The Bobolice Castle was built by King Casimir III the Great in the middle of the 14th century, probably in place of an earlier wooden structure. The castle was a part of the defence system of royal strongholds protecting the western border of Poland on the side of Silesia. In 1370, immediately after becoming King of Poland, Louis I the Great granted the castle to W³adys³aw Opolczyk, Duke of Opole, as a prize for his support of the king’s dynastic plans. Nine years later Opolczyk leased the castle to Andrzej Schoen, a Hungarian from Barbalas; the new owner manned it with Germans and Czechs, who robbed local inhabitants and conspired with the Teutonic Order. Dissatisfied with their behaviour, the Polish king W³adys³aw Jagie³³o invaded Bobolice in 1396 and took over the castle with adjacent estates. From that time on, the stronghold was owned by a number of families.
The beginning of the decline of the castle dates back to 1587, when it was heavily devastated during the invasion of Maximilian III, Archduke of Austria, a rival of Sigismund III Vasa to the Polish throne. The castle was reconstructed by the then owners, the Krezowie family, but in 1657, during the Deluge, it was plundered and totally ruined by Swedish troops. The condition of the stronghold was so bad that when King John III Sobieski arrived here in 1683, he had to spend the night in a tent.
In the 19th century a huge treasure was found in stronghold cellars. It is supposed that its part may be stored in the legendary tunnel between Bobolice and Mirów. In 1882, after parcelling out the land, the already deserted walls were acquired by the peasant family of Bary³ów. Now the castle belongs to the Lasecki family, who decided to rebuild it in 1999.
The castle is situated on a steep rocky hill (360 m above sea level). Up till now, only the upper part of the stronghold (the residential building with at least two storeys and remnants of the cylindrical wall tower) has survived. The castle was accessible through a drawbridge over the dry moat, and the entire construction was surrounded by walls with battlements, made of local white limestone. Currently reconstruction works are under way in order to restore the entrance gate and the circumferential wall around the castle grounds.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.