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Concentration camp Gross-Rosen - Cistercian Abbey in Krzeszow - Ksiaz Castle - Churches in Swidnica

Price: 68.00 EUR
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Countries: Poland
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Route: Wroclaw - concentration camp Gross-Rosen - Cistercian Abbey in Krzeszow - Ksiaz Castle - Churches in Swidnica - Wroclaw
Duration: 10 h
Firstly we will visit to the concentration camp Gross-Rosen was established in August 1940 as a subcamp of the concentration camp Sachsenhausen. Its prisoners were destined for hard work in the local granite quarry which belonged to the SS DEST firm. The first transport of prisoners arrived there on 2nd August 1940.On 1st May 1941 Arbeitslager Gross-Rosen gained the status of self-reliant concentration camp. In the first two years of its existence KL Gross-Rosen was a small camp, mainly supplying service of the quarry. Exhausting 12-hour work in the quarry, starving rations of food, lack of proper medical care, incessant maltreat and terrorization of prisoners both by SS crew and functionary prisoners caused high mortality rate and KL Gross-Rosen was reckoned as one of the hardest concentrations camps. Next we wil visit to The monastic church in Krzeszów is one of the biggest and most beautiful baroque temples not only in Silesia  and Poland but in the whole Europe. Its form dominates the scenery from far away, showing  the way to the pilgrims and tourists. The church was set on a cross plan with lengthened and pointing east presbytery and Mausoleum of Piasts placed behind it. Already in the vestibule one can find rich decorations in form of wall paintings. Next we will visit to Ksiaz Castle or Schloss Fürstenstein in German which is one of the most imposing castles in Lower Silesia in the southwest of Poland. The castle, situated atop an impressive rock cliff, can trace its origins back to the 13th century when it was built by the order of Bolko I, the Duke of Lwówek. Since then, it was destroyed and rebuilt and expanded various times and in different styles (from Gothic to Baroque and neo-Classical) by the Bohemians and the last family to reside there, the Hochberg family, one of the richest and most influential families in Prussia. The Hochbergs lived there for many generations from the 16th century, when Konrad von Hochberg was granted the rights to the castle and the surrounding area, till 1944, when it was seized by the Nazis. The Nazis stripped Ksiaz Castle of its furnishings and the castle then became an important part of the Riese Project, an elaborate plan to create an underground military industrial complex complete with tunnels, roads, rail links and subterranean arms factories. The castle itself is said to have been prepared as the new headquarters for Hitler. For this purpose, thousands of prisoners, many from concentration camps like Auschwitz, were used as slave labour. Next we will visit to the Churches of Peace in Jawor or Swidnica, where you will find it difficult to imagine that the construction of each one only took a year of intense effort to finalise, due to the authoritarian restrictions of the era. These are truly grandiose structures, perfectly maintained from the outside, with their architectural order secured by solid timber frames. Impressively finished inside, as full of woodwork masterpieces of sacral Protestant art and polychromy units to admire. It is necessary to understand the historical background that preceded the construction of both churches. After the Thirty Years' War was over (with the Peace of Westphalia undersigned in 1648), it became disallowed to erect any Protestant churches in the Catholic duchies of Silesia. However, due to diplomatic steps taken by Protestant authorities of other territories (e.g. Sweden), the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III gave his official permission to construct three of such shrines in the territory. There were "only" a few conditions to meet on the side of their creators – seemingly impossible to fulfil. The Protestant churches had to be constructed out of wood, clay or sand only, as located outside of city walls and deprived of the right to adjoin any bell towers to them. Last but not least, there was one year only given to the builders to finish their constructions after the permission was granted. As a result of combined effort of Protestant inhabitants of Silesia, the Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica were managed to be finished prior to this deadline – consecutively in 1655 and 1657. After we return to Wroclaw.
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