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Dates of visit:
September 15 - 30, 2009

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Trip Highlights:
 Meeting Cousins
 Historic Berlin
 Karkonosze Forest
 Town of Boleslawiec
 Town of Nowy Sol
 Town of Zielona Gora
 City of Wroclaw
 Wang Church
 Kowary Mine
 Klotzko Fortress
 Ladek Zdroj

 Kachina

[ Home ] [ Travel Page ] [ Trip ] [ Part 1 ] [ Part 2 ] [ Part 3 ] [ Part 4 ] [ Part 6 ]
Intro Page - Introduction to trip
Part 1 of trip - Berlin, Germany
Part 2 of trip - Meeting Family, Towns of Kozuchow, Nowy Sol, Zielona Gora
Part 3 of trip - Lower Silesia, Boleslawiec City, Karkonosze and Zamek Chojnik
Part 4 of trip - Szklarska Poreba, Vang Church, Hauptmann & Hofman Houses
Part 6 of trip - Wroclaw + Panorama, Zagan + Stalag Luft III, Military Museum
Towns and Cities of Lower Silesia

Sztolnie Kowary (Mine)

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Location of Kowary

KOwary Coat of ArmsKowary (German: Schmiedeberg im Riesengebirge) … in 1945, Kowary was returned to Poland. It lies approximately 14 km (9 mi) southeast of Jelenia Góra. The town had a population of ~12,000.









Official city web site (Polish): City of Kowary (English option available)

Old Uranium Mine at Kletno ...

History ... From the Kowary mine brochure (translated here):

SINCE THE WALLENS' TIMES … The natural resources of the west Sudety Mountains were identified in the early Middle Ages when precious ores diggers called the Wallens came to the Silesia region. The Wallens had the extraordinary abilities to steal the secrets from the earth. They made a living looking for ores and minerals and processing what they had found. In the exploration they used geological as well as the occult and magic knowledge acquired from their ancestors. Traces of their activity are still left. Many caves with strange signs engraved on the walls are probably indicators of the places rich in mineral resources or some hidden treasures. After the Wallens penetrated the unknown regions of Karkonosze their discoveries started ores exploitation.

Kowary MineThe Medieval records credit the Wallen miner Laurentius Angelus as the founder of the first iron mine in the Valley of Jedlica River in 1148. The first notice about Kowary comes from the document decreed Prince Bolko II in 1355 that prohibited the export of the ore from the principality. Granting the city mine rights in 1513 or King Zygmunt Augusts' arms commission in 1564 are examples of the documents that certify the significance of the Kowary mines.

The Thirty Years War led to the decline of the mine and metal industry. In the second half of the 19th century, the exploration was restarted; new iron ore was found and the mine industry in Kowary experienced a kind of revival.

Uranium miningTO ATOM ... In the 1920's the iron ore mines were search and exploited for uranium ore by the German people. During World War II, some research was conducted in Oranienburg on the uranium ore from Kowary … in response to the needs of the German atomic industry.

After the war, the uranium ore was exported to the USSR for atomic bomb production. The workshop at the mine took care of the exploitation and preparation of the ore that was to be sent to Russia. The entire operation was top secret and the work and lives of the miners were controlled by the so-called apparatchiks.

Until 1973, 20 research tunnels were drilled and some underground work was carried out (dozens of kilometers and up to 700 meters deep). In 1973, the company was taken over by Wroclaw Polytechnic that conducted some research with explosives and offering lessons to students studying mine workshop.

Kowary MineWhen the healing properties of radon were discovered, underground radon inhalation place was built on the premises of the mine, the third in Europe. It served from 1974 to 1989. Diseases like circulatory, respiratory system diseases, gynecological diseases and some potency problems were effectively treated.


When Wroclaw Polytechnic stopped their activity in the mines the mine was closed and majority of the equipment stolen.

Kowary Mine for touristsAND NOW … ... the mine tunnels of Kowary offer visitors an experience of mine traditions and different techniques of exploitation by walking the tunnels of exploratory mine number 9.








Text source ... Kowary mine tour brochure

Fragmentary map of mine tunnels ... map
Complete map of mine tunnels ... map1
Official web site (Polish): Kowary Mine (No English option available)


Video recorded: September 2009
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Site Gallery - Sztolnie Kowary (Mine)

To the Mine
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Spas at Mine
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Touring the Mine
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Klodzko Land

The Land of Klodzko is surrounded by mountain ranges forming a natural barrier separating it from the rest of Silesia and creating a kind of individual enclave. The military importance of this part of present Silesia region necessitated that a new town be raised … namely Klodzko. First mention of this town comes from the 10th century and until the beginning of 17th century, the Land of Klodzko was under Czech political and economical influences. Between the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century, the Land of Klodzko was under Austrian domination and after so-called Treaty of Hubertusburg of 1763; this region was Prussian until 1871 and German until the end of World War II.
Klodzko City and Klodzko Fortress

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Location of Klodzko on Poland's Map
2 ... Map of Klodzko

Klodzko Coat of ArmsKlodzko (Czech: Kladsko; German: Glatz; Latin: Glacio) is a town in south-western Poland, in the region of Lower Silesia. It is situated in the centre of the Klodzko Valley, on the Nysa Klodzka river.

Klodzko is the seat of Klodzko County (and of the rural Gmina Klodzko, although the town itself is a separate urban gmina), and is situated in Lower Silesian Voivodeship (from 1975–1998 it was in the former Walbrzych Voivodeship).





KlodzkoWith 28,250 inhabitants (2006), Klodzko is the main commercial centre as well as an important transport and tourist node for the area. For its historical monuments it is sometimes referred to as "Little Prague" (German: Klein-Prag). Culturally and traditionally a part of Bohemia, administratively it has been a part of Silesia since 1763.





For complete history of the town of Klodzko visit ... Klodzko
Official web site (Polish): City of Klodzko (English option available)

The Fortress

Klodzko Fortress (Polish: Twierdza w Klodzku, German: Festung Glatz) is a unique fortification complex of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship in southwestern Poland. The fortress once was one of the biggest strongholds in Prussian Silesia, however, in the whole German Empire, it was regarded as a minor one. Now, together with an extensive network of tunnels, it is one of the biggest attractions of the town of Klodzko, with its underground labyrinth and a repository of for different objects, from old fire engines to local glassware.

History … First mentions of existence of a stronghold placed on Klodzko's Castle Hill come from the Chronicle of Bohemians, written by Cosmas of Prague. Most probably, it was a complex of wooden buildings, protected with a palisade. Klodzko itself is located along the strategic route between Wroclaw and Prague, and its role as a trading point must have been significant since the early Middle Ages. In 1114, the stronghold was captured and destroyed by Czech troops under prince Sobeslav, who at the same time conquered the whole Klodzko Land. In 1129, Sobeslav rebuilt the town and placed a castellan there. Sometime around 1300, a spacious castle was built on the hill, which became seat of the Klodzko County. Gradually, the castle grew, a church and a chapel were added and in 1557, Lorenz Krischke, architect at the court of Prince Ernest of Bavaria, built the Lower Castle. In the 16th century, there were five wells in the castle with the oldest one from 1393.

In 1622, during the Thirty Years' War, after the long siege, the fortress was captured by the Austrian Army. The city was besieged in June of that year, but resisted the attackers. Finally, the Austrians brought in two large cannons - the Wingless Dragon and the Black Sow to fire upon the walls of Glatz and the city surrendered on October 25. In subsequent years the Austrians modernized the fortress and replaced ancient fortifications with up-to-date bastions.

In 1742, during the War of the Austrian Succession the city together with its stronghold was conquered by Prussia under Frederick II. The city itself surrendered on January 14, but the fortress, with 2000 soldiers, held out until April 25, when starvation made further resistance impossible. Out of the initial Austrian garrison of 2000, only 200 survived, "pale as shadows." The Prussians expanded the fortress, making it a defensive one. Major works continued during the Silesian Wars, until 1770, however, the fortress was not fully completed 200 years after the Austrians began to modernize it.

In the 19th century, the stronghold, which in 1807 was captured by the French Army supported by Bavarian troops, became a prison. Interestingly enough, in early 19th century, due to economic depression, prisoners' earnings in Glatz were so low that the administration would send a prisoner every Saturday to beg for help in the city. During World War II, the stronghold was not only a prisoner-of-war camp, but also a branch of the Gross-Rosen concentration camp.

Currently … In 1945, the stronghold together with the city became part of Poland. The Klodzko Fortress, as this is its Polish name, with little changes, looks like it did 200 years ago and it is one of the main tourist attractions of the city. From its top, there is a magnificent view of the Klodzko Valley. It is also possible to visit the cellars, with an impressive labyrinth of the underground corridors, excavated in the 19th century by prisoners of war. The stronghold's complex covers an area of 17 hectares. Its lower walls are 11 meters thick, and the upper walls are around four meters. According to some sources, it is the largest and the best-preserved fortress of its kind in Poland.

During World War II the fortress was changed into a prison. At first, it was administered by the Abwehr, but was soon taken over by Gestapo who made it into one of the cruelest places of detention in whole Silesia. It was also used as a POW camp for officers of various nationalities, especially Poles. Since 1944, the casemates housed the AEG arms factory evacuated from ?od?. The slave laborers were kept in the stronghold that was turned into one of the sub-camps of Gross-Rosen concentration camp.

The town itself was not damaged by the war and was taken over by the Red Army without much opposition. However, shortly after the war the Klodzko Valley became a scene of Wehrwolf activities. The Nazis managed to blow up all the bridges in Klodzko, the only one to survive was the gothic stone bridge erected in 1390. After the capitulation of Germany, the town was given to Poland. Glatz was renamed back to the name of Klodzko and most of the German inhabitants of the city were expelled. At the same time, the area was repopulated with Poles expelled from the territories annexed by the Soviet Union.

In the 1950s and 1960s, much of the city centre was damaged by landslides. It turned out that throughout the city's history whole generations of Klodzko's merchants developed an extensive net of underground basements and tunnels. They were used for storage and, in times of trouble, as a safe shelter from the artillery fire. With time, the tunnels were forgotten and after WWII, many of them started to collapse - together with the houses above. Since the 1970s, the tunnels were conserved and the destruction of the city was stopped. Another disaster happened in 1997 when the city was damaged by a flooding even greater than that of 1938. However, the city quickly recovered.

Partial source: Klodzko Fortress
Additional Source: Bukal,G. Twierdza Klodzka 1620-1900, Kwartalnik Architektury i Urbanistyki, T.31; z. 3-4; Warszawa 1986.


Video recorded: September 2009
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Site Gallery - Klotzko City and Klotzko Fortress

City and Underground
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City + Underground City + Underground City + Underground
Klodzko Fortress
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Views of City
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Klodzko
City of Ladek-Zdrój

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Location of Ladek-Zdrój on Poland's Map
2 ... Ladek-Zdrój city mapp
3 ... Ladek-Zdrój - Rynek
4 ... Ladek-Zdrój - Health Complex

Ladek-Zdroj Coat of ArmsLadek-Zdrój (German: Bad Landeck) is a town in Klodzko County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in south-western Poland. It is the seat of the administrative district (gmina) called Gmina Ladek-Zdrój, close to the Czech border. Prior to 1945 it was in Germany.

It lies approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) south-east of Klodzko, and 88 kilometres (55 mi) south of the regional capital Wroclaw. As at 2006, the town has a population of 6,181. Ladek-Zdrój became famous in Poland because of Stanislaw Bareja's cult film Incredibly peaceful man (Niespotykanie spokojny czlowiek.)


Ladek-Zdrój at nightLadek-Zdrój is one of the oldest health resorts in Europe, surrounded by the Golden Mountains, not far from the majestic summit of Snieznik towering over the Klodzko Land. The town attracted patients and tourists for centuries. The location of the town, the charm of the old town part , together with the greenery of the spa parks create a unique atmosphere.





Ladek-Zdrój spasIt is surmised that healing springs restore people to health ... mountainous landscapes encourage them to walk and hike. The health resort ensures rehabilitation, relaxation and rest. For the tourist the town offers walking and bicycle routes, climbing rocks, one of the very rare arboretums in the Poland, horse stables and tourist crossing to the Czech REpublic.




Official city web site (Polish): Ladek-Zdrój (English option available)


Video recorded: September 2009
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Site Gallery - Ladek-Zdrój

General Views of Ladek-Zdrój
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Ladek-Zdrój - Flood of July 1997
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Bear Cave at Kletno

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Location of Kletno on Poland's Map

Kletno (German: Klessengrund) is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Stronie Slaskie, within Klodzko County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in south-western Poland. Prior to 1945 it was in Germany. It lies approximately 12 kilometres (7 mi) east of Stronie Slaskie, 34 kilometres (21 mi) south-east of Klodzko, and 97 kilometres (60 mi) south of the regional capital Wroclaw.

Official web site of Kletno (Polish) ... Kletno (No English option available)

The discovery of the Cave Bear …

Bear Cave at KletnoOctober 1966, in a quarry called Kletno III, a hole was uncovered in the shape of a horizontal slot. This hole exposed a small chamber called the Hall of Bear. Encased in the mud, protruded a number of bones of large mammals. Most were cave bear bones. Part of this room survived to this day, and is visible in the entrance to the Cave. Towards the end of 1966, more were corridors discovered of the middle floor of the cave, with the result that the length of the cave has already reached 200 m. In subsequent years, intensive research was carried out. However, no conclusive evidence of the presence of Palaeolithic man in this cave.

December 3, 1967, after further excavation adjacent corridors were discovered suitable for creating a refuge for humans. The cave had now 350 m. In December 1971, the length of the cave exceeded 800 meters.

On 26-29 January 1972, the six-person team discovered a large system of corridors and rooms on the new lower level of the cave with a total length of over 1 km. The team consisted of J. Bieronski Z. Dumanskyi, K. Lukaszewicz, J. Panek, Pauline M. and J. Sadej. The length of the cave now exceeded 2.5 km. In the early seventies, the State Council for Nature Conservation in Warsaw appointed a Scientific Committee to preserve Cave Bear. The committee focuses on research in the cave and exercises control over the protection of the cave. Since 1977, the Cave Bear became a legally protected nature reserve.

June 11, 1983, after eight years of preparatory work (mining and construction work in the cave, setting up lighting, construction of the pavilion entrance, upgrading of access roads, and parking) Cave Bear opened for tourism.

Bear Cave Welcome Center Pavilion

Map of Bear Cave Tour
Official Web site (Polish) ... Bear Cave (No English option available)


Video recorded: September 2009
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Site Gallery - Bear Cave at Kletno

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Zamek (Castle) Ksiaz

1 ...
Location of Walbrzych on Poland's Map

Walbrzych Coat of ArmsWalbrzych (German: Waldenburg, Czech: Valbr(ich or Valdenburk) is a city in Lower Silesian Voivodeship in south-western Poland, with 125,773 inhabitants (2006). From 1975–1998 it was the capital of Walbrzych Voivodeship; it is now the seat of Walbrzych County. Walbrzych is by far the largest city in Poland that does not itself form a separate county (powiat), having given up that status in 2003. (The next largest such town is Inowroclaw, population 77,313.) Walbrzych lies approximately 70 kilometres (43.5 miles) south-west of the regional capital Wroclaw, and about 10 km from the Czech border.




More information on city ... Walbrzych
Official city web site (Polish) ... City of Walbrzych (English option available)

The Castle

Ksiaz CastleKsiaz (German: Schloss Fürstenstein) is a castle in Silesia, Poland near the town of Walbrzych. It was built in 1288-1292 under Bolko I the Strict. It lies within a protected area called Ksiaz Landscape Park.

History … The original fortification was destroyed in the year 1263 by Ottokar II of Bohemia. Bolko I, Duke of Swidnica and Jawor built a new castle between 1288 and 1292. Duke Bolko II of Swidnica died in 1368 without having children with his wife Agnes von Habsburg. After her death in the year 1392, King Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia obtained the castle. In 1401, Janko z Chociemic obtained the castle. The Bohemian Hussites occupied the castle between 1428-1429. In 1464 Birka z Nasiedla obtained the castle from the Bohemian crown. He sold it to Hans von Schellendorf. This second castle was destroyed in 1482 by Georg von Stein. In the year 1509 Konrad I von Hoberg (from 1714: Hochberg) obtained the castle hill. The Hochberg family owned the castle until 1941. It was a part of the Project Riese until 1945. The castle was occupied by the Red army in 1945. Most artifacts were lost or destroyed.

Map of Ksiaz Park in Walbrzych ... Distances to Ksiaz Park
More information (Polish) ... Ksiaz Castle (No English option available)
More information (English) ... Ksiaz Castle
Official web site (Polish) ... Ksiaz Castle (English option available)
Castle Virtual Tour (English) ... Virtual Tour of Ksiaz Castle


Video recorded: September 2009
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Site Gallery - Zamek (Castle) Ksiaz

Ksiaz Castle Ksiaz Castle Ksiaz Castle
Ksiaz Castle Ksiaz Castle Ksiaz Castle
Ksiaz Castle Ksiaz Castle Ksiaz Castle
Ksiaz Castle Ksiaz Castle Ksiaz Castle
Ksiaz Castle Ksiaz Castle Ksiaz Castle
Ksiaz Castle Ksiaz Castle Ksiaz Castle
Ksiaz Castle Ksiaz Castle Ksiaz Castle
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