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 Bohemia. Duke Bolko II of Świdnica died in 1368 without having children with his wife Agnes von Habsburg. After her death in the year 1392 King Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia obtained the castle. In 1401 Janko from Chociemice obtained the castle.
The Bohemian Hussites occupied the castle between 1428-1429. In the year 1464 Birka from Nasiedla obtained the castle from the Bohemian crown. He sold it to Hans von Schellendorf. This second castle was destroyed in 1482 by Georg von Stein. In the year 1509 Konrad I von Hoberg obtained the castle hill. The Hochberg family owned the castle until the 1940s.
Jan Henryk XV carried the the biggest development in the Castle’s history. Between 1908 – 1923 north and west renaissance extensions were being developed. Castle’s tower has reached the height of 47m and was covered with the domed helmet and the lantern. Also the Castle’s gardens took its current shape.
The castle was seized by the Nazi government in 1944 because the Prince of Pless Hans Heinrich XVII had moved to England in 1932 and became a British citizen, also his brother Count Alexander of Hochberg who was a Polish citizen and the owner of Schloss Pleß (today Pszczyna Castle), had joined the Polish army. Fürstenstein castle was a part of the Project Riese (a construction project of Nazi Germany, consisting of seven underground structures located in the Owl Mountains) until 1945 when it was occupied by the Red army. All artifacts were stolen or destroyed.
Up to 1956 the castle was decaying the the restoration took place between 1956-1974.References:
The Château de Fougères is an impressive castle with curtain wall and 13 towers. It had three different enclosures, first for defensive purposes, second for day to day usages in peacetime and for safety of the surrounding populations in times of siege, the last enclosure was where the keep was situated.
The first wooden fort was built by the House of Amboise in the 11th century. It was destroyed in 1166 after it was besieged and taken by King Henry II of England. It was immediately rebuilt by Raoul II Baron de Fougères. Fougères was not involved in the Hundred Years' War until 1449 when the castle was taken by surprise by an English mercenary. In 1488 the French troops won the castle back after a siege and the castle lost its military role.
In the late 18th century the castle was turned into a prison. The owner in this period was the Baron Pommereul. In the 19th century the outer ward became an immense landscaped garden. A museum was established in the Mélusine Tower. During the Industrial Revolution, a shoe factory set up shop in the castle grounds.
The City of Fougères took ownership of the Château in 1892. It had been a listed Historical Monument since 1862. A major campaign was launched to clean up the castle walls. While the castle had retained many of its original features, some of the curtain walls needed to be cleared and certain sections required major repairs. The changes made in the 18th century were "reversed," and the castle was finally open to visitors. The first campaign of archaeological excavations, conducted in 1925, unearthed the ruins of the manor house.
Since then, the Château de Fougères has welcomed tens of thousands of visitors every year. The castle's excellent state of conservation, and the historical interest of its architecture, make Fougères an invaluable window onto the Middle Ages. From great lords to simple builders, generations of inhabitants have left their mark on these walls.