In the footsteps of a medieval town
Dobczyce has been a town since 1310! The small town centre is an excellent place to start for a stroll. It’s worth taking a moment to stop by the Church of Our Lady of Succour to the Faithful, so you can see the valuable 15th-century historical treasures. From there you can walk to the Church of St. John the Baptist in the Old Town. Then, it’s time for a pleasant walk along the town's newest attraction – the just-opened scenic route – and look at the former defensive walls, which have been partly reconstructed and revitalised. These are the town fortifications dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. The importance of Dobczyce is evidenced by the fact that the Dobczyce Castle is where Prince Casimir Jagiellon (1458–1484), was brought up by the priest and Renaissance man who also tutored him, Jan Długosz, the royal secretary and chronicler of Poland. Prince Casimir Jagiellon is both a saint of the Catholic Church and a patron of Poland and Lithuania.
Royal Castle – Regional Museum in Dobczyce
The most interesting object in Dobczyce is the medieval Castle, which rises on a hill over a large body of water, Lake Dobczyce. The building is under the care of the PTTK (Polish Tourist Country-Lovers' Society), which runs the Regional Museum in Dobczyce in its interiors. It was here more than eight centuries ago, that masons set the first stones for what would eventually be what we know it as today, the oldest Castle on the Raba River. The Castle, rebuilt many times, was a strong fortress, as evidenced by its walls up to 9 metres thick. From a medieval fortress, it became the representative seat of Dobczyce starost Sebastian Lubomirski. During his reign, the Castle had as many as 74 rooms. However, the Swedish Deluge brought an end to its splendour, and further damage was done by residents, who time and again ransacked the castle in search of hidden treasure. The picturesque location of the Castle above the dam’s crest and its meander at the foot of Lake Dobczyce makes it a huge favourite of tourists who come from far and wide. The ruins of the Castle are open to the public, but several halls house exhibitions presenting historical curiosities themselves. For example, in the History Room, we can find a replica of a cannon and a mock-up from the pre-war period. For those interested in more modern times, the Hall of National Remembrance presents an exhibition devoted to the period of World War I and World War II. The Władysław Kowalski Hall is dedicated to the museum's founder and first curator. Those with solid nerves can visit the torture chamber in the Castle. There is also an archaeological exposition and an exhibition presenting old equipment, weaponry, and liturgical vessels. The Castle's farm rooms have also been recreated: a chicken coop, a tavern, a smithy and coach houses. While visiting the Castle, we can travel back in time to the years of its magnificence and learn many interesting historical facts about Dobczyce and its inhabitants. The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. By prior arrangement, you can even make a bonfire in the Castle or take part in exciting workshops.
Open Air Museum of Wooden Folk Architecture
The Open-Air Museum of Wooden Folk Architecture is located near the Castle and is the second-most-frequently visited site in Dobczyce. The Castle and the Open-Air Museum can be seen with a combined ticket; it is worth asking at the ticket office. The open-air museum presents interesting, one-of-a-kind wooden buildings, among which it is worth noting the multi-storey henhouse or the former coach house, which houses the manor's sleighs. There is also the old granary where you can take a look at the tools once used by blacksmiths in the smithy, and the old tavern where the blacksmiths use to quench the strong thirst come of a long day working with heavy tools before a blazing forge. The tavern, an important part of the life of the local people in days gone by, has an exhibition featuring ethnographic objects – everyday utensils and crafts used by the common folk. The Open-Air Museum is located on the Małopolska Wooden Architecture Route.
Lake Dobczyckie and a dam
The floor of the picturesque valley is home to a reservoir with a powerful hydroelectric facility that regulates the waters of the Raba River. The dam protects the lower river from the once numerous floods, and the reservoir behind the dam is the most significant source of drinking water for Kraków. For this reason, the reservoir is not open for recreation, but due to the excellent water treatment facilities, recreation on the reservoir could soon be possible. Then, the lake will become one of the biggest attractions in the Kraków agglomeration. For now, it is worth using the river bathing area, which is located just below the dam.
Walking and cycling paths and a footbridge linking the town's two biggest attractions – the Castle and the crown of the dam – have been open in Dobczyce since May. A beautiful scenic route along the reconstructed town walls encourages walks in the picturesque surroundings of the Dobczyce Reservoir. Those who enjoy active bicycle recreation can also enjoy the beauty of the surroundings and the panorama of the Beskid Mountains using a footbridge and attractive cycle paths.
See the other most beautiful towns in Małopolska:
- Bobowa – the great history of a small town
- Lanckorona – a town of angels and lovers
- Famous towns of famous people
- Wieliczka – more than just the Salt Mine
- Biecz – one of the largest towns of old Poland
- Kalwaria Zebrzydowska – World Heritage and other marvels
- Małopolska – small towns full of great history