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Visit the Country that Gave the World the Witcher

On 20 December 2019 the Netflix streaming service is launching The Witcher, a web television series based on the books by Andrzej Sapkowski, the well-known Polish fantasy writer. Some scenes were actually shot in Poland, at Ogrodzieniec Castle amidst the picturesque scenery of the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland. This is a great excuse to visit that particular site as well as the rest of Poland!

Ogrodzieniec Castle in Podzamcze, built in the times of King Casimir the Great on the highest hill of the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland, is the largest and most distinctive castle on the Trail of the Eagles’ Nests. It is an excellent example of the fine craftsmanship of builders from olden times, who turned Ogrodzieniec into a resplendent noble residence over the centuries. The person who contributed the most to the site’s development was Seweryn Boner, who remodelled the castle in the Renaissance style in the mid-16th century. The work took some 15 years, the result being an enormous residence, sometimes referred to as the “little Wawel”, supported on limestone monadnocks. In the early 17th century subsequent owners surrounded it with modern fortifications and then remodelled the castle interiors in the Baroque style. Seized, plundered and partially burned down by the Swedes in 1655, over time the castle changed hands and was rebuilt in parts, but eventually fell into ruin. Today Ogrodzieniec Castle is managed by the Zamek company which organises sightseeing in the ruins and all kinds of tourism events.

Beautifully situated, Ogrodzieniec is one of many castles, palaces and monasteries forming the Trail of the Eagles' Nests which received a Gold Certificate of the Polish Tourism Organisation for Poland’s best tourism product in 2012. You should definitely see the castles and strongholds along this trail, following in the footsteps of Geralt of Rivia or Ciri!

The Trail of the Eagles' Nests is one of the most picturesque tourist routes in Poland. It owes its name to the many ruins of 14th-century castles and strongholds built there on the command of King Casimir the Great, on inaccessible rocks which can be up to 30 metres high. The trail leads through two provinces: Śląskie and Małopolskie. Its uniqueness is defined by the great geological diversity and extremely rich natural heritage of the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland.

The castles known as the Eagles’ Nests are famous for their romantic character and beautiful locations. Some of them are no more than lovely, well-preserved ruins, while others have been restored. Today castles like Ogrodzieniec and Bobolice are vibrant places, just like they were long ago. They serve as venues for interesting exhibitions and events invoking history. Apart from something for the soul, the Trail of the Eagles’ Nests also offers a lot for the body, promoting an active leisure lifestyle (hiking, cycling, horseback riding, climbing, cave exploring).

Not far from Ogrodzieniec Castle (ca. 65 km) is Kraków – a gem of Polish national cultural heritage and one of Poland’s oldest cities, once the country’s capital and the seat of its kings. Offering all kinds of attractions, including the Old Town, Wawel Hill and the districts of Kazimierz and Stradom, which are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Poland.

When visiting Kraków, it is worth taking a trip to nearby Wieliczka which boasts another gem in the UNESCO crown: the Royal Salt Mine (a UNESCO World Heritage Site together with the Salt Mine in Bochnia).

Ogrodzieniec is also not far (ca. 50 km) from another large Polish city: Katowice, which – like Kraków – can be reached by air (Katowice-Pyrzowice International Airport, John Paul II Kraków-Balice International Airport). Katowice is the heart of a great conurbation, a modern metropolis that hosts many prime events, and a city of music recognised by UNESCO.

You can find many more cultural and natural attractions within a few dozen kilometres of Ogrodzieniec Castle, well worth touring or at least seeing with your own eyes.

The Witcher is also a world-famous Polish action role-playing computer game in which players become the mythical Geralt, the protagonist of Sapkowski’s earlier-mentioned saga. Fans of the game are sure to notice that its scenery looks similar to places and tourist sites to be found in our beautiful Poland. Here are just three such attractions you should visit so that you can exclaim, “Oh, this is just like The Witcher!”: the Crane in Gdańsk (Novigrad in the game), Zalipie – the painted village (peasant cottages in the game), and windmills in the Wielkopolski Ethnographic Park (Redania in the game).

Come to Poland, go sightseeing, see for yourself! You might even find other places that inspired the game’s designers! Be sure to look out for them. After all, Poland is the home of the Witcher’s creators!

  • Ogrodzieniec Castle
    Ogrodzieniec Castle
  • Ogrodzieniec Castle
    Ogrodzieniec Castle
  • Ogrodzieniec Castle
    Ogrodzieniec Castle
  • Kraków-Częstochowa Upland
    Kraków-Częstochowa Upland
  • Kraków-Częstochowa Upland
    Kraków-Częstochowa Upland
  • Wawel Hill
    Wawel Hill
  • Bobolice Castle
    Bobolice Castle
  • the Crane in Gdańsk
    the Crane in Gdańsk
  • the Crane in Gdańsk
    the Crane in Gdańsk
  • Wielkopolski Ethnographic Park
    Wielkopolski Ethnographic Park

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