APR to OCT daily 9-18.
NOV to MAR daily 9-16.
Adults PLZ 16, Children PLZ 12.
|Guided tours:||D=60min, L=1,000m|
|Address:||Twierdza Klodzka, ul. Grodzisko 1, 57-300 Klodzko, Tel: +48-74-8673468.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1300||village founded and higher castle built with St. Martin's and Waclaw's church and a chapel.|
|1557||castle complex extended by the architect Ernst-Lorenz Krischke.|
|1622||city conquered by the Austrians.|
|1742||under Prussian rule.|
|1743||castle completely reconstructed, old buildings and churches removed, modern fortification erected.|
|1762||new castle completed.|
|1960||declared a Historic Monument, opened to the public.|
Twierdza Klodzka (Klodzko fortress) is located on top of Wzgorze Zamkowe (Castle Hill), on the western side of the Klodzko city centre. The castle existed since the foundation of the city in 1300, first the hill was the location of St. Martin's and Waclaw's church and a chapel. The city was conquered by the Austrians in 1622, and since 1742 it was under Prussian rule. Only one year later a complete reconstruction was started, which took 19 years. It was carried out by the Dutch Gerhard Cornelius de Walrawe (1692-1773), who congenially implemented the principles of the famous French architect de Vauban.
From the middle of the 19th century the building served as a high-security prison. In 1864 the captured members of the Powstanie Stycznowe (January Rise) were incarcerated in the fortress. In 1870 the French prisoners of war from the French-Prussian war were held here. During World War II it was used by the SS and Abwehr, and numerous resistance fighters, deserters, and prisoners of war were incarcerated. The most prominent inmate of the prison was Father Faulhaber, an important figure of the resistance against the Nazis. In 1944 an AEG factory of armaments was relocated from Lódz to the castle casemats. They produced parts for the V1 and electric systems for submarines and planes. In February 1945, facing the approaching Red Army, Germans began the evacuation of the factory to Thuringia.
A part of the 17th and 18th century fortification is open to the public. There are exhibits related to the castle and its history, a memorial centre for the Nazi prisoners, a Finnish martyrological mausoleum, a sculpture lapidarium, an artistic glass-work exhibit, and old-fashioned fire fighting equipment.
Below the castle is a vast system of tunnels, which is for some unknown reason called chodniki minerskie (miner's labyrinth). Actually the tunnels are simply casemats, a typical part of a fortress, which offer sheltered storage space and also reduce the amount of rocks needed for the walls. Most fortresses have such vast casemats, but it seems in this case some additional reasons for the tunnels were invented. Some pages on the web tell about ancient mining activities, probably a result of the name. Others say the tunnels connected the fortress with nearby towns, we also read the tunnels have a total length of 40km. There is a story telling they were constructed by prisoners during the 19th century, it is unclear if they had to work during incarceration or if these were flight tunnels. And there is the story they were constructed for blowing up enemy guns.
According to the most reliable source, the official webpage of the castle, there are underground remains of all epochs of the castle. The oldest ones are remains of the Medieval monastic cellars. For the Renaissance castle the cellars were enlarged. But most tunnels were built during the reconstruction of the fortress by Walrawe. Many of them were elements of the architecture, so they have strange sizes. There are tunnels which require to stoop, and others which are so low you must crawl.