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:
and here:

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Fortification: Wawel, the Royal Palace
Location: Krakow, Poland
Built: 16th century.

Wawel Hill has long since been an important area of settlement. There were Slavic people here as early as the 7th century. The hill held an important fortification of the Vislane tribe in the 9th century, and members of the Piast Dynasty resided here.

My visit was fairly short, but I enjoyed the grandness of the place.

First, the streets of Krakow-

Selling bread:

Just outside the city walls:

Inside a small shop:

Note the Hussar 'wings'. The Hussar were a heavy cavalry and the Polish Hussar were well renowned in battle. More info here

 Arriving at the palace:

Looking out over the city:

 Here be dragons:

Inside the castle walls:

The Zygmunt bell:

And lastly, a castle that is several days (by horse drawn carriage) from Krakow (and a few hours by car):

You can read about the history of Wawel and the area here.