Niedzica Castle Is One Of The Most Picturesque Attractions In Poland
This wonderfully picturesque castle is located on Czorsztyn Lake which lies on the border between southern Poland and northern Slovakia. Sometimes known as Dunajec Castle, it stands on a rocky promontary above this man-made lake at the end of the Dunajec River Gorge.
For tourists who wish to experience Poland away from its major towns and cities, then a visit to Dunajec Gorge and the Niedzica Castle is a must.
Niedzica Castle On Czorsztyn Lake
The castle was built between 1320 and 1326 on what was an ancient fortified position high in the Pieniny Mountains. Before the dam across the Dunajec was completed in 1994 and Czorsztyn Lake was created, Niedzica would have stood alone, high on the side of the river valley. Now it is just one hundred feet above the surface of the lake.
However, the dramatic aspect of this ancient building has not been lessened and many tourist books about the culture of Poland feature pictures of the castle on their covers.
It was originally built by an Hungarian and for a number of years was a border post between his country and Poland.
Its ownership changed hands many times through the centuriesand one noble owner, who aspired to the crown of Poland, even gave it as a gift to a loyal follower who supported his claim.
Many renovations have been made to the building over the years, the last was in 1963 when the Polish Ministry of Culture carried out work to turn it into a museum.
The castle architecture consists of a cobbled courtyard surrounded by various buildings.
Although not all the rooms are open to visitors, one of the places you can look around are the gloomy dungeons where it is easy to imagine some of the dark deeds that may have taken place.
The Castle Courtyard
The exhibits in Niedzica Castle museum are varied and extremely interesting. They include a wonderful collection donated by Akos Engelmayer who was the Hungarian ambassador to Poland for five years during the 1990`s.
There are engravings, prints, paintings, weapons, antique clocks and stuffed animals as well as maps of the region which date back several hundred years also artifacts relating to the history of the castle itself.
The Castle On A Sunny Day
However, what visitors find to be one of the most fascinating things about Niedzica is the legend that is associated with the place.
It relates to an owner during the 18th century who journeyed to South America where he is supposed to have married an Inca princess.
Sacred scrolls and an Inca treasure map are then alledged to have come into the hands of his descendants.
Apparently a lead casket with Inca writings was discovered in the castle but then subsequently lost.
The idea that somewhere in Niedzica lies a map to untold treasures in the Americas is still maintained to this day and a novel, "Rainbow and the Sun" was woven around the legend.
Looking Back Up The Lake To The Mountains And The Dunajec River Gorge
Whether you believe this story or not, a visit to Niedzica Castle and this wonderful part of southern Poland is well worth the trip.