Grodno Castle (Kynsburg, Königsberg) stands on the summit of Mount Choina overlooking the Bystrzyca River.
In the early years of its existence, it belonged to the Silesian dukes of the Piast dynasty and was one of the largest castles in the entire region. The stronghold was built for defensive purposes strategically on the mountain to guard the trail through the valley. The castle was probably erected by Bolko I in the 12th century; however, no documents confirm the theory. What is known is that Bolko II, after years of constant wars, made a deal with the Czechs, where they promised peace for as long as Bolko II was alive, and in return, they would take over the castle and other of his properties after his death. And so, in 1392, after the death of Bolko II’s wife, Duchess Agnes, the castle passed into the hands of the Czech Crown.
In the 15th century, it was owned by knightly families who were engaged in a robbery during the Hussite Wars. During the Thirty Years’ War, it was occupied and partially destroyed by the Swedes. And afterward, it suffered in a bloody peasant riot. Slowly over the centuries, the castle fell into ruin until 1824, when a new owner, Johann Gustav Büsching, saved it from demolition and took it upon himself to renovate it. Since then, the castle has slowly been worked on.
We had to wait forever at the ticket office, but I think the lady just had an awful day. Afterward, it took us around one hour to go around the castle with a super enthusiastic guide, who told us a lot about the history of the place. And who drew our attention in the direction of the torture chamber’s ceiling where some humongous spiders were just chilling. That was a really efficient way to clear out a room 😀 He also gave us a lot of suggestions of what to do after visiting the castle, with some nice hiking routes and ideas where we could drive to see the view of the castle from afar.
Currently, the castle houses a museum, hotel, and restaurant. During the tour, you will see, among others, a model of the castle, beautiful old paintings and furniture, knight’s armors, as well as different rooms like prince’s, hunting, and knight’s halls. The tower, once accessible due to its poor state, is no longer open for tourists.
While visiting, what surprised us was the multimedia hall about the Nature Reserve of Mount Chojnik and a movie we watched while lying down. While it was interesting, I am not entirely convinced it fitted as a display in the castle. But for sure, all the interactive games made kids excited.
More info about the castle, on the official website.
There are many parking lots around. We parked along the road with many other cars and then took yellow/green/blue trail to the castle. The hike was super easy and took us around 20 minutes (while reading and translating all the information boards).
Afterward, you can either go back the same way or extend the hike by 40 minutes by following the yellow trail to check out the 44 m tall dam on the Bystrzyckie Lake.
When you are by the dam, you can actually hike down to its bottom and take a picture of the stone construction from a small bridge. We were too lazy to do it, and I just ended stuffing myself silly with blueberries I bought from a seller on the bridge.
On the way back, we didn’t feel like hiking up the mountain to the castle, and we opted to follow the yellow trail back until the bridge over the lake and then took a road called Spacerowa, ending our trip back where we parked the car.