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Authored by Inka Piegsa-Quischotte

From the moment we stepped onto the bus, our tour guide was pelted with questions from my excited fellow travelers. “Where is the gold train?” “Can we see it?” “Have they confirmed yet what it contains?” “Have they actually FOUND it?” Things to do in Lower Silesia. Gold train Poland news. 

Frankly, I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about, but I soon found out. We were on our way to the majestic 13th century Ksiaz castle in Walbrzych, Lower Silesia, where it is rumored that underground tunnels hide a train laden with Nazi gold from the second World War. Castles to visit in Poland. 

The Gold Train of Walbrzych

Książ Castle is the third largest castle in Poland, located on a majestic rock cliff by the side of the Pelcznica River. Over the centuries it has changed hands many times. Is there Nazi gold in Poland? Polish treasure hunt. 

In 1943, Nazi Germany started Project Riese which entailed the construction of seven underground structures below the castle and the Owl mountains as a secure headquarters for Hitler and his officials. The system comprises several tunnels and railway shafts, but none were completed due to the Red Army occupation of Ksiaz in 1945. The Gold Train of Walbrzych. Poland gold find. 

Rumors about a train laden with 300 tons of gold, works of art, jewels and even parts of the Amber Chamber of Saint Petersburg started to fly around in the 1970’s. It was said to be hidden in an underground shaft close to the castle.

This first wave of rumor had already sparked the interest of amateur gold diggers, but it wasn’t until August of that year that two individuals by the names of Andreas Richter and Piotr Koper approached the Polish government with a view to negotiate a finder’s fee of 10% in exchange for revealing the exact location of the train which they claimed to have identified. They supported their claim with radar images showing a railway shaft and, indeed, what could be a train. What is the gold train in Poland? Latest news on Polish gold train.

Since then, the gold train treasure hunt has gathered momentum. Thousands of tourists and treasure hunters flock to the region each year in the hopes of finding the load. As the major of Jelina Gora, our next stop, said: “It doesn’t really matter whether or not they finally find the train or if it even has gold in it. To us, it’s worth pure gold already. The media hype has produced such publicity, that our visitors numbers have doubled in just a few months and we are very happy whatever the outcome”. Polish gold train 2016.

At present, the densely wooded area is being cleared and carefully searched for landmines before the Polish Army can begin excavations in earnest.

Kisaz Castle

After all that thrill, we were ready to visit the castle proper. Located on top of a hill and surrounded by a huge park, the castle in its present form is the work of the von Hochberg family who acquired it in 1605 and owned it until the Germans occupied it in 1941, beginning Operation Riese in 1943.

The super rich von Hochbergs added baroque extensions and converted the castle into a summer palace, with baths, terraces, ballrooms, extensive gardens, decorating it with paintings and works of art. Best castles in Poland.

A memorable personality is Duchess Daisy, the British  wife of the last owner, Jan Henry XV, famous for her eccentricity, love of luxury and seven meter long string of perfectly matched pearls. Does Poland have castles you can visit?

Much of the furniture and works of art were destroyed or stolen, but since the 1950s great restoration work has been undertaken to restore the castle to its former glory. Polish castles pictures. Famous castles in Poland.

And then we descended into the nether world to wander along part of the vast tunnel system which runs under the castle. It’s chilling down there and one can’t but help thinking about the thousands of concentration camp inmates who were forced to do the work and lost their lives in the process.

With a sigh of relief we returned to the gardens and continued our tour of the Castles and Palaces of Lower Silesia with the next one, Kliczkow castle.

Kliczkow Castle

If the landscape was already delightful, arrival at the vast Neo Renaissance Castle was even more so. We were received in style by ladies in costume and a ‘medieval’ guide who told us about the castle’s history.

It’s amazing what changes and destructions this castle has gone through since it was first built in the 13th century. It belonged at one time to the Jesuits  and even burnt down twice, but nevertheless, now stands in splendor again. In addition, it’s one of the best and most luxurious hotels in Lower Silesia.

I just loved the room keys, no swipe cards but heavy keys which evoke the castle atmosphere. The rooms are huge with period furniture, eiderdown pillows and duvets and an ample bathroom. Free broadband, TV and all other amenities are provided to make your stay comfortable.

Before using the nice pool and wellness center, the surrounding woods and the moat invite to strolling. Early morning is best to contemplate the mist rising from the valleys of the mountains in the distance. It’s all just so romantic and relaxing and the food was excellent too. Polish castles and palaces.

Lower Silesia is an enchanting region in Poland, full of history and mystery, well worth as an off the beaten path holiday destination.

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Born in Germany, Inka Piegsa-Quischotte is a serial expat, having lived in Switzerland, the UK, Spain, Turkey, Miami and South Africa. Working as an international attorney for over 20 years, she switched careers to become a free lance travel writer, photographer and novelist, and now runs the blog Glamour Granny Travels.

Her articles have appeared in GoNomad, Offbeattravel, Europeupclose, Lighthouse digest, Neos Kosmos, Literary Traveler, Smithsonian Magazine, GoWorldTravel, Weather2travel, Spain-holidays, and many more. One of her recent stories about Hasankeyf/Turkey has been published in BBC/Travel.

Photo credits: All photos of Książ Castle by Mariusz Cieszewski for PolandMFA. Except for “Open gate” by Tym. Kliczkow Castle photos by reporteer.

    24 Comments

  1. Such incredible history there! I’ve heard of the Gold Train but to experience it in person would be incredible.

    • Hope you have the chance to visit Poland soon Jim :) So glad you enjoyed Inka’s post as much as me!

  2. I feel like Krakow/ Auschwitz and Warsaw are the two main places people look to in Poland, I’ve actually never heard of Silesia but it sounds fascinating! And I love that the hotel had real, old keys! Just gives a more unique and atmospheric feel to it all!

    • I’m glad we could introduce you to another region of Poland LeAnna :) Hope you have the chance to travel here soon!

  3. I really enjoy reading your writing – you are a talented story teller. Great photography, as well!

    • So glad you enjoyed Inka’s post!

  4. I had never heard of the Gold Train! Very interesting history, I always love the quirky tales that come with places like this (7 meters of pearls, lol).

    And castle keys instead of swipe cards, so much better!

    • I think every hotel around the world should implement castle keys lol … would make it more difficult to misplace them that’s for sure!! Though key theft would probably go through the roof just because they’re that cool :D

  5. Whenever I research the net, I see Krakow and Warsaw and other things. I haven’t heard of this but there seems to be a lot of interesting history behind it. Glad to read something unique.

    • Glad we could introduce you to a different part of Poland you hadn’t yet hard about :) Hope you have the chance to visit soon!

  6. This post has definitely piqued the history-lover in me! I’ve never heard of Lower Silesia. The castles and the story of a gold train are the perfect ingredients for intrigue and wonder. I’m contemplating a trip to Poland in the next few months. Going to definitely keep this post in mind should I head there. Pinning it, too!

    • Thanks Jackie! So glad you enjoyed the post – definitely a fascinating history here. Have a wonderful trip to Poland … definitely make a stop in at Lower Silesia if you have the time :)

  7. I really enjoyed your post Inka! I honestly never heard of this ‘Nazi gold’ train before…..intriguing! I can only imagine that the guys over there don’t really care if the rumors are true or not – the fact that they are getting so much tourism out of the story is ‘gold’ enough for them. I’ve never been to Poland and will surely keep this post in mind when visiting. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Tess, and that we could introduce you to the legend of the gold train! And totally agree with you – the department in charge of tourism to Lower Silesia probably thinks the legend is worth it’s weight in gold anyway just from the amount of tourism it brings in :D!

  8. What an interesting story–I wonder if they will ever find the gold or if it is really even there! Kisaz Castle looks really beautiful and I love that Kliczkow Castle is a hotel. Having a room with old heavy keys like that is always so fun–it makes it feel so much more special that way!

    • Only time will tell I guess! Makes for a really intriguing story though!! Hope you have the chance to visit Poland soon Jenna – I’m sure you would love Kliczkow Castle :)

  9. Fantastic photographs! The glowing photo of the Kisaz Castle is beautiful- straight out of a storybook. Love the ladies in costume as well, and opening doors with heavy keys. Thats definitely an experience in our digital world.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Mar! The castles really do look like they’re straight from the pages of a fairytale don’t they! Would be such an amazing experience to have the opportunity to step back in time like that :)

  10. I am not really a fan of castles and I never visited any. Not a historic traveler at all but I am open to visiting one of these someday!

    • Well if you do have the chance to visit Poland, definitely give the castles a chance. Who knows, it may turn out that you end up loving them!

  11. Thanks for sharing, I didn’t know the story of the lost gold. Always fun to learn something new. Kisaz Castle looks absolutely breathtaking.

    • Hope you have the chance to visit for yourself soon :)

  12. That’s one thing I love about living in Europe. There are a tremendous amount of castles in every country. Just to cover all of the castles in Germany alone would take me a long time. Have you ever been to Schloss Lichtenstein? It was built around the year 1150, destroyed twice, then once it was rebuilt in 1388, it became almost indestructible. I’m kind of on a authentic medieval castle/fortress kick right now.

    • Absolutely! Europe is an amazing continent – I’ve only been to Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, though would love to get back and properly explore. Schloss Lichtenstein looks just as spectacular!

      Don’t blame you for being on a medieval castle/fortress kick – the more I visit the more of an addict I become too!

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