Renaissance cartouche with the image of eagle, Sanok castle (the national emblem of Poland)

The social Museum of the Sanok Land had been established in 1934. Since 1968 the state Historical Museum has exhibited its collections in every chamber of the Renaissance castle. The castle building was erected by ‘starosta’ (a county governor) Mikołaj Wolski in the years of 1523-1548. Whereas two sides wings were built later on. In its almost five hundred years lasting history, the castle lost its original look in accordance with needs and tastes of the following hosts.

The excavations as well as historical and iconographic sources allowed to partial reconstruction of the original look of the castle. Yet, a complete overhaul of the castle building revealed at least, inner divisions, arrangement of windows and doors as well as elements of the stonework, which had been hidden in the course of numerous renovations and repairs but which preserved and were reconstructed, to some extent. At the time of its splendor, the castle was an impressive residence. That royal property was a bride wealth of the queen Bona whose ancestral cartouche with coat of arms of Sforza’s family has remained in the coat of arms of Sanok till today. The castle’s base functioned along defensive walls on the both sides of the gate. It consisted of living quarters committed for servants, stables, a coach house, armoury, kitchen, bath, bakery and brewery which fundaments are excavated in the course of excavations lasting since several years. The well, which has preserved till today, was built in time of ‘starosta’ Mikołaj Wolski in the 1st half of the 16th c. The castle complex has been erected in the area of the hill on the San river. Although the castle hill is separated by terrain conditions it is closely associated with the town which had gained the municipal low in the period of belonging to the Ruthenia Duchy in 1339, yet. In 1340, the town with entire county was incorporated to the Polish Kingdom.

Renaissance cartouche with coat of arms of Sforza’s family, Sanok castle

The medieval fortress, located on the hill, was visited by the kings Kazimierz the Great and Władysław Jagiełło with his third wife Elżbieta Granowska from Pilcza (after marriage ceremony which took place in Sanok) and cardinal Zbigniew Oleśnicki. It was also a residence of the Queen Zofia (called Sonka), the fourth wife of the king Władysław Jagiełło, and the Queen Izabela Jagiellonka, a widow of Jan Zapolya. The medieval building (probably the northern part of the contemporary building), defensive walls of a thickness of 4 elbows (2,4 meters), solid, stone, gothic tower dates back to the times of the king Kazimierz the Great, brick tower, drawbridge and moat constituted strong defensive complex being simultaneously an important strategic point situated on the frontier between Poland, Ruthenia and Hungary.

Presence of Romanesque cut stones among the elements of gothic architecture gives hope of moving back the erection of the buildings. Whereas the cemetery, traces of the earthen embankments, wooden residential buildings, storage holes as well as large amount of relics of everyday use and military objects, which were discovered in the course of excavations, document the life of the early medieval stronghold from the end of 11th c. The building and maintenance works allow to restore, in great extent, the original appearance of the main building from 1558. The appearance is well known thanks to the preserved inventory. Stair from courtyard led to cellars of the castle. The cellars have been preserved almost in unchanged state. The level of their base is diversified. Instead of a floor there was an earthen floor. The wooden ceilings were changed into stone vault between 1548 and 1558. Then also large cellars being situated beneath the chamber and entrance hall were divided into smaller spaces and connected with each other through passage with the stone portal. The internal passages between them were made in the 19th century, at the same time the external descents were filled up. In the course of restoration works, in view of the exhibitional requirements the cellars were deepened and brick floor were made.


Enmanuel von Kronbach, Widok zamku w Sanoku, 1825 r. M.B. Stęczyński, Zamek w Sanoku nad Sanem, 1846 r. Zamek w Sanoku w drzeworycie Franciszka Kostrzewskiego zamieszczonym w Tygodniku Ilustrowanym, 1863 r. Napoleon Orda, Widok na zamek w Sanoku, koniec XIX w.
Południowe skrzydło zamku - siedziba ck starostwa, pocz. XX w. Sanocki zamek po rozebraniu skrzydła południowego, przed 1914 r. Zamek w Sanoku, lata 30. XX w. Odbijanie tynków z fasady sanockiego zamku w latach okupacji niemieckiej, lata 40. XX w.
Zamek przed odbudową skrzydła poudniowego, 2008 r.
Sanocki zamek przed rozbudową, zima 2009 r.
Południowe skrzydło zamku po rozbudowie, 2011 r. Widok zamku po odbudowie południowego skrzydła, 2011 r.
1a zamek 2 zamek 3 zamek 4 zamek
5 zamek 6 zamek 7 zamek 8 zamek


Zamkowe podziemia po rewitalizacji w latach 90. XX w.

The main entrance to the castle, located on the right side of the axis of the building, was decorated with a stone (sandstone) portal crowned with the classical tripartite division with a convex cornice and frieze in which the coat of armss were put. Those were the eagle emblem in the middle and Sforza’s coat of arms (relating to the ownership of the queen Bona) and Lithuanian ‘the Chaser’ on both sides. The architrave was joined to stones of doorposts. The stone portals, situated in spacious hall, led into the en suite rooms and chambers. A stone frame of the stove hole has preserved on the right wall of the hall. Another stove, which has not preserved, was situated in a small room next to the hall. A wooden staircase was also situated in the hall. Whereas the contemporary one was built in smaller chambers as it was in the 19th century, after Austrian alteration. Austrian erased Renaissance character of the building, destroying the Renaissance stonework and altering doorways and windows. Almost all portals and the whole window stonework have been reconstructed thanks to discoveries of the authentic stonework within the walls altered in the 19th century. In two chambers (southern and northern) of the first floor are situated portals which led to the so-called ‘necessary place’, that is contemporary toilets. A lavabo, that is a stone wash-basin has partly preserved and is situated next to the one of the portals. Wooden ceilings and brick floors have been reconstructed in the interiors according to the preserved inventory.

Maria Zielińska, Piotr Kotowicz, Wiesław Banach
Translated by: Piotr Zelny



  • • 11th-13/14th c. " (a period when the Sanok Land is a part of the Ruthenia Duchy) there is a stronghold on the hill built-up with wooden buildings and the cemetery, surrounded by waters of the San river and Płowiecki stream as well as earthen defensive embankments with palisade and moat with drawbridge

  • • 1339 " Sanok gains a municipal lows granted by the Ruthenian duke Jerzy II Trojdenowicz

  • • 1340-1341 " Polish king Kazimierz the Great incorporates the Sanok Land in Poland

  • • 1341 onword " during the reign of the king Kazimierz the Great in the northern part of the hill is built a medieval fortress consisting of an original castle which has not preserved (in that castle, the king Kazimierz the Great stayed several times, and later on duke Władysław Opolczyk), defensive walls, stone, defensive Gothic tower with a prison in the underground part which remains were excavated in the course of excavations

  • • 2 May 1417 " a wedding of the king Władysław Jagiełło with the third wife Elżbieta Granowska takes place in the castle

  • • 1434 onword " Zofia (called Sonka), the fourth wife of the king Władysław Jagiełło, lives in the Sanok castle after the king’s death. The cardinal Zbigniew Oleśnicki is her guest in 1440

  • • 1523-1548 " the Sanok Land governor (‘starosta’), Mikołaj Wolski, extends and transforms the medieval castle into Renaissance residence on an order of the Queen Bona, this castle has preserved until today

  • • 1555-1556 " the castle belongs to the Hungarian queen Izabela, the sister of the king Zygmunt August and widow of the Hungarian king Jan Zapolyia

  • • 17th and 18th c. " the castle was extended and enlarged on the northern and southern wings which are disassembled in the 19th and 20th c.

  • • 19th c. " in the time of Austrian reign, every building was torn down with the exception of the castle building which was changed with number of alternations and repairs


Opening hours:

16 April to 15 November

Mon 8am - 12pm
other days of the week 9am - 5pm


16 November to 15 April

Mon 8am  - 12pm
Tues - Fri 9am - 4pm
Sat - Sun 9am - 3pm


Regular fee – 28 PLN
Reduced fee – 18 PLN
Family 2+1 – 69 PLN
Family 2+2 – 84 PLN
Family 2+3 and more – 95 PLN
Ticket for 1 temporary exhibition (for people who do not visit permanent exhibitions) – PLN 5
Audio Guide – 12 PLN

here is the instruction manual for the audioguide...

Guided tour in Polish – 80 PLN
(1 guide can guide a group of up to 25 people)

Guided tour in English, French or German is available for ordering at the ticket office or by phone + 48 13 46 306 09, ext. 35, fare – 100 PLN
All reservations e-mail:

© The Historical Museum in Sanok is the exclusive owner of copyrights of Zdzisław Beksiński's works 

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