All those familiar with the history of Książ Castle are certainly aware that the building has often changed hands. It was often rebuilt according to the visions of successive owners, and destroyed during the wars that rolled over Silesia. None of these historic maelstroms was, however, as devastating as that which totalitarianism, first Hitler’s and then Stalin’s, brought to the area. Following the Second World War, little that was valuable remained in the castle. That which somehow survived was plundered in the following years, when only looters took an interest in Książ.
Although the building’s imposing size and form have always held a great deal of charm, its interior, abandoned after the world wars, has called us to reflect upon the castle’s bygone wealth. The Hochbergs, its masters for over 400 years, gathered a collection of books that numbered over 64 thousand, as well as various artistic works. Książ was, after all, to be “the Silesian Helicon, where art and learning flourish” (Beata Lejma, Metamorfozy Zamku Książ). So it became once again, in July, 2015.
The “Metamorphoses of Książ Castle” exhibit is the joint initiative of the National Museum in Wrocław and Książ Castle in Wałbrzych. It has allowed, after 70 years, works that once graced the castle’s rooms to return to the former seat of the Piast and Hochberg dynasties. This undertaking has been recognized as a “precedent” in our country, as up to 40 works of art from the collections of the National Museum in Wrocław may be found in the castle chambers. Among the works exhibited, ten are from the former Hochberg collection, four are eighteenth-century portraits of members of the dynasty, and others mark the place of the castle’s owners in the dramatic panorama of Silesia’s history.
The opening of the exhibition, on 11 July 2015, has been recognized as the most important event in the post-war history of Książ Castle.