The first thing that we see entering the Książ property is a line of cars and German retired tourists. Passing through the gate all we have in front of us are restaurants/bars with kitsch umbrellas and Golden Train in all the names of the menu. Everyone needs to earn a few zloty on the supposedly found train full of German treasures. We can’t help to think it’s been commercialized just a little bit too much. Thankfully we didn’t decide to sleep in one of the hotels that they have there.
To see the castle we sneak in between all the German groups. Already from the first floor we hear a weird music. As ridiculous as it sounds it’s the soundtrack from Star Wars… I guess the castle doesn’t earn enough from all the tourists and restaurants around it so they decided to have films’ costumes exhibition. To bring it to another level in the middle of a beautiful corridor there is this “American” movie booth with the most bored girl ever. By her face it’s easy to figure that they won’t earn much from this one either.
The Castle itself dates back to XIII century but more recent history has not been kind to it. During World War II it was taken by the Nazis. Many say that it was supposed to be Hitler’s resident. One way or another the Nazis started changing the Castle destroying a lot of its beauty and historical value. Their reconstruction included also tunnels built under the castle. The Nazi style and lack of ornaments is especially prominent in the “ball room” that doesn’t look like one at all. Here there are no ornaments, it’s very basic and it looks like it just serves the purpose of a reunion room. On the lowest floor we find out how the Nazis reconstruction looked like as there is one room left as it was, with stripped walls…and painful history. It presents a very interesting exhibition about Książ when it was a sub concentration camp. It tells the story of the camp and their workers which is really shocking. Honestly for us it was the only interesting thing in the castle. The rest of the interesting furniture and things were taken by the Soviet Army…
After the visit to the castle we decided to walk to the Palm House. It's not nearly as old as the Castle, it was built in the beginning of the XX century. But maintenance doesn’t seem to be the top priority there so it seems much older. While walking around our level of disappointment is only going up. The Palm House is small and doesn’t have anything spectacular except… an exhibition of bonsai trees. There are not only many trees but also information about the age and descent and even a short explanation about different types of bonsai. As we walk between the trees we are being followed by the eyes and body of a not so kind, old lady. She must think we want to steal one of them because she doesn’t leave us even for a second. Thank God we are only the two of us otherwise the lady would probably lose her mind.
How to get to the Książ Castle from Wrocław?
So you take a train to get to Wałbrzych Szczawienko and from there it’s a 5 km walk mostly through the Castle Park so it’s nice and easy. It took us around an hour to get there. You can check the timetable on http://www.e-podroznik.pl/ (as Polish as it sounds… it’s all in English).
How much does it cost and what shall I see?
Ticket prices vary depending on what you want to see. We took sightseeing of the castle with its terraces and the palm house. It was 30 zl each. All the prices are on the official web page which is also in English http://www.ksiaz.walbrzych.pl/en/turystyka/zwiedzanie/dzienne#tickets-and-prices. It’s important to know that the Palm House is not really close to the castle, it’s an hour- walk away. We wouldn’t really say it’s a must see anyway. But what is really nice and worth seeing, is the viewing point which is in the Castle’s park. It gives you an amazing, classic view over the forest and the castle.