Throughout its history Lower Silesia has changed the hands between Poland, Bohemia, Austria and Germany. Today the area cointains a rich variety of medieval fortified castles, Baroque palaces and rare churches as well as traces from the dark ages of World War II.
Książ Castle, the third largest castle in Poland, is located on a majestic rock cliff by the side of the Pelcznica River. Beautifully surrounded by the forest within a 315500 actre nature reserve, at the height of 395m above sea level, castle is often called ‘the Pearl of Lower Silesia’. Such location corresponding to the size of the building is very rare in Europe.
Książ (in German Fürstenstein) was built in 1288-1292 under Bolko I the Strict (Duke of Świdnica and Jawor) after the original fortification was destroyed in the year 1263 by Ottokar II of ...
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is a landmark of the city of Wrocław in Poland. The current standing cathedral is the fourth church to have been built on the site. A first church at the location of the present cathedral was built under Přemyslid rule in the mid 10th century, a fieldstone building with one nave about 25 m in length, including a distinctive transept and an apse. After the Polish conquest of Silesia and the founding of the Wrocław diocese under the Piast duke Bolesław I Chrobry about 1000, this Bohemian church was replaced by a larger basilical structure ...
The Centennial Hall was constructed according to the plans of architect Max Berg in 1911–1913, when the city was part of the German Empire. The building and surroundings is frequently visited by tourists and the local populace.
As an early landmark of reinforced concrete architecture, the building became one of Poland"s official national Historic Monuments, as designated April 20, 2005, together with the Four Domes Pavilion, the Pergola, and the Iglica. Its listing is maintained by the National Heritage Board of Poland. It was also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.
It was ...
The Royal Palace was originally a palace of the Prussian monarchy and today it houses the city museum. Initially a Baroque palace of Heinrich Gottfried von Spätgen, chancellor of Bishop Francis Louis of Neuburg, it was built in 1717 in a Viennese style. In 1750, after Prussia took control over Silesia in the First Silesian War, the palace was purchased by the Prussian king Frederick the Great and was converted into his residence. The palace was extended from 1751 to 1753 in the Baroque style with Rococo interiors designed by the royal architect Johann Boumann. Boumann's additions included a t ...
Gross-Rosen concentration camp was a German network of Nazi concentration camps built and operated during World War II. The main camp was located in the village of Gross-Rosen not far from the border with occupied Poland, in the modern-day Rogoźnica, Poland.
At its peak activity in 1944, the Gross-Rosen complex had up to 100 subcamps located in eastern Germany, Czechoslovakia, and on the territory of occupied Poland. The population of all Gross-Rosen camps at that time accounted for 11% of the total number of inmates incarcerated in the Nazi concentration camp system.
KZ Gross-Rosen w ...
Lubiąż Abbey, also commonly known as Leubus Abbey, is a former Cistercian monastery. The abbey, established in 1175, is one of the largest Christian architectural complexes in the world and is considered a masterpiece of Baroque Silesian architecture.
The abbey is situated near a ford across the Oder river, where a Benedictine monastery and church of Saint James may have been established about 1150, but had already been abandoned before 1163. At this time the area belonged to the Duchy of Silesia, bequeathed by Duke Bolesław III Wrymouth of Poland to his eldest son Władys& ...
Czocha Castle is located on the Lake Leśnia, what is now the Polish part of Upper Lusatia. Czocha castle was built on gneiss rock, and its oldest part is the keep, to which housing structures were later added.
Czocha Castle began as a stronghold, on the Czech-Lusatian border. Its construction was ordered by Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, in the middle of the 13th century (1241–1247). In 1253 castle was handed over to Konrad von Wallhausen, Bishop of Meissen. In 1319 the complex became part of the dukedom of Henry I of Jawor, and after his death, it was taken over by another Silesian pr ...
The Churches of Peace in Jawor and Świdnica, the largest timber-framed religious buildings in Europe, were built in the former Silesia in the mid-17th century, amid the religious strife that followed the Peace of Westphalia. Constrained by the physical and political conditions, the Churches of Peace bear testimony to the quest for religious freedom and are a rare expression of Lutheran ideology in an idiom generally associated with the Catholic Church. Since 2001, the remaining churches are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The church in Jawor has capacity of 5,500. It was construct ...
The Churches of Peace in Jawor and Świdnica, the largest timber-framed religious buildings in Europe, were built in the former Silesia in the mid-17th century, amid the religious strife that followed the Peace of Westphalia. Constrained by the physical and political conditions, the Churches of Peace bear testimony to the quest for religious freedom and are a rare expression of Lutheran ideology in an idiom generally associated with the Catholic Church.
The Church of the Holy Trinity in Świdnica was built in 1656–1657 as a three-aisled basilica with a Greek cross ground plan.
The church c ...
Kłodzko Fortress is a unique fortification complex of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship in southwestern Poland. The fortress once was one of the biggest strongholds in Prussian Silesia, however, in the whole German Empire, it was regarded as a minor one. Now, together with an extensive network of tunnels, it is one of the biggest attractions of the town of Kłodzko, with its underground labyrinth and a repository of different objects, from old fire engines to local glassware.
A stronghold on Kłodzko"s Castle Hill was mentioned for the first time in the Chronicle of Bohemians. Most ...
The Skull Chapel (Kaplica Czaszek) or St. Bartholomew's Church, is an ossuary chapel. Built in last quarter of the 18th century on the border of the then Prussian County of Glatz, the temple serves as a mass grave with thousands of skulls and skeletal remains 'adorning' its interior walls as well as floor, ceiling and foundations. The Skull Chapel is the only such monument in Poland, and one of six in Europe.
The chapel was built in 1776 by Czech local parish priest Václav Tomášek. It is the mass grave of people who died during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), three Si ...
12. Srebrna Góra Fortress
Srebrna Góra Fortress was constructed in 1765–1777 when the territory was part of the Kingdom of Prussia. The fort is one of Poland"s official national Historic Monuments and has been declared a rare example of a surviving European 18th century mountain stronghold.
The fortress in Srebrna Góra was built by the order of Frederick II, the King of Prussia. It was designed by Prussian architect Ludwig Wilhelm Regeler, aided by a number of Prussian military engineers. Minor additional works took place in the following years, but no major alterations were made; construction of a nea ...
Vang stave church was bought by King Frederick William IV of Prussia and transferred from Vang in the Valdres region of Norway and re-erected in 1842 in Brückenberg near Krummhübel in Silesia, now Karpacz in Poland. It was originally used by a congregation belonging to the Church of Norway, then the Evangelical Church of Prussia, and now serves the Evangelical-Augsburg Church in Poland.
The church is a four-post single-nave stave church originally built around 1200 in the parish of Vang in the Valdres region of Norway.
Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.
The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.
The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.
The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.
The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.
The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.
In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.
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