We have quite a lot of ruins in the Świętokrzyskie region, and several castles are waiting for tourists! The ruins closest to Kielce are those that can be seen from the road connecting Warsaw and Krakow! The Royal Castle in Chęciny invites you to visit!
Localisation and parking
The Royal Castle in Chęciny, as you can easily guess, is located in the Chęciny city.
You can leave your car in the parking lot under the castle (on the opposite side of the city) or in Chęciny and go to the castle on foot. You can see it well from both of these places, so you should have no problem getting there.
History of the royal castle in Chęciny
The history of the castle in Chęciny dates back to the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries. The first mention of the building on the hill (367 m above sea level) comes from 1306. It was then that Bishop Jan Muskata received the castle and surrounding villages from the king Władysław Łokietek. Over the years, the building was the centre of ducal administration and hosted several reunions of knights. The treasury of the Archdiocese of Gniezno (for fear of the Crusaders) and the Crown Treasury was probably also deposited in the castle.
Originally, the building covered only the eastern part of the hill, the rest was added later. For many years, there was a prison in the castle, in which, apart from the Crusaders, also, among others, brother of king Władysław Jagiełło or Hincza from Rogów. Queen Bona Sforza also lived in the castle.
In 1619, the castle was renovated and expanded by Stanisław Branicki, the landlord of Chęciny. However, the building suffered during the Swedish Deluge, which in 1707 stopped to be the residence of the starosts.
The castle was abandoned at the beginning of the 18th century, and the last volleys from the castle cannons sounded to welcome King Stanisław August Poniatowski in 1787.
Over time, the castle became a source of building material for locals. It was damaged during World War II, and the launch of a quarry on Castle Hill did not improve its situation. Fortunately, mining works were stopped and the castle was gradually reconstructed (1940-60).
In the late 1960s, the filming of the “Pan Wołodyjowski” movie was filmed near Chęciny. At that time, a model of the castle in Kamieniec Podolski was created on the hill, which for some time was an interesting tourist attraction.
Another revitalization took place in 2013-2015, and its cost amounted to over 8 million PLN. The castle was better adapted to tourists and archaeological research was carried out.
Accessibility and sightseeing
The castle is open for tourists. It is open daily from 9.00 am. Depending on the month, the closing hours are different (January and December – 15.00, February and November – 16.00, March and October – 17.00, other months until 19.00).
Ticket prices depend on the season. The regular one costs 13 PLN in the season (9 PLN in low season) and the reduced one 10 PLN (7 PLN). If you are residents of the Chęciny commune or come for sightseeing in costumes from the period (9th-18th century), the ticket costs you 1 PLN!
Even though the castle is the most common reason for visiting Chęciny, the city also has something to offer for tourists. Monasteries, churches, a synagogue or a Jewish cemetery are just some of the attractions that await you there.
The neighbourhood of Chęciny is also worth attention. Very close to the top of Zelejowa or Miedzianka mountains, the open-air ethnographical museum in Tokarnia or the Science Center in Podzamcze Chęcińskie, located nearby, are just some of the reasons why you should consider a visit to Chęciny.
Worth to visit?
Both Chęciny and the castle itself are places worth visiting. It is the building closest to Kielce of this type and definitely worth attention. I regularly drive up to Chęciny and take a walk!
If you like sightseeing at night, you should find Dominik Kowalski on the Internet and take part in a guided night walk with him!