Stara Kamienica

As ancient as castles and legends about witches

     Duke Bolesław II the Bald the Tollgate granted the land and castle in Stara Kamienica in 1242 to Siboto Scoffow, a knight. The time of the castle's glory came within the second half of the 16th century, when it was converted into a Renaissance residence of the Schaffgotsch family, the apparent progenitor of whom was Siboto Scoff. In 1758, the castle was consumed by the fire and it has not been renovated since. Nowadays, it stands in the centre of the village, near a late Gothic Church devoted to the Beheaded St John the Baptist. It reminds one that Stara Kamienica is really old. It is said that its roots can be traced back to the 12th century, perhaps even to the 10th century.
    The ruins of a castle can be also found to the east of their home Rybnica commune. The castles are not visible to the west from Stara Kamienica, in the villages of Mała and Nowa Kamienica. In the former, where exploitation of cobalt commenced at the end of the 18th century, there are some half-timbered houses, similar as in Antoniów, Chromiec, and Kromnów. It also has a 16th century wooden church - St George Church. In the latter, you can visit "Biały Kamień" ("White Stone") quarry. The slag heaps in Chromiec constitute traces of industrial activity within the commune - the remains of the 14th-18th century glassworks.
    Those who are not interested in slag heaps can go to Kopaniec to see a well-preserved complex of old housing in the region. You can go to the Teatr Ludowy (Folk Theatre) in the village, visit a local gallery, or contemplate inside the St Anthony Church. Rich, baroque epitaphs are visible on its outer walls.
    In the upper part of Kopaniec there are stone embankments, some of them almost 5-6 metres high. Their origin is unexplained. Snow melts there during the winter and lizards bask on them in the summer sun. The forests near Kopaniec are full of mysteries and dark powers. The Babia Pass (647 m), for example, is held to be a cult place, and a pagan temple was probably erected nearby, maybe near Sowi Kamień (The Owl's Stone). The Ciemniak Mountain (699 m) overlooking the pass was liked by witches and herbalists, searching for ingredients for their mixtures. Better not to go there after nightfall, as nobody knows whether they are still wandering there or not.
Sandra Nejranowska
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