ue to the lack of primary sources, we are not able to determine beyond a reasonable doubt who erected the castle in Bydlin and when it took place. The oldest document we know of, that mentions castrum in Bydlin, dates back to 1398. Its owners at the time were Pełka and Niemierza, heirs of Niemierza of Gołcza (d. 1351), who is widely believed to be the founder of the stronghold (although there is no evidence of this). Pełka and Niemierza were officially the sons of Niemierza of Gołcza, but according to some historians, their biological parents were King
Casimir the Great (Kazimierz Wielki) of Poland, and Niemierza's wife and the king's mistress, a certain Cudka.
RECONSTRUCTION OF THE CASTLE BY B. DREJEWICZ, R. SYPEK "ZAMKI I OBIEKTY WAROWNE JURY KRAKOWSKO-CZĘSTOCHOWSKIEJ"
n the second half of the 15th century Bydlin belonged to the Szczepanowski family, later its owners were the Brzezicki family, and then the Bonars, who converted the castle into a church in the early 16th century. In 1546 Zofia Bonar gave the village as a marriage dowry to Jan Firlej of
Lewart coat of arms (d. 1574), a royal deputy and supporter of Calvinism, who turned the Catholic temple into a Protestant church. However, as early as 1594 his son
Mikołaj (d. 1601) gave the building back to the Catholics, but before that he rebuilt and renovated it. As a result of these works, a perimeter wall and a gate tower were demolished, the window layout was changed, as well as the interior layout and decoration. The church then received the name of Holy Cross.
STAIRS LEADING TO THE CASTLE
n 1655, the church was invaded, looted and burned by Swedish occupiers. And although the Męciński family rebuilt it in the 1730s, frequent later robbery attacks, neglect and fires left it in ruins by the end of the 18th century. From then on, the castle stood abandoned and forgotten for 200 years. It was only in 1989 that archaeologists discovered here, among other things, foundations of the gate tower and a crypt with two rock-cut graves containing human remains. They also found a denarius of Louis of Hungary and solidi of Sigismund III Vasa, as well as numerous fragments of pottery and stove tiles.
CASTLE RUIN IN BYDLIN
The castle ruin is located near two villages: Krzywopłoty and Załęże. There, on November 17 and 18, 1914, a battle took place between Polish troops (belonging to the Austrian army) under the command of Major
Mieczysław Ryś Trojanowski and the Tsarist Siberian Rifle Division. The Poles dug in on hills in the villages of Bydlin and Krzywopłoty, while the Russians took their positions in forests near Smoleń and Domaniewice. As a result of fierce fighting, both sides suffered significant losses - only on the Polish side there were 46 killed and 131 wounded or captured. One of those killed was Lt. Stanisław Paderewski, step-brother of Polish Prime Minister Ignacy Paderewski.
To this day, trenches and other field fortifications made by Austrian sappers (supporting the Polish troops) have been preserved on the slopes of the castle hill. Trenches and ditches wrap virtually the entire hill, and their total length is about 1 kilometer.
WORLD WAR 1 TRENCHES AT THE FOOT OF THE CASTLE HILL
he dominant element of the castle was a three-story residential tower, built on a rectangular plan with sides of about 11x24 meters, featuring corner buttresses that supported walls up to 2.3 meters thick. Its ceilings were made of wood, and its partition walls - of wood and clay. The entrance to the tower led through a portal located 2.5 meters above ground level, to which a wooden staircase or porch was attached. Ogee windows and smaller slit-type windows provided light access to its interior. In the second phase of construction, probably still in the 14th century, a perimeter wall with a gate tower was added to the residential tower from the south, thus forming a small courtyard. The castle was surrounded by an earthen rampart and a dry moat.
FREE INTERPRETATIONS OF THE CASTLE'S APPEARANCE IN THE MEDIEVAL PERIOD (ABOVE) AND AFTER CONVERSION TO A CHURCH
ome of windows in the tower were bricked up as part of the castle's conversion to a church in the 16th century. At that time, its interior was divided into three smaller areas: a nave, a chancel and a small chamber, which probably served some auxiliary function - perhaps a porch or chapel. Additional windows were also made on the courtyard side to brighten interiors of the new temple.
PLAN OF THE CASTLE IN BYDLIN: 1. RESIDENTIAL TOWER (CHURCH), 2. WALL, 3. GATE TOWER, 4. ESCARPMENT
he residential tower, foundations of the perimeter walls and ditches left by the moat have partially survived to the present day. The south wall of the tower collapsed in 2009, but it was reconstructed three years later (p. photos below). As part of the renovation work carried out at the time, joints in the walls were replenished, wild vegetation overgrowing the plateau was removed and the stairs were repaired.
BYDLIN CASTLE BEFORE THE COLLAPSE OF THE SOUTH WALL (ABOVE) AND AFTER PARTIAL RECONSTRUCTION
It takes about half an hour to explore the ruins and war trenches (including the walk to and from the parking lot).
The site is not friendly to people with mobility disabilities (loose road surface, steep stairs).
Military flight zone. Its status can be checked in the DRONERADAR app.
RUIN OF THE RESIDENTIAL TOWER
ON THE WAY TO THE CASTLE
ydlin is located about 15 kilometers northeast of Olkusz and about 10 kilometers south of Smoleń castle. You will find the ruin in the northern part of the village, on a hill next to the cemetery.
Free parking at the cemetery (Bydlin, Zawadka Street, about 200 meters away from the ruins).
Bicycles can be brought up the castle hill.
TOURIST SHELTER AT THE FOOT OF THE CASTLE HILL
1. M. Antoniewicz: Zamki na Wyżynie Krakowsko-Częstochowskiej...
2. I. T. Kaczyńscy: Zamki w Polsce południowej, Muza SA 1999
3. L. Kajzer, J. Salm, S. Kołodziejski: Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Arkady 2001
4. R. Sypek: Zamki i obiekty warowne Jury Krakowsko-Częstochowskiej
5. J. Zinkow: Orle gniazda i warownie jurajskie, Sport i Turystyka 1977
Castles nearby: Smoleń - ruins of a knight's castle from the 14th century, 12 km Udórz - relics of a knight's castle from the 14th century, 12 km (by bike), 19 km (by car) Ryczów - ruins of a royal watchtower from the 14th century, 13 km
Pilica - a knight's castle from the 14th century, rebuilt, 15 km Rabsztyn - ruins of a royal castle from the 14th century., 14 km Podzamcze - ruins of Ogrodzieniec castle from the 14th-16th centuries, 17 km Pieskowa Skała - a royal castle from the 14th-17th centuries, 26 km
Sławków - relics of a 13th century bishop's castle, 28 km
Wysocice - a fortified church from the 12th-13th centuries, 28 km
Morsko - ruins of a castle from the 14th century, 30 km Ojców - ruins of a royal castle from the 14th century, 33 km Korzkiew - a knight's castle from the 14th/15th century, 39 km Mirów - ruins of a knight's castle from the 14th century, 39 km Bobolice - a royal castle (reconstructed), 40 km Siewierz - ruins of the Cracow bishops' castle from the 15th century, 40 km
The cemetery, located at the foot of the castle hill, contains war quarters where 46 Polish soldiers killed in the battle of Krzywopłoty and 284 unnamed soldiers of the Russian and Austrian armies (mainly Hungarians, Slovaks, Czechs and Poles) were buried. At the entrance to the cemetery a brick chapel erected in the 18th century on the site of a former hermitage.
About 10 kilometers away from Bydlin (southwest direction) is Poland's largest area of sand called the Błędowska Desert, 10 kilometers long and 4 kilometers wide. Today, the desert has been mostly overgrown with bushes, but large areas of exposed sand still remain. The most interesting view of the desert is offered from the vantage point in the village of Chechło, while its most impressive panorama can be seen from the observation terrace in Klucze.