Dobczyce is a small town in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship, situated nearby Krakow. It is a place with a rich past and numerous monuments; hence, it is of attraction to history enthusiasts. Because it has many foot and bike trails, Dobczyce is also a perfect destination for active tourists.
The name Dobczyce comes from the legendary knight called Dobek. According to the legend he went to rocky hills by the central part of the Raba, where he founded a military settlement. His sons, who lived there, were called Dobczyki or Dobczyce.
Dobczyce may boast of many interesting monuments. Those especially worth visiting are: the ruins of a royal castle and town wall from the 14th century as well as the church from the 19th century. While in Dobczyce you should also visit a regional museum and an open-air museum which figures on the Lesser Poland’s Wooden Architecture Trail list.
Active tourists will also find something for themselves in Dobczyce. There are two bike trails (green and yellow ones) with a total length of 39 km and one foot trail (yellow) and numerous unmarked trails running through the town.
Dobczyce is a small town in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship, in Myslenice County, in the Raba river valley and in between Wisnickie and Wielickie Hills. The town is a seat of Dobczyce Commune and is populated by over 6.000 people.
Dobczyce is one of the oldest settlements by the Raba. The written records claim that it was most probably founded in the times of the first Piasts. However, it might as well have been set earlier. Its convenient location made Dobczyce a significant fortress. Already in the beginning of Poland’s history there was an important trade route running through Dobczyce (Krakow– Wieliczka-Grodzisko-Szczyrzyc and an offshoot of the route to Myslenice).
There are no records on who granted Dobczyce the Magdeburg Law, but it most probably took place in the 13th century, during the reigns of King Boleslaw V the Chaste. Dobczyce was given town rights in 1310 or so. The first written record confirming the rights was a letter from the court of the monarch from 1340, in which King Casimir the Great frees Dobczyce from paying duty in the whole area of Poland. Another privilege was given to Dobczyce in 1362 and allowed its citizens to fish in the Raba, graze cattle as well as established a weekly fair (organised every Monday).
Due to its location near the Hungarian trade route, Dobczyce could trade with both Slovak cities and those in the south of Poland, including Krakow, already in the 14th century. The town exported large amounts of hop, dried fruits, crop products, beer and booze.
The golden age ended with Swedes’ invasion in the 1650s. Swedes then took neighbouring Lanckorona and burned Dobczyce down. The town suffered a lot also during Charles of Sweden’s second invasion of Poland. This time Dobczyce was robbed and the local castle totally devastated.
All these events brought an end to the prosperity in the town. Another golden age came only in the 19th century, but it was stopped by numerous plagues and a cholera epidemic.