The Castle of Pieskowa Skała
The castle of Pieskowa Skała is situated in the heart of the Ojców National Park, about 30 km northeast of Krakow. The fortress and a nearby rock formation called the Club of Hercules dominate the picturesque landscape of the Prądnik River Valley. Pieskowa Skała is exceptional not only for the beauty of its natural setting, but also for its outstanding architecture and fascinating history. The stronghold was built during the reign of Casimir the Great (r. 1333-1370) to safeguard the route between Krakow and Silesia. At the end of the 14th century, the castle passed into the hands of the Szafraniec family. In the late 16th century Stanisław Szafraniec renovated and expanded Pieskowa Skała creating an impressive Renaissance residence with an arcaded courtyard and pillared loggia. The work was completed about 1578. In the 17th century, the castle’s new owner, Michał Zebrzydowski, expanded the fortifications with a bastion, closing off the large exterior court.
Today the castle is a museum, which houses a collection of European art.