*** CASTLE KREPPELHOF IN KAMIENNA GÓRA ***

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Kreppelhof castle ruin

KREPPELHOF CASTLE RUIN, VIEW FROM THE NORTHEAST

HISTORY OF THE CASTLE

DESCRIPTION OF THE CASTLE

SIGHTSEEING


S

up­pos­ed­ly, al­ready in the sec­ond half of the 13th cen­tu­ry, a small strong­hold ex­ist­ed near the es­tu­ary of the Za­drna Riv­er to the Bóbr Riv­er. It was prob­a­bly a wood­en watch­tow­er erect­ed by one of the Si­le­sian princes to pro­tect the trade route lead­ing from Bo­he­mia to Si­le­sia. In 1419-36, the Hus­sites con­quered and burned the town of Ka­mien­na Gó­ra - it is like­ly that this watch­tow­er al­so suf­fered then, and may have been even de­stroyed. Ac­cord­ing to tra­di­tion, be­fore the cas­tle was de­structed, it may have be­longed to the Tem­plar or­der, which car­ried out ac­tiv­i­ties in the area un­til the be­gin­ning of the 14th cen­tu­ry. How­ev­er, this rather bold the­o­ry has no con­fir­ma­tion in doc­umen­tary rec­ords.



VIEW OF THE RUINS FROM THE SOUTH

T

he first source-con­firmed own­er of the lo­cal lands was a cer­tain Nico­laus von Krep­pil (1417). Prob­a­bly he or one of his heirs, in the sec­ond half of the 15th cen­tu­ry, built a cylin­dri­cal res­i­den­tial tow­er here, the relics of which have sur­vived to the pre­sent day. Af­ter 1508, on the site of the old­er tow­er, Hans I von Schaff­gotsch (d. 1565) erect­ed a Re­nais­sance manor house, which was ex­pand­ed by his son Hans II (d. 1572) in the sec­ond half of the 16th cen­tu­ry. This new rep­re­sen­ta­tive res­i­dence, hence­forth known as Krep­pel­hof, took the form of a three-winged build­ing with a tow­er and an ar­cad­ed court­yard.


HISTORICAL NAMES OF THE CASTLE

1539 - Kreppelhoffe, 1561 - Krapelhof,
1605 - Kreppelhof, 1825 - Kräppelhof, Kreppelhof,
1945 - Krzepielów, Grództwo, 1950 - Grodźctwo, Grodztwo



KREPPELHOF CASTLE AND THE TOWN OF KAMIENNA GÓRA (LANDSHUT) IN AN ENGRAVING BY F. B. WERNER
FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE XVIII CENTURY

I

n 1635 Hans Ul­rich von Schaff­gotsch (d. 1635) lost the Krep­pel­hof es­tate to the im­pe­ri­al court. This was part of the sanc­tion this no­ble­man and his fam­i­ly had to face for at­tempt­ing to over­throw the Em­per­or (the main pun­ish­ment was Schaff­gotsch's death sen­tence). The con­fis­cat­ed prop­er­ty, which in­clud­ed, in ad­di­tion to the cas­tle, the vil­lages of Ra­szów, Da­le­szów and oth­er set­tle­ments in the Bóbr val­ley, was re­pur­chased by the von Schin­del fam­i­ly, fol­lowed by the Counts von Dyhrn and fi­nal­ly by the Counts von Prom­nitz. In 1765, one of the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the von Prom­nitz fam­i­ly, Jo­hann Erd­mann (d. 1785), be­queathed Krep­pel­hof, as well as the Pe­ter­swal­dau and Jan­no­witz es­tates, to his sis­ter's son, Chris­tian Frie­drich zu Stol­berg-Wer­ni­ge­ro­de (d. 1824).



CASTLE IN AN ENGRAVING BY THEODOR BLATTERBAUER, 2ND HALF OF THE XIXTH CENTURY

HUNTER'S CHAMBER, 1874

B

y the end of the 18th cen­tu­ry, the cas­tle was pre­sum­ably severe­ly ne­glect­ed and per­haps even aban­doned, and in this con­di­tion, Chris­tian's son An­ton zu Stol­berg-Wer­ni­ge­ro­de (d. 1854) re­ceived it as a lega­cy. Al­though the fam­i­ly seat of An­ton was the beau­ti­ful fort­ress of Wer­ni­ge­ro­de in Harz moun­tains, he de­cid­ed to thor­ough­ly ren­o­vate the Si­le­sian man­sion, so that it re­gained its lost splen­dor. Prince Frie­drich Wil­helm von Ho­hen­zol­lern, lat­er Ger­man King, vis­it­ed the re­stored cas­tle in 1827. On the oc­ca­sion of this vis­it, the lin­den al­ley lead­ing from Krep­pel­hof to the town be­came the name of Prince's Al­ley in his hon­or.



KREPPELHOF ON POSTCARDS FROM THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY

I

n the 1870s, Count Eber­hard zu Stol­berg-Wer­ni­ge­ro­de (d. 1872) re­built the cas­tle in­to a Neo-Re­nais­sance palace. Less than three de­cades lat­er, on Jan­uary 11, 1904, Krep­pel­hoff host­ed the cer­e­mo­ni­al wed­ding of the own­er's daugh­ter, Ar­m­gard zu Stol­berg-Wer­ni­ge­ro­de (d. 1912), and Os­car Count von Plat­ten zu Hal­ler­mund (d. 1957), court mar­shal to Kai­ser Wil­helm II. On this oc­ca­sion, dozens of counts, bar­ons, and se­nior mil­i­tary of­fi­cers ar­rived to the cas­tle, and the guests of hon­or were Wil­helm him­self and his wife Au­gus­ta Vic­to­ria. The press at the time re­port­ed that the wed­ding gift the im­pe­ri­al fam­i­ly gave the young cou­ple was a di­a­dem set with gems and a me­ter-high vase made es­pe­cial­ly for the oc­ca­sion by the roy­al porce­lain fac­to­ry.



COMMEMORATIVE POSTCARD ISSUED ON THE OCCASION OF THE WEDDING OF THE CASTLE OWNER'S DAUGHTER

KREPPELHOF CASTLE, WEST ELEVATION, 1920S

I

n 1928 Krep­pel­hof be­came the prop­er­ty of the town of Lan­deshut (Ka­mien­na Gó­ra). Dur­ing World War II the ed­i­fice did not suf­fer any dam­age, but in 1945 all the cas­tle fur­nish­ings were stolen by So­vi­ets and loot­ers com­ing from the East. Lat­er, the for­mer res­i­dence of the Counts of Prom­nitz and Stol­berg-Wer­ni­ge­ro­de served as ware­hous­es (post-Ger­man prop­er­ty was kept here) and then as of­fices for a near­by agri­cul­tur­al en­ter­prise. Its end came in 1964, when a fire com­plete­ly de­stroyed the cas­tle's roofs, ceil­ings and rem­nants of fur­nish­ings. Since then it has been just a ru­in, falling in­to more and more ne­glect ev­ery year.




SOUTH ELEVATION OF THE CASTLE IN THE 1960S (SHORTLY AFTER THE FIRE) AND IN 2018


HISTORY OF THE CASTLE

DESCRIPTION OF THE CASTLE

SIGHTSEEING


T

he Re­nais­sance cas­tle stood in the north­ern part of the town, on a low hill near the Bóbr Riv­er. It was erect­ed of stone and brick on a quadri­lat­er­al plan with an in­ner ar­cad­ed court­yard. The cas­tle had three wings, each three sto­ries high, which were en­closed by a cur­tain wall to the north. The en­trance to the court­yard led from the west, through a vault­ed gate pre­sum­ably built us­ing the re­mains of a me­dieval tow­er. The fa­cades of the build­ing were or­na­ment­ed with dec­o­ra­tive el­e­ments: stone win­dow frames, rus­ti­cat­ed en­trance por­tals with coats of arms and a semi­cir­cu­lar at­tic. The de­fen­sive fea­tures of the cas­tle were pro­vid­ed by a cur­tain wall with loop­holes, a moat and, from the 17th, earth bas­tion for­ti­fi­ca­tions.



ONE OF THE PORTALS AND A WINDOW ON THE SECOND FLOOR IN THE INVENTORY DRAWINGS OF B. GRUCA FROM 1956

SURVIVING WINDOW STONEWORK ON THE SECOND FLOOR OF THE CASTLE

I

n the 1870s, a quadri­lat­er­al tow­er topped with an at­tic and a tent­ed roof with dorm­ers was erect­ed in the north­ern part of the cas­tle. A new en­trance gate with a ter­race emerged to the west of the old gate, tak­ing the form of two ar­cades sep­a­rat­ed by six col­umns. To give the man­sion a ro­man­tic touch, nu­mer­ous stonework de­tails from the old­er cas­tle were in­cor­po­rat­ed in­to its fa­cades, but al­so some that had noth­ing to do with the his­to­ry of the place, and were brought here from Bo­hemia and oth­er re­gions of Ger­many. Al­so, a park was es­tab­lished next to the cas­tle and the line of the me­dieval moat was mod­i­fied.





FALL OF KREPPELHOF CASTLE, CONDITION AT THE BEGINNING OF THE XX CENTURY AND TODAY
IN THE LOWER PHOTOGRAPH, THE WESTERN WALL WITH THE FORMER ENTRANCE GATE LEADING TO THE RESIDENCE


HISTORY OF THE CASTLE

DESCRIPTION OF THE CASTLE

SIGHTSEEING


T

he ru­ined cas­tle is in very poor con­di­tion. Rem­nants of the me­dieval tow­er, sec­tions of the 16th-cen­tu­ry out­er walls, and ru­ins of par­ti­tion walls, as well as the vaults of the base­ment and ground floor have sur­vived to the pre­sent day. In some places, one can still see Re­nais­sance win­dow frames and dec­o­ra­tive de­tails, al­though most of them are just rub­ble ly­ing on the ground. Two gate ar­cades with frag­ments of rus­ti­ca­tion and a cross-vault­ed vestibule re­main in rel­a­tive­ly "good" con­di­tion. More than a cen­tu­ry old lin­den and oak trees are a re­minder of the 19th-cen­tu­ry park. Af­ter years of ne­glect, the town­ship au­thor­i­ties are plan­ning to se­cure the cas­tle walls in the near fu­ture.



ARCHES OF THE MAIN GATE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE XX CENTURY...

...AND NOWADAYS

RUBBLE OF DECORATIVE STONEWORK


The castle might be surrounded by a fence (2022).


To see the ruin in detail, we need 15-20 mi­nutes.


The area is deserted, suitable for dog walk­ing.


No restrictions on re­cre­ational drone flights.




CASTLE RUINS IN KAMIENNA GÓRA



GETTING THERE


T

he ru­in ris­es on Zam­ko­wa Street, al­though driv­ing this way one may not no­tice it due to the trees and dense bush­es grow­ing along the road. The site is lo­cat­ed about 1.5 km north of Mar­ket Square. Com­ing from the train sta­tion, one should head north on Bo­ha­te­rów Get­ta Street un­til reach­ing Zam­ko­wa Street.



We can park a car by the road, vis-a-vis the gate lead­ing to the sewage treat­ment plant. The ad­dress in GPS: Zam­ko­wa 3.


Bi­cy­cles can be brought di­rect­ly in­to the vicin­i­ty of the cas­tle.




BIBLIOGRAPHY


1. L. Kajzer, J. Salm, S. Kołodziejski: Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Arkady 2001
2. J. Lamparska: Dolny Śląsk jakiego nie znacie, Asia Press 2002
3. R. Łuczyński: Chronologia dziejów Dolnego Śląska, Atut 2006
4. S. Piotrowski: Zamek w Kamiennej Górze
5. A. Wagner: Murowane budowle obronne w Polsce X-XVIIw., Bellona 2019
6. D. Żrałko: Zamek, którego już nie ma, Sudety 9/2005



VIEW OF THE RUINS FROM THE ROAD


Castles nearby:
Czarny Bór - ruins of the ducal castle from the 14th century, 8 km
Grzędy - relicts of Konradów castle from the 14th century, 12 km
Płonina - ruins of the knight's castle from the 15th century, 15 km
Bolków - ruins of the ducal castle from the 13th century, 18 km
Janowice Wielkie - ruins of Bolczów ducal castle from the 14th century, 19 km
Świny - ruins of the knight's castle from the 14th century, 20 km
Cieszów - ruins of Cisy ducal castle from the 13th/14th century, 23 km
Krzyżna Góra - relics of Sokolec castle from the 14th century, 24 km
Karpniki - the castle from the 14th century, rebuild, 24 km
Lipa - ruins of the knight's castle from the 14th century, 25 km
Wałbrzych - relics of Nowy Dwór castle from the 14th century, 25 km
Wałbrzych - castle Książ, 25 km
Wałbrzych - Stary Książ castle ruins from the 13th/14th century, 25 km
Kłaczyna - relics of the castle from the 15th century, 26 km
Bukowiec - the renaissance mansion from the 16th century, rebuilt, 27 km
Rybnica Leśna - relics of Radosno ducal castle from the 14th century, 28 km
Grzmiąca - relics of Rogowiec ducal castle from the 13th century, 30 km




WORTH SEEING:



Lo­cat­ed 9 kilo­me­ters south from Kami­en­na Gó­ra, the mag­nif­i­cent post-Cis­ter­cian mo­na­stery com­plex found­ed in 1292 by Prince Bol­ko I, and ex­pand­ed in Bar­oque style by ab­bots: Ber­nard Ro­sa (1660–96), Do­mi­nic Gey­er (1696-1726), In­no­cent Fritsch (1727-34) and Be­ne­dict Sei­del (1734-66). The el­dest of the men­tioned, Ber­nard Ro­sa, in­tend­ed to turn Krze­szów in­to a sec­ond Holy Land, which was to be helped by the cre­ation of the so-called Krze­szów Cal­vary and ac­com­pa­ny­ing mag­nif­i­cent sa­cred build­ings. The mo­na­stery was liq­ui­dat­ed by the Prus­sian au­thor­i­ties in 1810, and dur­ing World War II its build­ings served as a tem­po­rary res­i­dence for Car­pa­thi­an Ger­mans, and as a tran­sit camp for Si­le­sian Jews and Hun­gar­i­an re­set­tlers.



ABBEY IN KRZESZÓW, FROM LEFT: ST. JOSEPH CHURCH, BASILICA, MONASTERY BUILDINGS


MONASTERY CELLARS


A dom­i­nant el­e­ment in Krze­szów land­scape is the As­sump­tion of the Blessed Vir­gin Ma­ry Church (mi­nor basil­i­ca), built by Ab­bot In­no­cent Fritsch in 1728-35. It is the lar­gest Baroque tem­ple in Si­le­sia, and is some­times called the Gold­en House. It was built on a cru­ci­form plan, on the site of a Goth­ic church, the re­mains of which are pre­served in the foun­da­tions and base­ment. The ba­sil­i­ca im­press­es with its op­u­lence and dec­o­ra­tion and the amaz­ing com­bi­na­tion of ar­chi­tec­ture, sculp­ture, and paint­ing by such promi­nent Baroque artists as Georg Ne­un­hertz, Petr Brandl, Hans Hoff­man, and Fer­di­nand Bro­koff.




VAULTING OF THE BASILICA'S CENTRAL NAVE


Look­ing at the tem­ple from the front, one's at­ten­tion is caught by its huge two-tow­ered fa­cade, ris­ing 68 me­ters high, the low­er part of which sym­bol­izes earth­ly re­al­i­ty (stat­ues of saints), and the up­per part - the heav­ens with the im­age of the Holy Trin­i­ty and the cru­ci­fied Je­sus. The ef­fect is com­ple­ment­ed by bib­li­cal quo­ta­tions in­cor­po­rat­ed in­to el­e­va­tions, a huge col­umn por­ti­co, and bro­ken pi­la­sters that em­pha­size the com­plex ge­o­met­ric struc­ture of the main fa­cade.





SYMBOLIC DETAILS OF THE MAIN FACADE (ORIGINAL)

AND HERE WE SEE A SCALED-DOWN COPY OF THE SAME PART OF THE BASILICA,
PHOTO TAKEN IN THE MINIATURES PARK IN KOWARY


In­side the build­ing, the cen­ter­piece is the Baroque high al­tar made by Prague sculp­tor Fer­di­nand Brock­off, with a paint­ing by Petr Bran­dl de­pict­ing the As­sump­tion of the Blessed Vir­gin Ma­ry. One anec­dote con­cern­ing the cre­ation of this work is that the monks, when pay­ing the artist a fee for the paint­ing, re­duced it by the amount of debt he owed to lo­cal tav­erns. Bran­dl, in re­venge, added an an­gel show­ing a bare bot­tom to the paint­ing, to­wards the place that the ab­bot oc­cu­pied dur­ing mass. Be­low the paint­ing, is a 13th-cen­tu­ry icon of Our La­dy of Grace, which is con­sid­ered the old­est Mar­i­an im­age in Pol­and.




THE HIGH ALTAR, BELOW IN THE LIGHTER FIELD THE BOTTOM OF THE ANGEL MENTIONED IN THE QUOTED ANECDOTE


The west­ern wall of the church is closed by an im­pres­sive or­gan, made in the 18th cen­tu­ry by M. En­gler the Younger of Bres­lau, con­sist­ing of 2806 pipes. The tem­ple's space is filled with lav­ish white-gold artis­tic decor in the late Baroque (Ro­co­co) style with a lot of put­ti, nu­mer­ous poly­chromes, as well as a beau­ti­ful­ly carved pul­pit, con­fes­sion­als and stall.



INTERIOR OF THE TEMPLE WITH THE PULPIT AND ORGAN




BAROQUE DECORATION OF THE CHURCH INTERIOR


Ad­ja­cent to the basil­i­ca to the north is St. Jo­seph's Church, built in 1690-96 by Ab­bot Ber­nard Ro­sa on the site of the Goth­ic St. An­drew's Church. Years ago, the build­ing served main­ly as a parish tem­ple to which the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion flocked. At the very be­gin­ning of its ex­is­tence, it had two tow­ers (ac­tu­al­ly, it was sup­posed to have), but these col­lapsed while the church was still un­der con­struc­tion and the idea of build­ing a two-tow­ered tem­ple was even­tu­al­ly aban­doned.



ST. JOSEPH'S CHURCH


The lay­out of the church is rel­a­tive­ly sim­ple: it has a body on a near-rect­an­gu­lar plan. Its vault­ed ceil­ing rests on pil­lars, be­tween which the em­pores are sus­pend­ed. Com­pared to the ba­sil­i­ca, the in­te­ri­or of this build­ing is much more mod­est, al­most de­void of sculp­tures, and the dom­i­nant form of artis­tic ex­pres­sion here is wall paint­ing.




ST. JOSEPH'S CHURCH, NAVE AND SIDE AISLE


The church is fa­mous for its beau­ti­ful paint­ings ex­e­cut­ed at the end of the 17th cen­tu­ry by the most promi­nent painter of the Si­le­sian Baroque, Michael Will­mann (who was as­sist­ed by his son and step­son). These form a huge work of more than 50 poly­chrome paint­ings, whose leit­mo­tif is the life of the Holy Fam­i­ly. When paint­ing his pic­tures, Will­man mod­eled them on the works of Eu­ro­pean class ar­tists such as Ru­bens, Rem­brant and Claude Gellee, which he en­riched with au­tho­ri­al mo­tifs, in­clud­ing his own like­ness. His face ap­pears here three times: as an in­keep­er re­fus­ing to let the Ho­ly Fam­i­ly stay over­night, and as the same fig­ure gaz­ing at Em­ma­nuel and lis­ten­ing to the teach­ings of Je­sus.



INNKEEPER REFUSES TO GIVE ST. FAMILY A NIGHT'S LODGING, SELF-PORTRAIT BY WILLMAN


MICHAEL WILLMAN'S FRESCOES ON THE TEMPLE VAULT AND IN THE CHANCEL


How­ev­er, not all the paint­ings here can be con­sid­ered suc­cess­ful. Just look at the fres­co in the chan­cel de­pict­ing the ado­ra­tion of the Three Magi. Here we see camels that look like ...hors­es with long necks (so pre­sum­ably Will­man nev­er saw any camel in per­son). Al­so in­ter­est­ing is a small paint­ing on the vault near the fifth al­tar, called The Sor­rows of St. Joseph. On it we can see St. Mary wear­ing a hat.



CAMELS ACCORDING TO WILLMANN IN THE PAINTING "ADORATION OF THE THREE MAGI"


ART DETAIL IN ST. JOSEPH CHURCH


Ad­join­ing the basil­i­ca to the east is the chapel, now serv­ing as the Mau­soleum of the Si­le­sian Piasts, where rest the rulers of Si­le­sia: Bol­ko I (d. 1301), Ber­nard (d. 1326), Bol­ko II (d. 1368), Hen­rik I of Ja­wor (d. 1346) and Hen­rik II (d. 1345), as well as La­dis­laus von Zed­litz und Nim­m­er­satt, com­man­dant of the Or­der of St. John (d. 1628).





SARCOPHAGI: BOLKO I, BOLKO II, LADISLAUS VON ZEDLITZ UND NIMMERSATT


The sar­copha­gi with the re­mains of the princes are com­ple­ment­ed by a sym­bol­ic tomb­stone ded­i­cat­ed to en­tire fam­i­ly of the Świd­ni­ca-Ja­wor Piasts: two mys­te­ri­ous fig­ures rep­re­sent Eter­ni­ty (a wom­an with a snake eat­ing its own tail) and Earth­ly Life (a dy­ing child with a torch fac­ing down­ward). Ac­cord­ing to some opin­ions, the child fig­ure may per­son­i­fy the leg­endary son of Bol­ko II, who was sup­posed to have lost his life un­der un­clear cir­cum­stances (how­ev­er, it is like­ly that Bol­ko III nev­er ex­ist­ed). The chapel al­so fea­tures sculp­tures de­pict­ing the princes' wives, Be­at­rix of Świd­ni­ca and Ag­nes Hab­s­burg.



SYMBOLIC TOMBSTONE OF THE ŚWIDNICA-JAWOR PIASTS

STATUES OF THE DUCHESSES: BEATRIX AND AGNES


The in­te­ri­or dec­o­ra­tion of the mau­soleum is the work of promi­nent ar­tists work­ing for the ab­bey: its fres­coes were done by Ge­org Wil­helm Ne­un­hertz, the paint­ings were cre­at­ed by Fe­lix An­ton Schef­fler, and the stuc­co dec­o­ra­tion is by the Aus­tri­an mar­ble de­sign­er Ig­natius Al­brecht Pro­vi­so­re.




MAUSOLEUM OF THE SILESIAN PIASTS


Af­ter leav­ing the buri­al chapel, take a mo­ment to vis­it the his­toric ce­me­tery, where nuns and peo­ple of mer­it to the abbey are buried. Some, es­pe­cial­ly the old­er tomb­stones, can stim­u­late the imag­i­na­tion and make you re­flect on the in­evi­ta­bil­i­ty of death.








Com­ple­ment­ing the abbey's spa­tial con­cept is the mag­nif­i­cent build­ing of the Be­ne­dic­tine Sis­ters' mo­na­ste­ry and the so-called Krze­szów Cal­vary, con­sist­ing of 33 sta­tions (15 on the Way of Ap­pre­hen­sion and 17 on the Way of the Cross), erect­ed in 1703-22 by Ab­bot Do­mi­nic Gey­er. The Cal­va­ry con­nect­ed the ba­sil­i­ca with the so-called Beth­le­hem (year of con­struc­tion 1680), where a wood­en sum­mer pa­vil­ion with paint­ings by Ge­org Ne­un­hertz de­pict­ing wa­ter-themed scenes has been pre­served.








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text: 2022
photographs: 2012, 2018, 2019
© Jacek Bednarek