The Valley of Palaces and Gardens is a a unique complex of 30 beautiful residences. In an area of only 102 km2, Gothic castles, defensive towers, Renaissance manors, baroque palaces and 19th-century, neo-Gothic, neo-Renaissance and classicist mansions, built by the most outstanding architects of the era can be easily visited and sightseen.
In the Romantic era, the local mansions were surrounded by extensive landscape parks, taking advantage of the natural values of the landscape. It was in here that the most eminent European families had their lands: the Habsburgs, Hohelzollerns, Schaffgotschs, Czartoryski and Radziwił. In addition to the aristocracy, the area was also enjoyed by artists, philosophers and nature lovers (eg. Fryderyk Chopin, Johan Wolfgang von Goethe, John Quincy Adams). This is why nowadays, it is also a magnet for tourists.
The main reason why so many wonderful mansions and palaces are located in Lower Silesia is simple enough. In the nineteenth century, the Prussian court decided that this area would be perfect for the Kaiser himself. This decision quickly made the Jelenia Góra Basin famous among the Prussian elites, which, like the elite, always liked to follow the trends set by the ruler. After all, where the emperor and the Prussian court were, there were also many nobles hoping for an opportunity to establish a connection with the imperial family. As a result, aristocratic palaces, mansions and castles built in this area, and the surroundings of Jelenia Góra became famous as the "Silesian Elysium". It is here, among the ruins of the old Piast walls, that sumptuous palaces arose, surrounded by beautiful landscaping parks and gardens.
Thanks to the initiative of the current owners, the residences are experiencing a second youth. Many of them have been carefully restored. Thanks to this, the original decorations, spatial arrangements and extensive parks or gardens have survived showing craftmanship and artistry of outstanding architects who built them over the centuries.
It is situated about 10 km from Jelenia Góra and 112 km from Wrocław (about 2 h drive). The first palace in this place was erected in the 16th century in Renaissance style. In the 17th century after major reconstruction it got Baroque characteristics. Finally, with yet another reconstruction in the 19th century it achieved its current Neo-Gothic style. Nowadays, the palace is a modern conference centre with 7 conference rooms. It also offers space for 200 guests in 11 apartments and 81 rooms. In the palace and park area there are also 2 restaurants, a café, a tavern, 2 tennis courts, a pitch and a SPA centre and wellness zone with a swimming pool. The palace is surrounded by 16 hectares park in which, during the last renovation in 2005-2007, the old historic paths and promenades were restored and new garden houses, a fountain and flower beds were created. Wojanów Palace is an interesting and really well maintained monument that you really should visit.
According to researchers, the first building in Karpniki could be built in the 15th century. Still, the neo-Gothic palace bears traces of numerous modernizations. There are, among others, Renaissance portals, a gothic tower, as well as nineteenth-century elements of decor. However, the most beautiful memento of the old days is the 200-year-old landscape park. Today, the palace in Karpniki houses a hotel and a restaurant.
In the royal estate of Frederick William III there is now a school, which is worth visiting to see, for example, the ballroom and the pavilion with a terrace. The building is surrounded by a landscape park from the royal times.
The present shape of the Zedlitz estate in Łomnica was given during the last reconstruction in the 19th century. The contemporary look, however, does not differ much from that of the penultimate Baroque modernization some 100 years earlier. Inside, the most interesting elements include the original hall with Doric columns and frescoes. The palace is surrounded by a picturesque park from 1835.
Chojnik mountain in Sudety has on top Chojnik castle ruins. The peak is 627 m above the sea level and it is located in Karkonoski National Park. The castle, now in ruin, was built in the 50s of the 14th century. Currently, every year there is a crossbow tournament every year and the castle is headquarters of a knights’ fraternity. By the castle there is also a restaurant. There are a few touristic trails to Chojnik. Still, the most popular are red and black trails from Sobieszowo. The red trail offers gentle slopes. The black trail via Zbójnickie rocks is more demanding. On the other hand it is more picturesque and even families with children usually deal well with it. If you plan to visit Sudetes, you should really include this place in your trip plan.
The Valley of Palaces and Gardens, located in the Jelenia Góra Valley, in the western part of Lower Silesia, is unique on a European scale. The richness of architecture and beautiful landscape parks make this place enchant with a wonderful combination of the beauty of nature with the vivid and rich history of this region. This place is even trying to be entered on the UNESCO list. It is really worth to discover the peaceful lands and beautiful architectural attractions. Contact ITS-Poland DMC to organize your stay here.
Author: Agnieszka Szwedzińska