The Royal Castle in Poznań (Zamek Królewski w Poznaniu) is the oldest preserved king residence in Poland. Dates from 1249 and the reign of Przemysł I. Located in the Polish city of Poznań, it was largely destroyed during the Second World War but has since been partly rebuilt. There are plans to rebuild it entirely (by Witold Milewski).
Construction of the castle was probably started by Przemysł I in 1249 on hill later called Góra Zamkowa (Castle Mountain, Latin mons castrenis ), and now better known as Góra Przemysława (Hill of Przemysław). The first building was a habitable tower made of bricks with a wall inside, and the rest of the hill was surrounded by a rampart with a palisade. A small ducal residence was incorporated into the system of city walls in the late 13th century.
The son of Przemysł I, Przemysł II , hoping for reunification of Poland under his rule decided to build a larger castle, more proper for a king. In 1295 Przemysł became king of Poland, but he was assassinated a year later. The castle wasn't finished. Work started by Przemysł was continued by a branch of the Piasts from Głogów ruling in Greater Poland, and finished before 1337. The castle served as the residence of prince Casimir , then-governor of Greater Poland.
In 1337 the Royal Castle in Poznań was the largest castle in the Polish Kingdom, modeled after the palatium of Henry I the Bearded in Legnica. The castle consisted of a tower built by Przemysł I and a huge building (63,0 m x 17,5 m) with three levels and a basement. It's not certain if the castle's characteristic roof, consisting of four parts existed at that time.
Basements served as prisons and for storage of wines, and on the ground floor there were charring rooms. Those two condignations were covered by vaults. Two higher floors probably had wooden ceilings. On the edges of first floor were representative chambers, and between them were habitual rooms. The whole second floor was occupied by a chamber for 2000 guests. On the south end of the large building was a defense tower. Since the reign of Władysław I the Elbow-high the castle served as the residence of starosta generalny of Greater Poland. Later only one king, Władysław II Jagiełło, ordered some minor work in castle.
During the fire of Poznań in 1536 the castle also burned. It was rebuilt in the renaissance style by the governor of Greater Poland, Andrzej II Górka . In the next years the oldest part of castle was transformed into a kitchen. The castle was later destroyed during the Swedish invasion, sacked in 1704 by the armies of Russia and Saxony during Great Northern War , and in 1716 during Confederation of Tarnogród (konfederacja tarnogrodzka) by the confederates.
Later on the castle was demolished and renovated several times.
According to one of legends, Przemysł Hill was created by dark powers. When Mieszko I was baptized, an angry Devil decided to sink the entire city of Poznań. He pulled out one of the hills near Gniezno, and, with a group of demons , tried to block the flow of the Warta. However, the evil forces started to celebrate their victory too early; their noisy behavior awoke the roosters, which began to crow. The devil and his demons were so scared that they left the hill on the bank of Warta.