The medieval stronghold in Janowice Wielkie is an example of an upland castle extended over several phases and making excellent use of the terrain, including the scenic rock formations found in the Rudawy Janowickie mountains. The ruins of this knights’ castle are situated on a granite hill at an altitude of 561 m, rising over the surroundings.
It was known from the Middle Ages by the name of Bolko (in 1375 das Bolzenschlos, later Bolkoschlos and Bolzenstein). According to some researchers the castle was built in the second half of the 14th century by the knight Clericus von Boltz, courtier of the Świdnica-Jawor dukes. However, other sources give the castle as being constructed in the years 1163-1201 by Duke Boleslaw I the Tall to defend the homes and mines in the neighbourhood.Clericus Bolze became owner of the nearby village of Mniszków in 1370, buying it together with the mines from Heirich der Baier.Some historians date the completion of the castle’s construction to probably before 1386, when nearby Falcon Stone castle (Sokolec) entered the possession of the knight Hannos Reinbaben. The lie of the land was made maximum use of here, as were the lone-standing rocks which were connected by stone wall, thereby creating a courtyard. A square tower was built on one of the rocks, and on the opposite side of the courtyard was a residential building connected to the chaplain’s house, the stairs to which were carved into the rock, while the women’s house was located next to the tower. A well was cut into the rock, and a bakery and kitchens were built on the south-eastern side of the courtyard.Intended from then on as the family’s seat, the building – watching over the trade routes passing nearby – was destroyed in 1433 by Świdnica townsmen representing the interests of the Wroclaw bishop; they arrived in arms, their purpose to put an end to the frequent banditry on the roads – because not only did the Bolczów owners sympathise with the Hussites, but they were also involved in “robber knight” activities, attacking merchants’ trains.
On 15 October 1512, the district governor of the Świdnica-Jawor duchy, Konrad von Hochberg, sold the villages of Mniszków, Miedzanka, Janowice and Bolzenstein together with all the mines and mining sites to Hals Diepold von Burghaus.Following the ravages of war, it took until 1517-1518 for the castle to be rebuilt, probably by Hans Dippold von Burghaus. This was when the courtyard was established, and a defensive tower was raised at the southern corner while numerous embrasures were built into the walls. Natural rocks were used for the rebuilding, creating a monolithic building. It constituted one of the most powerful strategic points, and was particularly important to Silesia due to the stormy times related to frequent battles aimed at keeping the region with the Czech crown.In 1537 Hans Dippold von Burghaus sold his properties in Mniszków, Miedzianka and Janowice, as well as the Bolczów castle, to the royal secretary Jost Ludwig Dietz. The latter issued a new mining law in 1539, comprising 113 articles – of which number 13 released the mines from taxation. Despite this, after just 4 years in 1543, he sold all his property to the brothers Hans and Franz Hellmann. At this point the stronghold was strengthened further because of the Turks threatening Silesia. In the years 1520-1550 the castle was once again extended and modernised. A stone wall was raised in front of the gate tower, and a bastion and dry moat were built. The walls were also adapted for artillery weapons by building in inverted keyhole embrasures. The work continued until 1550, which was also probably when the moat was dug out on the side of the barbican and a bridge was built over it.The castle’s next owners were the Schaffgotsch family, and Daniel von Schaffgotsch carried out a minor conversion of the castle in the years 1608-1609. During the Thirty Years’ War the castle initially served as shelter for the local population, of various standing, but was soon reinforced and manned with imperial forces, and in 1641 yielded to the pressure of the Swedish forces. Four years later, on 5 December 1645, and presumably as a result of betrayal by one of the defenders, the castle was once again seized and set fire to by the Swedes – when the timber structure as well as the roof truss and covering also burned. Bolczów was never to recover its former splendour after this date. In a state of highly advanced but still beautiful ruins it became a tourist attraction for the region, and for example in 1824 was visited by the King Frederick William III of Prussia, together with his wife the Countess Auguste von Harrach and Empress Consort Alexandra of Russia, and a few years later by the Duke and future Emperor of Germany, William I. Count Wilhelm Stolberg-Wernigerode, who lived in Janowice, bought the castle in 1848 and set about protecting and partially reconstructing the crumbling walls, tidying up the grounds around it, and getting the filled-in well back into working order. Wooden stairs and banisters were built to improve the safety for visitors, and to enable usage of the viewing points overlooking the panorama of the Giant Mountains.
In the late 19th century a small hotel for tourists was built by the wall closing the upper castle’s courtyard; it was said to be housed in the large Knights’ Hall. This was just advertising, and descriptions of the time reveal that it was rather just a modest eatery. At the same time work was carried out on protecting the ruins. The castle hostel ceased to function after 1945, and devoid of any supervision the site began falling into ruin. Only in 1965 was work carried out to protect the site, unnecessary trees were removed, the tops of the walls were cleaned and a new bridge and gate were made.The oldest section of the complex remains the upper castle, which occupies the area between two rock formations partially included in the defensive periphery. The north-western hill, known as the “Chaplain’s Hill”, used to have a stone residence measuring 7.8 by 20 metres, with cellars and two chambers on the ground floor; its walls have survived to this day. A four-sided defensive bastion was built on the opposite side, and a gate was built into the southern curtain leading to the irregular castle boroughs. In the central part of the courtyard was a water cistern carved out of the rock. The castle’s modern phase of development presents a well-maintained gate system with a tower, bastion and barbican leading to the bridge over the moat.References:
Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius.
Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King Philip III of Spain on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, count of Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Balducci, and Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the Royal Chapel of Assumption was not completed until 1644 by Antonio Picchiatti.
In 1734, with the arrival of Charles III of Spain to Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. On the occasion of his marriage to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738, Francesco De Mura and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro helped remodel the interior. Further modernization took place under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a 'new wing' was added, which in 1927 became the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to Reggia of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.
During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by Joachim Murat and his wife, Caroline Bonaparte, with Neoclassic decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a Party Wing and a Belvedere were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceroyal palace of Pedro de Toledo.
In 1922, it was decided to transfer here the contents of the National Library. The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.
The library suffered from bombing during World War II and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.