Ksiaz Castle near Wroclaw

written by Maciek Bogdanski

Ksiaz Castle near Walbrzych is the largest castle near Wroclaw, region and the third-largest castle in Poland after Malbork and Krakow. It is also one of the most popular places around Wroclaw. This place, in a unique way, connects the medieval ages with contemporary times. If you come to Castle Ksiaz, visit not only the castle itself, but also an underground tunnel that was dug beneath the castle.

Getting to Ksiaz Castle from Wroclaw

Wroclaw to Ksiaz Castle by train

Although Ksiaz Castle is located within the administrative boundaries of Walbrzych, it is easier to get there from Swiebodzice. The best way to get to Ksiaz Castle is to take a train from Wroclaw train station to Swiebodzice. Trains are frequent, and most of them need less than an hour to get to Swiebodzice. The one-way ticket price starts from about 18 PLN.

From Swiebodzice, you have several options:

Bus from Swiebodzice

Bus number 1 will take you from Swiebodzice train station towards Ksiaz Manor, but you’ll need to walk a little in the end. If you decide to get off the bus at the bus stop “Szkola Podstawowa nr 4”, you need to walk about 30 minutes through the park to get to the castle.

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If you decide to leave at the bus stop “Dluga – petla” (the last stop of the bus), you’ll need about one hour to get to the castle, but the path is worth the time. You’ll walk through the picturesque forest and have two castle viewpoints on your way. You may also visit the ruins of the Old Castle.

Ksiaz castle near Wroclaw seen from one of the viewpoints
Ksiaz Castle seen from one of the viewpoints

Both options are worth the time if the weather is fine. So even if there is no bus from the station, consider strolling to the castle. The whole stroll from the Swiebodzice train station should take about an hour (including about 30 minutes from the station to the park).

Bus from Walbrzych

Another way to get to Ksiaz Castle is to get on bus number 8 or 12 from Walbrzych (Walbrzych Miasto train station), but in fact only a few buses get to the castle (it’s marked on the bus timetable).

A brief history of the Castle

The oldest reference to the Ksiaz fortification is dated from 1293, but some historians claim its construction was ordered by Bolko I the Strict and started in 1288. It changed hands many times, either by conquest or by sale.

Until 1482, the primary function of the castle was purely military. But Georg von Stein decided to redesign the interiors to turn the castle into his residence. In 1509, Kunz von Hochberg bought the manor, and it belonged to his descendants until 1941 when it was confiscated by the Nazis.

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The von Hochberg family rebuilt the Ksiaz Castle in the Renaissance style in the XVIth century, and another reconstruction took place in the years 1705–1732. Later, they decided to rebuild the vicinity of the castle, demolishing some fortifications and constructing new buildings,

John Henry XI von Hochberg, who ruled the castle from 1856, was known for his donations and willingness to help the poor. He established schools and supported hospitals and the families of miners.

During World War II the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler seized the Castle. It was partially destroyed, and below it, long tunnels were constructed. Like many constructions in this region, it formed part of the mysterious Riese Project, a big Nazi project of unknown purpose.

Underground of the castle was designed to be part of the Riese Project
The underground complex of the castle was designed to be part of the Riese Project

After the war, the castle underwent another demolition – this time by Russians, who plundered the interiors, leaving the castle as a ruin. The renovation of the castle started in 1974, and now it functions as a museum.

Visiting Ksiaz Castle

There are several ways to visit the castle. You may visit the interiors during the day or night, or visit the underground. Consult the Castle Website to choose what you find interesting. Except for visiting the castle, consider also walking around in the forest. There are at least two good viewpoints toward the Ksiaz Castle, as well as the ruins of the Old Ksiaz Castle

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Ksiaz castle - interiors
Interiors of the castle

Old Ksiaz Castle

Although there was once a real castle here, what may be seen here today are ruins of the…ruins. During the years 1794-1797 the owner of Ksiaz Castle, John Henry VI von Hochberg commissioned to rebuild the old ruins to make it a romantic scenery for his son. It was further destroyed by the Russian Army in 1945, after the Second World War.

Old Ksiaz castle ruins
Old Ksiaz castle ruins

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