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Address: ul. Piastow Slaskich 1, Walbrzych 58-306, Poland
Phone Number:
+48 74 664 38 27
10:00 - 15:00
Closed now
See all hours
Mon - Fri 10:00 - 15:00
Sat - Sun 10:00 - 16:00
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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Ksiaz Castle

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

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 1 week ago
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529 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 102: English reviews
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

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.

Thank baron_9
Leuven, Belgium
Level Contributor
16 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles 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 wardfaes96
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 of 5 bubbles 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
Atherstone, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
44 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 January 2017

It was our 2nd trip since Feb 2015. I was very surprised last time but this time was even better, great development and improvement. Now underground part of Castle- part of Riese complex is available, also as the addition- movie costumes exposition, not huge but always nice treat especially when you can try some on ;) 2-3hrs or even more... More 

1 Thank majla11
Bishop Auckland, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
67 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 January 2017 via mobile

My title states it all. Imagine driving up to Disney Land. You see the rides in the distance and start to get excited about what is about to come your way. As you arrive you find out that the rides are made of cardboard and nothing works. Pardon the analogy but it's exactly what happened when we first saw Ksiaz... More 

Thank McNutty712
Copenhagen, Denmark
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 December 2016 via mobile

One of Europs largest castle -over 650 rooms. Beatiful place, unfortunately large amounts of the gorgeous rooms are destroied as being part of Hitlers possible choices to live in and during komunism, as every one was allowed to come and take whatever they like in 20 years. It's worth the 100 km drive from Wroclaw.

Thank Elena T
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 December 2016

This castle is definitely worth a visit, even in the December cold. We loved everything: the panoramic view, the grounds, the castle itself. We went on the Polish underground tour (unfortunately not available in English) and the tourguide was very entertaining with loads of interesting stories. The town owning the castle is doing an amazing job of restoring the castle!

1 Thank Rosanne W
Kiev, Ukraine
Level Contributor
59 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 December 2016

If you are visiting Wroclaw do not loose an opportunity to visit this Castle. Just an hour ride by train and you are in a small lovely town that has some amazing places including the Castle. Unfortunately, some rooms are empty, but nice park and peaceful atmosphere makes this place feel like a fairy tale.

Thank Nastya_dr
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 November 2016

One of the poorest castles I've ever seen! Most of the halls are empty, most of the doors are closed. Furniture, paintings, statuettes are dragged into the castle antique shop. Some rooms are filled with so called "modern art" for sale. Nothing to look at! Total disappointment! :-/ Waste of time and money.

Thank Anna M
Level Contributor
30 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 November 2016 via mobile

Ksiaz castle is a little far away from the major cities in Poland and at least for us the most convenient way to get there was by car. They have a paid parking lot in the surroundings (though the walk to the castle is a little bit of a stretch specially in the cold), but it has a nice garden... More 

Thank Ana Teresa F

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