It’s time for another interesting place in Poland. This time we take you to the Świętokrzyskie province to see the ruins of Krzyżtopór Castle in Ujazd. A castle that was not a typical castle, and on top of that, its glory years were quite…. short.
We try to plan each of our trips in such a way as to see completely different places in the area. We don’t limit ourselves to only adult venues or only children’s venues, after all, even if something seems to be of little interest to toddlers, it’s the parents’ job to ignite that interest.
The same was true of a September weekend trip to Sandomierz’s orchards. Being in the area, we couldn’t help but take a look at a place that has been marked with Google’s Golden Pin in the Świętokrzyskie region. Especially since we have never been here before. We are, of course, talking about the eponymous Krzyżtopór Castle in Ujazd.
Table of contents
Krzyżtopór Castle – history
Krzyztopór Castle was built in the 17th century at the behest of Krzysztof Ossolinski and for a while was the largest palace complex in Europe (only to give way to Versailles). Well, that’s right, because it should be noted at the outset that it was not a typical defensive castle, but rather a palace with defensive functions.
The exact history of the object is not completely known, which makes it possible to find on the Internet a lot of conjectures, legends, references, symbolism that cannot be verified. The most popular curiosities about the castle are the most tangible ones, i.e. those involving symbolism related to the number of towers (as many as seasons or quarters), windows (as many as days in a year), rooms (as many as weeks) and so on.
However, it is known that the castle did not last long. In 1655, during the Swedish Deluge, it was sneakily captured by the Swedes and looted. Interestingly, the castle walls were not destroyed during the operations. In the second half of the 18th century, Gen. Jan Michal Pac partially renovated the castle, but after his departure, due to fighting, the castle fell into ruins. Finally, it was not until 1991 that it was opened to visitors.
It is also worth mentioning that several attempts have been made to carry out reconstruction or restoration, but for the time being the ruins of the castle still remain here.
Despite being one of the top attractions in the Świętokrzyskie region, there were not many visitors at the site. We were on a sunny Saturday, around noon, and we did not stand in line at the checkout, also inside we had no problem with smooth and easy movement on the designated trails.
How to get to Krzyżtopór Castle
Krzyztopór Castle is located in the small town of Ujazd, between Kielce and Sandomierz (about the height of Opatów). It takes about 40 minutes to get there by car from Sandomierz, and an hour from Kielce.
There is free car parking right next to the castle. Unfortunately, it is quite small, so there may not be enough room for everyone. Fortunately, there is quite a high turnover and you only need to wait a few minutes and a seat will immediately become vacant.
Tour of the castle
You should plan about 2-3 hours for the tour. Krzyztopór Castle can be visited by prepared routes, and there are five of them. You may or may not follow them. You can go any of them or wander the walls and rooms by yourself. Here, however, we must point out that for the duration of the pandemic, one-way traffic on the tour routes is recommended (admittedly, few observed this).
Already entering, the cross and axe on the entrance gate are worth noting. After crossing the gate, one enters an impressive courtyard, from where the tours begin.
There are color-coded routes to choose from: green – bastions, blue – outbuildings and palace, blue – spring and gardens (the spring supplied the castle with water, it still functions today), yellow – cellars, red – cellars for the brave. The trails of the different routes are marked with color-coded arrows, but we have to admit that during one trail we deviated to another, then to another, and so walked most of the routes.
Whichever route you choose, visiting the castle is quite an adventure, as there are few places like it in Poland. You can spin tales about how life was here, what history the walls have witnessed, or finally get into ghost stories ;) Conditions are ideal, especially if you choose a package with an overnight tour.
While the walls, of which up to 90% have been preserved, give our imagination room to run wild, we missed visuals or trivia on site, as few people will know that there were supposedly glass ceilings here (and even a glass ceiling with an aquarium with exotic fish in the dining hall!), the whites of a million chicken eggs were used for mortar, and there were stables for 100 horses with marble mangers (!!!) on the basement level. To get to such information, it is worth consulting the castle’s website or buying a guide service.
Many times, during the tour, we missed more boards with information about each room, its functions, etc. Only at the beginning of the tour is there a description of the routes, and then, on the walls only plaques with the names of rooms or objects and the direction of the tour.
A dedicated app can be helpful here, where you can see visualizations of individual rooms. Unfortunately, it didn’t work quite right for us, but it has potential! ;)
If you plan to visit Krzyztopór Castle, be sure to take comfortable shoes and clothing with you. When visiting the castle you walk on uneven ground, stairs, and if you want to go down to the cellars (which we highly recommend), at times you will even have to go on all fours. A flashlight may also come in handy in some places. Phones can handle it, but keep in mind that the flashlight draws down the phone’s battery very quickly.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to see the whole place by riding with a stroller. The courtyard is easily accessible by wheelchair, but many parts are accessed by stairs. However, seasoned parents should not have any problems :)
Krztopor Castle – price list
Entrance to the castle costs: PLN 12 – adult, PLN 9 – concessionary. These are the prices for the high season. In the low season, tickets cost PLN 10 and PLN 7, respectively.
Children under 6 years of age enter for free.
This is really a very low price for a facility of this type, so take advantage before they raise prices! ;-)
Our opinion about Krzyztopór Castle
A trip to Krzyztopór Castle has been on our minds for some time, and only now did the opportunity arise. Once again, the pandemic has motivated people to discover unique places in Poland. Because definitely Krzyztopór Castle is one of the most interesting castles in Poland.
Ideal for family outings, as children can let their imagination run wild and feel like they are in a real palace. The venue has also witnessed many photo shoots (including weddings, of course), concerts and the making of films and programs.
Something feels that in a few or a dozen years it will change beyond recognition, for which we are keeping our fingers firmly crossed!
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