he oldest surviving historical reference to Zunigrod settlement comes from a bull issued by
Pope Hadrian IV for the Bishopric of Wrocław in 1155, but there is no information in it about the castle. It was first mentioned in documents at the end of the 13th century, when a certain Gebhard owned or leased it. The wooden castle may have been erected by the Wrocław princes Bolesław Rogatka (d. 1278) or
Henryk III (d. 1266). It probably served as a border watchtower and customs chamber on the trade route leading from Wrocław to Poznań, and further to Pomerania. In the vicinity of the castle in 1253 Prince Henryk III located the town.
FRONT ELEVATION OF THE PALACE
n 1296 Żmigród was incorporated into the Duchy of Głogów, and in 1312, after the division of the state between the sons of Henryk III (d. 1309), it became part of the Oleśnica principality ruled by Konrad I (d. 1366). Presumably, it was this sovereign or his son Konrad II (d. 1403) who, on the site of the wooden castle, among the marshes and floodplains of the Barycz River, erected a new stronghold, with a tower and an oval stone wall.
The German name of the town, Trachenberg, can be literally translated as Dragon Mountain. The Polish name - Żmigród - that is, the town of the viper, and in Old Polish - the town of the dragon, means more or less the same thing. The town's coat of arms refers to it, depicting a tower through which a dragon passes with its head facing back and its front paw raised.
PALACE RUIN, VIEW FROM SOUTH AND EAST
fter the death of the last Piast of Oleśnica, Konrad X, in 1492, Żmigród became the property of the Czech King
Vladislav II. Jagellonský (d. 1516), who gave it, with Milicz and the surrounding lands, on lease to the royal counsellor
Sigismunt von Kurtzbach (d. 1513). Then, the estate was inherited by his son Heinrich von Kurtzbach (d. 1533), and then by his grandson Wilhelm (d. 1567), who around 1560 erected a residential tower, which is now the oldest surviving part of the 16th-century mansion.
PLAN OF TRACHENBERG FORTRESS DRAWN BY MATTHÄUS MERIAN IN 1660
hen Wilhelm von Kurtzbach died, Żmigród came into possession of his son Heinrich (d. 1618), who sold it in 1592 for 192,000 thalers to Adam von Schaffgotsch (d. 1603). Adam's cousin, Caspar von Schaffgotsch (d. 1618) became the next holder of the town, followed by Caspar's nephew, cavalry general
Hans Ulrich von Schaffgotsch (d. 1635), owner of castles
Grodztwo in Kamienna Góra. In 1635 Hans was arrested for high treason (and soon executed), and his estates, among them Żmigród, came under state administration. Shortly thereafter (1642), the castle was captured by Swedish troops, who were stationed there until 1650, using it as a base for further conquests of Silesia. At that time the Swedes extended the Gothic tower by one story - from then on it is called the Swedish tower.
THE TOWN AND THE PALACE IN FRIEDRICH BERNHARD WERNER'S ENGRAVINGS FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE XVIII CENTURY
ven before the Swedes entered Żmigród, Emperor
Ferdinand III handed over the Trachenberg estate to Austrian Field Marshal, Count
Melchior von Hatzfeldt (d. 1658), who erected half-timbered buildings within the castle. After his death in 1658 the property passed into the hands of his brother
Hermann (d. 1677) and sister Lucia (d. 1670), and then - by court decision - it was inherited by Heinrich von Hatzfeldt, son of Hermann and Maria Katharina de domo von Dalberg. Shortly thereafter, Heinrich built the St. George's palace chapel, designed by Italian architects Carlo and
Domenico Rossi. Its construction was completed in 1683, the same year its founder died.
RUIN OF THE PALACE CHAPEL (IN BACKGROUND) FOUNDED BY HEINRICH VON HATZFELDT
PHOTO SHOWING THE INTERIOR OF THE CHAPEL BEFORE ITS DESTRUCTION
Franz von Hatzfeldt (d. 1738) in 1708 began a major transformation of the castle into a Baroque palace, built according to a plan by imperial master builder Christopher Hackner. The new residence consisted of three wings covered by a mansard roof with a turret, and its interiors housed a magnificent ballroom, the prince's chancellery and living rooms, whose decor was not inferior to the most elegant aristocratic houses in Silesia. Franz's son,
Franz Philipp Adrian (d. 1779), who titled himself Prince of the Reich (Fürst von Hatzfeldt-Gleichen-Trachenberg), married Princess Bernhardina Marie Therese Charlotte von Schönborn (d. 1780) in 1763, a representative of an influential family famous for its great wealth and lavish residences. The marriage became the impetus for another expansion of the palace. In 1762-65, so the French architect Isidor Ganevale and
Carl Gotthard Langhans (creator of
the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin), erected a magnificent south wing, measuring 96 meters in length.
MAGNIFICENT SOUTH WING BUILT BY FRANZ PHILLIP VON HATZFELDT IN 1762-65
THIS WING WAS DEMOLISHED IN THE 1970S, AND IN ITS PLACE AN OPENWORK STRUCTURE WAS ERECTED
rince Franz Philipp Adrian von Hatzfeldt owned vast estates including the towns of Żmigród and Prusice, as well as 40 villages, 29 manors, large areas of forest and several lakes. His wealth, however, did not protect him from arrest by the Russians, who imprisoned him in the Toruń fortress in 1758 and released only two years later after they had received a ransom. Franz Philipp's son, Karl Franz Cajetan, died of tuberculosis at the age of just 21. With his heirless death in 1794, the Żmigród family line of the Dukes von Hatzfeldt expired, and its estate became the subject of lengthy litigation between the Schönborn family and Reich Count
Franz Ludwig von Hatzfeldt-Werther-Schönstein (d. 1827). Eventually the lawsuit over the inheritance was won by Count von Hatzfeld and he took it over in 1802.
LITHOGRAPHY BY FERDINAND PAZELT FROM THE MID 19TH CENTURY
PALACE AND TOWER ON A POSTCARD FROM THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY
In July 1813, Żmigród hosted i.a. Russian Tsar
Alexander I, King
Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia, the heir to the Swedish throne
Karl Johan and English envoy Lord William Carthart. They met here to jointly set up a plan to defeat Napoleon Bonaparte, which eventually took the form of a six-point document called the Trachenberg Protokoll. It was solemnly signed in the Great Hall of the Żmigród palace.
The Żmigród Agreement was instrumental in defeating French troops at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813 and the subsequent downfall of Napoleon Bonaparte.
It is interesting to note that during the monarchs' stay in Żmigród its then owner, Franz Ludwig von Hatzfeld, had to leave the residence due to illness, and for the duration of his absence the guests were looked after by his wife, Princess Friederike Karoline von Hatzfeld de domo von Schlunenburg-Kehnert (d. 1832).
COAT OF ARMS CARTOUCHE OF THE VON KURTZBACH FAMILY WITH THE DATE OF CONSTRUCTION OF THE TOWER (1560)
COAT OF ARMS CARTOUCHE OF THE VON HATZFELDT FAMILY ON THE PALACE FACADE
n 1827, Ludwig von Hatzfeld died of pneumonia. His heir was Hermann I Anton Fürst von Hatzfeldt Herzog von Trachenberg (d. 1874), a member of the Order of Malta and an political activist. Subsequently, the Żmigród estate passed to the son of Hermann and Marie de domo von Nimptsch (d. 1897),
Hermann II Fürst von Hatzfeldt Herzog von Trachenberg (d. 1933). Shortly after taking over the palace, Hermann II built a residential wing and gave its façade a Neo-Renaissance décor. The last pre-war owner of the large Silesian domain was Hermann III Fürst von Hatzfeldt-Trachenberg (d. 1959), son of Hermann II and Natalie de domo von Benckendorff (1931). Although he planned to rebuild the mansion as well, these plans were thwarted by the outbreak of World War II.
INTERIORS OF THE ŻMIGRÓD PALACE DURING THE LIFETIME OF HERMANN II VON HATZFELDT (1920S)
nticipating the defeat of Germany, as early as August 1944 Hermann III transported the most valuable furnishings of the palace to his ancestral
castle of Crottorf in Rhineland-Palatinate. However, he and his family did not leave Żmigród until January 20, 1945, and (he) never returned here again. Three days later, Soviet armored troops took over the town, and although the palace was not yet destroyed at the time, it turned into a ruin soon by fire, which the Soviets set up out of sheer revenge or only for fun. From then on, the ruin stood abandoned and increasingly neglected, and in the 1970s its southern wing was demolished due to the threat of collapse. It was not until 2007-2012, thanks to EU funds, that remains of the palace underwent restoration, the tower was renovated, and the palace park was revitalized.
PALACE FACADE BEFORE (2002) AND AFTER (2021) REVITALIZATION
In September 2008,
Huberta von Hatzfeldt (d. 2014), then the 93-year-old daughter of the last pre-war owner of the palace, Hermann III Fürst von Hatzfeldt-Trachenberg, attended the celebrations marking the completion of the first stage of the park-palace complex's revitalization. During her stay in Żmigród, she was accompanied by her family: nephew
Sebastian von Hatzfeldt, sister-in-law, Duchess
Sophie von Hatzfeldt (d. 2013) and their children.
ELEVATION OF THE EAST WING AS SEEN FROM THE TERRACE IN THE TOWER
he medieval castle was located among the marshes and floodplains of the Barycz River. It consisted of some buildings surrounded by an oval-shaped wall and a moat, as well as a quadrilateral tower in the northern part and a gate tower integrated into the southern segment of the walls. Presumably, the castle buildings were erected in a half-timbered construction. No remnants of this foundation have survived to the present day.
PLAN OF THE MEDIEVAL CASTLE ON THE BACKGROUND OF THE BAROQUE PALACE
KURT BIMLER: "DIE SCHLESISCHEN MASSIVEN WEHRBAUTEN", 1942
PLAN OF THE ŻMIGRÓD PALACE: 1. TOWER, 2. NORTH WING, 3. CHAPEL, 4. EAST WING,
5. SOUTH WING (NOT EXISTING), 6. PALACE COURTYARD, 7. OAK - VETERAN TREE
he stone and brick tower, which still exists today, was erected in 1560 on the initiative of Wilhelm von Kurtzbach, as we are reminded by a plaque embedded in its facade depicting the Kurtzbach family coat of arms and the date of completion. Currently, it is a four-story quadrangular building with a
spiral staircase, although it originally had only two stories. The next floors were built by the Swedes (in 1642) and by the then-owner Friedrich Hermann I von Hatzfeldt (in 1837). Prince von Hatzfeldt also added the aforementioned staircase, and replaced the hipped roof with a flat roof and a
TOWER IN 1800 ON LEISNER'S ENGRAVING
COPPERPLATE ENGRAVING BY FRIEDRICH GOTTLOB ENDLER, 1803
he tower was built on a quadrilateral plan with sides of 10.4x10.8 meters. It has a single-space layout, i.e. each floor is occupied by only one large room (the exception is the apartment on the third floor). Its basement and ground floor are covered with barrel vaults, while the upper floors have wooden ceilings. The austere brick facades of the tower are enriched with decorative slender blends, the aforementioned coat of arms and commemorative plaque.
ntil recently, both the palace and the adjacent park were abandoned and neglected. It wasn't until 2007-2012 that the park and the palace ruins were revitalized at a cost of 2 million euros, and the tower was renovated. The revitalization included the construction of a massive truss supporting the front wall,
the restoration of the facade, the construction of wooden communication platforms and a metal structure in place of the south wing (demolished in the 1970s).
Preserved architectural details were also exposed, and old photographs depicting the appearance of individual rooms, chambers and corridors before their destruction were placed on the surviving walls of the palace.
TRUSS HOLDS UP FRONT WALL OF PALACE FROM COLLAPSE
he Gothic tower, after major renovation, has become a tourist attraction and a venue for local cultural initiatives. One can visit all its floors: the basement, where a small historical exhibition has been placed, a conference room on the ﬁrst floor, a theater stage on the second floor, a hotel suite above, and an open viewing terrace. The ground floor of the building is occupied by the Tourist Information Center.
TOWER CELLARS: HISTORICAL EXHIBITION
FIRST FLOOR OF THE TOWER: CONFERENCE ROOM
SECOND FLOOR OF THE TOWER: THEATER STAGE
THIRD FLOOR OF THE TOWER: HOTEL SUITE
he palace park is a combination of an 18th-century geometric garden and an English-style landscape park. In the past, a linden and chestnut avenue 1.5 kilometers long led to it from the town center. Today it is dominated by native deciduous species: oaks, beeches, willows, hornbeams, ash trees and red chestnut trees, including the monumental Melchior pedunculate oak and a several-hundred-year-old example of an extensive yew tree. Of particular note, however, are the original
catalpa trees growing in the park, known as cigar trees (UK) or Indian bean trees (USA).
DRIED CATALPA SHELLS TAKEN FROM THE ŻMIGRÓD PARK
he core of the park's composition consists of the palace ruin and the tower, an island with two bridges, a park pavilion and a treillage, and a picnic clearing with a pier and a boat dock on the bank of one of the three picturesque ponds. It is complemented by sculptures, an antique iron flagpole and an 18th-century orangery (which unfortunately remains in ruins).
PALACE PARK IN ŻMIGRÓD
Admission to the tower - paid. Admission to the park and the palace - free.
Dogs in the park should be kept on a leash.
It will take us at least 1.5-2 h to visit the interior of the tower, walk through the ruins and tour the park.
No restrictions for recreational flights.
VIEWING TERRACE ON THE TOP OF THE TOWER
NORTHERN PART OF THE RUINS
he palace and park complex is located in the northern part of the town, on Parkowa Street. It is 1.7 kilometers from the railway station to the ruins of the palace.
Free parking lot on Parkowa Street.
It is allowed to ride a bicycle around the park.
PARKING LOT AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE PARK
Sułów - relics of a ducal castle from the 14th century, 22 km
Milicz - ruins of a ducal castle from the 14th/15th century, 30 km
Wołów - a ducal castle from the 14th century, rebuilt, 31 km Uraz - ruins of a knight's castle from the 13th/14th century, 35 km Góra - relics of a castle from the 14th/15th century, 38 km Czernina - ruins of a nobleman's castle from the 15th-17th centuries, 40 km Rydzyna - a baroque castle from the 15th-17th centuries, 41 km Wojnowice - a renaissance castle from the 16th century, 48 km
Twardogóra - a fortified manor house from the 16th century, now a palace, 50 km