Standing next to medieval walls, some of which had their youth in the middle ages, we can easily find ourselves in a time machine and go on a journey that touches some of the most colourful corners of our imagination.
Most of the stones and bricks, which were first laid and then demolished, burned or rebuilt elsewhere, are a living testimony to the volatility and customs of the times. By tracking the history of some of our selected Lower Silesian castles and palaces, it is easy to notice that most of them appear to have a similar historical framework. They were built by someone from the Piast Dynasty (the castles) or by their rich German owners (the palaces) then subsequently sold, donated, attacked or stripped, usually not living up to its defensive or stately duties and finally falling into disrepair. They can even be linked by those architects who have attempted to rebuild some of them! Even though they seem to posses common genes, each building has, however, retained its own distinct characteristics and has managed to maintain its own unique atmosphere.
Primarily, people lead us through the eras – the most ancient ones remain alive in stories that border on history and legend. Others, through their deeds, are still present and give us testimony of their uniqueness. Finally, those from modern times, who have undertaken the huge effort to improve the material and spiritual culture of Lower Silesia in these times of slowly emerging stability after so many years of turmoil. They are turning to the past in a variety of cultural activities, ranging from the spectacular re-enactment of battles to the regeneration of prosaic kitchen recipes. Paradoxically, they clearly affected the way we look at the future, shaping, through their treatment, entirely new patterns. Whilst wandering along the Lower Silesian section of the European Route of Castles and Palaces we will look at the same walls as our ancestors once did, we will rest amongst the same greenery like the ancient knights, perhaps we will even taste the same dishes. All the richer for the experiences of past eras, we not only have the opportunity to take a fascinating journey through time and space but also learn a valuable lesson for the future.
This predetermined route is one of the leading tourist attractions in Poland. There are 16 extraordinary examples of palaces and castles located along this 750km long trail. A further 40 carefully selected locations can also be visited along the way. There is certainly no lack of attractions here! Not only the castles, situated in some of the most stunning and scenic locations in unspoilt natural enclaves, but also the long history, sometimes nearly 1,000 years that surrounds them, attracts visitors like culinary delights to your taste buds. It is also possible to spend the night at some of these locations. Cultural life flourishes here and visitors often come across historical re-enactments during their travels or some other remarkable experiences. We have taken into consideration the pleasure of riding a motorbike in choosing the route that links these historical monuments. The contents of our “More than a Map” have been supplemented with useful information for the modern-day knights of the road. The European Route of Castles and Palaces invites you to Lower Silesia!