THE VALLEY OF PALACES AND GARDENS
Lower Silesia, Poland
The architectural and landscape complex known as the Valley of Palaces and Gardens is located in the Western Sudetes. Its characteristic feature is the combination of a great cultural legacy with a diverse mountain landscape. We find here a variety of types of knightly and noble residences, from medieval residential towers, castles, Renaissance mansions, baroque palaces and nineteenth-century palace and park establishments. Here, the finest European families founded their residences: Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns, Schaffgotschs, Czartoryski, Radziwiłłów, Hessian and Oranean princes.
The area is also known for its health spa value, which has been benefited from the Middle Ages. The development of sightseeing and religious tourism began in the 17th century.
The period of successful tourism development was interrupted in 1945, when the Sudetes and Lower Silesia became part of Poland. Residents had to leave these areas, replaced by migrants from other regions of pre-war Poland came to their place.
However, politics and ideology turned out to be a much more serious threat to the centuries-old Polish, Czech, Austrian and Prussian legacy left behind. Monuments that were foreign both culturally and ideologically had survived the war, but were deprived of proper maintenance and care for decades that followed. This resulted in the decapitalization of tourist infrastructure and monuments.
The changes brought about by the political breakthrough of the late 1980s resulted in the need to protect and revitalize the multicultural heritage of this subregion.