Giewont is a famous mountain massif, looking down at Zakopane. It is not only an important part of the landscape but also a site of religious pilgrimages and the resting place of the legendary knights.
Giewont is a mountain massif in the Western Tatras with a height of 1894 m above the sea level and a length of 2.7 km. At the top of the Great Giewont is a 15 m steel cross, placed there in 1901. It is build of 400 parts of iron, brought there by 500 people. Builders also brought 400 kg of cement and 200 canvas pots of water. Cross is the site of religious pilgrimages.
The profiles of the mountains resemble a lying knight – the Long Giewont is the torso and the Great Giewont is the face, which might lead to the legend about the creation of this mountains. Long ago, when the world was still full of unusual creatures, from the depths of the sea emerged a dragon, that could take any form, even a man. He fell in love with beautiful Magura, became her husband and they lived together to old age. They had six sons and six daughters, and Magura convinced her husband to gave them some of his power. They called their children and asked them who each of them want to be, and each received a gift that helped to fulfill their plans – wisdom, cunning, beautiful voice, efficiency, knowledge. The youngest of the brothers, Giewont, wanted to become a knight to defend their family, so he got great strength and ability to fencing.
When parents died, the eldest of the brother, Havran, took care of the family, but always took advise from his siblings. The youngest of the sisters, Osobita, was beautiful and many young men asked for her hand, but was rejected because she had a vision that powerful prince from the north will come to her. And indeed – strong and ruthless King Frost and his sister Winter, learned of the girl’s great beauty and he wholeheartedly wished to have her for himself. They tried various tricks to kidnap Osobita, but Giewont always saved her. In the end, pretending to be a girl in trouble, Winter enticed and seduced him. They set off together on a journey through the wilderness, and when sleep overtook them, Frost attacked Giewont and froze him forever. When Osobita found out about fate of her brother, she cried until her tears filled lakes and streams, and when the King Frost asked her to marry him she refused. Whereas Winter, who fell in love with the knight, decided to stay with him forever, covering him and herself with snow and fall asleep together, looking at Zakopane.
Giewont mountain has many caves and because of that it is associated with another story – the legend of sleeping knights. According to this tale, in one of the caves sleeps huge army, composed of the best knights. They are waiting for a call, and when Poland will be in great danger, they will rise up to defend it. One version of the legend indicates a link between Giewont and Wawel Castle in Cracov. Once a year all kings that Poland ever had, meet there to deliberate over the fate of the nation and the state. Every year knights ask “is it the time?” And when the chairman of the meeting Boleslaw the Brave replies that it is not yet, knights again fall asleep. Many highland tales speak about different people who have accidentally disturbed peace of knights, but they still waiting for their call.