King Lokietek in Ojcow

Ojcow and Pradnik Valley are connected with the legend of King Wladyslaw Lokietek, a notable monarch in Polish history.

King Lokietek (which means “elbow-high”) was maybe not the tallest but definitely one of the bravest sovereign in Polish history. He lived at the turn of XIII and XIV century during the time of feudal fragmentation of Poland. It was a very difficult period when Poland practically did not exist as a unity. Wladyslaw, before becoming a king, was a duke of several small provinces and principalities. His dream was to make the kingdom strong and united again, to join all the provinces into one forceful country.

It took him more then twenty years to fulfill his dream… During this time he had to fight with Czech kings, make alliance with but afterwards fight Teutonic knights, negotiate with other princes of Polish Piast dynasty, hide in own country and even spend some time in exile… His story might be a really good base for a screenplay…

Legend says that during years’ long flights with Czech Kings for the Cracow’s throne, Lokietek and his team found refuge in Ojcow’s caves and inaccessible forests. The local residents and his subjects were doing all the best to not let Czech discover Lokietek’s whereabouts. However one day Czech troops arrived to the Pradnik Valley… The king, threatened with capture hid with his knights and servants in the biggest cave and a spider spun a web across its entire entrance. The searchers seeing untouched web, simply left the spot believing that no one could hide inside. That is is how spider saved the king’s life… And till today the cave is called “Lokietek’s cave”. You can visit it, close your eyes and try to imagine medieval story taking place…

The son of Lokietek, king Casimir the Great, built near the cave the castle which he called “Oczec” (father) – the name arose from the great respect and love he had to his Dad. Oczec through the centuries changed to Ojcow – and so is called the village nearby till today.

Castle in Ojcow
Castle in Ojcow