Ojcow is a little village, ca. 25 km from Cracow, which is situated in picturesque Pradnik Valley. The village gave the name to Ojcow’s National Park (Ojcowski Park Narodowy); the park was created to preserve the beauty of the area and its astonishing nature.
Ojcow enjoys great fame due to its castle (or rather its ruins nowadays). The first wooden manor fortress was probably erected during the reign of prince Boleslaus the Wrymouth, but the first strong, stone-made castle was built by king Casimir the Great. King Casimir called the place “Oczec” – which means father. It was a tribute to his father Wladyslaw Lokietek, who was hiding in this area during his struggle for Cracow’s throne. You can read more about this story here. The current name “Ojcow” evaluated from the original “Oczec”.
During his period of glory, Ojcow’castle was visited by kings and queens, many eminent person who were coming there from nearby Cracow for hunting, amusement and enjoying rest in castle’s beautiful scenery.
The Ojcow Castle was still inhabited till the middle of XIXth century. Afterwards it slowly started to fall into ruins. Today, we can still admire high, octagonal Casimir’s tower, which serves as castle’s entry and part of old walls.
The castle and its area are definitely worth visiting; the view from the ruins to the Pradnik Valley is astonishing! If you decide to visit the Ojcow castle, please don’t miss nearby Pieskowa Skala castle, Lokietek’s cave and Chapel of the water!
The Chapel on the Water in Ojcow was built at the beginning of XX century while this part of Poland was under Russian occupation. Tsar Nicolas II had forbidden constructing religious, worship-connected buildings “on the soil”, so local residents decided to built the chapel “on the water”. The wooden construction is being used as little church till today.