Pałac w Kopicach by Tobi_urbex #05
Fairy tales, palaces, and beautiful, untouched nature is what you get when you visit Silesia in the South of Poland. This part of the Eastern European nation is known as “Country of castles”. Because of its long and varied history, several hundred manor houses of the former nobility can be found in Silesia. Those places once filled with glory and pomp are ruins today. They all share the same sad story: Most of the castles date back to the Middle Ages but they are fading into obscurity. As part of our road trip to Poland in autumn 2019, we wanted to rediscover those undisclosed landmarks.
Pałac w Kopicach by Tobi_urbex #07
We woke up in the overgrown palace gardens one morning. In the light of the rising sun, one of Poland’s most fascinating castles emerged in front of us. Getting up early is usually worth it. And seeing this beautiful ruin reflecting in the water confirmed this! Schloss Koppitz is a historic aristocratic estate located in the village of Kopice. Less than 1,000 people are living here at the moment. It feels like the extensive castle park with its idyllic lake is even bigger than the small town itself. Unfortunately, the grounds are fenced off and guarded really well. So, there is no way to get inside the crumbling building complex. We were only enjoying the outside view. This manor used to be the stamping ground for nobles from the whole continent. For a long time, this was a center of culture. But what is left today is only debris and ruins. The history of this fallen castle resembles a crime novel.
Pałac w Kopicach by Tobi_urbex #01
Temporarily, the manor belonged to one of the richest families in all of Prussia. It seems like every new owner wanted to extend his new home a bit. In the end, after many conversions, it looked like a real-life fairytale castle. As fabulous was the history of the longstanding lady of the palace. As a young child, she was adopted by a wealthy industrialist. He died and she inherited his incredible fortune. The rich young lady married a noble and since she was good with money, she managed to multiply her wealth later. This story is also known as the Silesian Cinderella. Unfortunately, there is no happy ending. The castle survived World War Two unscathed. But the aristocratic owners had to escape before the USSR invaded the country. They only took the most important things, so a fully furnished manor with all its precious objects was now abandoned. During its prime, the castle was full of valuables, there were many sculptures and a well-groomed garden. But when you visit the premises today, you will search in vain for its former glory.
Pałac w Kopicach by Tobi_urbex #04
There is barely anything left of the castle. No study room of the old count, no more books in the former library, no ballroom, no chapel, no windows and not even a roof. At least, there is the tower left but you can’t climb it because there are no stairs anymore as well. After the war, the Red Army moved in here. Probably some of the soldiers stole the smaller but valuable objects. Also, everything that was German was robbed and destroyed. Later, the castle became a place where children spent their holidays. But in 1958, there was a devastating fire that destroyed the entire building complex. Only a very short time before that, there was a warehouse for agricultural products set up in here. It is said that the responsible people were trading illegally behind the back of the authorities. More and more crop disappeared. You could interpret this as an act of sabotage against the young Polish state which would have been punished with death. So, when a check-in and stock-taking was announced, the castle flared up suddenly. Also, the lake was drained, so there was no water which made it even harder to extinguish the fire. The castle almost burned to the ground and was forgotten for many years. This was a perfect time for poachers who now lumbered big trees completely undisturbed. But after the end of the Cold War, it got even worse.
Pałac w Kopicach by Tobi_urbex #03
In the 90s, the castle was sold to a fraud. Big promises were made but instead, he was plundering the ruin. He just took away what was left behind. And for years, he was fooling the authorities. But also the promises of the following owners were nothing but hollow words. One of them proclaimed to invest 100 million Euros in reconstruction measures and turn the place into a German-Polish museum. What an ambitious plan - but unfortunately, without any financial coverage. No investor ever apologized for their false statements or justified their dubious decisions. Until this date, the heritage-protected castle remains a ruin without future prospects. Its revival was just a fairy-tale after all.
Pałac w Kopicach #02
Want to see more of the place? Check out our documentary on YouTube: