Guest Author - Barbara Swiech
There are some popular trails that let the tourists get to know the most astonishing European castles. Although Poland might not be the country famous for routes of castles, it can still boast of some superb architecture masterpieces that withstood the time. There is the ‘Eagle Nest Trail’ that used to protect south of Poland (however, all the castles – apart from one – were destroyed and only their remains are available to tourists). There are also other, gothic, baroque, bigger, smaller, all are unique and all bear witness to the history and power of the country.
Below you will find only some of finest examples of Polish castles that are spread around the whole country. They differ between each other a lot but all are worth visiting.
The castle, situated in the very centre of Krakow, rises on the Wawel Hill over the city that used to be the capital of Poland. It is not only one of the most beautiful castles of the country but also the former seat of kings while adjoining cathedral mausoleum of the rulers and national heroes. Beautiful renaissance courtyard remembers the Jagiellonian dynasty that governed Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The hill reveals also the remains of Romanesque architecture, gothic buildings, renaissance chapels and rich baroque interiors.
The castle, that used to belong to the Teutonic Order that inhabited north of Poland, is one of the finest examples of gothic architecture in whole country. Malbork castle is world’s largest brick gothic castle that served as a fortress. It was built at the end of 13th century. The castle complex consists of 3 sections that were in 1997 placed on the list of A UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Malbork is also the biggest castle of Poland.
Third biggest Polish castle is situated in the borders of Walbrzych and is a part of the ‘Trail of Piast Dynasty’s Castles’ that runs through Lower Silesia region. Ksiaz castle, built at the end of 13th century, most probably replaced wooden burgh. The castle, built by one of Polish princes of Piast dynasty, changed its owners till 16th century when it was given to the Hochberg family. During the WWII it was confiscated by the Nazis while after the end of the war it served as a seat of Russian army. The restoration has been led since 1974.