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:
Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).
Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.
Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.
An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.
On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".