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Bolczów Castle

Janowice Wielkie is situated on Rudawy Janowickie, around 15 kilometres away from Jelenia Góra on the rail route to Wałbrzych. Although it is a village, express trains stop here. From the rail station you should follow the yellow or green trail in a southerly direction, where the ruins of the Bolczów Castle raise on the rocky granite mountain covered by dense forest. Its walls in the oldest part remember the 14th century. The castle of considerable size was built based on the natural landform features. Thus, large parts of the walls are rocks that have resisted the passage of time.

The stronghold was presumably built by the knight Clericus Bolz from Mniszków on the lands purchased from the knight Heinrich Bawar. The castle had rather a stormy history, it was destroyed in 1433 by the burghers of Świdnica representing the interests of the bishop of Wrocław. They came armed, trying to put an end to the common robberies on the roads – the owners of Bolczów not only sympathised with the Hussites, but they were chivalrous robbers as well, that is they did not restrain from bandit raids on merchant caravans.

During the Thirty Years’ War the castle originally served as shelter for neighbouring population of different estates, but soon it has been strengthened and manned by the imperial crew. The castle surrendered under the pressure of the Swedish forces in 1641. Four years later, presumably due to the treachery of one of the defenders, on December 15, 1645, it was re-conquered and burned down by the Swedes – the wooden construction together with roofing and roof truss burnt down. Since then, Bolczów has never returned to its former glory. Being strongly advanced, but still beautiful ruins, it became tourist attraction in the vicinity. In 1848 count Wilhelm Stolberg-Wernigerode, living in Janowice, bought the castle and started to protect and fragmentarily reconstruct the dilapidated walls. He tidied up the surrounding area and returned the filled up well to working condition. He built an inn to handle the developing tourist traffic. The inn and shelter existed till World War II. In the 60s of the 20th century remains of the fortress were carefully reconstructed and preserved in the form of durable ruins. What is left of Bolczów Castle today is an interesting maze among the rocks and walls – nothing, in fact, which was timber-built in the castle has not survived to this day. Undoubtedly, a trip to the ruins of the castle may provide many unforgettable experiences for a careful and sensitive tourist.