Bischofstein – today Bisztynek (North East Poland)

It is a little town – not even 3 thousand inhabitants. At the world’s end – (quoting Copernicus’ words on Frombork).

By the way – everywhere here is at the world’s end 😉

Bischofstein means – Bishop’s Stone. Today’s name is – Bisztynek.

The said stone exists. And it is really huge (3m high, and 28m around).

There is a legend about the stone and it says that once upon a time there lived a poor shoemaker. He was rich only in children… He had so many kids, that when the last one was born he had no one to ask to be a godfather. Walking to the town, he met a young and elegant man who kindly listened to his sorrows. Finally the young man said he would gladly become a godfather, and  that he would come for the kid after he grows up.
The shoemaker was happy to hear it. Not only will the kid have a godfather,  he thought – but also will be taken care of in future… During the ceremony, the godfather gave the shoemaker a big pouch of money for education of the newborn boy whom they named Michael.
So the boy went to school, after then – to the next, and another… Finally he became a priest. No one realized that the money was from the devil, who was the godfather…
The time of the graduation came and so came the devil… He rushed into the house, and asked for the boy.

Michael is celebrating his first sermon – said the father rather surprised how rash became the once kind godfather…

The devil – said he had some small business to fulfill, and that afterwards he would return for Michael, before the mass comes to an end.

However the small business was not that small… The devil was to carry a great stone from Africa, and throw it on the church where Michael celebrated his first mass. It was to disable him to praise the Lord. But as the stone was extremely heavy – it took more time than suspected. When the devil returned – the mass had already finished… The Lord has been praised.

The devil was furious, and as he trembled – the stone slipped from his hands and fell where it can be seen now… no one knows what happened to the devil. Michael however was a good priest of big faith – and he served God and people for a long time…


Today’s Bisztynek is a sleepy little town not realizing probably what  touristic potential they have.

It is worth knowing that Bisztynek has 10 bridges and culverts. It is a town with more than a 600 years’ history. In the historical times Bisztynek was one of the most prosperous towns in the Warmia Region – competing even with Lidzbark Warmiński.

There are several trully valuable pieces of architecture. Among them  is the Parish Church of  St. Matthias and the Precious Blood of Jesus. Anyone who had visited Kraków will find some resemblance to the St. Andrew’s as far as the surrounding wall is concerned. On its edge figures of 12 Apostles were placed. The natural heigth of figures on the wall – give the idea of the quality of artists active here in the 18th century.

Practical information:

To get to Bisztynek is best by car, according to what Google maps show:



  1. My great grandfather John Zimmermann was born here; also his brother Charles. I like collecting local stories to share with my family because it gives a place color and character. Thank you for the gift.

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