Welcome to Poland’s largest gathering of treasure hunters, history lovers and others who enjoy probing the secrets of the past. The Lower Silesia Festival of Mystery – already the fourth edition -- opens on 13 August, 2016 at 10 a.m. This year’s festival will focus on the subject of Wałbrzych’s “Golden Train”, among other topics related to exploration and to notable episodes in the life of Lower Silesia’s castles and palaces. We will also talk about exceptional wealth, waiting to be discovered.
The Lower Silesia Festival of Mystery, the region’s most interesting event dealing with popular science, is the creation of Joanna Lamparska, an experienced traveller and the author of several books on the secrets of Lower Silesia.
A detailed programme will be published after 3 July, 2016.
The Lower Silesia Festival of Mystery is drawing nearer! For over 16 thousand visitors, there will be museum exhibits from throughout Poland, talks by experienced travellers and archaeologists – all within one of Poland’s largest and most enigmatic castles. What does the fourth edition of this event hold in store for us?
The “Gold Train”: not all that glitters
A new generation of adventurers cannot sleep soundly, knowing of Lower Silesia’s hidden treasures. Does the Gold Train really exist, and if it does, where exactly is it, and how was it hidden? And what if the earth is hiding something even more valuable than gold? We will also tell of the so-called “Szczelina Jeleniogórska” – a mysterious underground passage near Jelenia Góra where, it has been said, a German transport was found. Specialists will describe the most recent research in the Góry Sowie (Owl Mountains), and one of Poland’s most famous scuba divers will reminisce about his important discoveries in the Baltic Sea and elsewhere. Guests will also be able to view a presentation of geophysical equipment, helping archaeologists and explorers to extract the earth’s secrets. Needless to say, research will be conducted on the castle premises during the festival!
Secret palace lives
There’s never been anything like it! This year’s festival features a gathering of those who lived in Lower Silesia’s palaces before the war. What was it like to be in service at such residences, and how were they managed? What presents did young countesses receive on special holidays? What were servant girls allowed – and not allowed – to do? We’ll also look at the darker aspects of palace life and try to solve, together, the mystery of one of the bloodiest and most dramatic murders of the early twentieth century, which took place at the palace in Włeń. On the other hand, “the light side of the force” will shine through a collection of photographs of Książ Castle, once taken by the castle chef and recovered recently after several decades. To top it off, some stories of underground Książ will be told – remarkable stories, never heard elsewhere!
Masons and partisans
You may believe that the Knights Templar are among us. This year’s festival, there will be a visit from a prior from the newly resurgent Order of the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon. Will our guest tell us what happened to the knights’ famous treasure? We’ll see. Heraldists and other historians will help us understand how one received a title of nobility in past times, and how such titles may be obtained today. Find out what the adventures of characters like James Bond and the Godfather may have to do with the granting of noble titles.
The past comes alive
A true highlight of the festival is its series of spectacular re-enacted battles! This year is no exception. We’ll also see a military operation where German soldiers hide treasure in a Lower Silesian tunnel, and then watch as this treasure is recovered, not without dynamic fight sequences and realistic pyrotechnic effects. The high point of the programme will be a reconstruction of what might have taken place when the valuables stored in Wrocław’s museums and banks were taken away – and in many cases, never seen again. What if they were stored in the wagons of the “Gold Train”, hidden somewhere in the area of Wałbrzych?
At the Festival of Mystery, we enjoy nothing more than uncovering the secrets of the past. Discover them with us! A unique exhibition has been prepared especially for you, allowing you to learn of what is strange and extraordinary.
1. Exhibition of Oil Lamps: an exhibition from the collection of Janusz Chmielniak, focusing especially on railway lamps. Oil lamps from various times in history, from the nineteenth century to now, tell of their past history. At this unique exhibition you will see, among other curiosities, authentic lamps from an armoured train. To complement the exhibition, there will be further items of historical interest, related to trains and railways, from the collection of the Silesian Industry and Railway Museum in Jaworzyna Śląska. The festival theme, after all, is the mysterious “Gold Train” and we want to know more – even if we cannot know everything!
2. “Treasures from the Seabed”: a further exhibition, involving the exploration of the wreck of the famous liner “Wilhelm Gustloff”, torpedoed by a Soviet submarine in the final weeks of the war, to find its final resting place on the Baltic seabed. The exhibition’s author was one of the first Poles to conduct an exploration of the wreck: Jerzy Janczukowicz, also the creator of Poland’s first scuba diving club. Apart from an impressive collection of artefacts related to underwater exploration, the exhibition will show unique photographs of the Pomeranian expeditions to the Wilhelm Gustloff and other wrecks now lying on the bottom of the Baltic Sea. There will also be a screening of Iwona Bartólewska’s film, “Wilhelm Gustloff”.
3. "Field Hospital" Exhibition (supplementary ticket required)
This is our special attraction! On the fifth floor of Książ Castle, normally not open to visitors during the day, a World War II field hospital has been laid out. See for yourself what a temporary hospital, not far from the front, was like: a place where medical staff had to deal with difficult cases and situations, calling on all of their exceptional skill and knowledge. You will gain unusual knowledge and experience: prepare, along with the patients, to live through a bombardment.
The exhibition may be viewed only with a guide at scheduled times; it lasts about 30 minutes.
Ticket prices: 20 zl. at the castle ticket office/ 15 zl. purchased via the on-line system: www.bilety.ksiaz.walbrzych.pl
Tour times for arranged groups:
13 August: 10.30 p.m 11.00 p.m 1.30 p.m, 12.30 p.m. , 17.00 p.m, 17.30 p.m, 18.00 p.m
14 August: 10.30 p.m 11.00 p.m 1.30 p.m, 12.30 p.m. , 17.00 p.m, 17.30 p.m, 18.00 p.m.
- Visiting the Exhibition takes place only in Polish, at scheduled times and dates.
- The number of places in each group is limited.
- The "Field Hospital" Exhibition tour is a special service, organized for adults, so there are no reduced prices. Tickets for the exhibition are supplementary and do not include admission to the Walbrzych Palm House.
- During visiting the exhibition you will be taken to places that are not accessible during the day, including places with rather inconvenient architectural features such as tunnels, narrow staircases, and terraces. For this reason, we ask visitors to wear suitable footwear (please do not wear high heels) and clothing suitable for the outdoors. Please see all IMPORTANT INFORMATION.
A detailed programme, stating the titles of the lectures and their times, will be published after 3 July, 2016.
The Lower Silesia Festival of Mystery is an academic event that combines a series of talks with displays and projections. On 13 and 14 August, there will be as many as four blocks of fascinating lectures on subjects related to the secrets of history. The talks will be given by well-known researchers and academics representing many areas of study, and many other special festival guests. This year, we promise to say more on the subject of the “Gold Train” – every aspect of this phenomenon, why it awakens such emotions, where it may be, and what its cargo might contain. Not only that: we’ll gladly field questions about whatever piques your interest and curiosity. We’ll spare no effort in the search for the elusive train – and who knows, together we may find it!
Lower Silesia holds as much mystery as the Bermuda Triangle – and many of the lectures at this year’s festival will be devoted to the region’s treasures and secrets. We will hear about castles and palaces, as well as the secrets that they hide – what was life like, long ago, in such residences? What did the servants know about, but dared not tell? What were the habits and wonts of the well-born and wealthy? Few people know it, but one in four Polish castles stands in the province of Lower Silesia – castles whose histories abound in tales of extravagant owners and the wealth that they left behind.