Wałbrzych – Książ Castle
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Wałbrzych – Książ Castle

Książ Castle is the largest castle in Lower Silesia and the third largest castle in Poland (after the Wawel Castle and the Castle in Malbork), it is at the same time one of the most beautiful castles in the country. When visiting Lower Silesia, one should not omit this unique residence.

Between 1288 and 1292 duke Bolko I built a watchtower in the place of the former defense redoubt on a rocky peak. The duke moved there his headquarters quite soon and started its expansion. The place was called The Mountain of Duke (in Polish: Książęca Góra) and in 1945 the name was shortened to ‘Książ’.

Further expansion was made by Bolko II. After he died childless the Bohemian king, Wenceslaus IV took possession of the castle. At the beginning of the 15th century the castle became the headquarters of the Hussite Soldiers attacking the vicinity. In the second half of the 15th century the castle became the property of the Bohemian king George of Kunsta and Podebrady. The next owners were the brothers John and Nicholas von Schellendorf, the infamous robber barons. Because of their crimes, Matthias Corvinus, king of Bohemia and Hungary, captured the castle and imprisoned its owners.

By the king’s orders the administrator of the castle, George von Stein, initiated some alterations and expansions of the edifice. The south wing of the castle (the so called ‘wing of Maciej’) was added. The next owners were the Bohemian king Vladislas II, and the knightly families of von Schellenberg, von Haugwitz and Hochberg. They changed its name to Hochberg in the 17th century.

It was the Hochbergs under whom Książ castle flourished and expanded, starting in the mid-18th century; the family owned not only the castle but also, from the mid-19th century, the Pszczyńskie Duchy. Under their rule, Książ acquired its final shape; at the beginning of the 18th century a representative Baroque wing, a yard and the buildings of the administration bailey were raised. At the turn of the 18th and the 19th century the immediate vicinity of the castle was developed. At the beginning of the 20th century John Henry XV commissioned the construction of two monumental Baroque-like wings. At that time the 47-meter high castle tower got a neo-renaissance apex. Both the terraces and the interior of the mansion were rearranged.

In 1941 the castle was taken over by the Nazis because Hans Henry XVII, the son of John Henry XV, was deemed traitor and left for England to join the army there. The Nazi administration created a system of tunnels underneath the castle (part of which is nowadays available to visitors). It is assumed that the underground web was supposed to serve as a military quarters, with shelters and research laboratories for the Third Reich’s secret weapons.

After the Second World War, units of the Russian Army were stationed in the castle. Then for many years the building stood empty. In the 1950s the first maintenance works were conducted, i.e. the shaft in front of the entrance to the castle was swamped, the spires of steeples were renovated, debris was carted away from the terraces, which were subsequently refurbished. A café and a clubroom were opened in the gatehouse. The utility rooms and the buildings of the administrative bailey were remodelled and turned into hotel rooms. In March of 2005 the European Centre was opened with a mandate to enhance international cooperation in the field of research, education and communication.

Today, Książ Castle is a marvelous cultural centre where various events are organized. Everybody should see this place at least once in their lifetime.

The castle’s offerings include organizing conferences. The conference rooms available for the guests can seat from 20 to 300 people. There is also the possibility of using professional equipment for multimedia presentations and wireless amplification sets. On request, the staff of Książ Castle can provide refreshments during coffee breaks, lunches and banquets. Thanks to the accommodation services provided within the castle complex, Książ can take in 150 people.

In the castle there is a television room and a fireplace room. Internet access is available round the clock. Souvenir shops are available for the guests. Within the castle area there are also places where the guests may have a bonfire or a barbecue. In front of the castle there is a parking lot. Credit cards are accepted.

Contact:

Przedsiębiorstwo „Zamek Książ” w Wałbrzychu sp. z o.o.

ul. Piastów Śląskich 1, 58-306 Wałbrzych

tel. 74 664-38-27, fax. 74 634-38-28

www.ksiaz.walbrzych.pl

e-mail: marketing@ksiaz.walbrzych.pl

How to get there:

It is situated 68 km from Wrocław, it takes about an hour and 10 minutes to get there by car. The shortest route goes by road no. 35 in the direction of Wałbrzych. After 58 km, right past Świebodzice, one should turn into Piastów Śląskich Street, and after several hundred metres, turn right into Jeździecka Street.

Visiting:

There are several possibilities for visiting the trail:

  • ‘Maksymilian’s’ Trail (visiting only possible with a guide) – it is a basic tourist route.

  • Śladami tajemnic II wojny światowej Trail (Tracking the Secrets of World War II) (visiting only possible with a guide) – the new tourist trail is rich in the history of the rebuilding of the castle, which was an element of a project codenamed in German; Riese (Giant).

  • The tower (visiting possible only as an addition to other tourist trails with a guide, the minimal number of people – 6).

  • The terraces (the terraces are a part of the tourist trail, they may also be a separate entrance) – from April to September we can visit 11 terraces of the south-western part of the castle.

  • Individual visiting – it is possible to visit the castle individually, without a guide, using the sign boards marking the direction of visiting.

Visiting the castle stables, coach house and a closed horse breaking-ground – one of the most beautiful halls of this type in Europe, built completely of larch wood, without the use of nails. The castle stables offer horse riding: individual, group, terrain, lunge riding (for beginners) and horse carriage rides: by ‘tram’ (12 people), Polowiec carriage (4-5 people), vis a vis carriage (particularly recommended during wedding celebrations), Victoria carriage (4-5 people) and a green brake (6-7 people).

Tickets:

Normal tickets – from 8 zł to 22 zł

Concessions – from 8 zł to 17 zł

Fixed and regular events:

  • Flower Art. Festival – long May Day weekend

  • Kupala Day – June

  • International Princess Daisy Chamber Arts Ensemble Festival– August;

  • Gifts of Autumn – September

  • A Nativity scene – December

  • New Year’s Eve – December 31st

  • In the castle there are permanent and temporary exhibitions organised.

Car parking:

There is a car park available. 

Gallery

Places to eat:

Przedsiębiorstwo „Zamek Książ” w Wałbrzychu sp. z o.o.

ul. Piastów Śląskich 1

58-306 Wałbrzych

tel. 74 664-38-27, fax. 74 634-38-28

www.ksiaz.walbrzych.pl

e-mail: marketing@ksiaz.walbrzych.pl

Restauracja Barracuda

ul. Główna 10, 58-309 Wałbrzych

tel. 74 664-79-33

www.restauracjabarrakuda.pl

e-mail: restauracja@o2.pl

Restauracja Pasaż

pl. Magistracki 8, 58-309 Wałbrzych

tel. 74 842-29-46

www.restauracjapasaz.pl

e-mail: restauracjapasaz@restauracjapasaz.pl

Karczma Do Syta

ul. Dmowskiego 22, 58-300 Wałbrzych

tel. 74 664-60-05

www.karczma-dosyta.pl

e-mail: karczma@karczma-dosyta.pl

Accommodation:

Hotel Przy Oślej Bramie

ul. Piastów Śląskich 1, 58-306 Wałbrzych

tel. 74 664-38-27, fax. 74 634-38-28

www.ksiaz.walbrzych.pl

e-mail: marketing@ksiaz.walbrzych.pl

Gospoda Pod Wieżą

ul. Zacisze 2A, 58-319 Szczawno-Zdój

tel. 74 840-26-83

www.gospodapodwieza.pl

e-mail: gospodapodwieza@gospodapodwieza.pl

Centrum Hotelowo Biurowe DAKS

pl. Skarżyńskiego 1, 58-301 Wałbrzych

tel./fax 74 842-34-41, 602-135-501

www.centrumdaks.pl

e-mail: daks@centrumdaks.pl

Pokoje Gościnne Konrad

ul. Bolesława Chrobrego 14, 58-300 Wałbrzych

tel. 601-766-781, 509-310-988, 74 847-75-21

www.pokoje-konrad.pl

e-mail: pokoje-konrad@wp.pl

Dom Gościnny Biegun

ul. Włościańska 11, 58-330 Jedlina Zdrój

tel./fax 74 845-54-41, 509-598-704

www.biegun.walbrzych.pl

e-mail: info@biegun.walbrzych.pl

Tourist Information Office:

Centrum Informacji Turystycznej i Kulturalnej

Rynek 9, 58-300 Wałbrzych

tel. 74 666-60-68

www.cit.walbrzych.pl

e-mail: cit@um.walbrzych.pl

A contact form is available on the website.