The Warsaw Voice » Society » Monthly - August 28, 2015
Książ Castle
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A Historic Gem and a Business Opportunity
   
Despite its name, Książ Castle, on the outskirts of the western Polish city of Wałbrzych, is actually a palace—one of the largest in Europe. It was once the residence of Daisy Hochberg von Pless, who came from an aristocratic English family and was regarded by many as the most beautiful woman of the Edwardian period. Książ Castle, which stands on a rocky bluff and which is surrounded by a large park, is visited by crowds of tourists from around the world and also serves as a venue for business meetings.

Krzysztof Urbański, CEO of the company that manages Książ Castle, says the building needs an upscale hotel to make the most of its business potential. Entirely owned by the Wałbrzych district authorities, the company run by Urbański boasts excellent financial results, making a net profit of zl.991,000 last year. Over the past four years, the number of visitors to Książ Castle has increased 30 percent and the largest events held here, including the Flower Festival and the Mysteries Festival, have drawn 40,000 people at a time.

In addition to magnificent ballrooms and exhibitions, Książ Castle houses a modern, five-star conference and business center. Talks are in progress with investors interested in putting their money into a new four- or five-star hotel at Książ. The hotel is to occupy the fifth and sixth floors of the main building and buildings in front of the palace entrance.

“We are indeed negotiating with major hotel investors, but the list of businesses interested in the project is not closed yet,” says Urbański. “The most important criterion for us is the investor’s experience. Książ Castle has great potential for tourism and business, because of the splendor of the castle, its unusual history and its location. Access to it is much better than in the past. Today, the nearest international airport is less than an hour away.” Access to the city of Wrocław and its international airport was recently made easier by a new road connecting Wałbrzych with the A4 freeway leading from Wrocław to Germany.

Książ Castle is located on the outskirts of Wałbrzych, a buoyant industrial, cultural and tourist center. Located near the Czech and German borders, Wałbrzych is home to the Invest-Park Special Economic Zone where corporations such as Toyota have production facilities. Another important factor in boosting Książ Castle’s tourism potential is the ongoing expansion of an airport in Świebodzice, just 10 km away.

A brief history of Książ Castle
The first mentions of Książ Castle date back to the late 13th century. In 1605, the palace became the property of the influential German von Hochberg family, who enlarged the palace and its neighborhood through the years until 1938.

On Dec. 8, 1891, in London, Hans Heinrich XV Hochberg married Mary Theresa Cornwallis-West, who went down in history as Daisy, Princess of Pless. She died in 1943 while under house arrest imposed by the Nazis.

In 1945-46, Książ Castle was plundered by Soviet troops. Conservation and repair work did not begin on the site until 1956.

The Wałbrzych district authorities have owned the palace since 1991.

Maciej Wełyczko
www.ksiaz.walbrzych.pl