ot much is known about the origins and functioning of the castle in the Middle Ages. The prevailing opinion among historians is that the construction of the brick stronghold may have been commissioned in the 1360s by Emperor
Charles IV of Luxemburg (d. 1378), who was to pay a short visit here in 1365. The village was then owned or leased by Nicolas von Reybnicz, a representative of a Silesian knightly family. Documents from 1372 and 1373 mention brothers Hentschel, Conrad, Heinrich, Diprand and Thyme von der Rybnicz as the owners of the whole or part of the locality, and the last known representative of this family in Rybnica was Nicol von der Reybnicz, noted in 1423.
NORTH-WESTERN CORNER OF THE CASTLE, ON THE LEFT WE CAN SEE RELICS OF THE KITCHEN ALCOVE
According to one of the popular legends, the founder of the Rybnica village was a certain Rubin, a Pomeranian prince, who came to this area and, enchanted by the beauty of the local landscape, decided to settle here permanently. Another fable says that in the 13th century the Beguine Sisters founded their congregation in Rybnica. Allegedly, this fact has been confirmed by the date 1234 engraved on a stone in the castle wall, discovered in 1750 during renovation works. Unfortunately, the stone was destroyed eight years later.
PROBABLY THE OLDEST PRESERVED IMAGE OF THE RYBNICA CASTLE,
FRIEDRICH BERNHARD WERNER 'TOPOGRAPHIA SILESIAE 1744-68'
he old castle was probably captured and destroyed by the Hussites in the 1420s. However, it was soon rebuilt, or perhaps re-erected, as evidenced by the wall relics preserved to this day, which date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. We do not know who owned the castle at that time. It is possible that its reconstruction was ordered by Hans von Zedlitz alias von Reibnitz, the owner of the village in the second half of the 15th century. In 1532 his grandson Hans III sold the local estate to Christoph von Redern of Nielestno. Since then, for over two hundred years, the fate of the castle and its inhabitants has remained unknown.
ENGRAVING SHOWING THE CASTLE AND GRANGE FROM THE SOUTH, 2ND HALF OF THE XVIII CENTURY
ybnica appeared in documents again in 1756, when it became the property of the Jelenia Góra merchant Georg Friedrich Schmidt (d. 1757). New owner commissioned some construction work to modernize the castle, although its condition was certainly very poor by that time and it was rather uninhabitable. Georg Friedrich's widow, Margarethe Elisabeth de domo Gottfried, passed the local estate to her second husband Christian Benedict Kahl (d. 1769) in 1765. Five years later it became the property of Königlische Stifts-Amt zu Sankt Johann Foundation, and in 1786 it was purchased by Count Karl von Röder of Skała. It was his initiative to renovate the castle again, probably in order to adapt it to the needs of the manor functioning at the foot of the hill. In 1784 the land was taken over by Gottlieb Wilhelm von Bressler (d. 1814), the owner of the Lauske estate in Saxony. His heirs kept the manor in Rybnica until 1937, but they never lived here permanently, residing in the mentioned
IN THE XIXTH CENTURY THE CASTLE WAS A RUIN
t the beginning of the 19th century Rybnica, with the villages of Stara Kamienica and Kamienica Mała, formed a vast estate where the former knight's seat was initially used as a distillery and a support facility for the nearby manor farm. However, when new farm buildings were erected in 1816, the castle became abandoned and fell into ruin. The last pre-war owners of the plot of land with the ruins were: the senior building inspector Rautenberg (1937-39), and after him Herbert Stabrin (1939-45), co-owner of the Echt Stornsdorfer-Bitter Fabrik liqueur factory, who built a house for himself and his family right next to the castle hill. After the war the ruin remained without a host. Although it was formally looked after by the authorities of the Rybnica Agro-Industrial Complex, in fact they did nothing to prevent further degradation of its walls. As a result, the site was quickly overrun by wild vegetation, the uncontrolled growth of which led to further loss and damage.
he look and layout of the medieval castle is a mystery to us. As a result of the reconstruction of the mid-15th century, the main element of its architecture became a three-storey house built of granite rock, on a rectangular plan measuring 15x25 meters. A kitchen alcove adjoined it to the north, and above it a living chamber heated by the chimney. Presumably, all the floors contained a narrow corridor, a staircase and two or three rooms. From at least the 18th century, the castle had steep gabled roofs and its facades were ornamented with sgraffito type decoration. The courtyard was closed from the south by a stone wall, and behind it stretched a small, one-hectare park. Nothing is known about the mysterious tower, portrayed by an anonymous artist in the 19th century engraving shown below.
XIXTH CENTURY ENGRAVING WITH AN IMAGE OF THE CASTLE, THE FRAGMENT THAT LOOKS LIKE A TOWER IS EITHER THE RESULT OF OVERINTERPRETATION BY THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTWORK,
OR THE ENGRAVING HAS BEEN WRONGLY DESCRIBED AND DEPICTS ANOTHER RUIN
nly the northern wall of the residential building, a fragment of its western curtain, relics of a rectangular alcove, and buried cellars have survived to the present day. In some windows, remnants of Renaissance stonework can still be seen, and in the wall - traces of ceiling beams. The castle hill is densely forested, which makes the ruins difficult to see from a distance.
CASTLE RUINS IN RYBNICA
The ruin is probably a private property (no signage), but it is accessible. The only limitation is high thicket growing on the hillside in spring and summer.
It will take no more than a quarter of an hour to see the ruins (not counting the walking time).
You can go to the castle together with your dog.
Flying a drone only makes sense when the trees are devoid of leaves.
CASTLE RUINS IN RYBNICA, RELICS OF AN ALCOVE
ybnica is located about 8 km west of Jelenia Góra, on the DK30 road leading to Gryfow Śląski. At a distance of 2.5 km from the ruins there is a railway station at which trains from Jelenia Góra, Wrocław and Zgorzelec stop.
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2. L. Kajzer, J. Salm, S. Kołodziejski: Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Arkady 2001
3. R. Łuczyński: Ruiny dwóch zamków, Sudety nr 11/2004
4. A. M. Rosiek: Siedziby rycerskie w księstwie świdnicko-jaworskim do końca XIV wieku, UJ 2010
5. A. Wagner: Murowane budowle obronne w Polsce X-XVIIw., Bellona 2019
POND AT THE FOOT OF THE CASTLE HILL, TO GET THERE FOLLOW THE ARROW
YOU CAN LEAVE YOUR CAR IN FRONT OF THE VIADUCT
Castles nearby: Stara Kamienica - the ruins of knightly castle from the 14th-15th century, 4 km Siedlęcin - the residential tower from the 14th century, 8 km
Czarne - the fortified manor house ftom the 16th century, 12 km Chojnik - the ruins of ducal castle from the 14th century, 13 km
Dziwiszów - the fortified manor house from the 16th century, currently the palace, 13 km Wleń - the ruins of ducal castle from the 12th/13th century, 19 km Bukowiec - the fortified manor house from the 16th century, rebuilt, 22 km