King Kazimierz the Great built Ojcow (Ojców) Castle, as one of many in the Eagles' Nests Trail. Like the castle in Pieskowej Skale, the castle in Ojców was a well-fortified stronghold, which was to provide security for the trade route. The origins of the castle date back to Ojców of the second half of the fourteenth century. Legend has it that it was called Ojcow from the polish word for father, with which Kazimierz the great commemorate his father - Ladislaus the Short.
During the reign of Wladyslaw Jagiello, the castle was leased successively to the families Szafraniec, Boners, and Myszkowski. While in their management, the fortress was neglected and significantly declined. Another blow to the fortunes of the castle was the invasion of the Swedes. In the first half of the seventeenth century, the castle passed into the hands of the family Korycińskich who undertook renovation and expansion of the castle.
During the partition, the castle once again started to fall into disrepair. Its destruction was so great that the then owner - Wolicki ordered demolition of the castle walls because they threatened to collapse. Now the castle is preserved as a tower, gatehouse and perimeter walls. The castle ruins are secured and are open to visitors.
The Castle in Ojcow is located to the north of Krakow, only about 25 km from the city. This makes it a popular day out for holiday makers from Krakow as well as for a weekend break away from the city.
Ojcow National Park
The Ojców National Park features amazing natural bridges, hundreds of caves and deep ravines. A royal fortress is perched on top of steep rocks.
The Ojców National Park is in the southern part of Poland, in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship, around 15km from Krakow, the former capital of Poland.
The area of the park is covered with picturesque limestone formations, which sometimes assume fancy shapes, like the monadnock, an isolated rock hill, called the Hercules' Club. The area is full of gorges up to 100 metres deep with a flat bottom and steep, often vertical sides. It also includes many valleys and ravines sculptured by water. Sandstone arches at the end of ravines are a characteristic rock formation of the Ojców National Park. The most famous of them is the Krakow's Gate, through which the trade route from Krakow to Silesia used to run.
In the territory of the park, nearly 400 caves have been discovered, but experts suspect that there may be even 700 of them. The most famous one is the King Łokietek Cave, which is open to visitors. Its name originates from a legend about Polish King Władysław the Elbow-high (Łokietek), who, it's claimed, sought cover from his enemy within the cave. The Ciemna (Dark) Cave can also be visited (but only with a guide).
The park also features the remains of the medieval castle in Ojców, constructed by Polish King Casimir the Great in the 14th century. This historical building is a part of the medieval system of fortifications consisting of more than ten castles and fortresses, which are now called the Trail of the Eagles' Nests. The name refers to the location of the castles, many of which nestle on top of rocks that are up to 30 metres high. This chain of fortifications also includes the castle in Pieskowa Skała, which has now taken the form of a stately Renaissance-era residence. It houses a museum, which is a regional branch of the Wawel Royal Castle National Art Collection.