Kruszwica is a town located in the region of Kujawy, in the district of Inowrocław, by Lake Gopło and the Noteć River that flows right through it. The town is located along the Piast Trail and it is suspected that the very name of the town is derived from the word “kruszwy”, meaning a lump of salt, in Polish. Back in the Middle Ages, the region was famous for brine deposits, which were mined to make salt.
During the time of the Roman Empire, Kruszwica was one of the locations on the Amber Road, which was very beneficial for the development of the town. The settlement continued to play an important economic and strategic role well into the Middle Ages. It is also assumed that it was an area, where the West Slavic tribe of the Goplans lived. The history of the town dates back to the beginnings of Poland, as Kruszwica became one of the capitals of the Piast dynasty, in the 10th and 11th Centuries. Unfortunately, the settlement was burnt to the ground by order of Duke Bolesław the Pious, in 1271. In 1422, Kruszwica was granted its borough rights. The town started to develop anew at the end of the 19th Century, which resulted in building a railway line, a sugar factory, and using the Noteć River for navigation, as the river connects with the Bydgoszcz Canal.
Kruszwica is best known for the legend of the cruel Duke Popiel, who was devoured by mice and rats after finding refuge in a tower, which would later become the legendary Mouse Tower. The Mouse Tower is what has remained after a castle built by King Casimir III the Great, which replaced the old town, in mid-14th Century. During the Swedish Deluge, the castle was blown up, leaving only the 32m high tower. If you climb to the top of it, there is a magnificent panorama of Lake Gopło and its immediate vicinity. Next to the tower, there are ruins of the former castle of the Piast dynasty.
Kruszwica is an important centre of the food industry with its foundation based on well-developed agriculture. Nonetheless, tourism plays an important role in supporting the town’s existence, being its chance for further development. In 2012, Rzępowski Peninsula by Lake Gopło saw its improvement. Once there, you can take a boat on a cruise around the lake or rent a pedal boat or a canoe. In the vicinity, there are also bathing areas and beaches, as well as decks overlooking Lake Gopło. The area around Kruszwica also includes Gopło Millennium Landscape Park and a Sports and Cultural Centre, which is now a very active centre for culture, organising many cultural events, exhibitions, concerts, and festivals. Through its activities, the centre provides education and the possibility of artistic development for its residents, while also attracting tourists.
In addition to visiting the legendary Mouse Tower and castle ruins, once in Kruszwica, you can also go see the historic well preserved 12th century Collegiate Church of St. Peter and St. Paul from the Romanesque Period. In the Old Town, there is the domed church of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus,built in 1922 to replace the former wooden church of Saint Clement. In the centre of the town, there are also historic tenement houses from the 19th and 20th Centuries.
Kruszwica was one of the locations for shooting scenes for the historic drama Stara Baśń. Kiedy słońce było bogiem/An Ancient Tale: When the Sun Was a God, directed by Jerzy Hoffman, starring such great Polish actors as Anna Dymna, Katarzyna Bujakiewicz, Michał Żebrowski, and Małgorzata Foremniak.