If you are visiting Ogrodzieniec Castle I strongly recommend taking a walk direction north (ca. 2 km) and climb nearby Mount Birow (ca. 460 m above sea level). It is not only about beautiful, breathtaking views from the top of the hill. Mount Birow in Ogrodzieniec is also an important archeological site. Between the majestic limestone rocks, which had definitely important defensive qualities in the past, archeologists found the remains of ancient settlements.
History of Mount Birow
The works conducted by archeologists confirmed that the first settlement on the Birow hill was set up at the end of the Neolithic era. And the top of the hill was inhabited till the end of the 13th century. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the 14th century, the Czech troops chasing Polish King Wladyslaw Lokietek destroyed the hillfort. Some years later the king decided to enlarge and rebuild the nearby Ogrodzieniec castle and therefore the Birow fortress was no longer needed.
We can speak about five periods in history when our ancestors lived on Mount Birow. The first inhabitants arrived there around 30 thousand years ago and lived in numerous caves around the top of the hill. Afterward, the first wooden settlement was constructed at the end of the Neolithic period. After that, around VI – V century BC, the representatives of Lusatian culture inhabited the hill. Their village was probably destroyed by the Scythian invasion. The fourth settlement over Mount Birow is dated to the end of the 2nd century until the 6th century AD. I am not sure if this fourth settlement might be connected already with Slavic tribes, but surely the next one was a Slavic one. From the 9th century till the 14th century there was the medieval village and wooden fort on the Birow hill.
Mount Birow today
Based on the archeological works conducted in the 90ties, the early medieval village was reconstructed. All history lovers can visit wooden, medieval houses and watchtowers. With a bit of help from your imagination, you may try to go back in time and see how our forefathers lived. It is a very interesting experience. From time to time, especially during the summertime, you can participate in special events organized for Middle Ages “freaks”. Usually, these events are set up together with Ogrodzieniec castle. It might be a workshop of medieval craft or cooking, an arts and crafts market, or a medieval fashion show…
At the foot of Mount Birow, the archeologists found three Slavic kurgans. What’s really interesting no human remains were found inside those burial mounds. The archeologists assume that those kurgans should be dated to 7th – 8th century AD. During this period the actual graves were often situated over the tumulus, not inside it. That was probably the case in Ogrodzieniec.
You may also visit caves which were inhabited by our ancestors ca. 30 thousand years ago. The story of the settlements over the Mount Birow might be a really good example of the time journey; human history in a nutshell…
Mount Birow is not only attractive to history lovers but also to climbers. There are some interesting rocks with prepared climb roads equipped with fixed protections. The roads are rather difficult ones. I am not a climbing expert but according to specialists, they are meant for more experienced climbers.