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The Dunajec Valley Route
By Pogranicze Media
Published: 10.02.2009

Wytrzyszczka Tropsztyn Castle

The original foundation consisted of a stone fencing in a form of a defense wall made of local sandstone. It was around 2 meters thick and 5.5 meters height and had a crenellation with loopholes alongside a watch porch. A castle gate was situated not to the west, as it is now, but in the north-east corner. A wooden platform on poles and a drawbridge led to the gate. Inside the fortress there was probably a wooden building development.
    By the end of the 14th century as a dowry Tropsztyn goes into the hands of Chebda of the Starykoń coat of arms. He must have been a man with a bad reputation, because since that moment the castle was known as the robbers’ nest. In 1390, a new owner erected a brick two-storey residential building along the whole southern wall. His first heir, son Andrew, built a five-storey square stone tower in the corner of the castle. Thick, 2-3 meters walls and external, easy to destroy stairs leading to the first storey made the tower a strong defensive point.
   In 1521, the king Sigismund the Old confiscated the castle because its owner did not appear at the war with Teutonic Knights. However, the castle was soon repurchased by the Chebda family. It remained their property till 1535, when Prokop Chebda sold the already uninhabited castle to a Castellan of Sandomierz, Grand Marshall of the Crown, Peter Kmita from Wiśnicz. Next, the castle became the property of the Robkowscy family, and then - the Gabońscy family. At that time, another enlargement of the castle took place. Next to the northern castle a representative mansion was erected, as a result of which a north-east gate was walled up and the useless drawbridge was removed. A new gate was made in the western wall. A wooden platform above a defensive ditch led to the gate. Burg raves managing the castle at that time organized pirate attacks on boats and rafts transporting goods on the Dunajec River. In order to suppress this proceeding, masters of the neighboring Rożnowo, surely with an agreement of the Sandomierz starost, in 1574 attacked the castle and ruined it completely. A description of a bishop’s visit in Tropie Parish in 1608 confirms it inasmuch as it writes that Tropsztyn was ravaged.
   In 1624, a left part of Tropie village together with the castle was joined to Wytrzyszczka village. The fortress, abandoned and not suitable for living, quickly fell into ruin.
A legend
   According to local legends, the castle became the robbers’ seat. Desperate merchants, not able to cope with them, supposedly used a stratagem. They sent near the castle a barge with poisoned wine which was seized by the robbers. After they had drunk the wine, the robbers finished their lives in terrible torment. This is how the region was freed from the robbers. A difficult access to the castle and human superstitions caused that it had fallen into complete ruin.
   A new chapter in the history of Tropsztyn began in 1970, when the ruins became the property of Andrzej Benesz, the vice-marshal of the Sejm of that time. He claimed that he was a descendant of Sebastian Berzewiczy and an heir of Inca’s treasure supposedly hidden in the castle’s ruins.
   The first archeological works in the castle hill were undertaken already in 1863 by a historian from Nowy Sącz, Szczęsny Morawski. However, more precise scientific research was conducted no sooner than in 1993, when the rebuilding of the castle was to begin. Currently, the castle is in the private hands and, thanks to the funds of a new owner, it became entirely reconstructed. It must be mentioned here that the ruins are preserved only in 20%. An external appearance of the castle mirrors its former shape, but inside the commercial intentions of the owner are visible. A picturesque location and a skillfully promoted legend about the Inca’s treasure foretell this place a touristy future.

   Wytrzyszczka is situated 20 km North to Nowy Sącz on the road nr 75 to Brzesk. The castle is situated on a rocky promontory by the Czchow Lake, just on the right side of the road.

Ruins, a castle and a tower in Czchów

   A detached, powerful, functioning as a watchtower round tower controlled the basin of the Dunajec River and the neighboring hills. In the first half of the 14th century, during the reign of Władysław the Elbow-high, the castle was erected. At the beginning, the tower was surrounded by a stone wall with an entrance gate from the city. Next, on the opposite side, a two-space building with vaulted basements was built. At the same time, a fore gate in the form of a gate bastion or a wall protecting the entrance was built. The gate, together with relics in front of it, was uncovered in 1999, during a research campaign. The oldest image of the castle from the bridge over a moat was presented in a stamp of the town Czchów from around the half of the 14th century.
    In the 15th century a development of a war technique made it necessary to strengthen the defensiveness of the castle. The fore gate was enlarged by a gate bastion with the size of the interior: 6 x 7 m, supported with two powerful buttresses from the slope, probably topped with machicolations, which stone cantilevers found inside the gate may indicate. The castle started to deteriorate probably in the second half of the 16th century. In 1646, a land court in Czchów ceased its activity, and the court registers were stored in a parish church in Czchów. The castle is not mentioned in the reviews of the royal land from the 16th till the 18th century. In 1765, the land court in Czchów was reactivated and for this purpose the king ordered to rebuild the castle or to erect a new building for the court. The former starost built a new seat for the court next to the market-place (in the place of the present City Office), which brings to mind a presumption about the vast destruction of the castle. After the first annexation, the district was occupied by the Austrian authorities as a crown land, and next, in 1782, it was sold to Zofia from Chrząstkowscy Grabowska, its former starost woman.
   In 1928, the first conservation works were undertaken in order to protect the interior of the tower by putting ceiling of reinforced cement which exists till today, repairing the entry opening and closing it with a wooden doors. The next conservatory works aiming at the uncovering and protecting the castle ruins were undertaken in 1993 from the initiative of the Community Office and Social Committee of renovation of the ruins of the bastion in Czchów.
Zhukiewicz Bohdan
translated by Joanna Hardukiewicz
photo (bo)

Tourism... photo...


Bohdan Zhukiewicz

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