Day Trip from WarsawAs we drove along the small country roads, we were surrounded by corn and wheat fields and familiar-looking threshing and harvesting equipment.
This could have been a scene from my homeland in Nebraska, but instead we were about 100 kilometers north of Warsaw in the middle of Poland. Yes, Dorothy, you’re not in Nebraska anymore.
After visiting the medieval Castle of the Dukes of Mazovia (Zamek Książąt Mazowieckich) in Ciechanów, we continued on our Polish adventure to find the “Little Castle in Opinogóra.” Opinogóra, a tiny village of 630 residents, is located 8 km north of Ciechanów and doesn’t look like it’s seen many English-speaking tourists.
However, we easily found the neo-Gothic building we were looking for because of its tall and distinct weathervane. The “castle” originally was built between 1828-1843 for Zygmunt Krasiński (1812-1859), who is considered one of the three great Polish romantic poets. The building is called a castle because of its slender tower and brick walls which gives an appearance of a castle.
According to the information sheet we were given, Krasiński’s father, General Wincenty Krasiński, a commander of the Light Horse Guards of Emperor Napoleon, had the castle built because he wanted his son to return to Poland from political exile in Switzerland and get married. In 1811, Napoleon granted the Opinogóra estate together with the title of Count as a reward for the general’s loyalty. After the defeat of Napoleon, strangely enough, General Krasiński became a loyal subject of Tsar Alexander I, who acknowledged Krasiński’s title and the right to the estate.
Inside the castle, there is a small exhibit featuring memorabilia and paintings of the Krasiński family. Take note of the Turkish looking carpet as soon as you walk in.
The castle, which was destroyed during World War I, stayed in the Krasiński family until 1940 when the last Count died and later became a state farm in Soviet-occupied Poland. In the 1950s, rebuilding of the castle finally began thanks to the Society of Friends of the Ciechanowska Land project. The project was completed in 1961 and a newly reconstructed mansion behind the castle was opened as the Museum of Romanticism with exhibits featuring Polish Romanticism and the Napoleonic era. On the second Sunday of every month, the museum hosts a concert and poetry reading.
|One of the museum's paintings featuring one the many battles against the Tatars.|
|A monument dedicated to Zygmunt Krasiński.|
We would not have visited Opinogóra had we not already been in the area. We took a quick stroll through the grounds and visited the museum in less than 45 minutes. I thought the castle was pretty to look at from the outside and would be lovely for wedding photos.
My husband and I typically shrugged our shoulders and said, “Hey, it’s an adventure, right?” You never know what you will discover until you get out there. That’s part of the fun. We plan to see as much of Poland as we can while we are living here.
Stay tuned for more Polish adventures.
Opinogóra Castle and Museum of Romanticism (Muzeum Romantyzmu)
Zygmunta Krasińskiego 9
Phone: +48 23 671 7025
Admission: 10 PLN
Hours: May-Sept. 10 a.m.-18:00; Oct.-April 8 a.m.-16:00
Click this link for more history about Opinogóra.