Black Lady and Janowiec Castle

We have talked about Kazimierz over the Vistula, and on the other side of the river, on a cliff, like Carreg Cennen Castle in Wales, there is a magnate castle of Janowiec, with its characteristic white and red stripes and the ghost of Black LadyJanowiec 2

It was built between 1526 and 1537 by the Firley family, but many extensions added until the 17th century.  It was the only private castle in the times of People’s Poland – it was purchased in 1927r. by Leon Kozłowski who after 48 years sold it to the Museum in Kazimierz Dolny.

Janowiec 4b1

At the time of its prime the castle had 98 chambers and 7 halls.

Janowiec 6

Janowiec 4a

The renovated part of the castle invites us to a small museum, where apart from scale models, drawings and pictures we can admire a large collection of china:

Janowiec porcelana 2

Black Lady haunts Janowiec.  Some legends say that Helena Lubomirska (the daughter of one of the owners of the castle) haunts the castle only during the full moon. If she had kept a diary, her last entry might have looked like this:

Half a year has passed since I was locked in this tower…

I’m fed up with such a life! What is it worth without his smile? Without his sparkly blue eyes? Without his straw hair? Miserable days, deprived of the fire of love, tagging on my soul and body in vain. I watch for you, my love, every day; I wait for you every night, so you could visit me in my dreams at least… Poor is such fate…

My heart belongs to him and to him only. I see him sometimes when he works in the fields. My father threw him out of the castle, he’s not our servant any more. Does he still remember me? Is he waiting?

What to live for?

The loneliness makes me sick, I can feel it sucking out my soul, so exhausted by the cruel life. My heart is pounding, panting for this pure love like for the air… I’m suffocating…

I want to run to you, my dearest, through the fields and meadows… Through the castle walls and the river, even to the end of the world… I’ll jump from the window of my prison… There’s no other way…

Until death do us part…

Helena did not survive the fall. If she had kept her diary after her death, this is what the continuation might have looked like:

I’ve jumped out. The pain shoots through the body, but is short. It’s dark… I’m falling into nothingness… What’s that? I’m going up now. I don’t want to! Go back! Go back! My lover is waiting for me… I must come back…

I can see a pale dead body. It’s me. The servants are putting a black dress on me. Why not white, pure like my innocent soul? They are carrying me to the church, far away… My mother, wiping her tears… Who is to blame for her child’s death?

The coffin with my body is being lowered into a dark hole on Kazimierz cementary… No! I must go back to Janowiec! My beloved is waiting for me there… I’m going back!

As Helena’s ghost was seen many times in Janowiec castle, her family decided to move the coffin with her body to the church in Janowiec.

Czarna Dama

My love, where are you? I’m waiting for you… My heart is wilting without you just as a flower without the sun… My eyes are hungry for your smile… My ears are hungry for the sound of your voice… I return every month hoping I shall meet you again…

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