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Saturday, 8 November 2014

Trail of the Eagles' Nests - Bobolice

My dear friends,

This is the 3rd post I will make about the lovely trip I had with my husband, to The Trail of the Eagles' Nest - courtesy of Discover Cracow :) The 3 castles visited (on foot) by us were: Ojców National Park & Castle Ruins + Ogrodzieniec + (last but not least) Bobolice Castle. The trip lasted for 8 hours - including the drive there and back + the one hour break in the afternoon, for lunch. The driver/tourist guide was adorable, the day started with dense fog (the kinda you cut with a knife...) but bloomed up into a lovely sunny afternoon :)
Along the way we also caught a glimpse of other castles - like Pieskowa Skała (on the way from Ojców - hopefully it will open up to visitors back in 2016) or Mirow (right next to Bobolice). The tour was amazing and I loved every minute of it! It really felt like a mini-vacation and a late present for my bday - thank you again Discover Cracow for the lovely gift :) I recommend this tour with all my heart and it is even better if you will manage to do this with your significant other :)  you will be able to consider it as a date ;) 
Be careful of The Lady In White...
The Royal Castle in Bobolice was built during the reign of Kazimierz III the Great, in the second half of the 14th century, most probably around 1350-1352. It was part of the defensive system of royal fortresses which protected the western border of the state on the Silesian side, and was known as the Eagles' Nests.
The castle rose from a steep and rocky hill, its round tower soaring above it. This superb observation point allowed the knights of Bobolice to communicate with their twin stronghold, Mirów Castle. In 1370, on the occasion of his coronation, King Ludwig of Hungary handed Bobolice Castle over to his nephew, Władysław Opolczyk. In 1379, he, in turn, handed it on to his courtier, the Hungarian, Andrzej Schoeny of Barlabas. He used it to garrison a crew which attacked and robbed the merchants and local inhabitants whose way took them close to the castle. In 1391, King Władysław Jagiełło took it back by force of arms and it became a royal possession once more.
The ownership of the castle changed hands time and time again. During the late 14th, and the 15th centuries, it belonged to the Szafraniec, Trestka and Kreza families, while later times saw it in the hands of the Chodakowski, Męciński and Myszkowski families. It was during the invasion of Poland by Archduke Maximilian III of Habsburg, in 1587, that the castle was first conquered, suffering heavy damage in the process. However, it was swiftly retaken by the Polish army, commanded by Jan Zamoyski, and was restored by its owners.
The castle's years of splendour were to last until 1657, when it was almost totally destroyed by the Swedes. In the 17th and 18th centuries, following the wars with Sweden, the castle fell into an ever greater state of disrepair. In 1683, when King Jan III Sobieski broke his journey at Bobolice Castle as he was making his way to Krakow, the location of the military build-up prior to the relief of Vienna, he was forced to spend the night in a tent. He was probably accompanied at the time by Hrehory Lasecki. A constitution (as the laws enacted in the Sejm at that time were known) of 1677 makes mention of the fact that he was imprisoned by Moscow for his loyalty to the Republic, and king Jan III Sobieski intervened on his behalf.
During the 17th century, the castle was no more than partially inhabited. An inventory from 1700 shows it to have been in a fairly dire state of repair. Despite attempts to rectify matters, it slowly but surely collapsed into ruins.
In the 19th century, an immense treasure was discovered beneath the castle. The treasure seekers put the final touches to the devastation. There are those who believe to this day that not all the treasure was found and that the main part of it still lies in the tunnels connecting Bobolice Castle and Mirów Castle.
Following the Second World War, the castle walls were partly demolished and put to use in building the road linking Bobolice and Mirów.
At the end of the last century, the castle's current owners, the Lasecki family, undertook the challenge of saving this beautiful historical building from complete annihilation. Archaeological work, commissioned by the family's representatives, Senator Jarosław W. Lasecki, and his brother, Dariusz Lasecki, is being carried out with the assistance of Poland's leading scholars, as is work on securing and reconstructing the castle, with the aim of saving this, an historical building of national significance.
Once upon a time and countless years ago, the twin castles of Mirów and Bobolice belonged to two brothers, Mir and Bobol, from whom the strongholds took their names. Under the brothers' rule, the castles grew in power and strength and the local people prospered and thrived. The brothers went to war together, returning with wagons overflowing with wondrous spoils, which they then divided fairly between them.
Wishing to keep their many treasures safe and sound, the brothers hewed an underground tunnel out of the rock, and thus their two strongholds were linked. They set a terrible witch on guard. With her red eyes, she smote all who dared aspire to venture after the brothers' treasure, petrifying them with her glance. She was aided in this by her companion, a fearful black dog. Thus protected, the tunnel was soon brimming with tremendous riches.
One year, on the King's orders, Bobol set out to war with Russia. Many months went by without his return and with neither sight nor sound of him. This good lord was missed not only by his brother, but also by his servants and the local people. Then, one day, a retinue led by the Lord of Bobolice arrived at the castle.
The wagonloads of treasure seemed to stretch further than the eye could see. Yet there was no treasure to compare with the grace and beauty of the captive woman Bobol had brought back with him. In honour of his brother's return, Mir held a wonderful feast in his castle, inviting all his liege subjects. There was dancing and revelry without end.
The following day, as was their wont, the brothers set about dividing the spoils between them. As ever, they were in perfect accord, until it came to the moment when they must share out the beautiful woman. They had both fallen in love with her at first sight. Unable to find a solution, they decided to draw lots for her. Fortune favoured Bobol, and in the twinkling of an eye, the princess had become his wife.
But sadly, she had fallen in love with the second of the two brothers. To avoid even so much as the merest whisper of suspicion, the princess and Mir met in the tunnel beneath the rocks whenever the witch flew off to attend a Sabbath. During one such rapturous night, the lovers awoke the sleeping hell-hound. His infernal barking roused Bobol from his sleep.
Seeing that his wife was gone, he began to seek her. Led to the tunnel by echoes, he spied Mir there, Mir and his own wife. Consumed with rage, he drew his sword, smiting his brother's breast, then ordered that the captive woman be walled up in the tunnel guarded by the witch.
And to this very day, on the night of the Witches' Sabbath, when the witch departs from the tunnel, the figure of the woman can be seen, casting sorrow-filled glances toward Mirów from the tower of Bobolice Castle.
Another legend of Bobolice Castle has it that a White Lady appears on a stone balcony. The White Lady is connected with the niece of a representative of the Kreza family who, according to 15th century legends, abducted a woman and held her captive in Bobolice Castle.
In the 19th century, an immense treasure was discovered beneath the castle. It is highly likely that this was a part of the treasure which, as countless legends would have it, lies largely in the tunnel running between Boblice and Mir.
Before starting reconstruction work on Bobolice Castle, archaeological and architectural research was conducted, over a period of several years, by the distinguished experts, Waldermar Niewalda, Ph.D., Sławomir Dryja, Ph.D. and Stanisław Karczmarczyk, Ph.D., Eng.
The results of their expert appraisement were presented to the Historical Sites Preservation service, in reports on the 1st and 2nd phases in 2001 and 2002 respectively. The research demonstrated that malformation of the rock floor threatened the outer and inner walls of the castle with collapse.
Attention was also drawn to the enormous difficulty of securing the remaining walls, which are around 10m high, by the means favoured by the Historical Sites Preservation service, namely external cantilevers, as well as to the dangers this would pose to visitors.
Giving due consideration to these, and to many other factors, it was therefore decided that the only effective way of saving the remaining historical substance would be the reconstruction of Bobolice Castle.
Once the restoration of the walls and gatehouses was complete, work began on the reconstruction of the upper castle. The necessity of accepting every detail put forward by the Department for the Preservation of Historical Sites, as well as the plethora of administrative procedures connected with this, caused the restoration process to be significantly protracted.
The owners' tenacity and determination meant that, despite enormous difficulties, it proved possible to plough through these obstacles in order for Bobolice Castle, so many years on, to finally regain its former glory.
It is thanks to the investment of commitment and effort that Bobolice Castle will shortly be in a condition which will enable tourists to discover for themselves its interior spaces and the defensive role it filled. A tourist service point is being set up at the castle, and the reconstructed interiors will house historical apartments and a museum.
DISCLAIMER: All information taken about the history of the castle, the misteries and legends, the reconstruction work on Bobolice was taken from the bilingual site maintained - you can also check more information out here and also have a virtual walk inside ;)

If you wish to read more of the delightful posts I have done in collaboration with Discover Cracow, I recommend with all my heart all the below listed:
** Sponsored post but written from the heart, without any external influences**

Yours truly,
The LadyBug very much in love with the Eagles's Nest Trail :)