Pomeranian Dukes Castle
The Castle Hill (“Wzgórze Zamkowe”) was settled by Lusatians as early as about 700-400 B.C. In the second half of the 8th Century A.D. a Slavonic settlement was established here, which in the following century became a fortified town capable of warding off the warrior Vikings, German Margraves, the first Polish rulers and the Danish kings. The pagan temple on the hill with the wooden statue of Triglav was a place of worship for the Pomeranian Slavs. Those beliefs were abandoned after the Christianisation of 1124-1128. About 1235 Barnim I moved the Ducal seat from Kamień to Szczecin, which he had to leave for Dąbie in 1249 after the burghers exerted pressure on him. In 1346 Barnim III, against the will of Szczecin’s burghers, built a castle (the Stone House), St Otto’s chapel, and the so-called “big house”. Another renovation was performed by Bogusław X, who in 1490-1503 added the Southern Wing to receive his wife Anna Jagiellon with proper honours. Between 1538 and 1569, his son Barnim XI bulit the Eastern Wing. In 1571-1582 John Frederick demolished the Stone and New House to add the Northern and Western Wings, according to a design by Wilhelm Zacharias, thus completing the big castle court. Finally, Philip II and Francis I completed the development of the hill by building the Museum Wing in 1616-1619. In its unchanged Renaissance form the building survived until the last War when it was badly damaged during the Allied bombing raids in August 1944. After many years of meticulous reconstruction, it is the most presentable of the ducal seats in this part of Europe and also the seat of the regional local government, as well as a cultural centre for all of Pomerania. It is best to begin the sightseeing of the castle by visiting the Tourist and Cultural Information Centre located in the Museum Wing.