Ogrodzieniec Castle is a ruined medieval castle originally built in the 14th–15th century by the W³odkowie Sulimczycy family. Established in the early 12th century, during the reign of Boles³aw III Wrymouth, the first stronghold was razed by the Tatars in 1241. In the mid-14th century a new gothic castle was built here to accommodate the Sulimczycy family. Surrounded by three high rocks, the castle was well integrated into the area. The defensive walls were built to close the circuit formed by the rocks, and a narrow opening between two of the rocks served as an entrance.
In 1470 the castle and lands were bought by the wealthy Cracovian townsmen, Ibram and Piotr Salomon. Then, Ogrodzieniec became the property of Jan Feliks Rzeszowski, the rector of Przemy¶l and the canon of Cracow. The owners of the castle about that time were also Jan and Andrzej Rzeszowskis, and later Pilecki and Che³miñski families. In 1523 the castle was bought by Jan Boner. After his death, the castle passed to his nephew, Seweryn Boner, who replaced the medieval stronghold with a renaissance castle in 1530–1545.
In 1562 the castle became the property of the Great Marshal of the Crown Jan Firlej, as a result of his marriage with Zofia- the daughter of Seweryn Boner. Later on, in 1587, the castle was captured by the arms of the Austrian archduke Maximilian III, the rejected candidate to the Polish-Lithuanian throne. In 1655, it was partly burnt by the Swedish troops, who -deployed here for almost two years- destroyed the buildings considerably. From 1669 on, the castle belonged to Stanis³aw Warszycki, the Cracow"s castellan, who managed to partly rebuild the castle after the Swedish devastations.
About 1695 the castle changed hands once again becoming the property of the Mêciñski family. Seven years later, in 1702, over a half of the castle had burnt down in the fire set by the Swedish troops of Charles XII. After the fire, it was never to be rebuilt. About 1784 the castle was purchased by Tomasz Jakliñski, who did not care for its condition. Consequently, the last tenants left the devastated castle about 1810. The next owner of the Ogrodzieniec Castle was Ludwik Koz³owski, who used the remains of the castle as a source of building material and sold out the castle"s equipment to the Jewish merchants.
The last proprietor of the castle was the neighbouring Wo³oczyñski family. After the Second World War, the castle was nationalized. The works aimed at preserving the ruins and opening them to the visitors were started in 1949 and finished in 1973.References:
Kirkjubøargarður ('Yard of Kirkjubøur', also known as King"s Farm) is one of the oldest still inhabited wooden houses of the world. The farm itself has always been the largest in the Faroe Islands. The old farmhouse dates back to the 11th century. It was the episcopal residence and seminary of the Diocese of the Faroe Islands, from about 1100. Sverre I of Norway (1151–1202), grew up here and went to the priest school. The legend says, that the wood for the block houses came as driftwood from Norway and was accurately bundled and numbered, just for being set up. Note, that there is no forest in the Faroes and wood is a very valuable material. Many such wood legends are thus to be found in Faroese history.
The oldest part is a so-called roykstova (reek parlour, or smoke room). Perhaps it was moved one day, because it does not fit to its foundation. Another ancient room is the loftstovan (loft room). It is supposed that Bishop Erlendur wrote the 'Sheep Letter' here in 1298. This is the earliest document of the Faroes we know today. It is the statute concerning sheep breeding on the Faroes. Today the room is the farm"s library. The stórastovan (large room) is from a much later date, being built in 1772.
Though the farmhouse is a museum, the 17th generation of the Patursson Family, which has occupied it since 1550, is still living here. Shortly after the Reformation in the Faroe Islands in 1538, all the real estate of the Catholic Church was seized by the King of Denmark. This was about half of the land in the Faroes, and since then called King"s Land (kongsjørð). The largest piece of King"s Land was the farm in Kirkjubøur due to the above-mentioned Episcopal residence. This land is today owned by the Faroese government, and the Paturssons are tenants from generation to generation. It is always the oldest son, who becomes King"s Farmer, and in contrast to the privately owned land, the King"s Land is never divided between the sons.
The farm holds sheep, cattle and some horses. It is possible to get a coffee here and buy fresh mutton and beef directly from the farmer. In the winter season there is also hare hunting for the locals. Groups can rent the roykstovan for festivities and will be served original Faroese cuisine.
Other famous buildings directly by the farmhouse are the Magnus Cathedral and the Saint Olav"s Church, which also date back to the mediaeval period. All three together represent the Faroe Island"s most interesting historical site.