Ogrodzieniec Castle is a ruined medieval castle in the semi-mountainous highland region called the Polish Jura in south-central Poland. Rebuilt several times in its history, the castle was originally built in the 14th–15th century by the Włodkowie Sulimczycy family. The castle is situated on the 515.5-metre-high Castle Mountain (Polish: Góra Zamkowa), the highest hill of the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland. Located on the Trail of the Eagles' Nests, the ruins are open to visitors.
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Established in the early 12th century, during the reign of Bolesław III Wrymouth, the first stronghold was razed by the Tatars in 1241. In the mid-14th century a new gothic castle was built here to accommodate the Włodek Sulima family. Surrounded by three high rocks, the castle was well integrated into the area. The defensive walls were built to close the circuit formed by the rocks, and a narrow opening between two of the rocks served as an entrance.
In 1470, the castle and lands were bought by the wealthy Cracovian townsmen, Ibram and Piotr Salomon. Then, Ogrodzieniec became the property of Jan Feliks Rzeszowski, the rector of Przemyśl and the canon of Cracow. The owners of the castle about that time were also Jan and Andrzej Rzeszowskis,[clarification needed] and, later, the Pilecki and Chełmiński families. In 1523 the castle was bought by Jan Boner. After his death, the castle passed to his nephew, Seweryn Boner, who replaced the medieval stronghold with a renaissance castle in 1530–1545.
In 1562, the castle became the property of the Great Marshal of the Crown Jan Firlej, as a result of his marriage to Zofia, the daughter of Seweryn Boner. In 1587, the castle was captured by the Austrian archduke Maximilian III, the rejected candidate to the Polish-Lithuanian throne. In 1655, it was partly burnt by the Swedish troops, who – deployed there for almost two years – damaged the buildings considerably. From 1669 on, the castle belonged to Stanisław Warszycki, the Cracow's castellan, who managed to partly rebuild the castle after the Swedish devastations.
About 1695, the castle changed hands once again, becoming the property of the Męciński family. Seven years later, in 1702, over half of the castle burned in a fire set by troops of Charles XII of Sweden. After that fire, it was never rebuilt. About 1784, the ruined castle was purchased by Tomasz Jakliński, who did not care for its condition.[clarification needed] The last tenants left the devastated castle about 1810. The next owner was Ludwik Kozłowski, who used the remains of the castle as a source of building material and sold the castle's equipment[clarification needed] to merchants.
The last proprietor of the castle was the neighbouring Wołoczyński family. After the Second World War, the castle was nationalized. The work to preserve the ruins and open them to visitors was started in 1949 and finished in 1973.
On the bottom floor, fragments of the renaissance frescos of lilies are still visible.
Close to the castle, on the market of Podzamcze village, stands a chapel built from architectural elements (portal, volutes, cornice) of the castle. Inside the chapel are original elements of the castle chapel: the vault keystone, round shot said to have fallen into the castle during the Swedish Deluge (1655–1660), and a Renaissance Our Lady sculpture. The sculpture has been painted in the folk style (with oil paint) by the locals, obscuring its original appearance.
According to some investigators[who?] 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. Witnesses have claimed that the spectre is a black dog much larger than an ordinary dog, has burning eyes, and pulls a heavy chain. The dog is believed[by whom?] to be the soul of the Castellan of Cracow, Stanisław Warszycki, whose soul also supposedly haunts the ruins of the Dańków Castle, where it appears as a headless horseman.
In film and television
In 1973, Ogrodzieniec Castle was used for outdoor scenes in the television series Janosik.
In 1980, the film The Knight by Lech Majewski was shot in the castle.
In 1995, the castle was used to depict the ruins of the old Spellbinder's castle in the Australian television series Spellbinder.
In 2001, the ruins were used as scenery for Andrzej Wajda's film The Revenge. For the purpose of filmmaking, large decorations were built in the castle; these remained there after filming was finished.
- "Podzamcze – Ogrodzieniec Castle", Castles in Poland
- Bogna Wiernikowska, Maciej Kozłowski "Duchy polskie" 1985