Our motorbike trip in Eastern Europe crosses two of the most beautiful regions of Poland: Silesia and Malopolska.
The Eagle's Nests Route, about 164 km long, embraces the territory between Krakow and Czestochowa, known as the Krakowsko - Czestochowskie Plateau.
Cradle of Polish culture, it is one of the places with the most historical monuments in the country, among hills covered with woods, caves and picturesque plateaus of limestone origin, a manifestation of the harmony between man and nature.
History of the region
In the past, the first human settlements arose here. At the beginning of the second millennium, the first defensive walls were built to preserve the trade routes of the Piasts. In the XNUMXth century, during the reign of Casimir the Great, numerous castles were built in place of the wooden fortifications: Ojcow, Olsztyn, Lelow, Bobolice and Mirow, to protect Krakow, the then capital, and the borders of the state. The defensive system of castles was completed with watchtowers, monasteries and churches, with fortified residences of noble families, present in Ogrodzieniec, Smolen, Bydlina, Pilica, Morsko, Udorz, Rabsztyn, Pieskowa Skala, Korzkiwe, Lipowiec and Rudno.
These castles were mainly built on top of the limestone hills, to further limit their accessibility: hence the name of Nidi d'Aquila (Orle Gniazda).
Unfortunately only the ruins of most of these magnificent buildings remain, destroyed during the Swedish War and during the periods of partition of Poland. Currently the castles of Bobolice and Korzkiew have been reconstructed.
They are places not to be missed both for their naturalistic beauty and for their monumental richness.
Route and information
The journey through the Eagle's Nests Route starts from Czestochowa, a famous pilgrimage destination, where the miraculous painting of the Black Madonna is kept.
Proceeding in the direction of Kielce, the road leads directly to the Market Square, once considered an artistic center. Approaching the city, the ruins of the castle that characterize the landscape for many kilometers are immediately visible on the hill. Commissioned by Casimir the Great to defend the western border of the then Kingdom of Poland, it was also used as a royal prison. According to legend, the castle ruins are still inhabited by the ghost of Poznan Voivode Maciej Borkowic, sentenced to die within the walls for conspiring against the King.
Moving from this area in a southeasterly direction, passing through Janow and Zloty Potok, we reach the Ostreznik reserve, where inside a dense bush there is a cave of 90 m.
The ruins of the medieval castle of which there are few are still visible news: research has shown that it was inhabited by a band of thieves or served as a prison for the political opponents of the King.
From Ostreznik we continue to Suliszowice where, on the top of the hill, the ruins of the ancient stronghold are visible, probably built at the end of the XNUMXth century, and accessible only via stairs. Nearby remain the remains of the defensive tower and the building used for troops.
Returning to Ostreznik, passing through the village of Czatachowa, we head to Przewodziszowice, a huge rock mass on which lies, as if it were part of it, the ancient wall of the defensive tower, accessible only through a long staircase. The dating of the castle is uncertain, it seems to date back to the years between 1370 and 1391, built at the behest of Duke Wladyslaw Opolczyk.
Residence of the knight Mikolaj Kornicz, used as a base for his raids, today it is part of the town of Zarki.
Nearby, on the road leading to Niegowa, is located Solder, an ancient village dating back to 1424. The remains of this fortification date back to the period between the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries: this is one of the best points to appreciate the splendid panorama with the castles of Mirow and Bobolice.
It is located away from the main road the village of Bobolice, characterized by the medieval castle erected on the rocky hill, dating back to the second half of the XNUMXth century, at the time of King Casimir the Great.
The structure probably replaced an earlier wooden construction. Reconstruction began in 2001 and some areas of the castle are accessible to tourists.
From the top of the castle of Bobolice it is already visible the characteristic circular tower of the town of Mirow, located 2 km away, built at the same time as that of nearby Bobolice. Mirow Castle, currently undergoing restoration, it is a good example of a building in which walls and limestone rock merge. To the southwest, near the town of Morko are the ruins of the Bakowiec Castle, erected on a hill full of vegetation.
Already visible from afar are the ruins of the Ogrodzieniec castle which is located on the highest part of the Jura plateau and was built in the XNUMXth century. Imposing in its ancient structure, accessible to tourists, it serves as a backdrop to the jousting tournaments that are organized in this area.
Not far from Ogrodzieniec is located the Birow Mountain (Gora Birow) where the ancient wooden walls of a village from the last century have been rebuilt.
Proceeding on the main road you reach a Pilica with an interesting Market Square, from where, taking one of the streets that branch off from the Rynek, you reach the castle park which dates back to 1602, the year in which construction work began.
Continuing to follow this interesting itinerario, there are still numerous remains of ancient castles and defensive towers that mark the stages of this journey in a picturesque and fascinating way – Smolen Castle, Ryczow Tower, Bydlin Ruins, a building created to defend the border of Silesia, Rabsztyn Castle – up to the Pieskowa Skala castle, located on a rock mass within the Ojcow National Park, built at the time of Casimir the Great, which over the centuries has become an aristocratic residence, rebuilt after World War II.
It is not far away Ojcow Castle, particular for the shape of its main tower, built on the Krakow – Wroclaw commercial road to control the passage of goods.
In this area full of fascinating caves is also found Korzkiew Castle, already mentioned in an ancient document of 1352, which belonged to various families and was used in the past as a hunting lodge.
Privately owned since 1990, it houses a hotel and a conference room.
Before arriving in Krakow at the end of the Eagle's Nest Route, Lipowiec Castle in Wygielcow it attracts for its grandeur. It became a bishop's property and during the XNUMXth century it was used as a prison for religious who did not abide by their duty. From the main tower the panorama is splendid.
Krakow: what to see in one day
The advantage of being in motorcycle facilitates the visit of Krakow for those who have only one day to visit the city. The idea is to make the most of the time available to get to know the city's must-see attractions.
The tour starts from Wavel Castle, wonderful complex where we advise you not to miss the Wawel Cathedral. From here, you can move to the Rynek Glowny Square, the beating heart of the city, with a visit to the Basilica of Santa Maria. Don't miss the Fabric Palacewhere the covered market is located.
For lunch you can go to Okraglak, the picturesque fruit market in the Jewish quarter. Then visit the Kazimierz district, With the Old Synagogue. Reached the Podgorze Jewish Ghetto, with the historic square Plac Bohaterów Getta, you can end the day by admiring the sunset from Krakus Mound, also called the Krak Mound, believed to be the resting place of the mythical founder of Kraków, the legendary King Krakus.
In the evening, return around Old Town, between Kazimierz and the Old Town, i.e. the district of Old Town, ideal for stopping for dinner and spending the evening.