Hi all! I've been seeing a lot of interest in travel to Poland these past few days. So I decided to share another one of my photo albums, this time of my 2017 trip to the little-known south-west corner of Poland, the ancient region of Silesia, bordering Czechia to the south and Germany to the west.
Here is the link to my photo album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/U1z9SUz3E9HsACw47
I would describe Silesia as a land of rolling green hills flanked by the imposing Sudeten mountain range. The landscape is dotted with forgotten medieval villages, baroque spa towns, and grand old castles. This region has been at the center of a constant tug-of-war since the middle ages, between the Germans, the Poles, the Czechs, and the Austrians. Outside of the regional capital of Wrocław, Silesia was mostly spared from the destruction of WWII, as most of the fighting went north.
I went in early September and while many of the historical sites were very well preserved, they were surprisingly untouristed. Even though I was in the heart of Europe, I felt like I was really off the beaten path. I rented a car in Wrocław and used spa town of Polanica as a base to explore the region.
My first stop was the medieval town of Kłodzko which is referred to as the “Little Prague”, definitely the baroque architecture of the town reflected that. By far the most interesting site in the town is the old Prussian Fortress that dominates the center of the town. It was apparently one of the largest star fortifications in the Prussian Empire and is in remarkably well preserved. Again I was literally the only one in the fortress, had the whole thing to myself to explore!
The day after was Zamek Książ aka (Schloss Fürstenstein in German) a large, an originally medieval castle of the Duchy of Pless, which overlooks the Pełcznica river gorge. During WW2 the Germans built underground tunnels here. In these tunnels is apparently where the train filled with Nazi gold is hidden. This tunnel network was part of Project Riese, which was a secret Nazi project consisting of several underground megastructures (for yet unknown reasons).
Early the next day I made the trip up to the Protestant Churches of Peace in Jawor and Świdnica, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the biggest timber-framed religious buildings in Europe built after the 30 Years War. Again, I found I had the whole place to myself and a UNESCO World Heritage Site at that :)
I coupled that trip with a stop at Ząbkowice Śląskie aka (Frankenstein in German) for dinner at a medieval restaurant, I chose their ham-hock specialty dish paired with spiced mead, fantastic! This town of Frankenstein has often been speculated as the inspiration Shelley's Frankenstein story. At dusk, the town itself had a very spooky medieval feeling with its Neo-Gothic Rathaus and leaning Renaissance Tower.
The next set of photos is from Polanica, an old German spa town located in the Sudeten mountain range. Really relaxing place with restorative mineral waters, I had the best pierogi I've ever had in Poland at Villa Polanica, where I stayed during my time in the region.
The next day was all about the nature, I visited the Stołowe Mountains National Park, a primeval forest deep in the Sudeten Mountain Range, dotted with some very unique rock formations (they actually filmed one of the Narnia movies there). There are some pretty good hiking spots here, between the rock formations themselves!
The last 2 days were back at Wrocław, which I had been to twice previously. One new place I visited was the Old Wroclaw Arsenal, which houses an exceptional museum of 20th century militaria and armaments, including a fascinating exposition of historical Polish Sabers. The Arsenal also houses the Silesian Archaeological Museum, which has ancient Roman and Celtic artifacts found in the area.
Well that's about all the room I have lol, hopefully this can stoke some travel dreams to the lesser known parts of Poland!