The charming Dulowska Forest is a remnant of an ancient primaeval forest that in the Middle Ages stretched from Kraków to the Przemsza River. Chechło Creek divides the forest into two parts. The northern part – Dulowska Forest – is sandy and dry. The southern part – Bagno Forest, Rudno Forest – is waterlogged and peaty. In the higher parts, Carpathian beech grows on limestone substrate. In addition to elk, deer, roe deer, wild boar, and birds such as black stork, black grouse, lapwings, corncrakes, sparrowhawks, buzzards, and goshawks feed here. The largest and most peculiar of its creatures was the European pond turtle seen here in the 1970s. The brook lamprey, mountain newt and beaver also live here.
The Dulowska Forest is part of the Tenczyński Landscape Park. It extends from Trzebinia to Krzeszowice and is bounded on the south by the A4 motorway and on the north by the Kraków-Katowice railway line.
Tenczyn Castle in Rudno
When travelling through the Dulowska Forest, one should take some time to see the small Wawel Castle on its southern edge. This is what the Tenczyn Castle in Rudno was once called in the years of its magnificence, when it competed with Wawel in terms of appearance and importance. The castle is one of the largest in Małopolska and the largest of the Jurassic strongholds on the Trail of the Eagles’ Nests in the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland.
The huge castle ruins rise atop an inactive volcano. Its construction was started in the mid-14th century by Andrzej Tęczyński, the Voivode of Kraków. Around 1570, the castle was transformed into a Renaissance residence with arcaded galleries in the courtyard and walls topped with decorative attics. At the beginning of the 17th century, the fortifications were extended, creating a formidable fortress with a magnificent barbican preserved until today. The Lubomirski family rebuilt Tenczyn after the devastation of the Swedish Deluge. After a fire in 1768, the abandoned castle fell into disrepair. It is currently undergoing repairs and conservation, and the parts that have already been restored and protected can be visited. It hosts ever-greater numbers of events such as re-enactments, reconstructions, concerts, exhibitions, performances and shows. The southern tower, called Nawojowa, offers a breath-taking view of the landscape, including the Krzeszowice Ditch and surrounding towns, the Beskids and sometimes even... the Tatra Mountains!
Star travel enthusiasts will undoubtedly be delighted with one of the largest and most modern film studios in Poland, Alwernia Studios, with its dome-shaped cosmic buildings located not far from Tenczyński Castle and visible from afar.
Starting or returning from a trip to the forest backwoods, it is worth making a more extended stop in Krzeszowice. The town has been famous for its sulphate-calcium-magnesium healing mineral waters since the 17th century. Therapeutic activity began here in the 2nd half of the 18th century when people first started to take the Krzeszowice waters to treat musculoskeletal, rheumatic and post-traumatic disorders. Formally granted the status of a public health resort by the decree of the President of the Republic of Poland in 1922, Krzeszowice is the first-ever Polish health resort, followed by Druskininkai, Iwonicz, Yaremche, Lubnia, Nałęczów, Rymanów, Solec, Swoszowice, Truskavets, Vorokhta and Zalishchyky. Although Krzeszowice is no longer a health resort (it lost this status formally in 1967), work is underway to reactivate the Krzeszowice health resort. Despite the lack of spa status, the use of therapeutic raw materials has continued without interruption (the spa traditions are continued by the ‘Krzeszowice’ Centre for Rehabilitation of Motor Organs). The oldest spa monument in Krzeszowice is the ‘Zdrój Główny’ spring housed in brick.
In Krzeszowice, the Potocki family built their palace. The family's seat was erected in 1850–57 on a hill surrounded by a beautiful landscape park. During World War II, the Potocki Palace was occupied by Governor-General Hans Frank, who looted the estate of valuable works of art. Another one, the Vauxhall Palace, is the oldest and most valuable preserved monument of Krzeszowice, built at the behest of Izabela Lubomirska in 1783–89. It used to be called the Foxal or the Salon because, standing in the centre of the spa park, it was a meeting place for visitors. A curiosity and attraction of Krzeszowice is the statue in the market square of a gladiator with a trident in his hand and a sword suspended from his belt – a copy of the figure that once stood by the Potocki Palace. Krzeszowice is the only Polish town with a gladiator statue in the market square. Another must-see is the Museum of the Krzeszowice Land, an extraordinary journey back in time during which you can learn about the history of the Tęczyński and Potocki families, see models of the most interesting monuments in the region and find out about the wooden church dedicated to St Martin that had once existed in Krzeszowice. In addition, there is also old furniture, kitchen equipment, paintings, elements of folk costumes, postcards with historical views, documents, and figures significant for the region's history. Inside a nearby barn, agricultural and farming tools and antique mining equipment are on display.
Around the forest
The Dulowska Forest and the villages around it – Dulowa, Wola Filipowska, Krzeszowice, Tenczynek, Rudno, Zalas, Nieporaz, Bolęcin, Trzebinia, Chrzanów and Młoszowa – are an area attractive for tourists, interspersed with a dense network of tourist trails leading to numerous attractions. Apart from the places we have already mentioned, such as the Dulowska Forest and the Tenczyn Castle, it is also worth visiting the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Scapular in Czerna, the Chechło Reservoir or the Tenczyński Landscape Park. But that’s another story.
Cycling routes passing through the Dulowska Forest
- Krzeszowice through Miękinia, Dolina Kamienic, Wola Filipowska, the Dulowska Forest, the Orlej Forest, the Rudno Stream Valley Nature Reserve, the Sanki Valley and Mount Niedźwiedzia to Krzeszowice
- Psary, Karniowice, Dulowa, the Dulowska Forest, Bolęcin
- the Chechło Reservoir, the Dulowska Forest, the Tenczyn Castle, Nielepice
- Regulice, Nieporaz, Alwerina Studios, the Dulowska Forest, the Tenczyn Castle
service and on-line tickets: https://kolejemalopolskie.com.pl/en/home-page