Prężyce is a village situated not far from the capital of Lower Silesia - Wrocław [vrotswaf]. The village itself is a typical lowersilesian village with some new and some dilapidated houses. But in the middle of the village is a beautiful palace with a garden. It belongs to the Tudor Sociaty Club. I would say it is a perl among the palaces lying around Wroclaw. It cannot be seen inside. But if you wish you can spend there a night.
Kldozko is an interesting small town near the Czech Polish border. A quite Rynek, a small copy of the Prague bridge and, it's main attraction: Klodzko has a very large citadel that dominates the city and the small valley. From its rampart there are nice views over the town and the surrounding lands.
The citadel consists of an inner and an outer part. Under the outer part is a large maze of corridors or labyrinth, that were mainly build to be blown up! The idea was, that when an enemy had conquered the outer ring, part of the corridors would be stuffed with explosives, sealed of and ... booommm. This would teach them a lesson! Soldiers had to find their way in the dark, as there are no windows and fire was forbidden. The citadel was never conquered, not even by Napoleon, so the maze is still intact.
The corridors extend under the city as well, but they were closed the day we visited the town.
The tour was enterly Polish spoken, and we assume very educational, except for the words 'next is less then 1 meter high'. And believe me, that is fun for children but not for grown ups. The last part we were on our knees. (There is a short cut, though). Tour lasted well over 45 minutes and was fun. Fee for the labirynt: 6 zloty (and 6 for the citadel as well).
One of the most beautiful castles in Lower Silesia.
Visit the site below to get some information about the castle and enjoy its virtual tour.
How to get without a car:
Take train to Swiebodzice. Find the street: ul. Walbrzyska in Swiebodzice than go straight ahead and you will see a castle gate. Take a path through the park. It takes about one hour to get there on foot from the Swiebodzice Station to the Castle.
The 13th century Cistercian abbey in Henrykow.
Cistercian Abbey complex with church (interior, esp. stalls), monastery (interior), garden with pavilions and utilitarian buildings (some buildings in decay)
The abby is famous for "the book of Henrykow"- a Latin chronicle of the Cistercian abbey. Originally created as a registry of belongings looted by the Mongol raids of 1241, with time it was extended to include the history of the monastery. It is notable as the document to include the earliest sentence written entirely in the Polish language. As such it is one of the milestones in the history of the Polish literature. Currently the book is on exhibition in the Diocesial Museum in Wrocław.
The churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica are the largest timber-framed churches in Europe. They were built after the Peace of Westphalia ending the 30-years' War (1618 -1648). The Lutheran Protestants were allowed to build then three churches in Silesia: in Jawor, Swidnica and Glogow (this one was destroyed by fire in 19th century). But there were lots of restrictions which the Protestants had to follow. Only timber, clay and straw could be used as building material, the churches had to be built during one year and outside the city walls. They couldn't have any spires or bells and they had to be different from other churches built in those times.
The churches look like big barns outside but inside they amaze the visitors with their beauty. There were no restrictions as to the interiors and in result they are literally stunning. The wooden galleries which extend along the walls in four rows are richly decorated with paintings and reliefs. In Jawor the paintings depict 143 scenes from Old and New Testament. Although both churches are well preserved it is visible that the one in Jawor doesn't have big funds for the restoration. It is less frequently visited than the church in Swidnica, which lies on the touristic trail from Wroclaw to the Sudety Mts.
But both churches are an absolute must if you are visiting this part of Poland. You won't be able to find such unique buildings anywhere else in Europe.
In 2001 they were inscripted on the UNESCO Heritage list.
In Middle Ages Swidnica was one of the biggest and most important Silesian towns. It was best-known for beer production which was sold to various towns in Europe. There were Swidnickie-beer cellars in Wroclaw (it is still working), Cracow, Prague or Heidelberg.
Although nowadays the highlight of Swidnica is the Church of Peace which is on UNESCO World Heritage List, it is not the only place worth seeing in this town. You should at least spend some time in the market Square. The beautiful tenement houses delight tourists with the variety of decorative elements. The houses have been renovated, but it's worth knowing that Swidnica avoided destruction in WWII, so the present layout of the Old Town is almost the same as it used to be in Middle Ages.
The interior of this church is much richer than that of Jawor. The contrast between baroque splendour and Lutheran ascetism is shocking. There is hardly any piece of wall, any fragment of the church without a decoration - paintings, sculptures, golden ornaments are everywhere. Baroque pulpit and altar attract visitors' attention with the abundance of decorative details. You could spend there long hours and undoubtedly you would find all the time something new to amaze you.
It's hard to believe that the buildings which were meant to last so short, survived long centuries and still delight the visitors. Luckily, the church in Swidnica didn't suffer much in last war. It is said that just after the war local people were staying there day and night to guard it against the robbers.
The church is located in a park. Outside ther is a nice restaurant serving simple dishes at very reasonable prices.
Arboretum w Wojs³awicach is a tree garden that has been developed in the late 19th century and has been declared a national monument, It is now part of the collection of the Wroclaw university. When I visited it in july 2005 they were expanding it again. The core collection contains many species of trees and plants. It is very well laid out, very good maintained and the sign are in perfect order. Only drawback: names are in Polish or Latin and explanations in Polish only. But then again, the plants speak for themselves and won't listen to any name. (They do sell a small leaflet in English or German at the gate)
The collection of rhodondendron and azaleas is great. To bad I couldn't visit it in spring time. (Open from May 1st).
I've been told that there is here a special micro climate and when i walked through the park, it seemed cool although the air temperature was 30 degrees celsius.
Climbing this mountain, that raises itself about 400 meters from the plain around Wroclaw (Breslau) turned out to be a suprise. We had been told that the start was steep, but that after about an hour, it would be become better. Well, our access was the other way around. We took the northern most trail - the blue route - which start eay but after 45 minutes becomes steeper and steeper. We met only one other person. The views made it worth the while and we took an easier - but longer - route down. This route had more people (five). There is a small catering service on the top, but to us it looked very depressing and uninviting. The toiltes are outside and pimitive. Our advice: always take enough water or other drinks with you. And a good walking stick.
The moutain is infamous for the rains it generates - we had a small shower - and one warm summer evening we saw from our camping near Ucheichow a thundercloud over its top for hours and hours. The lightning didn't stop, as if the gods were angry. We could imagine why it had been a sacred place for the Celts (there are some stone figures dating back to the first century along the routes and on the top). It was a marvelous sight, but we pitied anybody living there.
There are a number of well maintained and signed routes. A black one goes around the mountain, a red an a yellow one start at a large parkig area. The blue starts at a small trainstation, but we had a car and started a few hunderd meters up the road, near an castle turned into a hotel.
The Stolowe Mts. belong to the most popular destinations in the Sudety Mts. And the most beautiful trail is definitely the one on Szczeliniec Wlk. It goes among fantastically shaped rocks which were formed by erosion into incredible sculptures resembling animals, mushrooms, needles or gates. At places the passages are so narrow that tourists can hardly squeeze through them. The rock terraces offer the unforgettable views of the Stolowe Mts. By the way, there are two explanations of the origin of the name Stolowe ( meaning 'table' ). Some people say that it comes from the characteristic shape of these mountains ( their tops are flat, as if somebody cut the peaks off). Others claim that it's connected with the banquets which used to be held on top of Szczeliniec. When Franz Pablo, the local mayor, built the steps from Karlow to Szczeliniec in the 18th century, it became a favourite place of picnics for aristocracy.
This wooden church made of Norwegian pine used to stand in the place called Vang in Norway. How did it come to its present destination? It was bought by Prussian king Friedriech Wilhelm who intended to take it to Potsdam. But the conntess von Reden begged the king to give it to her and so the church stood in its today's place in 1842.
It is said that not a single nail was used to construct the building. All the elements are joined by means of pegs, just like in Viking boats.
The ornamentations of the church are stunning: dragonheads, snakes, faces with two tongues, winged dragons.
Today Wang church is one of 20 existing Viking churches. 19 of them are in Norway, mostly in skansens. The 20th one is in Polish Karkonosze at the height of 885m and is a working Protestant church. It is said that couples married here are exceptionally happy.
Karkonosze - the highest range of Sudety Mts. - lies partly in Poland (about one third) and partly in the Czech Republic. The highest peak of Karkonosze is Sniezka - 1602 m. above sea level. It can be reached both from Polish and Czech side. It is not advisable to climb Sniezka in winter as it might be dangerous. On the Czech side a cable car can take you up to the top. If you stay in Poland there are two possibilities to reach the top (of course, when the weather is good). You can walk up a hiking trail leading from Karpacz to Sniezka. However, it's strenous and monotonous, besides you are walking with crowds of people and you feel as if you were in town rather than in the mountains. So I suggest taking a chair lift to Mala Kopa and walk rest to the top (which will still take about an hour). There are so many beautiful trails in Karkonosze that you shouldn't regret making this trip a bit shorter. While on top you can admire (of course on a sunny day) the beautiful panorama of the Sudety Mts.
The castle of Kamieniec Zabkowicki was in its times the biggest one in central Europe. It was built in 1838-1872 for the Netherlandic Princess Marianne Wilhelmine of Orange and her husband Fredric Albrecht Hohenzollern. The costs were equal to 5 tonnes of gold.
During World War II masterpieces of art from all over Silesia were brought here. Then they were partly transported to the west but most of them were either destroyed or stolen by the Russians in 1945. Soviet soldiers in summer 1945 set the castle on fire and shot at everybody who wanted to put it out. After the war anything still left was stolen away, including the tiles and moulding.
Today the castle is owned by a private investor. Partly reconstructed, it houses a hotel for 60 guests.
This enormous building is surrounded by a park which seems completely abandoned. Definitely the whole complex requires a real fortune if it is to resembel the magnificent original.
When you look at this castle it is hard to believe that just a few years ago it was a ruin. In 1999 the building was bought by a conservation company Integra, which turned it into a luxury hotel (with prices of about 100 Euro for one night/person).
The history of the castle goes back to the end of 13th century when it was built as a stronghold. Reconstructed many times it shows the influences of Gothic, Renaissance and Mannerism styles.
The castle is beautifully situated among the forests of Lower Silesia on the Kwisa river, which offers the possibilities of rafting and canoeing.
One of the attractions of the castle hotel is the indoor swimming pool built in the former mange with one wall made of glass and overlooking a beautiful park.
There used to be a horse cemetary near the castle. Today there are just a few tombs devoted to beloved steeds. You can still read the inscription with the name Juno - the horse buried in 1938.
This is one of the oldest castles in Lower Silesia (built in 13th century). As most of the castles, Bolkow also has its own ghost. It is the ghost of Michas, prince Boleslaw's son, killed by mistake by a jester, whose intention was to kill the father.
A few years ago one of Polish historians published a book in wchich he claimed that the Amber Chamber - the most famous lost world treasure - had been hidden in Bolkow. Unfortunately, a team of archeologisits disproved this theory. But the place is still worth visiting. Don't be surprised when you come across a group of ladies-in-waiting dancing on the courtyard to the sounds of medieval music or some knights practising sword fighting. The Knight Brotherhood founded in 1995 wants to revive the old customs. Several times a year knight tournaments are organised here.
Hotel is in an excellent location, steps away from the town square and all major places you can walk...more
Staniszow 100, Jelenia Gora, 58-500, Poland
Good for: Families
Mostowa 9, Karpacz, 58-540, Poland
Good for: Couples