A Garden Castle – Ogrodzieniec (Ogrod-ji-en-ieths)
How is it going? Before I get on with the blog post I would like to give a HUGE shoutout to my tribe for following my content and also for all your wonderful support. Indian Girl In Poland has made it to the Top 20 Best Poland Blogs on the planet by Feedspot Blog Reader. This is only my second award after Top 100 European Fashion Blog also by Feedspot Blog Reader. How cool! I cannot thank you enough :*
On a personal level I am pretty much busy at work these days, trying to nurse an injured wrist (I fell, don’t ask, long story) and I have also signed up for proper Polish classes summer semester, as I have decided that it is about time I learn the language of the country I now call home. Fingers crossed I should be fluent in Polish in no time.
As many of you know central Europe and especially Poland was once home to the monarchy. So it comes as no surprise that there are still quite a lot of Castles some fully intact and yet others in ruins dotted all across the country. Krakow’s very own Royal Wawel Castle is a very popular tourist attraction and is visited by hundreds of visitors per day all year round. You can read about some of the famous Polish Castles on my friend and fellow blogger’s website (Chido-Fajny). I wish to visit all of them soon.
Zamek Ogrodzieniec (pronounced Ogrod-ji-en-ieths) is a beautiful castle which is in a semi-ruinous state and is open to the public for visits, just a short hours drive from Krakow. It is ideal for a day trip with the family. It is located in the semi-mountainous highland region called the Polish Jura.
The Castle of Ogrodzieniec deserves special attention, as it has a very rich and interesting history. There are also many legends associated with this place. It is the largest and most famous castle building in Silesia and the most popular of all the castles on the Trail of the Eagles’ Nests. I visited the Castle a while ago and thought it would be a great discovery to share with my readers. I hope you are inspired to go check it out yourselves.
What to expect
Once you arrive there (by car) one must purchase an entry ticket. At this point, you will have the option to buy a ticket just to visit the Castle or buy a shared ticket to walk over to GRÓD NA GÓRZE BIRÓW which is a replica of an “old” village a short walk away. The lands surrounding the Castle are brimming with a few theme park activities, especially for kids. There is a zip-line park and also rock climbing activities nearby plus a few dozen other attractions. Hence I think this is a perfect spot for a days trip for the entire family, even your pet dog!
a brief History
The Castle of Ogrodzieniec is very well preserved from the 14th Century. Of course, the exteriors are now just brick and mortar, but once upon a time, it was one of the most beautiful Castles in the entire Eagle Nests Trail. Built in the XIV-XV century by the Włodków Sulimczyków family. It is believed to have had, huge glass stained windows, a library with a very good collection of books and interiors that rivalled that of Krakow’s Royal Wawel Castle.
I tried to find some material about it but its all mostly in the Polish language. Established in the early 12th century, during the reign of Bolesław III Wrymouth, the first stronghold was razed by the Tatars in 1241. In the mid-14th century, a new gothic castle was built here to accommodate the Włodek Sulima family. Surrounded by three high rocks, the castle was well integrated into the area. The defensive walls were built to close the circuit formed by the rocks, and a narrow opening between two of the rocks served as an entrance. Over the years and some invasions later the castle was left in ruins.
The Castle consisted of a few wings. The oldest part is the Eastern Tower, which functioned as a bastion after is reconstruction. The middle parts of the Castle are also one of the oldest parts and include the Knight’s chambers, the gunpowder magazine, a treasure house and the lower parts of the Beluard Bastion situated in the south. The North wing, magnificent chambers built over the middle part of the Castle e.g The “Kredencerska” Chambers and three towers fulfilled the representative function. The Southern parts are chronologically the youngest parts “Kurza Stopa”, the prison in the lowest parts, the Marble Chamber and the Curtain Wall, which joins the two Southern wings. The Castle also had a carriage house, a forge, a brewery and a distillery.
After the Second World War, the castle was nationalized and the work to preserve the ruins and open them to visitors was started in 1949 and was finished in 1973.
The castle is now open to visitors, almost every part of it! In the courtyard, interesting events are organized throughout the season, attracting tourists, knights and white-collar visitors. One of the most popular is the Knight’s Tournament organized every year with the participation of knights brotherhoods.
Since 2010, in Podzamcze, just below the ruins of the castle, a great attraction for the whole family was opened to the public – Park Miniatur Ogrodzieniec, where you can see miniatures of reconstructed castles from the entire Jura area. For the youngest visitor, there is a big air castle and a playground. In 2014, the Park has expanded considerably and also includes: Amusement Park, Physical Experience Park, Legend and Fear House and Sledge riding.
After taking a tour of the Castle, which lasts about 2 hours, you can dine at one of the many food stalls that lines the trail leading up to the Castle.
the stronghold of birow
The Birów Stronghold is supposed to depict what a stronghold of the first kings from the Piast Dynasty might have looked like.
Wood was the main building material, yet stones and soils were also used. Embankment and stockades protected the inhabitants from enemies. Most obviously, these natural protective barriers, provided by the landscape itself, played a vital part here. Steep hills, rocks or precipitous slopes stood as natural wards for the stronghold.
The last fortified stronghold on the Birów Mountain was built probably in the 13th century. It was the time when the Polish state was divided into provinces (the so-called feudal fragmentation). Between the 13th and 15th century, the kingdom began to slowly integrate again. In Cracow, Duke Władysław, fought for the Polish crown with the Czech King Wacław. It is thought that the latter is to blame for burning of the Birów stronghold because, during excavations, a coin with his image has been found here.
The square within the wooden walls is called majdan (courtyard). Here’s where the daily life of the inhabitants took place. Its presumed location can be found on the map of the Stronghold.
When this wooden stronghold was at the peak of its glory, the courtyard within the palisade was bursting with life. Between the 13th and 14th century, there were merely a few warriors here, not too many. Yet, there were also servants, merchants and other inhabitants. The courtyards were certainly full of horses neighing, pigs squealing, hens were running away from being trodden on. Only a few soldiers were on the lookout for danger. The rest of them were busy repairing their weapons, rushing to the local blacksmith or chasing maids.
Timings and ticket prices
|BIRÓW Stronghold on the Mountain||4 PLN/person||5 PLN/person|
|Ogrodzieniec CASTLE||8 PLN/person||12 PLN/person|
|STRONGHOLD + CASTLE||11 PLN/person||16 PLN/person|
1984: Heavy Metal band Iron Maiden recorded a movie insert inside the Castle, which was used in the video Live After Death in the Behind The Iron Curtain Album. The material was used for the ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ song.
Hope you enjoyed reading this post and thanks for stopping by