Castles. A kid who liked history.
I love history
It was my favourite subject in high school. I quickly realise that mediaeval period is my favourite. My mum buoght me periodical history magazine on which I saw pictures of a templars fortresses in present Syria – Krak des Chevaliers. This blew my mind, it looked inpenetrable, massive and majestic. The fortress was captured from the inside due to treason rather than weakness of the defences. As a kid I loved things like that, it roused my imagination.
On one of my childhood trips I went to Niedzica. In my opinion one of the most beautiful and interesting castles from mediaeval period in Poland. The castle is located on the South of Poland, close to Tatra Mountains, right on the Lake Czorsztyńskie. I remember that my imagination was working at the highest level. I was imagining Kings, Queens and Knights walking around me. And then, on the other side of the Lake I could see another castle, this one belong to the famous Polish Knight, Zawisza Czarny. I immediately fell in love with this place and wanted to see more places like that.
King’s Castle – Wawel
Another castle that I have to mention, the castle that I saw multiple times during my youth, is the famous king’s castle in Kraków, Wawel. This castle is huge and it has tombs of Polish kings and important people from the 14th century onwards. Wawel’s tower has famous Signuntus Bell (pol. Dzwon Zygmunta). According to the legend, every young male, touch the heart of the bell will be strong and courageous. The castle is also a place where lots of national artefacts are kept.
This includes a sword Szczerbiec. Many believe that this sword belong to first Polish King Bolesław Chrobry, and was used in coronations of Polish kings. It has been found that this sword is much younger but it’s a nice story to tell the children. Stories like that help to give hope to Polish people during difficult times such as Zabory (18th and 19th century) when Poland disappeared from maps for over 120 years. Another famous artefact which amazed me there was banner of Teutonic order captured during famous midival battle – Tannenberg (pol. Grunwald). As a child I was reading about those historical facts and then suddenly I could see all these artifacts on the front of me.
RPG games for young geeks
Another important part of my love for castles are role playing games. In my teenage years my friend asked me once if I want to play Warhammer. I didn’t really know what it was but I thought I will give it a go. After all trying new things makes life more interesting. I got killed in my first mission and I didn’t played for long but I fall in love in role playing games. We were simply group of geeks, sat around the table with a fake characters, and whole game happened in our heads. The imagination was a key. I have learned that teamwork matters, and I learned how to corperate with others rather than being a lonely hero. Our games took place in medieval-like world. After those games I could visit some historical sites with castles or just ruins and use my imagination to make the trips truly enchanted.
Books for older geeks
The last things that made me love castles and history are obviously books and comic books. Some books where proper historical books or albums with lots of photographs. Some books where more fictional however with plenty of castle’s descriptions. The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien, or my absolute favourite from my youth times The Witcher saga. Story of Witcher blew my mind, I was loving, I was getting sad and I could not stop reading. There are many other stories that I can’t simply mention so I just picked those two most important once.
YouTube channels for adult geeks
These days I mainly watch a YouTube channels. One of my favourites is a series by Surge Polonia channel where the care taker from Castle Chojnik, Jędrek talks about history and reenactment, and help to understand more about castles, why they look like that, why they stand where they are. Jędrek helped me to realise that every single component build in the castle had its own purpose. I guess, I sold my love to history to my wife and now we both selling it to our kids. Learning about the history is a life long trip. It can be life changing. My friend once said: “Nation that doesn’t know and understand own history is simply lost”. I can see that point.