Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Villa VI Aratorum. The Archeopark at the Salt Mines.

Fortification: Ploughmen Village
Location: Bochnia, Poland
Built: First written mention of the village is in 1234.

I was very excited to find another archaeopark, this time in Poland, during my trip. Unfortunately, I was only there briefly. A kind security guard allowed my group in after hours and gave us a very brief tour. There's always next time!

The village is a reconstruction of a typical 13th century settlement found in the MaƂopolska region of Poland.

Entering through the main gate, we have the first courtyard, where brine was removed from the well and heated to vaporize the water and leave the salt:

Unfortunately, I lost my photos that showed a close up of the 'table' where they made the salt.

Continuing on to the main area of the acropolis, we have numerous houses that demonstrate that cottages and the like don't have to be shoddy little shacks:

This is the blacksmith's house, and just behind it you can see the carpenter's. I should note that I am not clear if these houses were actually particular to the trades of the time, particular to the trades of this village, or simply a mix used to show off all the different styles of houses at the time. The archeopark regularly has reenactment days, where craftsmen and woman show visitors their trade.

Blacksmiths were some of the earliest craftsmen to develop guilds. Over time the profession branched off to create locksmiths, nailsmiths, knifesmiths, and so on. A carpenter or woodworker was well versed in making buildings, windows, doors, and furniture. Many would even build carts and barrels when work on buildings was slow.

The next photos show a design common among some Slavic people before the 13th century:

A close up of the roof:

Here is a photo of a roof from the inside:

And here is a short (12 second) video that highlights the layout of a dugout:


This next house is rather nice, but I can not remember what the leveled structure to the left was for. I believe it was for sorting/processing grains or clay for pottery, but don't hold me to that. Hopefully I can return next year and get a proper tour of the village.

Looking back the way we came:

The herbalist's/healer's homestead:

Another interesting design:

For more information on the archaeological park at Bochnia, click here. Lots of pictures, and more information about different medieval trades. (I highly recommend this site. You might be interested in reading about the salt mine as well, which is the oldest in Poland. It's origins can be traced back to 1248.)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Zamek Lubomirskich

Fortification: Lubomirskich
Location: Nowy Wisnicz, Poland
Built: 15th Century

The Castle in Nowy Wisnicz (as it is now known) is a palace within a fortress. It sits upon a forested hill near a river and has five towers and several outer buildings. An earlier castle was built in this area by Jan Kmita in the second half of the 14th century. It consisted of a small castle with a single tower, surrounded by palisades. Jan's son, Piotr, rebuilt the castle in the gothic style, with three bastions and a brick wall. They then built the castle near Nowy Wisnicz and later sold it to the Lubomirski.

Today, the castle belongs to the city and they are working to restore and maintain it.

They had a lovely model of the castle on display:

A similar aerial shot, rotated just a few degrees counter clockwise:

The main entrance to the castle is in the shadows.

And now for the technical part of our tour:

1) Baroque entrance gate.  2) Inner Courtyard.  3) Chapel.  4) Bastions.  5) Towers.  6) Quarters and casemate (shelter from artillery).  7) Kitchen.

Arriving by modern horsepower, we can see the castle immediately from the parking lot:

Walking around to the gate:

Above you can see the bridge and the entrance.

A lovely tree at the base of the bridge:

The main gate:

Stepping into the courtyard, I was impressed by the beauty and grandness of this palace:

The castle seemed all the larger by how the palace sat in the center of the courtyard. I was safely enclosed by long, thick walls and there wasn't a lot of open space within.

Looking a little to the right:

And here is a close up of the symbol on the tower wall:


The palace entrance:

A short side door, just right of the steps:


There's always so many 'hidden' nooks to be found in castles. You can't see this door in the above picture, but once you go up the steps it's there.

Continuing up the stairs to the main door and looking up:

Our group did not arrive in time for one of the tours, but we arranged a brief private tour. Thus I missed some of the history, but as time allows I can come back and fill in some details from a book I have on the castle.

Here is the inner courtyard:

One of the upstairs rooms:

It didn't show up great, but there are some nice dragon carvings on this chair:

An elegant stair well:

The chapel:


I was very impressed by the collection of castle models on display. Unfortunately, they dragged me away before I could photograph them all:

Out on the balcony, we had a lovely view of the country side past the stables:

The building at the end of the stables is now a hotel. Historically, iirc, it housed the cavalry officers.

Speaking of horses, here is some restored art work:

Exiting the palace out the 'side' door, we see the gate across the courtyard:

The above and below photos show the casemate:

Now, walking around the courtyard we reach the stables. To the right of the tree you can see the wall that lines the walkway down into the stables:

And here is said walkway:

Going deeper:

The main chamber:

There used to be stalls all down the aisle. If you are wondering what those rusty colored items on the wall are- they're heaters. They had to be put in during past renovations.

Turning right, there's a fair sized room off the main chamber:

Yes, this would be the torture chamber. Right there where they keep they horses. I guess the horrid cries of battle were nothing unusual to a horse after a week in this stable.

More instruments:

I didn't take the picture of the 'birdcage' with nails set in the bars. I couldn't stomach it.

On the other end of the stables, we have some different rooms and nooks:

 And there was a toilet:

Now, if you're thinking 'but this is underground' - well, not really. They did dig out the stables, but it's on the side of a steep hill. So this toilet dumps away from the castle wall. You can just see the tip of a tree through the window.

And so I'm not ending with the toilet, here's another glimpse of the outer wall as we return to the parking lot:

More photos here: http://zamki.net.pl/zamki/nowy-wisnicz/nowy-wisnicz.php
and here: http://zamki.res.pl/wisnicz.htm