The neo-gothic palace of Marianne of Orange-Nassau in the town of Kamieniec Ząbkowicki will bring something different to everyone’s mind. Moorish window arches and arcades are reminiscent of the Alhambra, whereas the huge garden and the lush trees in the park create the impression of a fantastic setting straight out of The Jungle Book.
After years of post-war deterioration, thanks to the efforts of its long-time administrator and the support of the Ministry of Culture, this remarkable place is slowly regaining its former glory.
The palace consists of 4 towers, 102 rooms and a huge terrace of 800 square meters. Adjacent to the front are neo-renaissance-style terraced gardens with 6 levels more than 30 meters high, and to the rear is a water terrace with a grotto-built children’s pool.
Everything is surrounded by a huge English-style park with an original area of 220 hectares (today the park is 160 hectares). It once contained 27 fountains.
There is no other palace like this in Poland, or perhaps even in Europe.
Legacy of Marianne of Orange
When Dutch royal Marianne of Orange inherited from her mother the neighboring Kłodzko Land in Kamieniec Ząbkowicki and came to see it, she immediately fell in love with the area. Without a second thought, she hired the best architects of the time and decided to build a garden villa-style palace.
She escaped to Silesia from the infamy of living in an open relationship for many years and getting divorced. In many ways, the royal was ahead of the era in which she lived.
Marianne of Orange’s palace in Kamieniec Ząbkowicki was designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, while the gardens and palace park were designed by Peter Joseph Lenné. They created a palace complex that is a pearl of Lower Silesia and one of the region’s greatest architectural attractions. It is estimated that the construction of the palace cost (at today’s rates) 200 million euros!
Marianne of Orange-Nassau was a great patron of culture in the region. In the Kłodzko Land, numerous stone roads were built on her initiative, glassworks, spa villas and aristocratic residences were constructed. Despite the complete replacement of the population after 1945, numerous schools and local institutions bear her name to this day, and the memory of the unremarkable figure is preserved by successive generations.
Fate has not been kind to Marianne’s palace. Seized and looted by the Red Army, it fell into disrepair for years after the war. Had it not been for the determination of one man – Włodzimierz Sobiech, the manager of the palace since the 1980s – the palace would most likely have been irreparably damaged. Thanks to his determination, he managed to save it and began the arduous restoration to its glory years.
The palace can be visited year-round daily from 10 am to 5 pm, except on holidays.