Welcome to Janowiec
The castle was built in the first half of the 16th century by Italian architect Santi Gucci Fiorentino at the request of Mikołaj Firlej. Through many years and owners (including the Tarło, Lubomirski and Osławski families), the castle grew to more than 100 rooms and became one of the most splendid in Poland. The Swedes began the process of ruination and two world wars completed the castle’s demise. Under communism, it was the only private castle in Poland; it was finally handed over to the state in 1975 by its last owner, Leon Kozłowski.
The castle is still in ruins, but intense renovations have restored some rooms and revived external painted decorations. Upon entering the castle, note the red-and-white striped walls. This is not the work of a prankster graffiti artist; it is, apparently, how the castle was originally dressed.
The castle houses the Janowiec Museum. Inside the grounds, visitors can climb a few levels to viewing platforms offering a wide perspective of the castle and the surrounding countryside. Various rooms show exhibitions and contemporary art. In the park beside the castle is a manor house from the 1760s (another part of the museum), which offers insights into how Polish nobility lived.
It’s also worth going down to Janowiec village at the foot of the castle to see its mid-14th-century Gothic parish church, extensively rebuilt in Renaissance style in the 1530s. Inside is the tomb of the Firlej family, carved in the workshop of Santi Gucci from 1586 to 1587.
From the ferry on the Janowiec side, the most straightforward way to the castle is to walk the flat 2.5km to the Rynek. Return the same way, following the signs to the ‘Prom’.