The Valley of Palaces of Lower Silesia
The Valley of Palaces and Castles is often compared to the Loire Valley with palaces and castles in France. Located at the foot of Karkonosze, it is created out of as many as 30 residences – gothic castles, fairytale palaces, and sometimes even ruins and remainings. Apart from the majestic buildings there are also stunning, enormous parks and gardens.
THE WOJANOW PALACE
I will begin our list of palaces and castles of Lower Silesia with the fairytale Wojanow palace, where we decided to stay for the night. Our journey through the Lower Silesia would not be complete without staying for the night in such a place – after all, palaces and castles are an icon of this region.
Today, the Wojanow palace is functioning as a hotel with a spa resort. It has delightful architecture and is surrounded by a picturesque park. Apart from that, there is also a Stable and an Annexe in its area. We were sleeping in the Stable, which delighted us with its interiors. One thing that especially caught our attention was the brick-made lounge.
The first historical mentions about this place originated from 1281. During its history, the palace often changed its owners until 1831, when it became the property of Karl Albrech Ike. He was the one to organize the thorough reconstruction of the palace – he transformed the object into a romantic mansion residence. The next owner – king Wilhelm III of Prussia created a landscape park surrounding the palace.
During World War II, captives were kept inside the Wojanow Palace. The palace was robbed and plundered, and eventually fell into ruin. In 1995, the object was acquired by an Italian company, which restored the palace. Unfortunately, in 2002, a fire broke out and the building was destroyed once again.
THE PALACE AND PALACE-PARK COMPLEX IN BUKOWIEC
Here’s another place worth visiting. The first mentions about this place originated from the 13th century. Karl Ike reconstructed the object out of the stronghold mansion, which can still be visited and admired today. The reconstruction was made in neo-gothic style. Friedrich Wilhelm von Reden created a dozen-hectare landscape park in Bukowiec, which is still the greatest attraction of this place today because of the enchanting views, ponds park buildings and the grange. The park was inspired by English garden art. His wife was the much younger Johanne Julianne Friederike von Reden, who received the pavilion at the area of the park as a gift from her loving husband. Julianne was deeply in love not only with her dear husband, but also with the place itself. She loved it so much, that she very rarely went anywhere beyond this place. After the death of her husband, she dedicated her life to helping others – poor people and orphans. Thanks to the activity of Julianne, the Wang temple was brought from Norway to Karpacz.
THE KARPNIKI CASTLE
This is a castle, which today fulfills the function of a luxurious hotel. It is impossiible to visit it from the inside, but it is still worth coming here and walking through the picturesque park, at the heart of which there is a pond with lots of ducks. Inside the castle there is a cafe and a restaurant.
It is a genuine castle, because it has a medieval moat and a tower, and it also has a labyrinth of corridors and chambers.
The castle was thoroughly reconstructed in the 19th century, giving it a neo-gothic look. This was the place, where queen Maria Bawarska stayed for the night, among others, and this apartment can still be rented to stay for the night today. The interiors of the castle apartments (at least at the website) are simply delightful. The town of the same name – Karpniki, is located at the foothills of the Sokole mountains.
THE CHOJNIK CASTLE
From the top of the Chojnik castle tourists can admire marvelous views. This is yet another place worth climbing.
Our route began at the parking lot in the village of Sobieszow and next, we followed the red trail leading to the Chojnik castle (the walking route) You can come back by following the yellow, green or red trail to the village of Sobieszow.
The castle was created in 1292 by the Swidnica-Jawor princes. In the beginning the castle was tiny, wooden and fulfilled a hunting function. Over time it grew into a stone-made fortress. Some people believe, that it was never conquered, but unfortunately, on August 31st 1675, the strike of a lightning bolt caused the castle to catch fire. Tourists can still admire the ruins of the castle today.
The ruins of the Chojnik castle are situated at the area of the Karkonosze National Park, but you have to pay, if you want to enter the Park. And you’ll need to pay for visiting the ruins of the castle as well.
THE RUINS OF THE BOLCZOW CASTLE
It was created in the late 14th century as a stronghold castle. And that’s the function that the castle was fulfilling. Its meaning increased especially during the Hussite wars. The important thing to know is that this building was constructed out of natural granite rocks. In 1433 it was conquered, and later demolished. It was reconstructed in the late 15th century and expanded with a huge courtyard. Between 1537 and 1543, the castle was reconstructed in renaissance style, it had a moat and numerous fortiifications. Because of the fire, which was probably started by the Swedish people in 1645, only ruins are left from the castle, which can still be admired today.
At the area of the castle there are many monuments of nature – old and majestic trees. In order to get to this place, you must follow the relatively easy trail leading through the forest (from Janowice Wielkie). This place is available 24 hours per day and can be visited for free.