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.
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.
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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