The castle’s history is a mystery. It is believed that the fortified tower on the top of the rock was erected by Silesian Prince Henry I the Bearded in the first half of the 13th century. The stronghold was extended in the 14th and the 15th century by the central castle, in the 16th century by the lower castle. Rabsztyn was made famous by Cossack Hawryło Hołubka, the commander of the castle’s defence. His soldiers, together with the coal miners from Olkusz, defeated the troops that were marching towards Kraków to support Archduke Maximilian I of Habsburg, who besieged the capital of the kingdom. At the beginning of the 17th century, Mikołaj Wolski conducted major Renaissance style extension work. After being burned down by the Swedes during the ‘deluge’ in 1657, the castle started to fall into ruin, and was partially blown up in the mid-19th century by treasure hunters. Work aimed at protecting the ruins has been going on for the last couple of years. A wooden bridge was constructed over the moat and the gate tower was reconstructed. Every year at the beginning July, a medieval tournament is held at the foot of the castle.
Legend of the Rabsztyn Castle
One of the legends says that another castle is hidden deep in the ground under the ruins in the Rabsztyn Castle. In one of its main chambers are the petrified figures a boy and a girl. The boy is wearing a diamond ring and the girls has a string of black pearls on her neck. Knights under a spell, transformed into stone figures, are asleep in other chambers. Once a year, on Palm Sunday, when the bell tolls in the nearest church and a procession sets out from it, strange things start to happen in the hidden fortress. The ring on the boy’s finger turns and the entire castle awakens to life. The doors of chambers open; you can hear bustling, conversations and music; the now-awake knights sit by the tables laden with the most sophisticated dishes(...).
Małgorzata Budny, (‘Incredible Legends and Stories About Jurassic Castles and Ghosts Inhabiting Them’ (‘Legendy i opowieści niesamowite o zamkach jurajskich oraz duchach w nich mieszkających’)