Casimir the Great built a stone castle on the place of the old wooden castle and in 1358 changed the existing settlement into the city on the Magdeburg Law. Over the years Bedzin was the historical capital of Zagłębie, before intensively developing Sosnowiec took its place. The most important place that you surely have to visit is the Castle Hill (in Polish: Góra Zamkowa). The renovated Piast castle is situated on top of it.
The historical museum is situated there in this moment.
The main part of the exhibition is a firearm and a melee weapon dated from the sixteenth up to the early twentieth century. There are not only the military weapons but also for hunting. You can follow there the development and evolution over the centuries. The second permanent exhibition is called 'From the history of the castle and the town.' It contains drawings and graphics showing mainly the changes that took place in the appearance of the castle and Zagłębie. In the basement of the castle the Castle Inn is located and the advertisement of it says as follows:
'You can easily lounge there with an old Polish galon of mead, a glass of beer, goblet of wine, or taste the delicious food. You will soon relax your body and your spirit getting an impression that you had returned to the Middle Ages. You can feel the unique atmosphere and climate among the stone walls, surrounded by the helmets, armour, swords, axes, shields, banners, all kinds of tools such as gallons, tubs, lamps, benches and skin. And all of this is made by the master craftsmen in the image of things from the second half of the fourteenth century. The service wear the costumes from that period and they play the music from the former times. Our inn is therefore a reconstruction of the interior of the time of the late Middle Ages. In addition to the delicious food, including a roast venison, you can experience a lot of unusual attractions: knight fighting, invasion and castle battles, splendid welcome and burs of fire for the visitors, revelry and fun, old dances, fire dances and many other curiosities. '
Please tell me who does not want to delight your palate and spirit? And you would better take some time to relax, because it is not the end of our walk. In front of the castle, there is a stone obelisk standing on the surrounding lawn.
In was in this place where the tragedy of the Jews took place on the night from 8 to 9 September 1939. Nazi burnt tens of Jews from Będzin along with the synagogue. Some of them actually managed to escape from the extermination. Thanks to Father Mieczysław Zawadzki, who saved them by opening the gate to the Church gardens on the Castle Hill. 'Righteous among the Nations' medal was awarded to him posthumously for his heroism. Did you know that Parisian metropolitan Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger participated in receiveing the medal. He was born in 1926 in a religious family ... of Jews from Będzin as Aron Lustiger! He was baptized against the will of his parents as a 14-year-old boy.
There still remains the visit of the cylindrical tower, which you can 'ascend' after paying 5 PLN. Let’s climb on top of it, which offers an interesting and a nice view of the nearby and further area.
This nearby view provides the casual observer, who is standing on the tower, with a pretty good entertainment of watching the vehicles on the so-called 'kidney'. The famous 'Kidney' in Bedzin, is one of the most complicated intersections in Poland. It combines certain functions of the roundabout, the tram loop, interchange and junction.
I bet that the driver, who is there for the first time will not not leave it, even on the second attempt. This is a hard nut to crack! It is possible to “bump into' the same tram 4 times in a row… But, let's leave those problems for drivers, and they let us go to the ground, or rather under the ground. We are going to visit still mysterious corridors of the Castle Hill.
I have to disappoint you. This is not a medieval dungeon. We will not meet there any spirit clanging the chains, or White Lady who is wailing pitifully. It was in the years 1942 - 1943 when Germany made them in the rock just below the castle. What about the ammunition storage? Shelter airport? Rooms for arms production? Unfortunately, nobody knows. We have just presented the most interesting attractions of Zagłębie Dąbrowskie. It's time to go back to the hostel. I advise you to have a good rest, because tomorrow is a new trip. Where? Let it be a surprise. You will find out in the morning.
Have a good night!
Maciej Mastalski, the tourism enthusiast and lecturer at University of the Third Age in Tychy.
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Hostel Mariacka 13,
street Mariacka 13/4a, 40-001 Katowice, Silesia, Poland
Accommodation, rooms, apartment rent in Katowice center.