Silesia and Opolskie
Silesia is traditionally industrial and rich region of Poland; therefore, it has always been an object of Poland’s struggle with its neighbours from the South (Czech Kingdom), and from the West (German Empire). Through centuries slowly taken by Germany, Silesia has today many monuments of its German past. Partly returned to Poland after the WWI and in the whole after the WWII, Silesia is still is a place with a large German minority. Several Polish castles testify about an effort of the generations of Poles to defend their Homeland against much more powerful neighbour.
King’s Castle in Będzin; impressive ruins of the castle on the left bank of the river Czarna Przemsza. Originally, built for the Casimir the Great in the XIV century. Partly destroyed by the Swedish invasion in 1655. In 1855 rebuilt by Francisco Maria Lanci who lowered the castle’s tower and introduced several changes into the main building. Now a museum.
Brzeg’s Castle; built in the XIII century as the residence of Princes of Silesia near the small town of Brzeg, used as such until 1675. Partly rebuilt in a Renaissance style. In 1741 King of Prussia decided to bomb the castle to destroy it. Seriously damaged in WWII in 1945. Now rebuilt. Today the Brzeg´s Castle houses a museum.
Chojnik Castle; built 1353-1364 by a Prince Bolko II Swidnicki on granite, high (627m above the sea level) rock. After 1393 owned by the Schaffgotsch family, 1675 burnt. Now only an impressive ruin.
Huge neo-gothic castle built in the XIX century by a famous Berlin architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel for Albrecht, son of the King of Prussia. Rich collections of art as well as the castle were destroyed after the WWII, by the negligence of the communist authorities. Today still partly a ruin, the castle houses a hotel. An old but neglected park around.
A huge castle above the small city, one of the biggest existing aristocratic residences in Poland. At first built in a XIII century as a gothic castle, in the middle of the XVI century rebuilt by the Hochberg family as their residence. The castle remained the Hochberg’s residence for centuries, until 1945. Huge park around. During the war, there was an idea of creating here a Hitler’s residence. Intensive drilling of the corridors and passages in the rock under the castle began. The work has never been carried beyond these initial works. Now a museum, a hotel and a restaurant.
A small city with the well preserved gothic defensive walls, city gates and towers. Sometimes called Polish Carcassonne, but while the famous Carcassonne in France is a XIX century reconstruction, done not without a grain of embellishment and fantasy, the fortifications in Paczków are authentic.
Czocha Castle in Sucha; built at the lake in the XIV century, reconstructed in its present romantic shape in the years 1910-1914 by the German architect Bodo Ebhardt, an acknowledged authority on the history of castle architecture, for the Gütschoff family of bankers from Dresden. Still well preserved, because of its fantastic architecture, looks much like a dream castle. Several times used as a film set.