Tag: Ksiaz Castle

Tag: Ksiaz Castle

Riese Complex

The Riese Complex was a Nazi Germany construction project from 1943 to 1945 consisting of seven top-secret underground structures located in the Owl Mountains and Książ Castle in Lower Silesia.

The actual purpose of the project remains unclear and Riese remains one of World War II’s greatest mysteries mainly due to a lack of documentation. Some historians suggest that the structures were planned as a network of underground factories and the tunnels below Książ Castle were to house an HQ element, perhaps an addition to Hitler’s collection of reinforced command centres.

Two things are certain, the size of the project was immense and none of the constructions were finished. Only a few tunnels were reinforced with concrete. Project Riese was abandoned at the initial stage of construction and only 9 km (25,000 m2, 100,000 m3) of tunnels were dug out.

A massive network of roads, narrow gauge railways and bridges were constructed to connect excavation sites with the nearby railway stations. In total, some 90,000 cubic metres of tunnels were carved into the mountains, the work involved to do this was strenuous and involved cutting down thousands of trees, building dams, digging reservoirs and drainage ditches, blasting rocks with explosives and reinforcing caverns with concrete and steel.

Seven major access points were constructed to separate tunnel systems at Walim-Rzeczka, Włodarz, Jugowice, Soboń, Sokolec, Osówka and Książ Castle.

To build these giant structures, the Nazis used prisoners of war, prisoners from concentration camps and forced labourers. Many of these workers lost their lives due to disease, malnutrition, exhaustion & dangerous underground works.

Initially, concentration camp prisoners were not used; however a typhus epidemic occurred amongst the workforce in December 1943 significantly slowing down production. Hitler handed over supervision of construction to Organisation Todt, headed by Albert Speer, Hitler’s chief architect and engineer and around 13,000 prisoners of the camps were put to work, many conscripted from Auschwitz concentration camp.

Interestingly, Albert Speer himself stated that the Riese Project involved some 213,000 cubic metres of tunnels. Today, less than 100,000 are accounted for, suggesting that there are many tunnels and parts of the project still to be discovered. This is technically supported by the existence of narrow-gauge railways and plumbing that appear to lead nowhere, witness accounts also support this account.

113,000 cubic metres of undiscovered tunnels and a lack of documentation as to the purpose of the project has led to numerous conspiracy theories over the years. The favourite is that the tunnels were constructed to hide confiscated Nazi treasure including the famous Amber Room which disappeared from Saint Petersburg and missing gold and art from multiple locations around Europe. An area outside Wałbrzych was the focus of a story about a buried ‘Nazi gold train’ in August 2015 and today, the areas still attracts treasure hunters in search of their fortunes.

Tours & Experiences

Private Round Trip to Project Riese Including Tickets

Lower Silesia (Dolnoslaskie)

Lower Silesia was handed back to Poland from Germany at the end of WWII and is known for an abundance of historic architecture of various styles. During the Middle Ages, the region was part of Piast-ruled Poland and was one of the leading regions of the country with its capital Wrocław being one of the main cities of the Polish Kingdom.

Within Lower Silesia, you will find many castles and palaces, well preserved or reconstructed old towns, numerous spa towns, and historic burial sites of Polish monarchs and consorts. The region is one of the most visited provinces in Poland.

There’s over 100 castles and palaces in the region including: Książ Castle, Czocha Castle, Grodziec Castle, Gola Dzierżoniowska Castle, Oleśnica Castle and Kamieniec Ząbkowicki Palace.

Książ Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the province due to its mysterious underground tunnels. During World War II, Ksiaz Castle was taken over by the occupying German forces and following Hitler’s direct orders, a system of tunnels was constructed underneath the castle and surrounding areas. In 2018, a 1.5km section of the tunnels was opened to the public as a tourist attraction and a 45 minute tour is available.

Other attractions in Lower Silesia include: Kłodzko Fortress, Fort Srebrna Góra, Wambierzyce, Legnickie Pole, Henryków, Lubiąż Abbey, Krzeszów Abbey, Oleśnica Mała, Vang Stave Church, Churches of Peace, Sokołowsko, Cave Bear, Museum of Gold Mining and Metallurgy in Złoty Stok, Coal Mine in Nowa Ruda, Museum of Industry and Railway in Jaworzyna Śląska, Skull Chapel in Czermna, Mount Ślęża, Table Mountains, Owl Mountains, Karkonosze, The Main Trail Sudetes, Barycz Valley Landscape Park and connected with the history of World War II – the tunnels of Project Riese, a German Gross-Rosen concentration camp, German War Cemetery and Park Peace in the Nadolice Wielkie.

The most widely visited city is Wrocław, a city with a unique architectural and cultural make-up, symbolised by its magnificent market square. The Festival of Good Beer is held here every year, on the second weekend of June.

Ksiaz Castle

The incredibly beautiful and photogenic Ksiaz Castle was built in the late 13th century following the destruction of an earlier stronghold. Over the years the castle has been the home to many noble families including the Silesian Duke Bolko 1 (who built it) and the mighty House of Hochberg. The castle is situated in thick woodlands adding to its majesty and is at the heart of a rumour of a lost Nazi gold train believed to be buried in the vicinity of the castle.

During World War II, Ksiaz Castle was taken over by the occupying German forces and following Hitler’s direct orders, a system of tunnels was constructed underneath the castle and surrounding areas. The construction was one of seven underground structures all developed under the code name Project Riese.

The function of the tunnels underneath Ksiaz Castle remains unclear mainly due to a lack of documentation; however it is likely that they were going to be part of the Führer’s Headquarters network.

The construction of the tunnels within Project Riese was carried out by forced labourers, POWs and prisoners of concentration camps with many losing their lives due to disease and malnutrition.

In 2018, a 1.5km section of the tunnels was opened to the public as a tourist attraction and a 45 minute tour is available.

In true form, the Nazi occupiers deliberately destroyed many of the historic chambers within the castle and after the war, Ksiaz Castle was used as a barracks by the Red Army for a while before becoming largely abandoned. Thankfully, renovation work was undertaken in 1952 to restore the castle back to its former grandeur.

Since the 13th century, Ksiaz Castle has been remodeled numerous times and today you can see a variety of styles within its architecture including Romanesque, baroque and neo-Renaissance.

Visitors today can explore and admire numerous chambers, terraces and the surrounding gardens. The showpiece of the tour is Maximilian Hall with its painted ceiling depicting mythological scenes.

Wroclaw to Project Riese and Ksiaz Castle Private Tour.

See information about other underground attractions in Poland.