Castle in Olsztyn

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Ruins of the ancient castle in Olsztyn, photo by M. Szelest

One of the main tourist attractions are the ruins of Olsztyn fortified castle from the fourteenth century, permanently inscribed in the landscape of the Krakowsko-Częstochowska Upland.

It was built on a hill, among the limestone cliffs, by Casimir the Great. It was one of the border fortresses of Małopolska. Initially placed in the fief of Vladislaus of Opole, was taken from him - for plotting against the Crown - by Vladislaus Jagiello (1396), and transmitted in the lease to Jan Odrowaz from Szczekociny. During 1442-57 the castle was repeatedly invaded by Silesian princes. In 1587 the crew led by Kacper Karlinski defeated Archduke Maximillian's troops, but the castle got seriously damaged.

With the development and improvement of martial techniques which minimized the importance of strategic military position of Olsztyn castle, it was gradually losing its recognition. In 1655 it was conquered by the Swedes and from the middle of the 17th century  it was  brought to ruin. In 1722 it was partially demolished for building the church in Olsztyn.

View of the Olsztyn Castle and the plains near Częstochowa (Zygmunt Vogel, 1787)

To our times preserved only some fragments of baileys.
The most impressive part of the ruins built in the 13th century (earlier than the rest of the castle) is a 35-meter high, round tower, which served as a prison for sentenced to death by starvation. During the wars it was the last refuge for the besieged. In the southern and eastern parts of the courtyard you can see fragments of the living rooms and outside the bailey there is a rectangular observation tower called Starościńska.

The Castle in Olsztyn, like many other places of such type, has its own legends of scary ghosts and phantasms. When you hear the baby crying, it will be for sure a ghost of Kacper Karlinski’s son.  Karlinski did not agree to surrender the fortress besieged by the troops of Archduke Maximilian even though he knew his son would die because of such decision.

If you see a lady in white, it will be a young wife of the mayor Albrecht, who got lost in the recesses of the castle dungeons. If anyone hears terrifying moans, they will be able to see the ghost of the voivode of Poznań – Maciek Borkowic, who was condemned for treason by King Casimir the Great and sentenced to death by starvation.

Maćko Borkowic (by Jan Matejko) / Casimir the Great

Interesting facts

  • Legend has it that below the castle there is an extensive system of caves and corridors made in the rock. Oral traditions maintain the existence of an underground tunnel supposedly joining the stronghold with the monastery of Jasna Góra. The tunnel was believed to have run under the River Warta and its entry was suposedly blocked with rock and debris.
  • The remarkable scenery offered by the hill with the castle ruins was successfully used by many film directors when shooting some of the scenes for great film productions, including: Wojciech Has's „The Saragossa Manuscript”, Jerzy Antczak's „Countess Cosel”, Bohdan Poręba's „Polonia Restituta” and Władysław Pasikowski's „Demons of War”.

„The Saragossa Manuscript”, W. Has

OLSZTYN CASTLE PANORAMA!





 

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Parafia w Zrębicach istniała już w 1334 roku w spisach świętopietrza wymieniana jako Sdrzambicze (miejsce wytrzewione z krzaków i lasów). Według ...dalej

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Urząd Gminy Olsztyn (C) 2018