Monday, July 29, 2013

Day Trip from Warsaw

Undeterred by such comments as all the good castles in Poland are located near Krakow or Gdańsk, we set out explore on our own this weekend. 

We simply wanted to get out of the city for the day, and hubby didn’t want to spend the whole day driving. Road trips were one of our favorite things when we lived in Turkey, and people sometimes questioned our destinations such as Edirne and Konya as well.

Located 95 km (60 miles) north of Warsaw, the medieval Castle of the Dukes of Mazovia (Zamek Książąt Mazowieckich) sits nearly in the center of the small burb of Ciechanów (see map). You can’t miss this 15th century castle, built on the order of Duke Janusz I, on the edge of the small river of Łydyni.
Inside, there are a few display cases housing old coins, pottery and swords found onsite during 20th century renovations. Unfortunately, all the displays and history information is in Polish.
The castle itself is not that impressive, has been in ruins for many years and still is undergoing massive renovations. In 1803, the Prussians, who ruled a large part of Mazovia, demolished buildings inside the castle, but thankfully left the outer walls, which remained largely intact even to this day.
According to the museum’s website, the castle already began to decline back in 1495 following the death of Janusz II. About 50 years later, repairs were made by Queen Bona (wife of Sigismund the Old Jagiello), but ended after her departure from Poland in 1556. In the mid-17th century, during the “Swedish Deluge,” the castle was occupied by the Swedes and burned.

This highlight of visiting the castle in Ciechanów was getting to go up in the two round towers. One had served as the arsenal, and the southeastern one was used as a prison. We asked (badly) in Polish via Google Translate whether we could go up in the towers since the doors were locked. Within five minutes, we joined a group tour all in Polish, but at least we got to take photos from the rooftops.
The group was kind enough to let us foreigners join, since we understood nothing. A smile still works wonders, and at least we can say “dziękuję!” (thank you) in Polish.

Our group consisting of two Americans, one Swedish friend and one Turkish friend explored the castle in about an hour. I think, especially if you have children, visiting the Castle of the Dukes of Mazovia would be a fun afternoon outing.

Or if you are big kids like us, you are bound to have fun too!
I  couldn't help but goof around as we all took turns sticking our heads in the stocks.
Perhaps the beginning of a joke: So a Turk, Swede and American walks into a Polish castle.
Castle of the Dukes of Mazovia (Zamek Książąt Mazowieckich)
ul. Zamkowa 1
Ciechanów, Poland
Phone: +48 23 672 40 64


Admission: 6 PLN

Instead of driving, you can take the train from Warsaw Centralny to Ciechanów. The train station is located 2.2 km from the castle. Please check this site for train schedules to Ciechanów.

Tagged: , , ,


jaz@octoberfarm said...

very interesting! too bad they haven't translated all of the signs.

Joy said...

@Joyce, I know! We kind of made up things as we went along! :-)

Anonymous said...

very interesting casle! thank you fro sharing)