Forget about France and Germany – Poland is the real land of awesome castles! To say that Poland is abundant on ancient (think Bronze Age times) and medieval constructions would be an understatement on a scale of epic proportions. There are literally hundreds of medieval castles and fortresses spread all over the country and many of them are actually well-preserved, whereas others have undergone masterful reconstruction through the years. Picking just a few Polish castles is practically impossible, simply because there are numerous palaces in Poland that deserve everyone’s attention, so here’s just a short list with few of my personal favorites.
How can someone not be taken aback by the Moszna castle’s picturesque edifice? It’s often depicted as one of the most beautiful castles on Earth and for good reasons. The baroque and gothic architectural elements blend well together in this magnificent fairytale façade, which looks almost as if it jumped right out of a Disney movie. Historians initially believed it was built somewhere in the 1600s, but some excavations in its gardens revealed remains of what could be a Templar stronghold.
During the 1970s this castle served as a hospital institution, but nowadays it’s being used as a tourist attraction, as well as a hotel. Complimented by a gym and a sauna visitors can enjoy a night in the lavish rooms and apartment suits, some of which extend up to 150m2. For how much? Compared to many luxurious hotels offering similar suites in terms of interior and floor space, the Moszna castle accommodation is actually affordable!
This Polish castle is not only a fine example of medieval classics, but it’s also the source of many legends – some of them quite chilling. It was constructed at some point during the 1300s and by 1831 it was already abandoned after being destroyed by a fire. Throughout the centuries it has served as the home of a mile-long list of nobles, including one of the most ruthless monarchs Polish history knows – Queen Bona. One of the legends claims that the ghost of Queen Bona haunts the castle grounds, and that her spirit can be seen riding on the back of a horse on one of the towers’ balconies.
What makes Kornik castle so unique in terms of architecture is that it was originally modeled with influences of British and Indian motives, but it was later remodeled in the style of the popular gothic revival movements. It’s nestled among the vast Kornik Arboretum – the oldest botanical garden on the territory of Poland. What’s more, the building actually functions as a museum, as well as the current building of the Kornik Library.
Constructed in the late 1200s, this castle’s magnificent grandeur has been looted, demolished and conquered by Nazi invaders, but nowadays the renovated façade is still a sight for sore eyes. The mixture of gothic, baroque and rococo styles is attracting tourists from all over, but the fascinating architecture isn’t the only thing travelers are interested in.
Its underground tunnels and the castle grounds in general are the subject of some controversy. If we put aside the numerous legends of restless spirits, some of the tunnels are currently being used for scientific research, whereas some historians believe the complex tunnels were meant to serve as a factory for nuclear weapons during the German rule of the castle. And on top of it all there are rumors of hidden Nazi gold and valuable artifacts hidden somewhere in the area.
And lastly, if you’re into something that’s a bit more on the ruined side, yet still well-preserved, then the Krzyżtopór castle ruins are just the thing you’d appreciate. Albeit being left to fate’s hands, what remains of this once lavish complex is still standing tall. Associated with the original owner’s alleged black magic practices, the castle and its surroundings flourished only for a decade before being invaded and partially destroyed in 1655 by Swedish armies. The complex suffered a foreign attack once again in 1770 during the Bar Confederation warfare. One of the legends surrounding the ruins of this castle tells the story of the owner’s ghost who is protecting his family’s hidden treasures.