he oldest known fortified settlement in Medilese was probably established in the second half of the 9th century. Initially, it was a wooden building, which was replaced by a brick castle in the first half of the 14th century. This probably took place after the local properties was bought out from the Cistercians by representatives of knightly family von Glaubitz (Glubosz) who came from Lusatia. Transaction of purchasing these lands was realized between 1315 and 1318, and its consequence was to transform the town into center of an large estate, which included, among others, border strongholds of
Szczerba and Karpień. In this case, however, it is not appropriate to unequivocally identify the founding of the castle with activities of the von Glaubitz family. It may have been built by new owner after 1318, or perhaps only after his death, by King
Johann von Luxemburg (d. 1346). Historians have different viewpoints on this issue. However, it is certain that the presence of solid stronghold in this place strengthened the Silesian-Czech border, and thanks to the trade route from Wrocław to Prague, which was running at the junction of Bystrzyckie Mountains and Śnieżnik Massif, it provided significant income for its administrators
CASTLE SEEN FROM THE PARADE COURTYARD: BAROQUE EASTERN WING IS ON THE LEFT, THE RENAISSANCE PART IS ON THE RIGHT
According to tradition, the name of village is supposed to come from the great forests that covered these lands centuries ago - hence the medieval Slavic term Medilese. In 1294 its German form Mittelwalde appeared, which evolved over time and later the town was called Mittilwald in German or Mezilese, Mezelessie in Czech language. Over the following years it was called Mitrvelde, Mitwald, Mittelwaldt, or finally again Mittelwalde, which was the official name of the town until the end of World War II. After the new order was established in 1945, the literal translation has been approved and thus Międzylesie appeared on the map of Poland.
LITHOGRAPHY BASED ON THE DRAWING BY FRIEDRICH BERNARD WERNHER, 1739
iędzylesie stayed in the hands of the Glubosz family until about the middle of 15th century. In 1381, Otto von Glaubitz is mentioned in documents as the owner of estate, and in 1403 Otto, called Schramme. In 1420 from here, the merged units of Prince Jan Żagański, Henrik IX Głogowski and Henrik X attacked Czech Litice and Potštejn. In revenge, the Hussites burned down the town and the castle, from which only a tower survived, although there is no certainty today whether the historical notation refers to the Black Tower (stil existing), or perhaps to another. The rebuilt castle became the property of Czech kings again and in 1472 it was given to Balthasar von Tschischwitz from Wilkanów as a fiefdom, and after his death in 1479 it was handed over to the royal steward Georg von Bischofscheim called Latuschka. From 1493 the estate has been managing by Jan Bartoszowsky from Labin, followed by Johann von Žampach from Potštejn and his sons Johann and Wenzel, who in 1538 leased the castle and surrounding property to their brother-in-law, Johann von Tschirnhaus from Bolków. The new host, despite its poor reputation, has proved to be a good organizer, effectively attracting people to the colonization action. He was certainly helped by a great fire, which in 1540 left so much empty land that several new villages could be built on it.
BEAUTIFUL PANORAMA OF THE TOWN WITH THE CASTLE FROM THE MIDDLE OF 18TH CENTURY, FIG. BY FRIEDRICH BERNARD WERNHER
he descendants of Johann, brothers David (d. 1600) and Michael (d. 1607) von Tschirnhaus bought the town and surrounding land from the Žampach family in 1564, which allowed them to create another large estate in Lower Silesia. The reign of this family line in Międzylesie resulted in renaissance reconstruction of the castle, as a consequence of which the raw Gothic building was given the form of a polygonal layout with a small internal courtyard. After brothers' death, the estate was given to one of Michael's three sons, David Heinrich von Tschirnhaus (d. 1642), starost of Kłodzko. When the Thirty Years' War broke out, he got involved in a political struggle, supporting the anti-Habsburg rebellion and opting for the newly elected King of Bohemia,
Friedrich Wittelsbach, also known as the Winter King. This rebellion was suppressed by the Austrians only a year after. For the starost, such a situation meant not only the loss of his office, but also the need to escape the Habsburgs' revenge and confiscate all his properties. The estate, nationalized by Emperor's authorities, was purchased for 60,000 thalers by Philipp Rudolph Count von Liechtenstein, who shortly afterwards sold it to three sisters of David Heinrich, one of whom, Baroness Helena von Raedern, lived here until 1653. In the same year, Michael Ferdinand Count von Althann (d. 1668), who came from Czech town Králiky, purchased the property together with villages Roztoka and Wilkanów for 50,000 guldens. Soon he started to rebuild the town after damage done during the wars with Sweden. He also renovated the castle and erected two wings of baroque palace. From then on, until 1945, the residence was continuously owned by von Althann noble family.
FRANZ SCHROLLER: SCHLESIEN T.1, GLOGAU CARL FLEMMING, 1885
VIEW OF THE CASTLE FROM THE SOUTH ON A POSTCARD FROM THE TURN OF 19TH AND 20TH CENTURY
The Counts von Althann belonged to a knightly family of Hungarian or southern Moravian origin. The Hungarian option considers three comeses living at the turn of the 9th and 10th century: Mangold, Winterstett and Thann, as the founders of family. The last of these, Thann, as legend says, during one of his expeditions to the Holy Land, committed many courageous deeds, for which he was to be distinguished with these words: You are old (alt) Thann very brave. This is how the name Althann was created. The line was continued by Heso, who received the title of Count in 954. The first princely title was awarded to Dytmar in exchange for "merit" on the battlefield during the third crusade (1189-92). On Althann family tree we can find traces of history of Silesia, Czech, Moravia, Hungary, Austria, Italy, France and even Spain. Representatives of this family settled in Międzylesie in 1653 and lived here until spring 1945.
Michael Ferdinand I (1653-1668)
Michael Franz Ferdinand (1668-1679)
Michael Wenzel I (1679-1686), ambassador of Austria, commander of the Kłodzko fortress
Michael Wenzel II (1686-1738), member of the imperial council for finance
Michael Emmanuel (1738-1749)
Michael Otto (1749-1797)
Michael Karl (1797-1805), imperial royal chamberlain
Michael Wenzel III (1805-1810)
Michael Johann Nepomuck (1810-1815)
Michael Franz Anton (1815-1817), chief steward of the Austrian empress's court Michael Maximilian Franz (1817-1834)
Michael Joseph (1834-1861), grand of Spain
Michael Karl (1861-1881) Michael Robert (1881-1919), imperial royal chamberlain
dr Michael Karl (until 1945)
COLOURED POSTCARDS FROM THE BEGINNING OF XX CENTURY: IN THE FOREGROUND WE CAN SEE THE BAROQUE PART OF THE CASTLE WITH MAIN ENTRANCE
One of the owners of the castle, Michael Wenzel II, founded in the first half of 18th century an
impressive church in Nowa Wieś (Neudorf). Years ago, the church was known for the face veil that
Marie Antoinette was to give to her confessor l'Orme on October 16, 1793, just before
her tragic death on the scaffold. The veil was made of Brabant lace and was over 3 meters long. Where did this original prop come from to Lower Silesia? Well, the confessor of the Queen of France emigrated to England some time after her death, where he bequeathed veil to the Augustinian abbot from Wrocław. After the abbot's death and order's secularization, a souvenir was sold to a certain Seydel for 37 thalers. Later, in unknown circumstances, the headgear was placed in Krzydlina near Wołów, whose parish priest was friends with the parish priest of Roztoka, so he gave it to him as a gift. The recipient handed over the veil to Nowa Wieś, where it was hanging until 1958, when several citizens of the German Democratic Republic became interested in it. The Germans probably stole it secretly or bought it back from a local priest, because there are rumors that today this historical piece of clothing is stored in Telgte near Munster.
RENAISSANCE CASTLE WITH THE BLACK TOWER, PHOTO FROM THE 60S
RUIN AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THE FIRE OF 1972, VIEW FROM THE PARADE COURTYARD
n almost unchanged condition the castle survived until the end of World War II. The Soviet army offensive in the spring of 1945 didn't cause much damage here, and the German owners left a large part of equipment of the palace: furniture, carpets, paintings and books. These and other objects, if they were of any material value, were quickly stolen not only by the local and incoming population, but also by various institutions and offices. In 1950, the building was taken over by the Polish state and after a small renovation, it was adapted as a recreation center for children; for some time it also housed a kindergarten. When in 1972 the Renaissance part of the castle was burned down from the lightning, the whole building was closed down. Soon, extensive
renovation works were started, as a result of which, in addition to renovating the damaged rooms, some of the roofs were replaced and one of the wings was adapted as a hotel. The investment was carried out using the funds of the Wrocław Monument Conservation Workshop enterprise, then administrator of the castle and palace complex. As early as in the 1970s the building was administered by the Social Activity Department of the Ministry of Culture and Art, in the next decade it subordinated to the Katowice Heat and Power Plant, and in 1992 became the property of Żegluga Morska S.A. from Szczecin. At that time, attempts were made to adapt it for recreation and holiday purposes, but the scale of necessary expenses exceeded the capabilities of the then owners, and the castle, left without proper conservation care,
has been slowly deteriorating. In 2008 two private investors purchased the historic building, renovated the baroque palace and then placed the hotel with a restaurant in it. Since then, a renovation of Renaissance part of the castle is being carried out unhurriedly.
FACADE OF THE SOUTHERN WING IN 2002 AND DURING RENOVATION IN 2019
he detailed layout of medieval castle is unknown. It was probably an irregular or quadrilateral, with a prismatic tower placed in the corner of the walls or a free-standing one, and a two-storey house (11x16 meters) with a basement covered with ogival vaults. The Renaissance seat was formed into a polygon with an inner courtyard. The Black Tower (today plastered in white) was erected probably in the years 1527-34, although some researchers estimate the period of its erection to be mid-15th century. Later the tower was topped with a terrace and covered with a broken conical roof. The main, three-storey residential wing has been decorated with ornaments made of geometric sgraffito. The door, window frames and portals are made of sandstone. Particularly noteworthy here is
the main portal at the entrance from the parade courtyard, decorated with coats of arms and
two reliefs personifying Faith and Justice. The Renaissance castle was surrounded by an external wall containing bastions adapted to the use the firearms.
VIEW FROM THE MARKET SQUARE TO THE BAROQUE PALACE, THE CHURCH OF CORPUS CHRISTI IS ON THE RIGHT
he neighboring palace was built in Baroque style after 1695 according to the plans prepared by renowned Italian architect Jakobo Carove. It was composed of two large, perpendicularly positioned wings:
the northern one, built in place of the former gate tower, and
the eastern one, with a representative entrance gate. The whole, together with the Renaissance castle, determined the border of parade courtyard, closed from the west by a curtain wall. The eastern wing is particularly interesting, equipped from the courtyard side with
an arcade, and from the town side accented with symmetrically placed pilasters. The entrance to the castle led from the Market Square through two diagonally placed gates, a stone bridge over a dry moat and an entrance gate with two portals. The gateway is a three-aisle hallway with a cross vault supported on six pillars, above which there is a ballroom covered with a mirror vault, equipped with tiled stove and baroque fireplace. This hall was the first in Silesia to be accessed by
the parade staircase with decorative balustrade (Count Althann was supposed to ride it on a horse to impress the participants of the balls). In 1778, for the convenience of its inhabitants, the palace
was connected with the Corpus Christi church standing nearby.
PLAN OF THE CASTLE AND PALACE COMPLEX: 1. GOTHIC-RENAISSANCE CASTLE, 2. INNER COURTYARD, 3. THE BLACK TOWER, 4. MAIN PORTAL LEADING TO THE CASTLE, 5. BAROQUE NORTHERN WING, 6. BAROQUE EASTERN WING, 7. ARCADES IN THE EASTERN PART, 8. THE BRIDGE, 9. GATEWAY, 10. INDOOR GALLERY LEADING TO THE CHURCH, 11. PARADE COURTYARD, 12. FORMER CASTLE GARDENS
FROM THE LEFT: RENAISSANCE CASTLE, TWO WINGS OF THE BAROQUE PALACE, CORPUS CHRISTI CHURCH, ORIGIN: ,www.zamekmiedzylesie.pl
fter the castle was taken over by private investors, its revitalization began, the effects of which can be admired in the nicely renovated facades and decoration of some of the rooms, most of which are used for accomodation purposes. It is planned that in the future the castle and palace complex will be divided into two zones: an integrating zone - with hotel, restaurant, bar and disco (!?), and a private zone, located in Renaissance part, which includes hotel rooms of higher standard. The owners also intend to build a swimming pool located under the parade courtyard, from where the exit will lead directly to the castle park. Despite its commercial character, the castle stays open to 'ordinary' tourists, offering the possibility of visiting selected rooms and providing space to organize local cultural and artistic events. When visiting it, one cannot miss the early Baroque
Corpus Christi church standing at its northern wing, where
pulpit in the shape of boat is preserved. This unusual element of decoration was crafted in 1760 and is ornamented with reliefs of four figures from the Holy Bible: St. Christopher, St. Augustine, St. Anthony preaching to the fish, and the prophet Jonah thrown into the sea.
Free entrance to the castle courtyard. To visit the interiors you need to buy a ticket.
CASTLE IN 2019: VAULTED GATEWAY, BELOW WE SEE THE BAROQUE NORTH WING (RESTAURANT) AND THE RENAISSANCE CASTLE (HOTEL)
HOW TO GET THERE?
iędzylesie is the small town situated on the border with Czech Republic, near Wrocław-Praga railroad line. You can get there by bus from Bystrzyca Kłodzka and from Kłodzko. Railroad communication provides a direct connection to Wrocław. The castle is located in the very center of the town, in north-western part of the Market Square. (map of castles in Lower Silesia)
The castle is located in the very center of the town, in north-western part of the Market Square. The car can be parked at the Market Square (Plac Wolności), or possibly a little further north - on a small parking lot near Kościelna Street.
You can bring your bike into the castle courtyard.
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6. M. Perzyński: Zamki, twierdze i pałace D. Śląska i Opolszczyzny, WDW 2006
7. A. Wagner: Murowane budowle obronne w Polsce X-XVIIw., Bellona 2019
EASTERN ELEVATIONS OF THE RENAISSANCE CASTLE (ON THE LEFT) AND THE BAROQUE PALACE SEEN FROM PLAC WOLNOŚCI
Castles nearby: Gniewoszów - ruin of Szczerba castle from 14th century, 8 km Bystrzyca Kłodzka - donjon from 14th century, currently non-Gothic, 18 km
Stara Łomnica - donjon from 14-16th century, 25 km Żelazno - donjon from 15-16th century, 25 km
Gorzanów - castle from 16-17th century, 27 km Ołdrzychowice Kłodzkie - donjon from 14th century, currently the mansion in ruins, 29 km