he origins of the village of Janowice, to which the Bolczów castle, hidden in the deep forest, is administratively subordinate, probably date back to the 13th century, although the first mention of it dates back to 1334 and concerns the then inhabitant (mayor?) Franciszek von Ywanewitz. In the mid-14th century, this settlement, together with Miedzianka and Mniszków villages, was part of the property of the de Beyer family. In 1370 Albrecht and Heinrich de Beyer, sold to hern Clericus Bolczen mountains located from Karpniki side, as well as Janowice village and half of Miedzianka village. Shortly afterwards, the new owner of these lands, the nobleman from the rich Bolcze family, erected a fortified castle on the north-western ridge of the Rudawy Janowickie Mountains, the existence of which is confirmed by document dated 1375. It is presumed that apart from its obvious residential function, the new fortification was also intended to strengthen the protection of smelters, which, besides the copper mines, belonged to the most valuable parts of the Clericus Bolcze estate.
THE CASTLE RUINS ARE HIDDEN IN DEEP FOREST
The oldest known representatives of the knightly Bolcze (Bolz) family were Heinrich and Rypert Bolz, who came from Thuringia and in 1251 served at the court of Prince Bolesław Rogatka. In the next generation, the brothers Heineman and Rypert made their mark in history (although only episodically). All we know about them is that in 1318 they were mentioned as patrons of the church in the village of Ryppersdorf (now Godziszowa) near Jawor. At that time the Bolcze family already possessed numerous, although rather small estates, and its position at the ducal court grew stronger and stronger. In the second half of the 14th century its representatives held offices of marshals, they were also lords of
Cisy (Zeiskberg), which they took over soon after Bolko I built this castle. The most famous among them were Nickel Bolcze, burgrave of Cisy and Świerzawa, as well as Clericus Bolcze, duke's chamberlain and royal equerry, owner of the castle Bolczów, manor house in Miedzianka and several smelters and mines.
BOLCZÓW ON RICHTER'S ENGRAVING, 1801
The name of the castle is probably derived from the name of its founder, Clericus Bolcze. In medieval documents the castle was called Baulzen or Boulczenstein, sometimes it was also titled Polzenstein. Later, the ruins were known as Poltzenschloss, Bolzenschloss, and sometimes - perhaps by mistake - Bolkenschloss. Soon after World War II, the term Bolkowy Zamek appeared, but was changed in 1950 to Bolczów.
ENGRAVING BY CHRISTOPH NATHE FROM 1806
rom the second half of the 14th century until the end of the next century the estate, including Janowice and Bolczów castle, changed its owners many times. At the end of the 14th century it belonged to Bohemian nobleman, the starost of Kłodzko, Puta of Častolvice (d. 1397), and later to Hannos Wiltberg, who in 1397 sold it to the von Ylenburg brothers: Wende, two Ottons and Potto. However, already the following year Wende von Ylenburg handed the castle over to brothers Konrad and Reinhard von Boralowicz. The next known owner of Bolczów was Hermann von Czettritz, mentioned in 1433. This note refers to the siege and destruction of the castle by the townspeople of Świdnica, who came here in arms to quash a frequent robbery on the roads. Bolczów in those dangerous times could have served as a base or a hideout for local knights, who sympathized with the Hussites and committed bandit robberies on merchant fleets. In 1434 the estate was already in the hands of the von Liebenthal brothers. From then on, almost until the end of the 15th century, its history remains unknown, which allows us to assume that the castle, ruined during the Hussite wars, was not used as a residence by its owners.
LITHOGRAPH BY FRIEDRICH GOTTLOB ENDLER FROM 1827
n 1491 Miedzianka village with Bolczów castle passed into the hands of Konrad von Hohberg (d. 1520), castellan of
Grodziec, future owner of
Książ and starost of Świdnica principality. In 1512 he sold the Rudawy estate to Hans Dippold von Burghaus, a mining official representing the interests of Duke
Karol of Ziębice, who invested a large sum of money in the hope of finding significant lodes of gold and silver in the local mines. He also, probably after 1519, extended the manor house in Miedzianka and raised the Bolczów castle from ruins, enlarged its spatial layout and modernized its fortifications. When the mines stopped generating the expected income, von Burghaus (or his son Adam) came into conflict with the miners, and was consequently forced to sell some of his property. This way in 1529 the castle with the grange in Janowice Wielkie was bought for 1400 guldens by knight Franz von Reibnitz from Kłaczyna, who in 1535 held an office of Teutonic Commandant in Oleśnica Mała, and from 1536 was a viceroy of the Teutonic Order in Silesia. At that time, however, he did not live in Bolczów any more because in 1532 he sold it to a merchant from Poznań, Alexander Holtzschuer.
PICTURESQUE LITHOGRAPH BY THEODOR BLATTERBAUER FROM THE SECOND HALF OF THE XIXTH CENTURY
n 1537 Bolczów Castle became a property of Jost Ludwig Dietz (d. 1545), called Justus Deciusz, a secretary of polish king
Zygmunt Stary, a Cracovian banker, financier and historian. Jost Dietz did not live in the castle, but leased it to his plenipotentiary Heinrich Thule. At that time Bolczów served as a treasury of copper mine located nearby, hence the decision to modernize it, including expansion of the gate unit and giving the stronghold the decor corresponding to the requirements of the Renaissance aesthetics. When Decius died, Miedzianka and its surrounding estates passed into the hands of Hans and Franz Hellmann von Kupferberg. In 1562 the estate was arbitrarily divided into two parts: the first one - Mniszków and Janowice with Bolczów, and the second one - Miedzianka. The castle was given to Hans von Kupfenberg who sold it in 1575 to Hans von Gersdorf from Sichów. Then, in 1608 his son Christoph von Gersdorf handed it over to Daniel von Schaffgotsch (d. 1633), the owner of castles
IN FRONT OF THE ENTRANCE GATE, POSTCARDS FROM THE YEARS 1910-20
oon von Schaffgotsch modernized the castle, as well as extended and strengthened the manor house in nearby Janowice Wielkie. After the outbreak of the 30-year war Bolczów was initially used as a shelter for the local population, but was soon fortified and garrisoned by a permanent military crew. At that time it was conquered twice by the Swedish army: in 1641 and four years later, presumably as a result of the treachery of one of the defenders. The winter night from 5 to 6 December 1645, when the castle was burnt, turned out to be particularly dramatic and fatal. All the roofs and wooden buildings burned down then, also part of the walls could not withstand the high temperature and cracked. Reconstruction attempts failed and after another fire in September 1646 the castle was abandoned and fell into ruins.
On the evening of October 6, 1642, a tragic event took place at the castle. Imperial War Commissioner Georg Friedrich von Knobelsdorff fatally shot castle Commander Christoph von Kleist through his own carelessness. The perpetrator of the accident, probably being shocked, ran away, but was soon found, and transported to Bolczów. There is no information in documents about what punishment, if any, he received. It could not have been too harsh, however, because von Knobelsdorff remained in his position. Fortune turned against him a year later when a squad of Swedes attacked, looted, and finally burned down the commissioner's house. The host, who was present during the attack, was then seriously injured.
VIEW OF THE LOWER CASTLE COURTYARD FROM THE WEST IN 1925 AND ALMOST ONE HUNDRED YEARS LATER
n 1679, the estate with the ruined castle was bought from Maximilian von Mauschwitz by Count Erdmann von Promnitz (d. 1745), the lord of Żary and Pszczyna, who paid 27,000 Silesian thalers for it. Bolczów was in the hands of this family until June 1765. As a result of a transaction between Johann von Promnitz (d. 1785) and
Christian Friedrich zu Stolberg-Wernigerode (d. 1824), it became a part of the so-called fideicomis, which included the knight's estates in Janowice, Trzcińsko and Miedzianka. In the Romantic era the ruin was popularly visited, among others by representatives of the royal family von Hohenzollern and their guests. Christian's grandson, Count
Wilhelm Stolberg-Wernigerode (d. 1898), already a retired officer in the Prussian army, ordered to remove the debris lying in the old ruins and to adapt them for visitors. As part of this work, some of the walls were strengthened and some reconstructed, the well was cleared of rubble, wooden stairs and railings were built, and an inn in the upper castle was built in the Swiss style, very trendy at the time.
A PRE-WAR TOURIST HOSTEL BUILT ON THE RUINS OF HIGH HOUSE
t the beginning of the 20th century,
a tourist hostel was built in the vicinity of the inn, which operated until the beginning of World War II and then for several years after the war, before being closed and demolished. The first post-war and so far most advanced conservation work took place at the castle in the mid-1960s. The vegetation growing on the walls was removed, some of the stairs and passageways were rebuilt, and the moat's banks were strengthened, over which a wooden bridge was thrown. The vegetation growing on the walls was removed, some stairs and passages were renovated, and a wooden bridge was built over the moat. The last construction project connected with Bolczów castle is the access road built in 2021, which, by making the area unsightly, deprived the ruins of at least half of the magic they had when they remained semi-wild and inaccessible to cars (the photographs on this site were taken before the road was laid, but one of them already shows the scale of devastation).
DEVASTATION OF THE FOREST TO MAKE A ROAD THAT NO ONE NEEDS
olczów castle was built on a granite hill of 561 m above sea level, hence it is considered as one of the so-called Sudetes rock castles. The oldest part is the upper castle occupying an area between two huge rocks which,
connected by walls, formed a small regular courtyard. In the northern part of the courtyard, at the edge of the slope, a two-chambered
residential building was erected, with dimensions of about 7.8x20 meters (its walls have partially survived to the present day). It had a vaulted basement that was smaller than the area of the house. The High House, as the building is sometimes called, was also part of the perimeter wall.
A stone or stone and wood building, trapezoidal in plan, erected on the rock known as the Kapelania, served as a lookout, and possibly also as a dwelling. On the opposite side of the courtyard, on the eastern rock stood a
quadrilateral tower guarding the entrance gate and flanking its foreground. Within the castle there were probably also wooden auxiliary buildings.
CASTLE PLAN BY MIROSŁAW PRZYŁĘCKI: 1. RESIDENTIAL BUILDING (HIGH HOUSE), 2. KAPELANIA, 3. TOWER,
4. COURTYARD OF THE UPPER CASTLE, 5. COURTYARD OF THE LOWER CASTLE, 6. GATE TOWER, 7. BASTION, 8. BARBICAN, 9. BRIDGE, 10. DRY MOAT
he bailey was probably permanently shaped only in the middle of the 15th century. It occupied the south-eastern part of the castle. This area consisted of two courtyards (the lower courtyard and the farm courtyard), separated by a group of rocks, closed from the south by a long curved wall, equipped with nine shooting holes. At the junction of the southern and eastern walls
an entrance gate and a quadrilateral gate tower were built, marking the southernmost part of the castle.
The gate unit dates back to the 16th century. It was expanded in the north by adding
a semicircular bastion. From the south the passage was strengthened with a characteristic horseshoe-shaped barbican equipped with
a series of shooting holes. The barbican is the southernmost part of the castle, and in the past it was preceded by a wooden drawbridge.
XVI-CENTURY FORTIFICATIONS: BASTION AND BARBICAN (IN THE PICTURE ABOVE)
he best preserved fragments of the castle are the sixteenth-century walls of the gatehouse unit with the barbican and the bastion, an almost complete line of peripheral walls with loopholes,
the water cistern in the courtyard of the upper castle, as well as partially reconstructed (for the needs of the inn) relics of medieval high house. From terrace of Kapelania,
where the steep stairs carved in the rock lead where the steep stairs carved in the rock lead, you can admire the picturesque
panorama of the Sudety Mountains with characteristic peaks of Sokoliki. Bolczów is a very popular tourist destination, which is unfortunately reflected in the amount of trash left behind. Those who intend to visit the ruin for the first time in a long time must also be prepared for another depressing sight. According to the robbery policy of the forest administration, the once dense forest is shrinking at terrible pace, and the sight of felled trees lying by the roadside is literally heartbreaking.
COURTYARD OF THE UPPER CASTLE, WITH A WELL AND RELICS OF HIGH HOUSE
The castle can be visited free of charge at any time.
Your four-legged friend can visit it together with you. However, please remember that you are in the forest and dog should be on a leash.
Those who want to make a movie or take photographs from the bird's eye view should consider the period from November to April as the best for this type of activity. The ruin is surrounded by trees and not much can be seen from above in summer.
COURTYARD OF THE LOWER CASTLE
EASTERN ROCK WITH THE RUINS OF MEDIEVAL TOWER
HOW TO GET THERE?
anowice Wielkie is a large village located along the railroad line from Wałbrzych, about 20 km east of Jelenia Góra. Those traveling by train should take the green hiking trail south from the railway station (direction: Wojska Polskiego Street and then Zamkowa Street). The trip to the ruins takes about 30 minutes.
If you drive from Wrocław, take the national road no. 3 to Jelenia Góra and in the village called Radomierz turn left to Janowice Wielkie (turn right when driving to Wrocław). Tip #1: No special parking for tourists. You can leave your car
at the railway station (2 km),
at the DINO supermarket parking lot at 1 Maja Street (1.5 km) or
at the end of Zamkowa Street, right next to the forest (option for the very lazy, not much space). However, if you came here not only to see the castle, but also to hike or ride in the "mountains", I recommend leaving the car at the parking lot
near the Szwajcarka tourist hostel. From Szwajcarka to the ruins it is 7 to 9 km depending on the trail. Tip #2: It's a good idea to come to Szwajcarka early in the morning because it gets crowded later.
Bolczów Castle is one of the biggest attractions on the bike tour of the Rudawy Janowickie Mountains. Due to its location, a MTB or trekking bike is recommended here. You can easily bring it into the courtyard.
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2. L. Kajzer, J. Salm, S. Kołodziejski: Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Arkady 2001
3. R. Łuczyński: Zamki, dwory i pałace w Sudetach, Wspólnota Akademicka 2008
4. M. Perzyński: Arystokraci i ich niezwykłe zamki, dwory i pałace..., WDW 2008
5. P. Rajski, T. Stolarczyk: Problem związku późnośredniowiecznych założeń obronnych...
6. A. M. Rosiek: Siedziby rycerskie w księstwie świdnicko-jaworskim do końca XIV wieku, UJ 2010
7. M. Świeży: Zamki, twierdze, warownie, Foto Art 2002
8. A. Wagner: Murowane budowle obronne w Polsce X-XVIIw., Bellona 2019
VIEW FROM KAPELANIA ON THE SOKOLE MOUNTAINS
BOLCZÓW CASTLE ON AN APRIL MORNING A.D. 2020
Castles nearby: Krzyżna Góra - relics of Sokolec castle from the 14th century, 5 km Karpniki - the castle from the 14th century, rebuilt, 7 km Płonina - ruins of ducal castle from the 14th century, 10 km Bukowiec - the manor house from the 16th century, rebuilt, 12 km
IT IS WORTH SEEING ALSO:
Manor house from the fourteenth century, which was built by Knight de Beyer and extended at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries on the initiative of Daniel von Schaffgotsch, the owner of Bolczów Castle. The beautifully restored residence can only be seen from the outside - it currently houses a Nursing Home. Address: Janowice Wielkie, Chłopska Street.
Near the manor house, there is a late Gothic church of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the 15th century. Inside we can admire the historic decor and equipment such as Gothic sacramentarium and the Renaissance baptistery. The exterior elevations are decorated with embedded tombstones and epitaphs from the 16th-18th centuries. An original Renaissance clock has been preserved on the church tower. Address: Janowice Wielkie, Rudawska Street.