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Address: Piastow Slaskich 1, Walbrzych 58-306, Poland
Phone Number:
+48 74 664 38 27
09:00 - 18:00
Closed now
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Sun - Sat 09:00 - 18:00
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours

Ksiaz, a blend of many architectural styles, is the third-largest castle in...

Ksiaz, a blend of many architectural styles, is the third-largest castle in Poland. In Europe, it is considered distinctive because its setting – proudly perched on a rock face, 395 metres above sea level – is as striking as its size.

At first a defensive fortification, raised at the end of the thirteenth century by the Piast duke Bolka I (“the Strict”), it has changed hands many times. Only in 1590 was the castle given to the aristocratic Hochberg dynasty which, after receiving title to the castle in 1605, maintained the property as their residence for the following three centuries. During that time, they became one of the most influential and wealthiest Prussian dynasties; in the 19th century, the head of the family received the hereditary title of Prince. With the marriage of Hans Heinrich VI to Anna Anhalt-Pless, the dynasty came to own the estate of the Duchy of Pless, in Upper Silesia. From that time on, the owners of Ksiaz held the title Hochberg von Pless. Before World War II, Ksiaz underwent two significant reconstructions. The first, called the Baroque Reconstruction, took place at the beginning of the 18th century, when Konrad Ernest Maximilan ruled. This included the creation of the huge east face and the main entrance, the splendid Maximilian Hall and several Baroque rooms, and also the gate building, where the library could be found.

The Second Castle reconstruction took place between 1909 and 1923. The intention of the owner at the time, Hans Heinrich XV, was to transform Ksiaz into a true baronial mansion. The castle was enlarged at the time by the north and west wings, to which two tours were built. Unfavourable political circumstances (the First World War and economic crisis), and the Hochbergs’ personal problems, prevented the reconstruction from being finished; difficulties in Germany led to financial collapse.

During the Second World War, when the paramilitary Todt Organization turned the Castle into solidiers’ quarters, part of the former Hochberg residence was drastically destroyed, and its furnishings were removed. At two levels under the Castle (15 and 50 metres), prisoners from the Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp dug huge tunnels, part of the Riese (Giant) complex that was built in the Sowa Mountains. To this day, the purpose of the tunnels is shrouded in mystery. It has been assumed that a munitions factory or chemical laboratory was to be founded there, and that Ksiaz itself was to become one of the Fuhrer’s quarters. The underground works were partly hidden by Hitler’s soldiers in the war’s final months. On 8 May 1945, the Castle was taken over by the Red Army, which set about causing further destruction, including the removal of part of the library collection. In the years after the war, the Castle experienced still more devastation. Only in the 1950s did Ksiaz receive protection from the regional conservator of Historic Monuments, and during the 1970s the first renovation work began. Since 1991, the Castle has been managed, on behalf of Wałbrzych’s local government, by Ksiaz Castle in Wałbrzych Ltd.

The duality of Ksiaz Castle: an essential tourist asset:

Ksiaz Castle has often been identified with the Ksiaz Landscape Park, the forest expanse from which it appears, like a ship sailing on an endless green sea. To this day, the former residence of the Hochbergs bears the hallmarks of the times when aristocrats ruled: the castle gates are protected by royal lions, the wide Honorary Courtyard is surrounded by the figures of mythological gods, and the castle exterior suggests that an enchanted dwelling lies within. The Maximilian Hall, resplendent with gold, is used for official purposes: honorary galas, official openings, and prestigious award ceremonies. A short distance from the Castle, there is a further suggestion of the days of nobility at the Ksiaz Stud Farm, where the most illustrious specimens of horses (those bought by Arab sheiks), may be found.

Ksiaz Castle, however, has yet another face – dark and impenetrable. It is viewed as one of Lower Silesia’s great mysteries. The ultimate purpose of the Nazi reconstruction work has never been identified, although it is known that Adolf Hitler himself wanted to turn it into his headquarters. The tunnel network, dug by prisoners, has been the subject of stories, legends and conspiracy theories – clouding the picture even further. Without a doubt, one of the firmest beliefs that have taken hold is that the stolen treasure of the region’s people is buried under the courtyard.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Shame no guide in English

The castle is majestic but you really need a guide to show you the essentials like the tunnels. Unfortunately, the guides only speak Polish and there are no audio guides... read more

Reviewed 13 April 2017
Montesson, France
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566 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 109: English reviews
Level Contributor
18 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

Our visit to Ksiask was a bit of a disappointment. The grounds are beautiful, but this castle has very little polish character. The upper floors of the house that took a substantial amount of the guided tour were all brand new plasterwork, decoration and woodwork- nothing original to be seen. All rooms empty. Plenty of rooms set aside to flog... More 

Thank Charles050
Warsaw, Poland
Level Contributor
42 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

The third biggest castle in Poland. The castle looks really impressive from afar. The whole walk from the parking lot (the first one, it costs 10 pln - the second one close to castle gate costs crazy 30 pln - avoid) is very nice, views of the castle are really amazing. When you walk inside the castle, really excited by... More 

Thank spyderr
Sliema, Malta
Level Contributor
20 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We had a great day here. Just getting there was a bit difficult but totally worth it. We had to get a train from Wroclaw, then a bus to the castle but nobody could understand English when we got out so I showed them the castle on my phone. The castle is beautiful, lots to see and the grounds are... More 

1 Thank Giselle R
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Please do not plan to go there during long May weekend. They are organizing there flower festival- everything would be great but they don't inform in advance, at the gate that all art pieces and old furniture will be removed from the castle and instead you will have "cheap country, festival" selling in old halls of the castle, fake amber... More 

Thank Adam S
Montesson, France
Level Contributor
350 reviews
149 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 April 2017

The castle is majestic but you really need a guide to show you the essentials like the tunnels. Unfortunately, the guides only speak Polish and there are no audio guides available in English. You can download an app but it only covers the "state rooms". The terrace gardens are well maintained.

1 Thank Tonytourist
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 3 April 2017

The grounds of the Castle are beautifully maintained and the terraces offer great 360 views of the surrounding forest lands. There are several places for food and drink that are nice. Inside the castle, one must appreciate the "bones" rather than the details as much of the original interior decorations were either destroyed or renovated over by the Germans during... More 

1 Thank heckerkayla
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 April 2017

Amazing castle in the mountains. Located a little bit far from the nearest cities and the main road. do not try to get by foot if you are not a sportsman :). We got by train from Wroclaw to Swiebodzice and then by taxi. Back - by bus N8 from the castle park to Walbrzych city Spend one day for... More 

1 Thank Marta A
Level Contributor
21 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 March 2017

Very scenic, well-preserved castle with extensive park land, mansion, and other buildings. Interiors were good, and the history includes considerable German tunneling and fortification from WWII.

1 Thank baron_9
Leuven, Belgium
Level Contributor
16 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 31 January 2017

Absolute a must-see. Nice rooms inside the castle and a stunning view at the hills. Little bit far located from mayor cities but worth a trip.

Thank Ward F
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviewed 23 January 2017

I decided to come to lower silesia for my holidays because i heard it`s very mysterious place, and i`m not disappointed. You have to see!

Thank JKawinsky

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