We take you on a journey through the castles of Lodz voivodeship. The more famous ones and the completely forgotten ones. Those renovated and those falling into disrepair. Here you will read many interesting legends and stories related to them, after which you will be afraid to enter the castle after dark…. We invite you on a long journey with ghosts and devils in the background :)
When thinking of castles, you probably sooner think of Lower Silesia, the Trail of the Eagles’ Nests or Warsaw, Krakow, Malbork…. Few people would think of Lodz province as a region where you can see a whole cross-section of castles, both royal and knightly. And it’s a pity, because there are unexceptional, undiscovered, sometimes completely forgotten ruins of fortresses that are waiting to share the fate of castles in Łęczyca or Inowłodz, for which time and additional funds proved to be salutary. For them, the time has come when they once again arouse interest, and fortunately they are besieged not by enemies, but by groups of tourists!
Today we invite you on a unique journey, a little dark, a little mysterious, but full of images, showing the beauty of individual places. It will be a journey through the world of legends and not only those associated with the famous Devil Boruta. A journey that could go on for a long time, as we could create a separate post about each castle telling the history of the place or conjectures spun from archaeological findings. In this post, however, we will focus on an itinerary proposal for an extended weekend with interesting facts and legends in the background, which we hope will encourage you to explore these places on your own.
At the end of the post you will find a map with all the castles marked, a gallery of over 200 photos and a video report of our trip :)
>>> Polecamy również naszą książkę “Łódzkie dla każdego”! W książce znajdziesz 268 stron pełnych inspiracji, opisów, proponowanych tras zwiedzania, naszych ocen oraz praktycznych informacji. Wyruszaj w drogę i zwiedzaj z nami centralną Polskę!
Table of contents
Practical information before hitting the road
Our proposed route is a good option for 3-4 days. The tour can be done in two days as well, but this is definitely not enough to see the museums located in some of the sites, learn about the history and legends associated with these places or participate in the events taking place here.
The entire route is about 600 kilometers by car, and it is by this means of transport that we recommend traveling. Many of the facilities are located in small towns that can be difficult to reach by public transportation. It’s also a good idea to cycle the route, but split into smaller sections.
And no kidding, some of these sites are neglected ruins of castles or objects inaccessible to visitors, to which you only need to spend a maximum of an hour, but the route we propose assumes that there are other, more impressive and interesting objects in their vicinity, so we treat them as supplements On the route (and maybe someone will like them!). The more interesting castle ruins are usually the better preserved ones, reconstructed, with descriptions, which house museums and exhibitions and are worth a stop here.
Where are the facilities we describe located? Here we have focused on the northern and southeastern parts of the Lodz Voivodeship to offer you an interesting route rich in castles. This doesn’t mean that the list is closed and you won’t see anything else in Lodz, but the other sites are further away.
What else is worth knowing before setting off on a trip? Some are private properties, some ruins are in danger of collapsing, so unfortunately it is not possible to enter many of them, but just being able to see them live gives you an idea of how these castles may have looked and functioned in their heyday. Many of them are free, and it is possible to enter the surrounding parks or courtyards, but visiting the exhibits inside often involves additional fees, which will also be mentioned in the entry.
Then what? Ready to embark on another trip back in time to some of the most interesting strongholds in the province? :)
Archbishop’s castle in Uniejów
You could already read about the Castle of the Archbishops of Gniezno in Uniejów in our post about Uniejów. However, we were happy to return to these regions to take some shots in a summer-autumn setting and to remind you of the legend of the White Lady.
Many people come to Uniejów mainly to take advantage of the geothermal pools located here. After relaxing and resting in the water, head to the nearby park and castle to learn about the history of the place and see one of the better-preserved castles in the Lodz province, which has housed a restaurant and hotel and conference center since 2012. The courtyard of the castle and the inter-mural are open to the public, and it is especially worth coming here during the time when the knight’s tournament is held, which is in July.
The initiative to build the castle came from Archbishop of Gniezno Jaroslaw Bogoria of Skotniki, who worked closely with King Casimir the Great. It was a mainly defensive fortress that, along with other structures, was intended to protect the center of Poland from the north.
In addition, one of the castle’s goals was to protect the treasures and archives of the Gniezno church, including the extremely important relics of saints (including the head and hand of St. Adalbert). And it is with the treasure that the most popular legend from Uniejów is connected.
According to her, somewhere in the castle or park was hidden the treasure of the Bishops of Gniezno. No one knew where the treasure was deposited, but as it happens, there were many eager to find it, and not exactly with good intentions. The thieves were so desperate that they even threatened to kill small children by throwing them into the well if information about the treasure’s whereabouts did not reach them by the next morning.
Fortunately, a young man came up with an idea to get out of the situation, sacrificing his life in the process, but saving the lives of innocent people. He told Uniejka about his idea, who refused to let her beloved die and decided to shoulder the burden herself. She told the thieves that she knew the location of the treasure and would be happy to lead them to it. She was walking towards a very precarious area, full of mud and wetlands, where it was easy to get lost and bogged down. The area took the lives of all who went on this expedition, including Uniejka, and her spirit walks through the chambers in the evenings.
People who come to the castle and who have something on their conscience will hear the screams of thieves, and those whose consciences are clear can look in the water and, if indeed this is the case, will see the reflection of Uniejka.
The knight’s castle in Besiekiery
In Besiekiers there are ruins of a castle, built on an artificial pond, to which a wooden bridge leads. And although signs warning of collapse are immediately in sight, no one seems to mind and even children enter the ruins.
We planned our trip to hit the knightly tournament held here in early September, which gave the place a unique character. We were surrounded by people, passionate about chivalry and history, often dressed up and showing what life was like in medieval times.
We had the opportunity to talk with people from the Inowlodz Castellany, who introduced us to the subject of knightly tournaments, and at the same time told us many interesting facts, related not only to Inowlodz, but also about their activities and events in the province. It’s worth it sometimes to meet such healthy-minded people on your way! :)
The atmosphere in the tent village nearby was unique. On the one hand, dueling knights, sword thrusts, arrows from bows, the smell from hearths and just everyday life from another era. And maybe it was the magical atmosphere here that did it, but the place was particularly memorable for us.
Besiekiery is located close to Leczyca, so the legend associated with the Devil Boruta could not be missed here. According to the legend, a knight bet the devil himself that he would build a castle without using an axe. And just when everything seemed to indicate that the castle had been completed without this tool, it turned out that one of the workers who built the castle had a last name…. Axe. The knight lost the bet, and the devil took possession of the castle and his soul.
Another legend, on the other hand, tells of the White Lady, a girl who has not come to terms with her parents’ choice of marriage. Her heart’s choice was another young man, and for disobedience she was locked in a tower in nearby Borysławice Zamkowe. The girl did not give up and tried to escape from the tower, but the attempt ended tragically for her and she died. Since then, the ghost has been appearing in Besiekier Castle before important events and waiting for her beloved. I wonder if the White Lady showed up just before the tournament?Please define valid width and height attributes for remote images. This will also optimize the loading time of the remote panorama.
The castle, the ruins of which can be seen here, was built at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, on an almost square shape (40×38 meters). The castle had been deteriorating since the 19th century, and now only the ruins of the walls remain. It was not until 2010 that revitalization work began – the surrounding area was cleared, the courtyard was exposed and the castle walls were secured.
Royal castle in Leczyca
The Royal Castle in Leczyca is one of the most famous castles in the Lodz province. It is made popular by the annual, popular International Knights Tournament (at the end of August) and the well-known legends of the Devil Borut. And it is surprising that only now there is an opportunity to write a few sentences about this unique place.
The building was erected in the 14th century, during the reign of Casimir the Great, and served as his residence. Impressive in size for the time, the castle (about 3000m2) was part of the city’s fortifications. Rebuilt many times and consumed by fires, it was destroyed in the 17th century by the Swedes (attempts were later made to rebuild, but subsequent conflicts again wrought destruction). Today the renovated castle, with its tower towering over the city, attracts tourists not only from the region.
However, we were more interested in everything related to Boruta. According to legend, Casimir the Great’s retinue was said to have gotten lost in the surrounding woods and got stuck in the wetlands. The person who helped move on and pulled the carriage out of the trap was the nobleman Boruta, and out of gratitude the ruler gave him possession of the castle. According to other legends, Boruta was a forester (he worked in the forest, hence the name Boruta), and only after saving the king from oppression was he given the title of nobility.
Boruta, however, appears in further legends as a villain who made life difficult for at least the locals. One of them tells the story of a treasure that a Mazovian prince gave to Boruta for safekeeping. However, this one hid it somewhere in the dungeons of the castle and never gave it back. The treasure is said to still be hiding somewhere underground, and is guarded by the devil Boruta himself.
During our visit to the castle in Leczyca, we had the opportunity to talk to Boruta himself and even conduct a short interview with him! You can listen to what he had to say in the video at the bottom of the post :)
If you’d like to see what the devil himself is believed to have looked like, a sizable collection of his various incarnations can be found in the Regional Museum, located in the castle’s ethnographic exhibition section. In addition to the devil himself, at the museum we can get a glimpse of what life was like in the Łęczyca countryside, reconstructions of walls, learn about the history of the city and even prehistoric times associated with the region. We were particularly interested in the exhibition on the nearby Tuma archdiocese, including a ceramic model depicting the site.
The museum ticket also includes access to the 32-meter tower and a panoramic view of the city.
What, besides the tower, is on the site of today’s castle? You enter the castle through the gate tower, from where you can go straight to the courtyard (free entrance). From here you can see the corner tower, the west wing (the New House), which houses the aforementioned museum, and the building called the Powder House (formerly the Old House).
Archbishop’s castle in Oporów
Located in the northern part of the province, Oporow Castle is one of the nicest and best-preserved Gothic buildings in Lodz. Both the castle and the surrounding park provide the perfect setting for a romantic stroll and a pleasant afternoon. It is eerily quiet here, with visitors relaxing on individual benches or strolling along designated park paths.
The origins of the castle date back to the first half of the 15th century, and fortunately, unlike many others, this castle has not had a turbulent history (the only exception being the burning by the Swedes in 1657) so it is preserved in very good condition. It was influenced by remodels adding Renaissance or Baroque elements. Eventually, after the war, when the building was handed over to the state, restoration work was undertaken to restore a more Gothic appearance.
The castle is surrounded by a moat, and a wooden bridge leads to it. Entrance to the courtyard is free, while the interior of the castle now houses a museum (entrance fee).
Is there any interesting legend associated with Oporow Castle? Of course! This is the legend of the White Lady: in Oporow a tunnel was dug between the castle and the monastery of the Fr. Paulins. It was discovered by a pair of lovers and allowed them to meet in secret. Unfortunately, one time when a woman was walking through a tunnel to her beloved monk the tunnel collapsed and killed her. In the place where the woman’s life ended, to this day you can still hear the cries and moans of the White Lady, who is waiting in the tunnel for rescue.
The knight’s castle in Sobotka
In the village of Sobota, not far from Piątek, there is one of the more interesting discoveries we reached while collecting material for this entry.
Unlike other facilities, here there is no parking or signs leading to the facility. Follow Warsaw Street all the way to the end of the road, and you can only park your car on the side of the road.
Crossing the gates to the park, where the palace is now located, we entered as if into a secret garden. Initially neat, with paths and benches, and with each step more overgrown and unpredictable.
We walked along an increasingly less trodden path until we came to a brick building on a slight rise obscured by trees. It is now a private mansion, but during research on its grounds, relics of a 15th-century tower were discovered, indicating the defensive function of the building previously located here (unfortunately, not visible from the outside at present). It was thought to have been built in the mid-15th century. The current tower, which is located here, was built in the 18th or even 19th century and only gives the castle character.
The property is privately owned and inhabited, so it is not possible to go inside. However, this neo-Gothic building has its own unique character – romantic by day and dark and mysterious by night.
Castle of the Mazovian Princes in Rawa Mazowiecka
You may have already read about this castle on our narrow-gauge railroad journey through the Łódź province. This time, however, it’s worth stopping by the castle for longer and learning about the legend of the White Lady (although there are quite a few of these White Ladies in castles in Lodz province!). Not just any legend, as it is said to have been inspired by William Shakespeare himself for The Winter’s Tale!
The legend relates to Siemowit III, Duke of Warsaw, who ruled in Rawa Mazowiecka and managed the aforementioned castle. After losing his first wife, he fell in love with Ludmila and they had two sons, who unfortunately died very young. When Ludmilla was pregnant with her next offspring, his sister Euphemia came to Siemowit with her son Przemyslaw and hatched a wicked plot aimed at having her son get the entire inheritance. She wanted to convince her brother that his wife had cheated on him, and that the child she was expecting was not his. To this end, she planted various false evidence and slandered Ludmila. Siemowit slowly began to believe his sister and decided to lock his wife in the basilica. In parallel, he conducted his own investigation, canvassed the servants, but found no one to confirm his sister’s reports of his wife’s guilt.
However, this did not stop him from taking the radical steps his sister urged him to take. He ordered his wife to be killed and his child to be given to some peasant family. Fortunately, Siemowit’s daughter from his first marriage, Margaret, found his abandoned son, had him kidnapped, and together with her husband, Prince Kazik Slupski, raised him, provided a home and education.
Years later, the time came when Margaret decided to show the child to Siemowit, who was extremely fond of him, and everyone knew that there could never be any betrayal. The prince realized how big a mistake he had made, and despite his attempts to rectify his act, Ludmilla’s spirit never forgave him. Year after year, on the day their son is born, he shows up at the basilica and looks for his family.
The aforementioned reconstructed tower and a section of the walls can still be seen today in Rawa Mazowiecka. That’s all that remains of this fortress, whose walls reached 7 meters high and were 3 meters thick. Standing in the grassy courtyard, surrounded by the remains of a wall, one can only imagine what life used to be like here.
The courtyard of the castle can be visited for free, while the tower houses a branch of the Rawska Land Museum, where admission is charged.
The royal castle in Inowłodz
Inowłódz is a small village located in Tomaszów County, where the two biggest monuments are the ruins of Casimir the Great’s castle and the Church of St. Nicholas. St. Giles. A separate entry could be made about the church itself, but we mention it in the entry about castles for a reason. There is one legend associated with the church and the castle, according to which the two buildings are connected by a secret tunnel, through which Queen Bona was said to have passed. Need we add that no one has yet succeeded in finding this tunnel? ;-)
The origins of the castle date back to the 14th century, and during its history it has been rebuilt several times, also changing its function from a fortress and castle to the residence of the aldermen.
The castle was destroyed between 1655 and 1657, during hostilities, after which it turned into a ruin until supported by European Union funds. They allowed the reconstruction of the castle and in 2013 the opening of the “new” castle took place (earlier, due to lack of funds, major work was abandoned). And it has been quite successful. Just take a look at the photos from before the reconstruction, when there were only remnants of the walls here overgrown with weeds (some sources say that the castle ruins were even invisible). According to Inowłodz residents, the condition of this castle was much worse than the current ruins of Besiekier Castle. Looking at how interestingly this fortress has been prepared, we see high hopes for other sites in the province.
Nowadays, not only can you walk around the courtyard and climb the tower, but you can also go down to the basement and see temporary exhibitions. There is an information desk and a library. The facility is even partially handicapped-accessible, with an elevator and wheelchair ramps.Please define valid width and height attributes for remote images. This will also optimize the loading time of the remote panorama.
Finally, an interesting fact: did you know that some of the scenes of the series Korona Królów were recorded in Inowłodz?
Archbishop’s castle in Drzewica
Some of the most interesting ruins are located in the small village of Drzewica, in the Opoczno district. Tucked among the trees, on the banks of the Drzewiczka River, they are privately owned and unfortunately the ruins cannot be visited from the inside.
The castle was built in the first half of the 16th century and is one of the better preserved buildings in Poland from that time! All thanks to the fact that it has not undergone major reconstruction, and what remains are the actual walls from the 16th century. From the outside, one can perfectly see the high three-story walls and the preserved four, square towers, one of which was a gate tower. The castle was built from local sandstone and bricks, commissioned by Primate Matthias Drzewicki.
Drzewicki was even obsessed with the castle and wanted at all costs to make it the largest and most beautiful among other castles in the area. Interestingly, he didn’t even want to be inferior to King Sigismund the Old himself and ordered that it be modeled even on Wawel Castle!
On the one hand, it was to be a powerful, beautiful, and defensive castle. Unfortunately, the latter was more of a warning, as the walls were not adequately reinforced and could easily be destroyed if only by cannons, and the gun emplacements were not prepared well enough to perform their basic functions. However, this was the idea when the castle was designed – there was not much focus on defense, as times of tranquility came, until the invasion of the Swedes.
According to legend, the cries and prayers of the Bernardine Sisters can be heard here on cloudless nights. They received the castle in the 18th century, when their monastery was burned down. Unfortunately, according to legend, history was to repeat itself, this time in a new location. It was the nuns who started the fire when they forgot to extinguish the candles after the rota, resulting in the burning of the castle. After the incident, their spirits are supposed to roam around the castle’s chambers and ask for forgiveness – a punishment for failing to do their duty.
And indeed, this Gothic-Renaissance castle was destroyed in a fire in 1814. Since then, no one has lived in it again. Could it be that the ghosts have been successfully deterred?
Among other legends, the White Lady also appears in Drzewica – she is supposed to be the ghost of Adam Drzewicki’s daughter, who decided to deprive herself of life and jump from the tower sooner than die at the hands of the invaders during the Swedish Deluge.
However, we hope that both the White Lady and the ghosts of the St. Bernards will let go, and the castle will be restored and opened to visitors, because it is a real gem! For the time being, the facility can be approached by trodden paths, but the entrance to the center is closed.
The royal castle in Opoczno
The site is quite different from those described above, and although there is no trace of the castle ruins here anymore, it is worth a look in Opoczno as part of our suggested route.
Opoczno Castle was also built during the reign of Casimir the Great, but the structure that can be seen in the center of the city in no way resembles the ruins of castles in the province that we have shown you so far. On the contrary, you will see here a facility built anew.
The castle, which was built here in the second half of the 14th century, was a city castle and served a mainly defensive function until about the middle of the 16th century, when an additional gate was created and a road began to run through the courtyard itself. Repeatedly rebuilt and destroyed, it comes across as an example of how, unfortunately, castle reconstruction should not be. On the salvaged foundations, a building was built that bears no resemblance to the original design. According to accounts, the first building was to have a similar form to the castles in Rawa Mazowiecka and Inowłodz: on a rectangular plan with a corner tower. How it was in reality, however, we will never know. Also, no archaeological research has ever been conducted on the castle site.
The castle now houses the Regional Museum.
There is a legend associated with the castle with the Jewish girl Esther, with whom King Casimir the Great fell in love. And while the figure of the Jewish woman herself is true, a myriad of legends have grown up around her that it is hard to distinguish fact from fiction. Casimir built a townhouse in the city for the beautiful girl, which was to be connected to the castle by a tunnel. Since the girl did not lead the life that society expected of a Jewish woman, it was decided to stone her. Esther was to be warned in time and at the last minute managed to escape from Opoczno all the way to her beloved in Krakow, who found a safe place for her.
The knight’s castle in Majkowice
In Majkowice there are castle ruins in a rather… poor condition. And if it were a place far away from the others we wouldn’t recommend it, but since it’s not far from another castle (i.e., the Beetle Mountain, described by us below), it’s worth at least a brief stop in the area.
The ruins can be seen from the street and that will have to suffice, as they are overgrown and the only signs visible on the walls are those informing the public about private property and the possibility of collapse. We did not risk going closer. The property is currently privately owned, so it is recommended to contact the owner if one wishes to see the ruins up close, however.
The castle was built in the first half of the 16th century, and was destroyed by Swedish troops in 1702. And the notion of a castle may be used to excess here – it was more of a mansion with defensive elements that were more intended to give a “castle” dimension.
The knight’s castle in Bakowa Gora
As part of our route, it is the southernmost point in the Lodz province.
Driving here, we knew that the castle ruins were on private property, but we didn’t think that the owner was so careful to ensure that no one without his permission could get in here. And this by no means means means that it is an impregnable stronghold. There is a makeshift fence and several placards indicating private property. To top it off, a sizable parking lot is located across the street, which we didn’t expect, because in our imaginations it was another neglected and forgotten ruin.
We easily reached a person who informed us about the rules here and allowed us to climb the hill to see the remains of the castle located here up close. It turned out that despite the warnings, for a symbolic fee of 3 zl, you can explore at will the entire area.
This castle was built in the middle of the 15th century, but after more thorough research it was found to be more of a defensive mansion than a castle. The remains of the mansion are picturesquely located on a hill overlooking the Pilica valley, and the walls themselves are well preserved. Due to the private nature of the facility, it is not possible to go inside.
A figure sitting on the castle walls may be particularly intriguing. Even before we arrived here, we read that the place was often visited by writer Jozef Ignacy Kraszewski. Apparently, it was in the Bitternut Mountain that he was inspired to create the novel “Jelita – the legend of the coat of arms,” in which he created the character of the knight-errant Bitternut. It is this Baek that is symbolized by the figure mentioned at the beginning of the paragraph.
The royal castle in Piotrkow Trybunalski
The castle in Piotrkow Trybunalski should also be no stranger to you. We have already written about it quite extensively as part of our coverage of the city.
Like many other castles in the province of Lodz, the construction of the Piotrkow facility was initiated by Casimir the Great, although it very quickly proved too small and extensions were needed. This castle did not have a typical defensive function, although it was surrounded by a moat, it was closer to a representative function.
During our visit to Piotrkow, we once again took a look at the museum located in the castle (entrance is free every Sunday!) hitting this time on an archaeological exhibition from Gdansk concerning…. shoes! In addition, there was an exhibition of paintings related to the theme of hunting. The other expositions were just as we remembered from our last visit.
Castle in Byki (Piotrkow Trybunalski)
While in Piotrkow Trybunalski, it is worth going to the Byki district, where there is another castle, although nowadays it is closer to a manor house. However, why are we writing about him? Because it is an interesting facility that few people know exists.
Its origins date back to the 15th or 16th century, but it was renamed a palace as early as 1604. The facility suffered the most during the World Wars, when German troops were stationed there and when part of the building collapsed.
This is a facility with potential that still needs investment, because unfortunately the gray bare walls do not enhance the character of this building. The only reminders of the defensive function are the tower and the preserved gun ports.
It now houses the Agricultural Advisory Center.
A video of our tour of the castles
And we are posting the promised video. It is almost 8 minutes long, but it was simply impossible to shoot a shorter version, so many great shots came out :)
Any comments on the video welcome in the comments, here or on YouTube under our video Castles of the Lodz Region.
Huge thanks to Mr. Jack Ziolkowski, President of the Central Tourist Arc, for playing the role of Boruta.
Map of castles in Lodz province
Below you will also find a map with all the sites we described marked:
Are these all the castles in Lodz province? Absolutely not! This is our suggested itinerary and tour for an extended weekend only. However, if you feel like spending more time in this province (which we strongly urge you to do) and would like to look for more strongholds, take a look at the ones in Boleslawiec, Wojslawice or Ujazd.
For us, it was an amazing adventure and rediscovering the province, as we hadn’t seen all the castles before. It is surprising how many remains of castles can be found in the Lodz region. Castles with a turbulent history and perhaps not as powerful and as well-preserved as in other regions of Poland, but it is precisely because of this diversity that it is worth seeing with your own eyes and discovering the castle face of the Lodz province.
>>> Polecamy również naszą książkę “Łódzkie dla każdego”! W książce znajdziesz 268 stron pełnych inspiracji, opisów, proponowanych tras zwiedzania, naszych ocen oraz praktycznych informacji. Wyruszaj w drogę i zwiedzaj z nami centralną Polskę!
We also invite you to see a gallery of other photos from our trip:
- Wroclaw – 3 suggestions for a family weekend
- Our advice on where to go on vacation in Poland?
- 4 ideas for a (family) weekend in Mazovia
- Sandomierz and surroundings – an idea for a trip along the apple trail
- Lower Silesia: Książ Castle – you praise others, you do not know your own
- Malbork Castle
- Wieliczka Salt Mine: Solilandia, Mining Route or Tourist Route – which to choose?
- Tri-City and its surroundings – 10 places to see in one weekend
- Lower Silesia – not only castles and palaces
- Elbląg Canal
- and attractions for children in Poland
The material was created as a result of a campaign organized by the Polish Tourist Organization with the partnership of the Regional Tourist Organization of the Lodz Voivodeship.