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“Worth the visit”

Zamek Ksiaz w Walbrzychu
Ranked #1 of 22 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 29 September 2017 via mobile

Went here on a whim and was definitely worth the visit a very historic castle in the area and if your Irish u will spot a certain Irish figure in a picture in one of the nazi camp area

2  Thank Bruzer15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (889)
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"beautiful castle"
in 11 reviews
"guided tour"
in 11 reviews
"biggest castle"
in 7 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

29 - 33 of 889 reviews

Reviewed 26 September 2017

Książ is very impressive place with an interesting history - not boring at all. I visited the castle and the gardens as well as the mausoleum and palmiarnia.
Resevre at least 2h for the visit. Even better - more!

2  Thank Anna G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 September 2017

Do not miss this place.... Getting to it is a treat enough, and a tour of it is terrific. The history of the family that used to own it fascinating and the exhibits make you transport yourself to the era they lived in....

1  Thank Elkabelka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 September 2017 via mobile

A lovely day trip from Wroclaw. The castle is large and it took us around 2 hrs to walk through by ourselves. We had no guide. The main rooms (renovated) to see are at the front of the castle on the first floor. The castle has suffered a lot of damage looting over the years but is still worth seeing just for the size of it and the family history. We didn't see the nazi tunnels or the palm house so I can't comment on those. If you are after a bite to eat I'd suggest missing the line of restaurants leading up to the castle ( the service was appalling so we left) and eat at the little cafe in the gate house before the rest of the restaurants. Quick service and reasonable food. Nothing fancy though. Yes there is a walk to the castle if you get there by bus (we caught 12 as we missed #8) you get off at the last stop and walk (which is near the palm house). Keep in mind you can't see the castle from here but it is there! There is also an electric vehicle that sits outside the castle which we tried to catch back either to the car park or the palm house (as it is quite a walk 30 mins or so) in the afternoon around 3pm. The driver wouldn't do any even though that's what he advertises. He also turned away several customers while we were there for no apparent reason as well. I am not sure why he is there at. There is no info at the train station nor at the bus stop you get off at. If more tourists are what they want at the castle they very need to improve on that aspect. But otherwise it was great to get away from the standard go to places. Yes I would recommend going there if you have the time.

2  Thank thereandbackagain094
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 September 2017

This castle is one of my favorite places I've visited in Poland. It is surrounded by a national forest so that you wake up to the sounds of birds chirping and flying around in the courtyard. If you're lucky, you have a room facing the courtyard and pink castle.

They've recently invested a good amount of money into upkeep and the rooms are pretty well maintained and clean (if a little outdated in style).

The dinner in the restaurant was ok, but they have a nice buffet spread for breakfast of meats, cheeses, and bread among other things.

Definitely take a tour of the castle and grounds.
Definitely bring your walking shoes to hike around in the forest nearby, for hours if you like. There are some beautiful views and the forest can be pretty secluded.

1  Thank Angelica K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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