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Ruins of the castles in Olsztyn and Chęciny

Ruins of the castles in Olsztyn and Chojnice are slowly becoming really attractive touristic attractions.

Castle in Olsztyn

The castle ruins in Olsztyn are one of the most well-known and picturesque remainings of the legendary complex of castles which had once towered over the Cracow-Częstochowa Upland. In addition, these ruins are also one of the most important fortified structures in the Cracow region as far as the historical research is concerned . The complex is one of the oldest medieval castles in the entire Cracow-Częstochowa Upland. The changing rulers formed it in a process of gradual transformation of medieval hillforts. They were either extended or built from the ground up by King Casimir the Great in order to safeguard the Silesian border.

Today, the value of the Olsztyn castle is famous mostly for its picturesque quality and the natural links between the castle ruins and the surrounding landscape. Moreover, it contains a great number of archaeological relics of the various constituent parts of the castle complex. These relics include several parts of the castle. First of all, the one that was gradually expanding from the 13th century onwards. Then the vestiges of the early medieval hillfort. Finally, the traces of Palaeolithic settlement on the Castle Hill. The complex remained in a state of permanent ruin for more than 300 years. However, it still presents an important historical, artistic and research value. The mere sight of its ancient, age-worn walls producing a powerful emotional response.

Castle in Chęciny

The Royal Castle in Chęciny, built on a hill dominating over the surrounding it land at the turn of XIII and XIV century is very unique. From the very beginning of its existance it was a very important military and political spot. First of all, good place for concentrating military forces during the defence against the Tutonic Order invasions. Secondly, strong protection for treasures that Bishop of Gniezno deposited in the safe of the fortress. Finally, the castle was a place of meetings for the magnates and kings to discuss and decide about the policy in the country.

The castle used to be the residence of Royal Families, queens and widows as well. Adelaide – Casimir the Great’s second wife and Elisabeth – his sister, who was reigning on behalf of her son Louis I of Hungary, lived in the castle. Together with her enormous treasury, Queen Bona lived in it too. When she was leaving Chęciny, her treasury was transported by 24 horse-drawn wagons. There were 140 horses included in the operation. During the plague of 1425, Ladislaus, Jagiello’s son found a shelter in the castle. A report from the lustration from the year 1569 mentions a need to repair the castle and the difficulties with it, resulting from water shortages. The process of building the well (which elements are still visible in the lower castle’s yard) are also mentioned in the report.

/from the Castle Museum website:

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