Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The tale of the two castles and an Incan legend

Today I’m going to stretch your imagination to its limits. Ready for that? Warn ya – it might cost you a lot of effort ;)

Imagine this. Fourteenth century. Mountains, forests and a river somewhere in the middle. It twists and turns a lot. Two nations. Hungarians and Poles. One territory divided by the said river. What do the nations do in order to protect their lands? YES! They build CASTLES! But not the ones in which princesses live. No, such castles are somewhere inside their lands, much better protected. On the borders they build defensive castles. Maybe not that big, not that pretty, not that spectacular. They look nothing like the teutonic knights’ castles in Malbork or Kwidzyn nor like the Neuschwanstein in Germany (haven’t seen this one yet but want to sooo much). No, not in any sense like them. But they are well thought through and perfect for defensive purposes. Once again, we’re talking about the fourteenth century. So loooong time ago ;)

When we were in Pieniny, we paid a visit to both of these castles. Nowadays, they look nothing like they must have looked in the best of their times. One of them is totally devastated due to a huge fire around 1795 (never rebuilt after that). That’s the Polish castle in Czorsztyn (well, both of them are Polish and have been Polish for some time now as Poland has had no border with Hungary for a very long time). Some claim that this castle is a bit older than the Hungarian one in Niedzica. The views from the castle are breathtaking. Although they totally don’t resemble the landscape of the fourteenth century, of course. Well, first of all there is no river anymore between the castles. Now it’s an artificial lake created to protect the surrounding lands from floods (met the expectations during the 1997 huuuge flood in southern Poland). And there are more houses around, less forests and more fields probably. But that’s only my guess. Nevertheless, the castle is worth seeing. Especially if you’re staying nearby just like we did. And it’s a really short visit anyway.

Then we went down to the lake and got on a kind of bridge – kind of path on water that didn’t look safe or convincing to me at all. Have you seen Shrek and that long hanging bridge near the castle where Fiona was trapped? Well, I kinda felt exactly like Donkey with a difference being that I wasn’t high above the earth but on water. The bridge was moving with my every step and was definitely too long. But! I had to pull myself together and manage to get through in order to get to the boat and then to the second of the castles. Motivation does a lot to a human being ;)

The second of the castles, castle in Niedzica, or as I’ve already called it, the Hungarian one. This castle is in a much better state than the castle in Czorsztyn. First of all, it’s not ruins but a real castle. Small, but still. There is a roof, walls, floors, windows, etc. There are some exhibitions inside. There is said to be a ghost inside ;) On the way to the entrance there is even a road sign warning everyone of the ghosts inside the castle ;) AND there is a LEGEND. What’s a castle without a legend, right? And this legend concerns not only Europeans but also a great civilization of the Incas, a civilization full of mysteries that we’ll probably never solve.

So, here’s the legend.

Long, long time ago Sebastian Berzeviczy (grandson (?) of the first owner of the Niedzica castle) went to South America and married an Incan princess. Their daughter, Umina, when she grew up, married the heir of the Tupaca Amanu family – Tupac Amanu II. They had a son called Antonio. Somewhere on the way, an uprising against the Hispanic invaders broke out. The Incas, who did not want to lose their treasures, divided them into three parts: one part was drowned in the Bay of Vigo, the other part was drowned in Lake Titicaca, while the last part was to be taken care of by Tupac Amanu II. After the uprising, Sebastian and his family left for Venice, Europe, where they thought they could feel safe. How mistaken they were showed the fact that soon after their arrival Tupac was murdered by paid murderers who were to find out (for the Hispanics) where the treasure of the Incas was. Tupac never revealed the information. Sebastian, Umina and Antonio moved to Niedzica, where for a part of the treasure of the Incas they were offered a shelter in the castle. Even though they thought they were finally safe, again their past caught them. The murderers found them. Umina died because she didn’t want to reveal the secrets. Up to now nobody knows where the treasures were drowned and what happened to the part of the treasure given to Tupac Amanu II. However, in 1946 under one of the stairs leading to the upper part of the castle, something was found. A lead round box in which a cryptic knotted string known as khipu (or quipu in the Hispanic lettering), representing the writing of the Incas, was hidden. The message encoded in the strings, however, still remains a mystery. 

Castle in Czorsztyn

 Castle in Czorsztyn as seen from the lake

 View from the castle towards the lake. See the tiny boats? Weren't that tiny in reality ;)
 Castle in Niedzica as seen from castle in Czorsztyn
On the way out from the castle in Czorsztyn
 The big, scary "bridge"
Castle in Czorsztyn as seen from the boat
  Castle in Niedzica

  Most of the information in the castle was given both in Polish and in English

No comments:

Post a Comment