ccording to popular opinion, the castle in Ryczów was erected by King
Casimir the Great (d. 1370), as one of the elements in the chain of royal watchtowers guarding the southwestern border of the Polish kingdom. This is because this rather inconspicuous stronghold perfectly fills the gap between castles only a few kilometers apart:
Ogrodzieniec in Podzamcze,
the rock castle in Smoleń and the slightly smaller
fortification in Bydlin. Probably the main reason for the formation of this type of reinforcements was the growing threat from the Czech side since the beginning of the 14th century - as the border with the Czech-dependent Duchy of Siewierz and Bytom was only a day's march away from Ryczów.
VIEW OF THE ROCK FROM THE WEST
he oldest documents with the name of the village come as late as 1416. They mention a certain Jan of Kwaśniów of
Stary Koń coat of arms as the lessee of these lands, but lack any annotation of the castle. At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries the watchtower belonged to the Boner family from nearby Ogrodzieniec, but this was probably already the declining period of this fortification, since, as archaeological research indicates, it had been damaged earlier by some armed raid and certainly did not perform any strategic function at that time.
REMAINS OF THE WATCHTOWER AS SEEN FROM THE EAST
round the middle of the 16th century, the stronghold was abandoned and perhaps even intentionally blown up. From then until the 20th century, its history remains unknown. In the interwar period, part of the rock slipped, causing the northeast corner of the walls to collapse. More devastation was done here by Ryczów residents extracting building material from the rock, as well as by German artillerymen, who fired from a tank and destroyed the highest surviving part of the castle. In the 1960s, local authorities placed the ruin under preservation protection.
CASTLE RUIN IN THE 1960S
During archaeological research carried out at the site of the former watchtower in 1990-91 and in 2019, a significant number of relics were discovered, among them remains of medieval weapons, possibly abandoned here during a battle for the castle. Among the artifacts found was an iron spur, as well as part of the handle of a medieval
he watchtower was built on a hard-to-reach limestone rock in its highest, eastern part. Its main element was a small 2- or 3-story residential tower, erected on the plan of an irregular quadrangle measuring 16x11x12.5x10 meters. It probably did not have a traditional entrance, and the only way to it was via a wooden platform, as evidenced by cavities carved into the rock for the attachment of wooden beams.
REMAINS OF A RESIDENTIAL TOWER
djacent to the rock was a small courtyard measuring 15x25 meters, paved, with wooden buildings. This courtyard, along with the tower rock, was surrounded by a moat 7-10 meters wide, as well as a 1.5-meter high rampart and a second inner rampart with a wooden palisade. The entrance to the lower castle area led over a bridge set on stone pillars, the remains of which were discovered in the northeastern section of the moat.
PLAN OF THE STRONGHOLD IN RYCZÓW ACCORDING TO J. BOGDANOWSKI
RECONSTRUCTION OF THE WATCHTOWER, R. SYPEK: "ZAMKI I OBIEKTY WAROWNE JURY KRAKOWSKO-CZĘSTOCHOWSKIEJ"
t the top of the rock, modest fragments of the tower remain, while at its base one can still see the grooves of the former moat and faint remnants of the earthen rampart surrounding the rock.
The area of the former courtyard is freely accessible. Climbing the rock, however, can be difficult and potentially dangerous.
It will take us about 15 minutes to explore the ruins.
No restrictions for dogs
AT THE FOOT OF THE CASTLE ROCK
he ruin is located in the eastern part of the village, at the edge of the forest on Basztowa Street. The following trails lead to it: yellow from Bydlin, black from Udórz and blue from Podzamcze and Smoleń.
We can park our car by the road (Basztowa Street).
We can ride our bikes up to the rock.
1. J. Bogdanowski: Dawna linia obronna Jury Krakowsko-Częstochowskiej: problemy adaptacji dla turystyki i konserwacji, Ochrona Zabytków 17/4 (67), 3-36 1964
2. L. Kajzer, J. Salm, S. Kołodziejski: Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Arkady 2001
3. R. Sypek: Zamki i obiekty warowne Jury Krakowsko-Częstochowskiej
4. A. Wagner: Murowane budowle obronne w Polsce X-XVIIw., Bellona 2019
5. R. Zdaniewicz: Militaria z badań fosy zamku w Ryczowie na Jurze Krakowsko-Częstochowskiej, Acta Militaria Mediaevalia XVI 2020
GETTING TO THE RUINS
Castles nearby: Podzamcze - Ogrodzieniec castle ruins from the 14th-16th centuries, 6 km
Pilica - palazzo in fortezza type castle, 7 km Smoleń - ruins of a knight's castle from the 14th century, 7 km Bydlin - ruins of a knight's castle from the 14th century, 12 km Udórz - relics of a knight's castle from the 14th century, 16 km
Morsko - castle ruins from the 14th century, 22 km Rabsztyn - ruin of a royal castle from the 14th century, 24 km Mirów - ruins of a knight's castle from the 14th century, 28 km Bobolice - royal castle (reconstruction), 30 km
Sławków - castle ruins from the 13th century, 30 km Siewierz - ruin of the bishops of Cracow castle from the 15th century, 32 km Pieskowa Skała - royal castle from the 14th-17th centuries, 35 km
Wysocice - fortified church from the 12th-13th centuries, 36 km Ojców - ruin of a royal castle from the 14th century, 40 km Korzkiew - knight's castle from the 14th century, 47 km