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Castles and fortified settlements in Ojców, Ojcowski National Park and the surrounding area

Castle in Ojców

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  • Castle in Ojców

    Zamek w Ojcowie

Description of the object

Ruins of the Kazimierzowski Castle in Ojców

The creation of the castle is connected with the fortification activity of King Casimir the Great in the second half of the 19th century. XIV in. Meanwhile, the location of the object inherently defensive seems to confirm the existence of a castle here (perhaps of a wooden-earth construction nature) much earlier. This is also reflected in legends that have survived to our times. According to one of them, its founder was the prince Wiesław - Popiela's brother-in-law - came here from the Catholics at the head of the armed team, who without battle, without the blood of the transfer became master of the land up to the gray waves of ancient Wistula (E. Sukertowa: "Castle in Fathers"). He raised several castles, including Korzkiew, Fathers, Grodzisko, Pieskowa Skała.

Another legend mentions a man named Skarbimirze who lived in his father's castle in the times of Bolesław Krzywousty. In the north-west direction from Ojców, the sister of Skarbimir lived at the castle in Ogrodzieniec with his daughter Witychna, engaged to Piotr Szczebrzyc. When the aging Skarbimir was in Ogrodzieniec, during the illness of his sister and after her death, take care of the young Witychna, who in the meantime aroused a warm feeling in his heart, confessed her love, and, regardless of the engagement with Szczebrzyc, he proposed a marriage. When he met with a refusal he took Witychnę to Ojców, and he imprisoned her fiancé in the basement of the paternity castle. Soon Piotr Szczebrzyc was to be lost in front of Witychna. When the news reached King Bolesław Krzywoustego, he freed the young, and the old Skarbimir deprived of all dignity, the father's castle and sight. The king blessed the marriage union and gave the young couple a paternity castle. The legend about Witych and Szczebrzyc became the content of the drama in five acts "The Bride from Ogrodziec" by Jadwiga Łuszczewska (Deotymy), published for the first time in "Kłosy" from 1876.

Some studies show that in the thirteenth century, the owner of the castle was Otton of the Elders, the voivode of Sandomierz, who according to the then custom was to name the castle from his name - namely Otcic or Ocic. However, documents can not find confirmation of such a view. Also, it is possible that Prince Władysław Łokietek found shelter in the basement of the castle, who, as the legend says, also hid in the local forests and caves.

The above-mentioned fortification activity of King Casimir the Great, confirmed in the chronicle of Janek of Czarnków, was presumably based on a far-reaching reconstruction of the building. Being one of the important links in the defense chain, the castle protected Kraków against Luxembourgers, it had a crew of one hundred men, commanded by the staroste. The king named the castle Orzel u Skała, thus commemorating the wandering of his father, Władysław the Elbow-high. This name given by chronicles in various forms (Oczecz, Ocziec, Oszyc) has survived to this day as Fathers.

In the 14th century, during the reign of Casimir the Great, fatherly goods were royal property. The castle was managed by the burgrave, and the first of them was Zaklik mentioned in 1370, acting here on behalf of the starost of Cracow. For the Jagiellonians, the paternity castle together with several villages became a starosty independent of the Krakow starosty. Documents are mentioned by many starostas in the paternity castle. One of them was the royal treasurer Jan de Koscow (probably from Korzkiew), considered the first poviat staroste. The following starostas until the end of the 16th century included: Piotr Szafraniec from Łuczyce (owner of the Pieskowa Skala castle), Jan Mężyk (aka Słabosz), Jan Boner, Stanisław Płaza, Piotr Myszkowski and Aleksander Myszkowski. From that time, there is no information about the castle's condition. Only the preserved lustration dating from 1620 mentions that the next staroste, Mikołaj Koryciński, took over the castle, was very devastated and partially restored it. After Mikołaj's death, the starosty passed into the hands of his sons - Mikołaj, and later Stefan.

In the middle of the 17th century, the paternity castle was a well-fortified Korycinski residence, which despite the prepared defense in 1655, the Swedes finally captured and partially robbed it. Legends transmit today the brave defense of the castle against the Swedes. One of them mentions the trick used by the castle's defense commander; namely, he ordered the barrels to be turned upside down and sprinkled with residual grain. The Swedes, seeing these "supplies", resigned from further siege, because the famine was not threatened by the crew, but they hit the monastery allegedly on the opposite side (perhaps on the slopes of Złoty Góra, funded by Witychna and Szczebrzyca) destroying it completely.

After the end of the Swedish wars, S. Koryciński joined the castle restaurant, which after his death was continued by the widow Anna Petronela Korycińska. At that time, a new residential house was built, which was given the character of an old-fashioned residence. The lustration of 1660 indicates significant progress in construction works and gives the first known description of the building and the entire hill, which was entered through a drawbridge, supported on pillars above a deep moat. Remnants of two pillars survived on the right side before entering the entrance gate.

The administration together with the paternal castle then passed into the hands of Nicholas Korycinski, and after him took over Jan Kazimierz Warszycki, the owner of Pilica and Ogrodzieniec. In the 18th century, the starosty was in the hands of the Łubieńskis, and later by family affinities in the hands of the Załuski family (from 1756). The last of this family, Teofil Załuski, was admitted on 5 July 1787 in the paternity castle of King Stanisław August Poniatowski. King first visited the Dark Cave (see route 3a, p.), And later was received in castle chambers richly adorned with satin, Persian, Turkish and Chinese tapestries, lined with eastern carpets, covered with furniture, covered with velvet, damask, embroidered with gold - which they were reflected in the silver mirrors, among various beautiful and extremely expensive peculiarities (E. Sukertowa: "Castle in Ojców"). After a two-hour conversation, Stanisław August sat down to the feast, and then invited to the castle chapel, he held the daughter of Teofil Zaluski, who was named Maria Salomea. In the evening, the king left the castle, thanking the Załuski family for his eager and pleasant reception in Ojców ("Diary ..." by A. Naruszewicz).

According to the iconographic records and research of J. T. Frazik, the condition of the castle in the first half of the 19th century The eighteenth century was as follows: to the entrance gate he led a wooden bridge stretched over a deep moat, tethered and supported on three pairs of stone pillars. A two-storey gate building with a passage at the bottom and a chamber on the first floor was crowned with a broken Polish roof. From the gate towards the east a fragment of the wall, probably covering the upper part of the communication route, ran to the right, and to the right of it on a rectangular rock promontory, now covered with trees, stood a stately dwelling, two-storey, with a broken roof.

According to the inventory measurement drawn up in 1829 by Wilhelm Giersz, the assessor of the construction of the Krakow voivodship, the residential part of the ground floor consisted of the main vestibule (hence the stairs to the basement and the second floor), six chambers and two alcoves. From the north side adjacent chapel (oriented), whose projection is an elongated rectangle, extending partly beyond the east. the facade of the main building. A similar layout had a floor with the difference that from the west side. instead of two chambers there was one large, representative one. On Mon. West. from the residential part there was a large courtyard surrounded by a wall, along which there were farm buildings: a kennel, a shed, two stables, a garden behind them, a kitchen and a chicken house behind them. In the middle of the courtyard, opposite the kitchen, there was a well-preserved well, depth 48 m, carved in the rock; today it is about 20 m, and its present walling dates back to 1972. The whole tower was dominated over the entire foundation (from the second half of the 14th century, having an octagonal projection, inside a round) with 2 floors, to prisoners, an iron door to it, as given lustration from 1789. The castle in this state survived until the fall of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1795). According to the cited survey at the foot of the castle, there was also a farm, in it a residence for a steward, a bakery with a chamber, 4 pigsties, a coach house, a brewery, a distillery, a tavern, a mill and a sawmill.

After the Third Partition of Poland, the process of rapid devastation of the Paternity Castle began. Already in 1811, Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, visiting the castle, noted that it is rarely inhabited, and that Klementyna of Tanskie Hoffmanowa in 1826 did not see the castle chambers anymore, because even their inner walls threatened danger.

In 1829, the Russian government sold the Fathers to Konstanty Wolicki, who stripped the castle walls. Only the entrance gate, octagonal tower and defensive walls were left.

In the nineteenth century, attempts were made several times to renew or even rebuild the castle. From the 1940s, when the Fathers were the property of the Prędowski family, an unfinished neo-Gothic castle reconstruction project was made by Franciszek Maria Lanci. The reconstruction of the castle was also thought of by another father-in-command, Aleksander Przeździecki, but the January Uprising, and in consequence the sale of goods, destroyed his intentions. Concrete plans were taken only at the end of the 19th century by Ludwik Krasiński, who after the restoration of the castle intended to organize an archaeological and natural museum inside it. Having assembled the building material, he proceeded to the first works during which the bridge was liquidated and the moat was filled in, and the octagonal tower was reduced by about 6 m due to the poor strength of its walls. The restoration work was limited to renewing the downhill gate; two additional windows were made of it, the upper part was rebuilt, and a living room was built there, and external stairs were added to it. The death of L. Krasiński (1895) interrupted further conservation work.

Under the will of the deceased, his daughter, Ludwika Czartoryska, became the owner of Ojców. The new owner in 1913 proceeded to preservation of the ruins and partial renovation of the tower. A fireplace was then built in the tower and a staircase in its lower storey.

After a decade-long break, it was not until 1958 that attempts were made to renovate amateurs on the ruins of the castle, soon to be stopped by the conservator. In the years 1980-82, the roofs of the entrance gate and the tower were renovated and partly reconstructed by the management of the Park. In 1980, the Paternity Council of the National Park established a Committee for the Reconstruction of the Ojców Castle, with a view to reconstructing the building (which is currently impossible to implement), rather than coordinating research and conservation work. The Committee did not develop any specific activity, and after the tragic death of the chairman, prof. Bolesław Kordas (rector of the Cracow University of Technology) in 1981 virtually disbanded. However, at Council meetings, the problem of castle maintenance or undertaking research, especially archaeological work, was sporadically discussed. In 1989, the management of the Park undertook some security works at the gates building under the supervision of the conservator Antoni Kostrzewa, from the funds of the Provincial Conservator of Monuments in Krakow. The inside of the gate was plastered and the lower parts of the walls were partially secured. At that time, a plaque was made in bronze according to the design of A. Kostrzewa, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the stay in 1787 in Ojców of King Stanisław August Poniatowski (temporarily kept in the Museum of National Remembrance for the period of conservation works in the castle). Conservation and research works were carried out on a larger scale in 1991. They covered the castle courtyard and the eastern part of the castle's residential part. For lack of funds, further work was stopped.

To complete the history of the castle, it is worth mentioning that after the revolution in Russia in 1905 on the tower of the paternity castle from the south side suspended the Piast eagle, which was soon removed by the tsarist authorities, as reported by "Czas" from 1906.

From the former castle building, only picturesque ruins remain, which include the remains of defensive walls and residential parts, the tower and the entrance gate.

From the castle ruins you can see a nice panorama of the Prądnik Valley. In the background you can see Chełmowa Góra (in the middle of the south), and at the foot of the Castle Hill, Castle Park and former post-spa buildings: "Under the Kazimierz" and "Under the Elbow-high".

In the auditorium over the entrance gate until 1988, the Regional Museum of PTTK was located, transferred to the building "Bazaar Warszawski". Currently, this room has an exhibition on the history of the paternity castle, made in 1996. Noteworthy is the model showing the castle from the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries designed by Wojciech Bosak. Temporary exhibitions are also organized here.

Leaving the ruins of the castle we notice on the right side the figure of the Mother of God coming according to the local tradition from 1863, and set here by Jan Zawisza, the owner of Ojców. Initially, it stood in the castle courtyard, when it was planned to build a chapel on the ruins of the castle, and then remained in the chest among the ruins.

From the castle hill we descend back to the building "At the Stop".

Source: Józef Partyka, guide OJCOWSKI NATIONAL PARK - Warsaw 1979


Price list Price list


  • in the period from January 1 to March 31, November 2 to December 31, open only on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays (31 March, 1 November and 24-26 December closed) from 10:00 to 15:00
  • in the period from April 1 to October 31, open every day from from 9:00
    • until 4:00 p.m. (April and September);
    • until 5 p.m. (May-August);
    • until 3 p.m. (October)

1. in the period May-October on Sundays and holidays mentioned above. closing hours are extended by one hour.
2. Last entry is one hour before the stated closing time of the castle.

The following persons are entitled to exemption from the fee:
1. employees of the National Parks and the Ministry of Climate and Environment,
2. persons representing institutions with which the OPN has concluded a cooperation agreement (detailed description of the condition in point 3 of the note below the table on page 5),
3. students and teachers of communes located in the OPN area under the conditions indicated in point 3 of the comments (below the table on page 5),
4. the immediate family of the employee of Ojców PN,
5. children ≤ 3 years old,
6. organized groups of refugee children from Ukraine with their guardians,

The reduced fee is payable:

7. children > 3 years old, school children and students up to 26 years of age,
8. guardians of organized groups (1 guardian for 10 participants),
9. pensioners, retirees and disabled people,
10. families of National Parks employees and employees of PGL LP,
11. people with the Large Family Card

Price list in 2024

regular ticket 22 PLN
half-price ticket 11 PLN