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