HISTORY and PRESENT
The castle-manor complex in Liw is the oldest example of the architecture in the Siedlce Region. In the Middle Ages, the castle has protected the Eastern part of the Mazovia Duchy from the attacks of the Russian, Lithuanian and Baltic tribes. In the first quarter of the XV century, Janusz I Prince of Mazovia founded a new castle made of brick builded by the architect named Niclos on the artificially raised island surrounded by the swamps of the Liwiec River, which was the border of the state on these times.
The Gothic castle possessed crenellated walls, a drawbridge and 2 buildings for the knight’s crew. The walls and the tower were heightened in 1437, 1512 and 1550-55. Nearby there was a settlement of the craftsmen and court servants. Before 1421 this village gained the town rights. In the XVI century, from 1526 to 1537, the Mazovian Princess Anna was the owner of the castle. She was the last member of the Piast Dynasty which ruled the Mazovia Duchy for almost 300 years. The next owner of the castle and all of Mazovia Duchy was the Kingdom of Poland represented by another lady – Bona Sforza, the Queen of Poland. During her governing of the province the tower gained 2 levels and the very high roof.
The great disasters for Liw were the so-called Swedish Wars. In 1656 and in 1703 the Swedish Army conquered and plundered the town and the fortress, which was ruined after the second invasion. In 1782 the foreman of Liw County Tadeusz Grabianka built up the Baroque-style manor house for his office. It was burnt by the accident in the half of the XIX century. During the II World War the German foreman of this area wanted to turn the ruins into the bricks and in the next use it for building a Nazi German death camp in Treblinka, but young Polish archaeologist, Otto Warpechowski, persuaded him, that Liw castle used to be the fortress of Teutonic Order Knights. And it so happened, that Liw was the only castle in Poland renovated by Nazi occupants during the war!
Since 1963 there has been existing the Museum Armoury which presents the old weapons from the XV-XX century: the firearms, the sidearms and about 150 bayonets. In the museum, it is also could be seen a nice collection of the XIX paintings and old furniture. Our Museum organizes concerts of classical and pop music. As with every old castle, Liw is visited by ghosts. The most important is the ghost of Ludwika Kuczyńska, innocently accused of conjugal infidelity and beheaded. So-called Yellow Lady (in a yellow long dress) appears herself over the castle walls at midnight.
Liw is situated 70 km to the east of Warsaw. In 2004, Liw celebrates the 700th anniversary of it’s existing (the first document with “Liw” name was written in the year of 1304). Since 2001, annually, Liw has hosted knights from all other the country who have come to take part in the Knight Contest of the Ring of Princess Anna. The warrior’s fights and the battles are organized simultaneously with other cultural events: shows of old-age dance and outfit, concerts of old and modem music, the exhibition in the Tower Gallery, artistic acts and performances.
In the castle`s Knights Room meetings and lectures may be held for approximately 60 attendants. The gothic tower offers a magnificent and severe atmosphere. Stairs leading to the Gallery saw the time of the Queen of Poland, Bona Sforza.