So, like I said, we went up to Kraków yesterday with Maciek and Sabina.
The day started early – we met them at Maciek’s workshop a little after seven – and bright … it quickly got warmer.
We did some stuff in Limanowa then moved on to Kraków, where we stayed until a bit after 4pm, when we headed home. Going via Limanowa meant taking the ridgeback road – actually, it’s Route 28 and we follow it from Nowy Sącz all the way to Mszana Dolna, then head for the S7/E77 up to Kraków. The road climbs up from Nowy Sącz, with two bits of not-quite hairpins to take you up onto the top of the ridge, then mile after miles of gob-smacking views.
Maciek wanted to pop in to see a buddy at his place on Lake Czchowskie so we drove home “the other way” – that’s the newly improved A4/E40 then south on Route 75. That road tootles through some nice countryside – less wild and fewer vistas than the ridgeback, but a nice change.
Incidentally, the S7/E77 and A4/E40 have dot matrix displays of air and road surface temperatures – this afternoon they were consistently reading air temp about 38 degrees and road surface over 50!
We’ve mentioned elsewhere on here the rebuilt castle at Wytrzyszczka – it scores a prize as one of John’s favourite bits of Polish … Zamek Tropsztyn at Wytrzyszczka. We’ll come back to that, because we actually want to tell you about the little village just to the north.
That also takes us back to the heading for this post – how would YOU say Czchów?
In fact, it’s sort of “choof” … which could be a posh chuff, no?
We’re not going to give you a long history. Czchów is on the Dunajec River and from C14 to C17 the town was an important stop on the trade route along the valley (and on the river) with defensive walls, a castle and a customs house. By 1545 it even had its own waterworks and sewage system.
It wasn’t to last, though, and from the middle of C17 new trade routes, flooding and the devastation caused by the Swedish invasion of Poland took their toll – in 1662 the population of the town fell to 500 and, after a particularly bad flood in 1690, only 36 houses remained. In time, the castle was turned into a prison.
The ruins of Czchów Castle – built some time before 1356, but only the tower remained by C17.
Czchów found itself a part if Austria after the Partitions (1772), and it remained there until 1918. In 1928, the status of Czchów was reduced to a village. It was upgraded to a town again in 2000.
In and around the village are a number of things to see.
The parish church – Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary – dates back to 1346, when the town’s importance was growing.
St Ann’s Church, by the graveyard – you see the curved end of the roof from the road
The rynek and the houses in and around the town
Oh – and even today – a ferry
Czchów Castle is on the right side of the road, on the hill. A little further down the road, on the left side, is Tropsztyn Castle.
Built in C13, the castle was already a ruin by 1608.
The castle was rebuilt in 1993 (with a helipad) and is now open to the public in July and August.
Border zone, customs posts, trade routes – the area along the Dunajec is full of (the remains of) castles. There’s little left of many – noting above ground to show there ever WAS a castle on the hill which is now Monkey Island – but a tRożnów you can see what’s left of both the C14 upper castle and the never-competed C16 lower castle, as well as the dam and pleasant little town.
We knew you’d ask – it’s a tomb for the Eben and Mohring families, from 1780
The word for “castle”, incidentally, is ZAMEK
While you’re there, visit the Ciężkowice-Rożnów Landscape Park.
And ask yourself … why would these guys move from London to Poland?