As many of you may know we love castles here at Wyld family Travel and Polish castles are no different. We seek them out as much as we can, wherever we can. Whether it is a ruined castle or a grand palace they all have such a history to tell.
Their stories may seem similar …built, ruined, family tragedy, conquered and then left to the elements only then to be rediscovered and restored. In their stories, there is always that one thing that separates them from the others and this was no different for Zamek Książ or Ksiaz Castle, one of the most mysterious Polish castles.
We drove into the grounds of Książ Castle (Zamek is the Polish for Castle) through the forest and even though it was winter and the forest was a little bare you could still see why the Royals picked this place for a home in the Polish landscape. I could easily imagine how beautiful it would look in the spring full of new growth and new life.
As we went down the road to the car park you could only catch a slight glimpse of the Książ Castle through the trees every now and then, standing tall in the Polish landscape from the river called Pelcznica or Pełcznica in Polish, below. The colours of Zamek Książ immediately stuck out to me. The pink had the girls in love as soon as they caught their first glimpse. As there was no one behind us we could drive slowly down the road and take it all in. I can completely understand why Royals pick places like this to build their castles, it was absolutely stunning.
This one was so far from everything and perched on a hill overlooking a river, it must have been a beautiful view over their piece of beautiful Poland. Later on, we would discover that Książ was originally a defensive fortress that was in the perfect spot on the river to see anyone coming down it to invade. It was later on after it was no longer needed as only a defensive structure that it was made into a grand home. Grand is a complete understatement, Ksiaz Castle is simply stunning.
As we go out of the car we walked through the gates to see one of the most beautiful castles of Poland. Soon as you walked through them you could see the Ksiaz Castle right down in front of us. We passed by buildings on either side of us that are now restaurants and shops that were once upon a time grand homes for people wanting to be close to the castle or the Royals when they were on one of their Ksiaz castle vacations.
We walked down to Ksiaz Castle and on the left there were beautiful views over the river Pełcznica and onto a garden below. As we got to the entry way Mark went ahead to find our guide Marceij. We had to ask for him at the ticket booth. While we waited for him to arrive I went and had a look in the shop. The front hallway very crowded as there was an allocated entry time coming up very soon but even though it was crowded I love being inside castles. We stood off to the side and waited to enter one of the most beautiful Polish castles.
The people that were in there were all extremely excited to be there. It was great to see so many families ready to visit a piece of their history and we think we were the only people speaking English while we waited as we got some strange looks!
A few minutes later Marceji met us and our tour started. We walked up the grand stair case of Ksiaz Castle interior to a picture of the last occupant of the castle, the beautiful Princess Daisy. Her name was a very hard one to pronounce in Polish and as much as we tried our attempts got plenty of laughs from Marceji and our friends Adriana and Thomas. Marceji told us about how the Ksiaz was originally a fortress, became a ruined castle and then turned into a grand palace for a family to live in. It was nearly tripled in size for the family and we all thought that was crazy.
We went from room to room, the Ksiaz Castle interior was beauty everywhere you looked. One thing that was different at Ksiaz Castle was that it had been taken over by the Nazi’s in WWII. It was reported that it had many adjustments done to it in preparation for Adolf Hitler to live there or have it as one of his residences. Marceji showed us a room that may have been his bedroom and a very well hidden elevator shaft located right across the hall from that room. Down from that room was the most beautiful room I have seen.
There was actually a wedding going to be held there a little while later so we were not able to go inside but Marceji let us sneak in for a little look. There was a balcony on either side of the room that belonged to Princess Daisy and her husband as their rooms were on either side of that room.
It would have been very strange for me to see my husband from the balcony of my room each day. From there we went up the hallway and we were taken down beneath the castle. Down here was where the true sadness and mystery of Książ Castle really became evident and why it is becoming one of the most famous castles in Poland.
There are so many tunnels under Zamek książ and they were mainly dug during WWII by prisoners of war from a concentration camp that was close by. There are actually so many that they still have not figured out what all of the purposes of them are.
Many reports suggest that the Nazi Gold Train was hidden near here and that some of these tunnels were hiding the Polish Gold Train. Marceji assured us that there was nothing like that that he knew ,he had not seen Hitler’s gold train in any of the tunnels.
From down here you could also see the elevator shaft that went all the way up to the hallway near the bedroom. It was not finished and they do think that it may have been damaged on purpose by the retreating army. As we wandered around under the Książ Castle it was the first time I couldn’t understand the history that it held. All castles have a dark history, that is not deniable but this one seemed to be a little darker in my view.
Marceji took us to where deliveries used to be made at the side of the Zámek Ksiaz and showed us the turning circle. This was a large area that was made for the horses and carts to use to turn around. It was the first one that I had seen like it as this was the first underground delivery area we have seen inside a castle. This is now being used for delivery trucks that are dropping off supplies to rebuild the castle.
From here we got the absolute pleasure of going right up to the top of the castle to where the kitchens used to be. This area was completely off to any other visitors at the time as it is under complete construction and in some parts has areas that are not safe. It had some of the old kitchen chimneys in it and some old stoves. It must have been so hot up here in the day cooking for the Royals when they were on their castle vacations. I hope to go back and see it when it is completed as I think it will look so stunning.
From there we decided to go down to the room again and we got to see the beautiful bride and groom in their getting married. We snuck a peek from the side as we wandered past. Off we headed down to another section that would lead us outside to the gardens of Zámek Ksiaz.
We stopped by the rock that you had to touch to see if you would return. We all touched the rock! It is said that it will tell you if you will be lucky in love, become rich or return to the castle. It is said that a small boy on a school tour said that after it told him he would become rich that he would, get a girlfriend and return to the castle all at once! Smart little boy!
We went down to the gardens and they were beautiful. They were high up with beautiful views over the river Pełcznica and the Owl Mountains Poland. With the trees having no leaves on them you could see the shape of all of the hills around the Ksiaz, it really showed you the beautiful Polish landscape. The gardens were really well looked after and I would love to see them in the summer as it was so cold we did not last that long outside.
From out there, we went into another tunnel and soon as you entered you were greeted with a short tunnel with a concrete block at the end with a small slit in it. Behind this concrete slab was a machine gun so anyone who came through that door without permission was in a serious amount of trouble. There was a small door off to the side that led to another tunnel that we took. It was another section that was built by the prisoners and had some war memorabilia in it.
As we went back into książ Castle there were two little gift shops that the girls loved. Marley got her princess certificate and Willow bought a gorgeous necklace. Our time with Marceji was over and we thanked him so much for showing us around the castle, it was one of our favourite Poland attractions. His knowledge was brilliant and you could really hear the love for the castle in his voice.From Royalty to war from ruin to redemption Ksiaz Castle is amazingClick To Tweet
One thing that has stayed with me is the positive moves that are being made to fix Ksiaz Castle. Marceji was passionate about how well it is all going and it is people like him that inspire others to love a place like this just as much. As I said Ksiaz had been looted and many books, furniture and other items had been taken.
The library that it had was very extensive and so much was thought to be lost forever. It was with pride that Marceji told us that 5 books had been returned to the castle from people who had them. Now they are back where they belong and hopefully, it inspires others that may have a book from Ksaiz Castle to return it as well.
I left with the hope that more people will love it as much as Marceji and it will come along in leaps and bounds in its amazing transformation. It is one of the most beautiful castles of Poland and it should be high on your list of places to visit on your trips to Poland!
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Where is książ Castle ( Zamak książ ) in Poland?
Książ Castle (In German Schloss Fürstenstein) lies in Wałbrzych in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Poland. It was built in 1288-1292 under Bolko I the Strict. The Castles location is in a protected area called Książ Landscape Park in the Owl Mountains Poland
Distances from closets cities to Ksiaz are as follows
Wroclaw to Ksiaz Castle – 1hour 3 minutes 70 km
Dresden to Ksiaz Castle – 2 hours 45 minutes 252km
Katowice to Ksiaz Castle – 2 hours 39 minutes 255km
Prague to Ksiaz Castle – 3 hours and 5 minutes 180km
How to get to ksiaz castle from Wroclaw
Ksiaz Castle is located in a rural countryside setting, not in an urban area. Wroclaw to Ksiaz castle is still easily accessed by public transport. Take the Wroclaw to Walbrzych train and get off at Walbrzych-Miasto station.
The Wroclaw to Walbrzych train journey will take you a little over an hour. Zamek książ is 7.8 km away from Walbrzych train station. You can take a bus or grab a taxi. So how to get to Ksiaz Castle from Wroclaw is pretty easy. Maybe you can find the Polish Gold Train.
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About the Author
Mark Wyld is a father, Husband and traveller. Having been to over 30 countries worldwide I think I know a thing or 2 about travelling with kids. I have been writing about travel on our website for the last 4 years and have featured on numerous other websites. When I am not talking, dreaming and planning travel I can be found working in disability support