The 14th-century castle in Bobolice is one of the most beautiful medieval fortresses on the Eagles’ Nests Trail. Situated over a beautiful, green hill combines in harmony own walls with white Jurassic limestone rocks. And this is one of two Polish Jura’s fortresses that are not in ruins. Just a few years ago private investor decided to reconstruct Bobolice castle, to bring back its previous glamour.
The history of this beautiful fortification starts around the year 1350, when the Polish king, Casimir the Great gave the order to build the fortress on the hill. Bobolice, together with other Eagles’ Nests, was part of the Polish south-west border defense system. At first, the builders erected a cylindrical tower with a diameter of 9 meters and walls 1.5 meters thick. Only after that, the residential part of the castle was added.
Just some years later, in 1370 king, Luis of Hungary (who was also on behalf of his daughter Jadwiga ruling Poland for some years) gave the castle in Bobolice to his faithful and unquestioned supporter, prince Wladyslaw Opolczyk.
After that, for many years the fortress stayed in private hands. Different nobles’ families contributed to its development and prosperity. The families of Szafraniec and Ostoja rebuilt the fortress. They decided to demolish the oldest cylindrical tower and to build new, semi-circular towers. Their purpose was to strengthen the defense system of the castle. But they also took care of the residential part of the mansion. They modernized the whole structure by adding representative chambers as well as the chapel, kitchen, and treasury. Medieval fort received a renaissance flair.
Unfortunately, after this period of the 15th and 16th-century castle’s prosperity, bitter times started in 1587. This year the troops of prince Maximilian Habsburg, pretender to the Polish throne, destroyed the fortress for the first time. On their way to conquer Cracow Maximilian and his army were leaving fire and ruins only… Polish defenders were luckily able to stop them at nearby Olsztyn castle. Thanks to the heroic fight of one of the greatest Polish patriots – Kacper Karlinski Cracow was saved. You can read about the battle of Olsztyn here.
Just about seventy years later another war caused the castle’s massive destruction. The Swedish deluge in years 1655- 1660 left Bobolice fortress again in ruins…
Although reconstruction works started shortly after that, it was still in 1683 when Polish king Jan III Sobieski had to sleep in a tent under the castle while visiting Bobolice. King Sobieski and his army made a short stop there on their way to Vienna. In 1683 Ottoman troops were besieging this imperial city for few months when the Polish king rushed with a rescue mission (Battle of Vienna). The last confirmed information about the residency of the castle is dated to the beginning of the 18th century. After that, the owners of the fortress abandoned it, and Bobolice castle and began to fall into ruins.
In 2011 private investor decided to rebuild this medieval fortress. The groups of historians, architects, and archeologists were involved in the works. They tried to pay special attention to every detail during their works, but reconstruction still arouses controversy. Unfortunately, there were no source messages, old plans, to make sure how exactly the castle looked like in the past. Its current state is a mix of research and scientists’ imagination.
It would be great, Dear Reader, if you – after visiting the castle- let me know your opinion about its reconstruction. You can visit the castle every day; in summer season from 10 am to 6 pm, in winter season from 10 am to 4 pm.
Just a few meters from the castle there is a restaurant and a hotel. Staying for the night in the castle’s proximity may be a great chance to feel its real atmosphere… And to check if the legends about Bobolice fortress are the true stories…