Secrets of Lower Silesia – Karkonosze
Holidays are behind us. Summer begins to pack suitcases to move to the southern hemisphere, and autumn slowly begins to take shape in its place. The upcoming season may, however, be an opportunity to organize shorter trips to undiscovered and unobvious regions of Poland, which are most conveniently reached by car, preferably from PANEK Rent a Car. Today we invite you for a trip to a tiny region of Lower Silesia full of castles, palaces and fantastic hiking trails.
The surroundings of Jelenia Góra abound in countless tourist attractions, which can only be reached by personal means of transport, preferably by car. From Warsaw, the most convenient way to get here is via the A2 motorway to Stryków, then the Łódź motorway ring road (A1) and then the S8 express road to Wrocław. The next kilometers should be covered by the A4 motorway to reach the 78-kilometer section of the national road No. 5 Kostomłoty – Jelenia Góra. The entire route is 460 kilometers long, and covering it should not take more than 5 hours. You can get here from Poznań in about 3 hours, and from Krakow in less than 4.
The capital of the Giant Mountains
The city of Jelenia Góra, founded in 1281, was built on the site of a Slavic stronghold built on the orders of Bolesław III the Wrymouth and is often called the Capital of the Karkonosze Mountains. Today there is little evidence from the Middle Ages, but the turbulent history of the region has left its mark here. Over the centuries, the city passed from Polish to Czech hands, and in 1742 it was incorporated into the borders of the Prussian state. The buoyant seat of merchants has irretrievably lost its importance, but this state of affairs paradoxically allowed the nearby towns to flourish, where today you can admire beautiful Renaissance and Baroque palaces and estates of the then powerful owners. In Jelenia Góra itself, you can admire the Minor Basilica of St. Erasmus and Pankracy from 1552, which is also the oldest religious building in the city. In turn, the largest temple is the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, in which over 8,000 people can participate in the celebrations at the same time (4,020 people seated and the same number of people standing). In addition to sacred buildings, it is also worth visiting the defensive walls from the 14th century, the Wojanów Gate and the Castle, Wojanów and Grodzka towers. You cannot forget about the Paulinum Palace and the Museum of the Karkonosze Society.
The history of the property dates back to the 13th century, when in 1281 Eberhard von Schildau received it as a knightly fief, but the largest investments in its expansion were made by the von Zedlitz family, to which Wojanów belonged from 1603. It was then that a beautiful Renaissance manor was built, which was then transformed into a baroque palace. Under the care of successive owners, the building was constantly rebuilt to finally take the form of a neo-Gothic style. Today it houses a luxurious SPA hotel and a conference center, but the palace has also been made available to visitors. Right next to it, there is another attraction of the region – the Palace in Łomnica from the 17th century, also belonging to the von Zedlitz family.
Cieplice Śląskie – Zdrój
There is an interesting legend associated with the Cieplice Health Resort. In 1281, the Duke of Silesia, Bolesław the High, while hunting, shot a deer with an arrow, which, wounded, jumped into warm water, and his wounds healed immediately. Thanks to the miraculous water, the animal also gained resistance to subsequent shots, and a sanatorium (the oldest in Poland) was built at the site of the incident. It is worth spending a few hours here
walking along the alleys of the beautiful Spa Park, visiting, among others, a wooden concert bowl, the Edward Pavilion from the 19th century and the Spa Theater. The most recognizable building in Cieplice is the Schaffgotsch Palace, erected in the years 1784 – 1809 – a magnificent 3-story building with a length of over 80 meters, which today houses a branch of the Wrocław University of Technology. After visiting the spa, it is worth going to rest and relaxation in the thermal baths in Cieplice. The facility was built in 2014 and thanks to the aquapark located here, it is the most frequently and willingly visited point in the city, not only by families.
The Ducal Tower in Siedlęcin was built on the order of Prince Henry I of Jawor in the years 1313-1315 and to this day remains one of the largest buildings of this type in Central Europe. The oldest wooden ceilings in Poland have been preserved there, and the Great Hall on the second floor, you can admire the only medieval paintings in the world, depicting the legend of Sir Lancelot of the Lake – the legendary Knight of the Round Table. The second attraction of Siedlęcin is the Pearl of the West – a shelter located on the shores of Lake Modre. The first building was erected here in 1927, but today you can see buildings built a bit later, in 1950. The Pearl of the West is picturesquely situated on the slope of a cliff right on the shore of the lake, and from the stone observation tower you can admire the panorama of the area.
An unquestionable attraction in the vicinity of Jelenia Góra is the medieval Chojnik Castle, and basically the preserved ruins of a fortress from the mid-fourteenth century. The medieval castle is associated with the legend of Princess Kunegunda, whose hand was sought by many knights from the near and far neighborhood. The princess has agreed to marry a daredevil who will ride around the castle walls in full armor. Many candidates have died falling into the abyss during their trial, but there is one to whom the art has succumbed. However, he stood before the princess, announcing that he would not marry her, because many brave knights were killed by her silly idea. Princess Kunegunda, in despair, threw herself from the walls of the castle, dying in the abyss.
Karpacz and Śnieżka
This town needs no introduction. Karpacz is the second winter capital of Poland after Zakopane. However, the town is as eagerly visited in winter as in summer, and all due to its specific location on a rather steep slope. The city stretches upwards for several kilometers and if you have limited your mountain trips so far to visiting Krupówki in Zakopane and the market near Gubałówka, you may be surprised. Karpacz is an excellent starting point for hiking trips. Hence, in the immediate vicinity of the Wang Church, transferred to the city from southern Norway, the trail to Śnieżka – the highest peak of the Karkonosze and Sudetes Mountains begins. It is worth noting that the mountain with a height of 1602 m above sea level. it is also the highest mountain in the Czech Republic. There is a not very demanding trail leading to the top, and it takes about 3 hours to get to the top. For less ambitious tourists or those suffering from various diseases, it is possible to get to Śnieżka by gondola from the Czech Pec pod Snezkou.
Miniature Park in Kowary
It is impossible to describe all the attractions of the region in one text. Our proposals are intended to encourage you to travel to the Karkonosze Mountains, but if you are already there, it is worth visiting the Miniature Park in Kowary, where you will find several dozen intricately made models of buildings located in Lower Silesia. This trip can be an inspiration to plan next trips around the not fully discovered region of south-west Poland, which is best explored with a modern and safe car from PANEK Rent a Car.