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“A fairytale castle, interesting, a photographers dream.”

Zamek Ksiaz w Walbrzychu
Ranked #1 of 26 things to do in Walbrzych
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Ksiaz, a blend of many architectural styles, is the third-largest castle in Poland. In Europe, it is considered distinctive because its setting – proudly perched on a rock face, 395 metres above sea level – is as striking as its size. At first a defensive fortification, raised at the end of the thirteenth century by the Piast duke Bolka I (“the Strict”), it has changed hands many times. Only in 1590 was the castle given to the aristocratic Hochberg dynasty which, after receiving title to the castle in 1605, maintained the property as their residence for the following three centuries. During that time, they became one of the most influential and wealthiest Prussian dynasties; in the 19th century, the head of the family received the hereditary title of Prince. With the marriage of Hans Heinrich VI to Anna Anhalt-Pless, the dynasty came to own the estate of the Duchy of Pless, in Upper Silesia. From that time on, the owners of Ksiaz held the title Hochberg von Pless. Before World War II, Ksiaz underwent two significant reconstructions. The first, called the Baroque Reconstruction, took place at the beginning of the 18th century, when Konrad Ernest Maximilan ruled. This included the creation of the huge east face and the main entrance, the splendid Maximilian Hall and several Baroque rooms, and also the gate building, where the library could be found. The Second Castle reconstruction took place between 1909 and 1923. The intention of the owner at the time, Hans Heinrich XV, was to transform Ksiaz into a true baronial mansion. The castle was enlarged at the time by the north and west wings, to which two tours were built. Unfavourable political circumstances (the First World War and economic crisis), and the Hochbergs’ personal problems, prevented the reconstruction from being finished; difficulties in Germany led to financial collapse. During the Second World War, when the paramilitary Todt Organization turned the Castle into solidiers’ quarters, part of the former Hochberg residence was drastically destroyed, and its furnishings were removed. At two levels under the Castle (15 and 50 metres), prisoners from the Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp dug huge tunnels, part of the Riese (Giant) complex that was built in the Sowa Mountains. To this day, the purpose of the tunnels is shrouded in mystery. It has been assumed that a munitions factory or chemical laboratory was to be founded there, and that Ksiaz itself was to become one of the Fuhrer’s quarters. The underground works were partly hidden by Hitler’s soldiers in the war’s final months. On 8 May 1945, the Castle was taken over by the Red Army, which set about causing further destruction, including the removal of part of the library collection. In the years after the war, the Castle experienced still more devastation. Only in the 1950s did Ksiaz receive protection from the regional conservator of Historic Monuments, and during the 1970s the first renovation work began. Since 1991, the Castle has been managed, on behalf of Wałbrzych’s local government, by Ksiaz Castle in Wałbrzych Ltd. The duality of Ksiaz Castle: an essential tourist asset: Ksiaz Castle has often been identified with the Ksiaz Landscape Park, the forest expanse from which it appears, like a ship sailing on an endless green sea. To this day, the former residence of the Hochbergs bears the hallmarks of the times when aristocrats ruled: the castle gates are protected by royal lions, the wide Honorary Courtyard is surrounded by the figures of mythological gods, and the castle exterior suggests that an enchanted dwelling lies within. The Maximilian Hall, resplendent with gold, is used for official purposes: honorary galas, official openings, and prestigious award ceremonies. A short distance from the Castle, there is a further suggestion of the days of nobility at the Ksiaz Stud Farm, where the most illustrious specimens of horses (those bought by Arab sheiks), may be found. Ksiaz Castle, however, has yet another face – dark and impenetrable. It is viewed as one of Lower Silesia’s great mysteries. The ultimate purpose of the Nazi reconstruction work has never been identified, although it is known that Adolf Hitler himself wanted to turn it into his headquarters. The tunnel network, dug by prisoners, has been the subject of stories, legends and conspiracy theories – clouding the picture even further. Without a doubt, one of the firmest beliefs that have taken hold is that the stolen treasure of the region’s people is buried under the courtyard.
Useful Information: Stairs / lift
Reviewed 13 August 2017

A fairytale castle that sits above the trees. The parking was easy (10 zloty), well laid out and a fairly even walk from there to the castle. Big pluses from the outset are plenty of places to sit and rest if you want. The main 'viewpoint' was a little crowded, but I simply waited and was then easily able to take several photographs.

It happened that the day I arrived (12/8) there was a re-enactment going on of a 1917 battle. Absolutely captivating, well staged and lots of fun. It was, of course, in polish so I missed out on some of the details, such as who was fighting whom - but to be honest that didn't detract much from the pure entertainment value.

The gardens and grounds are well laid out and extensive. If you follow the signposted route for the tour then you come to the terraces at the end of the tour of the house. Inside the house staff were very accommodating if I smiled and asked for help. I don't speak polish but one or two staff and visitors helped me and I now have a basic vocabulary of half a dozen words :)

Inside the house rooms and furniture were interesting. Not crammed full of objects - after all this place has suffered during the last 100 years and it is not trying to be a museum, rather a cultural centre. The rooms of heavy and ornate furniture for sale on the ground floor were a little disconcerting - I'm not sure whether these came from the house or are simply an antique dealer plying his trade. Certainly many of the pieces would need castle sized rooms to accommodate them.. Only a couple of places where people were selling souvenirs, books etc, one on the ground floor which is obviously the Castle shop and a handful of others on a floor above. Not a problem at all. A practical note, inside the entrance to the castle itself is the ticket office and to the right of that there is a free bag and buggy park.

I spent 6 hours there and did not see everything. I only gave up in the end because my legs had done enough!

Thank Maggie L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (871)
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"guided tour"
in 10 reviews
"day trip"
in 6 reviews
"lower silesia"
in 6 reviews
"concentration camp"
in 4 reviews
"interesting history"
in 4 reviews
"little bit"
in 3 reviews
"definitely worth a visit"
in 3 reviews
"for sale"
in 3 reviews
"ticket office"
in 3 reviews
"nazi occupation"
in 3 reviews
"entrance fee"
in 3 reviews
"palm house"
in 7 reviews
"two hours"
in 2 reviews
"red army"
in 2 reviews
"nature park"
in 2 reviews
"great potential"
in 2 reviews
"i'm sure"
in 2 reviews

31 - 35 of 871 reviews

Reviewed 7 August 2017

There is little to add to my previous commentators - an impressive castle in an impressive location, only overcast by some sad shadow of more recent history

Thank Travellingesther
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 July 2017

Have huge land but the tour inside the castle is limited but is okay because we had our parents with us and too much of walking is tiring for them. I think because of the huge land to maintain the garden's outside the castle is not well maintained but cleaned enough. I suggest to skip the Palm House,it takes time to walk from the castle ( you can drive from the castle if you wish), pay extra fee to see it and nothing much to see if you have seen other conservatories elsewhere.

Thank TLA_USA07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 July 2017

The castle is magnificent and one could say orignal in it's look. The outside is definitely more appealing than the inside, but one needs to realise the extent of the damage inflicted during WW2. German took whatever they fleeing from the Red Army and Red army devastated it out of ideological hate. For communist polish government restoring a aristocratic castle wasn't on the list of priorities either.
I had a pleasure to have a wedding reception organised inside of the castle and it was indeed a 10/10 experience. Guests enjoyed a beautiful and tasty feast. The staff was courteous and friendly. Guest loved being able to take pictures on the grounds by the castle. My wedding manager Mariola Wojcik from Zamek przy Oslej Bramie was amazing. Immaculate presentation of the staff and the ball room, and meticulous execution of the plan.
For any couples thinking of organising a wedding in this castle I can wholeheartedly recommend both the venue and the catering from Zamek przy Oslej Bramie (Mirjam 2).

Thank menthal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 July 2017

The castle seems to be quite small and the visit itself nothing special. The flower terraces are quite nice, but inside - just a few chambers...

1  Thank Barbara S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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