he Lipowiec castle is situated on a high rocky ridge of Garb Tenczyński, which is to the west of the Cracow Upland. The first fortifications had been raised here probably long before the construction of the castle. On the site of a borough a small wooden castle was built on the initiative of Konrad Mazowiecki. It became a more significant defensive structure after Bolesław Wstydliwy had come into power and in 1243 had a watch tower protecting state borders built here by the bishop Prandota. As a bishop? s property, in 1295 the castle belonged to bishop Jan Muskata. In his times the original foundation was significantly developed. The first brick structures were built, e.g. a tower, which served both as a defensive structure and a prison for people sentenced to death by starvation.
The castle acquired its present shape after the development in the 15th century. Its small courtyard was surrounded by dwelling houses and an outer castle below encircled by the wall. Another three floors were added to the tower and it has remained like this up to now. Two higher floors were fitted out with shooting positions to keep the entrance to the castle under control.
The entrance to the castle was more than 10 m. above the level of the courtyard of the approaches to the castle. The subsequent modernizations
The castle served as a prison up to the late 18th century. It was a well-guarded prison, as only one case of successful escape was recorded. Franciszek Stankar (Francesco Stancaro), an Italian theologian and Hebraist, the author of the project of the Reformation in Poland, was put to the Lipowiec prison for his views. About 1550 he managed to escape from his cell. According to the legend a daughter of the warder helped Franciszek, as she was in love with him. He got down on the ropes she delivered.
In 1655 the Swedish army took over the castle and made it a seat of the governor of Cracow, general Paul Wirtz. When they withdrew from Lipowiec two years later, the Swedes burned down the buildings. The reconstruction started in 1732 by bishop Konstanty Szaniawski and was completed in 1754 by bishop Andrzej Załuski.
As a structure devoid of military importance, it became a prison again, but this time a less rigorous one. A house of betterment and retreat organised special seminars here
In 1789 the Austrian troops occupied the castle and it was not a prison any more. During the following sixty years the castle was inhabited constantly, even in spite of the fire in 1800, when the castle got damaged quite badly. The roofs burned down completely along with the ceilings of the highest floor.
The castle stayed inhabited up to the mid-19th century. During the National Uprising in January 1863 the troops of general Marian Langiewicz sheltered in the castle.
Since the conservation works in 1961-1968 the Lipowiec castle has been open, as a permanent ruin, for the public.