful Renaissance residences in Poland. The castle was built in the 15th century on an artificial island surrounded by a wide moat. The castle stands amidst a vast park. Less than a century after the castle was completed, Miko豉j Szyd這wiecki, the castellan of Radom, ordered Renaissance-style features to be added. The most conspicuous feature of the three-wing castle is a round staircase spiraling around a central pillar. At present, the castle houses the Szyd這wiec Culture Center and the Museum of Folk Instruments, financed by the Mazovia province local authority. The museum's unique collection comprises several thousand items, around 300 of which are on permanent display.

The castle is a vibrant venue all year long, hosting events such as the well-established Szyd這wiec Cultural Spring festival, which includes a competition for amateur theaters and an overview of folk ensembles and bands. On the second Sunday in September, Poland's best teams of knights come to the castle to compete in the Tournament for the Saber of Krzysztof and Miko豉j Szyd這wiecki.
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