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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Trail of the Eagles' Nests - Ogrodzieniec

Dearest friends,

A few days ago I was telling you about Ojców Castle - well more likely the ruins - and the trip that Discover Cracow lovingly shared with me and my adorable husband. The day tour that the company hosts takes around 8 hours and it brings you face to face with 3 of castles from the Trail of Eagles' Nests. I loved the trip and I took so many shots that I wanted to share with you, so I decided to split the post in 3 and do one for each castle :) You will not be disappointed!
First view up close @ Ogrodzieniec
Ogrodzieniec is a town in Zawiercie County, Silesian Voivodeship, Poland, with 4,499 inhabitants (2004). It is noted for the extensive ruins of a medieval castle, damaged during the Swedish invasion of Poland (1655 - 1660).
Regulation/Rules & the history of the castle
Ogrodzieniec, which is part of Lesser Poland, received its Magdeburg rights town charter in 1386. Until the Partitions of Poland, it belonged to Kraków Voivodeship, and in 1815 it became part of Russian-controlled Congress Poland. After the January Uprising, Ogrodzieniec, like many other locations of Lesser Poland, lost its town charter (1870) and remained a village until 1973. 
Ogrodzieniec lies among the hills of Małopolska Upland, on the outskirts of Zagłębie Dąbrowskie. The town has an area of 28 km2, and is located approximately 400 meters above sea level. In the south and west, Ogrodzieniec is surrounded by forests.
The origins of the town date back to the 11th century. It was a forest settlement, with a wooden castle built along the border of Lesser Poland and Silesia. In 1241, during Mongol invasion of Poland, the village and the castle were burned, and afterwards, a new, stone castle was built. Ogrodzieniec received its town charter in 1386. It was a local trade center, with merchants and artisans, many of them Jewish. 
Furthermore, enormous forests attracted noble hunters, including Polish kings. In 1346, Ogrodzieniec Roman Catholic parish church was first mentioned. In the mid-16th century, it was turned into a Calvinist prayer house, and remained so until circa 1630, when it was returned to the Catholics. In the first half of the 18th century, a new, stone church was built, but it was not completed until 1787.
Until 1795, Ogrodzieniec belonged to Kraków Voivodeship. After the third partition, it was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia, and belonged to New Silesia. Since 1815, it belonged to Russian-controlled Congress Poland, and in 1888, when already a village, Ogrodzieniec had 162 houses (most of them wooden), with app. 1,000 inhabitants.
In the Second Polish Republic, Ogrodzieniec belonged to Kielce Voivodeship, and in 1939, the village was annexed directly into the Third Reich. German occupiers planned to change its name into Bonerburg. After the war, until 1956, Ogrodzieniec belonged to Olkusz County of Kraków Voivodeship, then it was moved to Zawiercie County.
Due to the existence of the Ogrodzieniec Castle, the town is a popular tourist center, located on the Trail of the Eagles' Nests (note: the castle itself does not administratively belong to the town, it lies in the village of Podzamcze, 2 kilometers east of Ogrodzieniec). The castle was built in the 14th century by the Sulimczyk family. It is located on Góra Zamkowa, the highest hill of the Polish Jura (515 meters above sea level).
First stronghold was built here in the early 12th century, during the reign of Bolesław Krzywousty. In 1241, during the Mongol invasion of Poland, it was burned and destroyed, and in the mid-14th century, new, stone complex of a mighty Gothic castle was built here. The castle guarded western border of Lesser Poland, and in 1470 it was purchased by the Salomon family, merchants from Kraków.
Great location for wedding pictures - we saw 2 couples and it was Tuesday late morning!
It then changed hands several times, belonging to the Rzeszowskis, Pileckis, Chełmińskis and finally, the Boner family (since 1523). In 1530 - 1545, Seweryn Boner turned the Gothic stronghold into a Renaissance residence. 
In 1562, Boner’s daughter Zofia married Jan Firlej, and the castle, as a dowry, changed hands once more. In 1587, it was captured by Maximilian III, during the War of the Polish Succession.
In 1655, it was seized by Swedes. Swedish garrison stayed at the castle for two years, which resulted in its extensive damage. In 1669, the castle was partially restored by its new owner, castellan of Kraków Stanisław Warszycki.
In 1695 it was purchased by the Męciński family, and in 1702, once again it was destroyed by Swedish soldiers, during the Great Northern War.
After the destruction, the castle remained a ruin, and its subsequent owners could not afford to rebuild the complex. It remained inhabited until circa 1810.
After World War II, the castle was nationalized, and its walls were strengthened in 1949 - 1973, which prevented total collapse of the complex. It now has a status of permanent ruin, and is open to visitors. (The works aimed at preserving the ruins and opening them to the visitors were started in 1949 and finished in 1973)
The castle is popular among film makers; in 1973, some episodes of the TV series Janosik were made here, and in 2001, Andrzej Wajda shot The Revenge here. Furthermore, in 1984 the castle was presented in Iron Maiden’s video Behind the Iron Curtain, in the song "Hallowed Be Thy Name".
Interior court
According to some investigators of paranormal phenomena, the Ogrodzieniec Castle is a place haunted by mighty dark powers. There have been locally famous reports of the "Black Dog of Ogrodzieniec" being seen prowling the ruins in the night-time.
The mighty Hussars <3
Witnesses have claimed that the spectre is a black dog much larger than an ordinary dog, and is supposed to have burning eyes and pull away a heavy chain. The dog is believed to be the soul of the Castellan of Cracow, Stanisław Warszycki. Interestingly, his soul also haunts the ruins of the Dańków Castle, where it appears as a headless horseman.
The Replica Of A Hussar Suit
 On the bottom floor, fragments of the renaissance frescos of lilies are still visible.
Close to the castle, on the market of Podzamcze village, there is a chapel built out of the castle's architectural elements (portal, volutes, cornice). 
Inside the chapel, there are original elements of the castle chapel: the vault keystone, round shot, which is said to have fallen into the castle during the Swedish Deluge (1655–1660) and the renaissance Our Lady sculpture.
Unfortunately, the sculpture has been painted in the folk style (with oil-paint) by the locals, which makes it rather difficult to notice its original beauty.
On the rooftop of one of the highest towers :)
I really recommend taking your time on this trip and asking as many questions as you have :)  The tour guide was nice and he explained to us each room we passed through. It is up to your choice if you wish to go up in the tower and if you are a bit claustrofobic and afraid of hights you may have an issue... But we love that, so we took the spiral staircase and we went through the steep last flight of stairs and we enjoyed the lovely view from the top. I loved it! :)
Wouldn't you have liked to live there?
Unlike the first castle visited on this tour - unlike Ojców Castle - this is lovely as you get to go inside and climb and see some rooms as they used to be. You can find traces of the old stairways made out of solid rock and that is lovely! You feel more in touch with what things were than just looking at the ruins and the deserted space.
The Castle grounds are very popular and each summer/autumn you have medieval fairs hosted and people get to do archery and fight with swords... like small tournaments of the old ages :) Maybe one day I will get to go there during a fair. I would love that! I would buy a pint of beer and a pork chop or a roasted leg and pretend I own the castle :))) 
The Castle has also on its grounds, in a separate chamber attached to the outer wall, a place for instruments of torture used in those ages. The space is quite small but it has a lot of exhibits. You may recognize there the Iron Maiden or the very-much-used Chair of Torture. People were very inventive during that times, in how they could make someone suffer... for an indefinite time... until they would die...
There are captions in 3 languages: English / Deutsch / Polish
After a lovely walk in the castle and its court, the driver/tour-guide asked us if we would like to have a lunch break now or before visiting the 3rd castle. There are around 40 km between Ogrodzieniec and the 3rd castle on the list, Bobolice. We choose to stop there and then and at the end of the road from the castle there is a local Karczma (Pub/Restaurant) that accepts VISA cards ;) It was unexpectantly good and very warm and cozy inside :)
Karczma Jurajska - as I found later on the Internet - is quite popular. It has a site in both English and Polish and you can rent a room for the night, if ever you are in the area and you wanna visit the castle more than one day. Maybe during the medieval fairs? :)
I had some traditional Zurek (soup with sausage and eggs and potatoes + mushrooms) and Marek had beetroot soup with the traditional meat roll. Second course was potatoes with cabbage & bacon and lovely pork schnitzel. It was delightful and it all simply melted happily into my mouth :) I recommend it with all my heart! And Marek loved it as well ;)  I really would like everyone to visit The Trail of the Eagles' Nest and Ogrodzieniec Castle - if ever you are or were there, please let me know how the trip went for you :) 

If you wish to see my previous post on The Trail of the Eagles' Nests - Ojców please click on the link :) In a day or two I will post about the 3rd castle of our trip: Bobolice ;) So stay alert!

** Sponsored post but written from the heart, without any external influences**

Yours truly,
A LadyBug Who Loves Castles & The Day-Trips from Discover Cracow