Castles at the the Eagle Nest Trail in Poland
The Eagle Nest Trail is a tourist trail in Poland, which runs through the malopolskie and slaskie regions. It connects Krakow with Czestochowa through most of the so-called „Eagle Nests”, which are Jurassic castles and strongholds constructed at rocks with the maximum height of 30 meters. The Eagle Nest Trail was marked in 1959 thanks to the funds from the Ministry of Communications.
Nowadays, the Eagle Nest Trail is eagerly visited by tourists thanks to its numerous castles, which amaze many people with its architecture and fascinating history. This article will give you information about some of the most interesting castles at the Eagle Nest Trail.
The castle in Ojcow
The castle in Ojcow was an important defensive construction. It used to secure Krakow from invasions and had an army of 100 people. King Kazimierz the Great named the castle „Ociec u Skaly”, referring to the story of his father – Wladyslaw Lokietek, who was escaping from the enemy’s army and hid in a local cave. Ever since then, the village was known as Ojcow.
The only surviving element of the castle is the remainings of defensive walls, the tower and the defensive gate. The ruins are available for sightseeing, and the gate building also has an exhibit about the history of the castle. This castle is located about 30 kilometers away from Krakow. It is open everyday between 9:00 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The castle in Pieskowa Skala
The castle in Pieskowa Skala was constructed in the times of Kazimierz the Great as a gothic watchtower. In 1377, the castle was the headquarters of the Szafraniec family, which was represented by Piotr Szafraniec – the voivode of Krakow. Between 1542 and 1580, the gothic castle was transformed into a renaissance residence.
In 1718, the building was destroyed by a fire, but it was reconstructed 60 year later by Hieronim Wielopolski. The castle is located roughly 35 kilometers away from Krakow.
The castle in Rabsztyn
The ruined castle in Rabsztyn is located at the Rabsztyn Hill, in the Krakow-Czestochowa Upland, about 45 kilometers away from Krakow.
It’s difficult to describe the origins of the castle, because the first written documents confirming its presence originated from the late 14th century, although archaeological research suggests that the first wooden buildings could already be found here in the 13th century. The baroque castle, which wasa typical magnate residence, survived until 1657, whne it was burned by Swedish people. In recent years, security works have been organized at the castle. Part of the walls was reconstructed along with the entrance gate.
The castle in Bydlin
Not everyone might know, that for many years, the medieval castle in Bydlin was a catholic church!In the northern part of Bydlin there is a forested hill known as Swiety Krzyz, at the top of which there are ruins of a 14th-century castle.
Between 1571 and 1594, the stronghold served as the Arian Congregation, and later Mikolaj Firlej transformed it into the Church of the Holy Cross. Unfortunately, after the fire during the Swedish Deluge, the castle was abandoned and ever since then it fell into ruin. Currently, not much has survived from the medieval ruins. At the bottom of the approximately 20-meter wall there are remainings of trenches from World War I. The castle in Bydlin is located about 60 kilometers away from Krakow.
The Pilcza castle in Smolen
The Pilcza castle in Smolen is actually a ruined medieval castle of the Pilecki family, located at the very heart of the Krakow-Czestochowa Upland, at the top of a forested hill. This hill, along with the castle, is part of the „Smolen” nature reserve, which is an excellent place for a weekend trip.
The first castle in Smolen was most likely constructed in the 13th century, but it was burned down in 1300. Similar to other local strongholds, the Pilcza castle in Smolen was severely damaged during the Swedish Deluge. After the events of World War I, in December of 1914, the castle fell into ruin.
This castle is located roughly 60 kilometers away from Krakow. It is available between April and October from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is not available for trolleys or dogs.
The Ogrodzieniec Castle
The Ogrodzieniec Castle is a ruined castle in the Krakow-Czestochowa Jurassic System, located at the Castle Hill, in the village of Podzamcze. The first strengthenings in the place of the castle were constructed during the reign of Boleslaw Krzywousty. They were most likely destroyed during the Tatar invasion in 1241. This castle is the largest stronghold in the Krakow-Czestochowa Upland. It is located about 65 kilometers away from Krakow.
An interesting thing about the Ogrodzieniec castle is that in 2019 several scenes for the Netflix show „The Witcher” were filmed here. This castle is not available for trolleys, so you’ll need to take a carry cot if you have small children.
The Morsko castle
The Morsko castle is a ruined knightly castle at the Krakow-Czestochowa Upland. It is part of the Eagle Nest Trail. It is located roughly 75 kilometers away from Krakow.
The origins of the castles were not precisely documented. The first wooden stronghold might have been constructed in the 14th century. In the late 15th and early 16th century Morsko was owned by the Wlodek family, who are credited for the construction of the new brick castle. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, the village and ruins of the castle were owned by the Hepen family. Currently, the remainings of the castle are part of the Morsko Recreation and Training Center.
The castle in Bobolice
The royal castle in Bobolice was originally constructed in the mid-14th century, and was later reconstructed.
This castle was most likely built between 1350 and 1352 by king Kazimierz the Great. It was supposed to protect Lesser Poland from invasions from Silesia, which back then was part of the country of Czech.
During the Swedish Deluge, in 1657, the Swedish army led by general Muller severely dwstroyed the castle. Despite the attempts of rescuing it, the castle began to fall into ruin. In the late 20th century, the Lasecki family, who currently own the castle, decided to reconstruct it. It is located about 90 kilometers away from Krakow.
The castle in Mirow
The ruined castle in Mirow is located in the Krakow-Czestochowa Upland, in the slaskie region, in the village of Mirow, about 85 kilometers. away from Krakow. It was constructed during the reign of Kazimierz the Great, in the second half of the 14th century. Many historians believe that there were some wooden-earth buildings here before the castle. In the mid-15th century, the castle in Mirow was owned by various knightly families.
This castle was severely damaged during the Swedish Deluge, when most of its walls were destroyed. Despite the attempts of renovation it fell into ruin and was abandoned in 1787.
The Ostreznik castle
The Ostreznik castle is a former, currently ruined castle located near a small settlement called Ostreznik, about 100 kilometers away from Krakow.
There are no surviving documents about the existence of the castle. According to archaeological research, this castle might have been constructed in the early 14th century. The surviving remainings raise a theory, that the object once consisted of an upper and lower castle and was surroundeed by a moat. Currently all that’s left from the stronghold is a rock at which the upper castle was constructed.
The castle in Olsztyn
The castle in Olsztyn is a ruined castle located in the town of Olsztyn, in the slaskie region, about 140 kilometers from Krakow. The first historical mention of the Olsztyn castle originated from 1306. but we do know that the castle existed earlier, because the document refers to the events of 1294.
In 1370, king Ludwik Wegierski gave Olsztyn and the local lands to his cousin – Wladyslaw Opolczyk. In 1587, the castle was attacked by the Austrian army. It was strongly devastated, but it was later reconstructed by staroste Joachim Ocieski.