Ksiaz Casstle – Church of Peace – Project Riese
Pearls of Lower Silesia:Książ Castle – Church of Peace in Świdnica – Underground Town Osówka
In our opinion this tour features the most interesting places in Lower Silesia. Generally the best tour from Wroclaw you can choose
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For bigger groups we will prepare special prise.
Price includes: transportation, tickets, tour guide, all taxes and parking fees.
KSIĄŻ Castle– this monumental castle is the largest in Lower Silesia and the third largest in Poland. The Duke of Swidnica-Jawor, Bolko I built his fortified residence here in the years 1288-1292.
Over the centuries the castle changed owners and appearances countless times, but the Hochberg family, who ruled here for more than 400 years, had the greatest impact on the current character of the castle.
The history of the castle turned sinister during the Second World War when the structure was adapted by the Nazis as one of staff headquarters of Adolf Hitler. Castle property was shipped away, and under the castle, the Nazis began to drill tunnels in the rock on which that castle is built. According to some theories the tunnels were supposed to connect the castle with underground chambers in the Owl Mountains. The purpose of the whole undertaking is unclear, perhaps Hitler’s living quarters were to be connected to underground factories. All the tunnels were dug with the help of slave labor, at first Russian POWs and later on prisoners from the Gross-Rosen concentration camp.
After the war the castle was thoroughly ransacked and pillaged by the Soviet army. Conservation works began in 1956 and lasted for more than 30 years. The renovation work has brought back much of the former glory to the castle and today a luxury hotel is located here, along with the Friends of the Ksiaz Castle Association- Fürstenstein.
A tour of the castle and its environs offers plenty of attractions. Tourists have the opportunity to visit many impressive castle chambers, of which the most beautiful are: Maximilian Hall, The Chinese Salon, The Italian Salon, the Green Salon, and the Hunting Hall.
On the castle grounds are pretty gardens, a restaurant, and a horse stable. The Castle features exhibits of artistic ceramic and porcelain wares, produced by nearby factories. They also organize flower and horticultural exhibits, as well as Medieval fairs and battling knights.
Church of Peace in Świdnica
the largest timber church in Europe constructed without the use of any nails.
The Church of Peace in Swidnica was one of three such „Peace” churches, after Glogow and Jawor, that were allowed to built by emperor Ferdinand III, in the hereditary lands of the Habsburgs in Silesia. The Church of Peace was erected by Silesian Protestants, thanks to the intercession of the Swedish Catholic monarch, Holy Roman emperor, and German king, Ferdinand in order to preserve peaceful relations, he allowed three protestant churches to be built on these Catholic lands. It was intended as a sign of tolerance, although obstacles were put in the way of the Lutherans.
Construction was restricted by various conditions: the church had to be located outside of the city walls, beyond the range of cannon fire; it couldn’t have a bell tower, couldn’t possess a parish school, it’s shape shouldn’t resemble a church, it had to be built of perishable materials (wood, straw, sand, clay), and construction work could not exceed one year.
Churches in Glogow and Jawor were built earlier. The Church in Glogow collapsed in 1654, was later rebuilt, only to eventually burn down in 1758. The Church in Jawor is still standing.
The corner stone of the church in Swidnica was set on August 23, 1656. The church was designed by the Wroclaw master builder Albrecht von Saebisch. The church was built by Andreas Kaemper, a carpenter from Swidnica.
The first Mass in the new Swidnica church was celebrated on June 24, 1657.
In 1708, during the Northern War, when the situation for the Lutherans had improved, again with the aid of the Swedish king, a bell tower and Protestant school were built next to the church. Both buildings still exist today.
The church is a symbol of Polish-German reconciliation, and not only due to its name, but also for the joint visit that took place here in 1989 by the prime minister of Poland Tadeusz Mazowiecki and the German chancellor Helmut Kohl, when both politicians prayed for peace and reconciliation.
In 2001 the Church of Peace in Swidnica was entered on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The Osowka underground complex is located just over one kilometer NE of the town of Kolce and the same distance to north of the town of Sierpnica.
Work began here in the middle of 1943. It led to the creation of a huge network of concrete corridors, fortifications, and chambers. The purpose of the work here was held in secret. According to some it was intended to be the secret quarters of Adolf Hitler. Others claim that the underground chambers were designed for an arms factory that would have produced secret weapons. Work was carried out workers and by prisoners from the Gross-Rosen concentration camp.
Some of the above ground Osowka complex serves as exterior infrastructure for the underground network. The above ground work done here represents the furtherest advanced work completed as part of the „Riese” (Giant in German) undertaking in the Owl Mountains.