Wałbrzych

(German: Waldenburg, Czech: Valbřich or Valdenburk) is a city in Lower Silesian Voivodeship in south-western Poland, with 120,197 inhabitants (31 December 2010). From 1975–1998 it was the capital of Wałbrzych Voivodeship; it is now the seat of Wałbrzych County. Wałbrzych is by far the largest city in Poland that does not itself form a separate county (powiat), having given up that status in 2003. (The next largest such town is Inowrocław, population 77,313.) Starting in 2013, is back on forms a separate county (powiat). Wałbrzych lies approximately 70 kilometres (43 mi) south-west of the state capital Wrocław and about 10 kilometres (6 miles) from the Czech border.

History

The oldest historical records of the city date back to the 12th Century. Between the 12th and 14th Centuries, during the rule of the Piast princes from the Świdnica-Jawor lineage, the Książ Castle and the Nowy Dwór fortress were built. Wałbrzych was chartered in the 15th century. After the Piast family died out, Wałbrzych became the property of the Silesian knightly families, initially the Schaffgotsches, later the Czettritzes, and from 1738, of the Hochberg family, owners of the Książ Castle. Coal mining in the area was first mentioned in 1536. Wałbrzych was transformed into an industrial centre at the turn of the 19th century, when coal mining and weaving flourished. In the early 20th century a glass works and a large china tableware manufacturing plant, which are still in operation today, were built. After World War Two, which fortunately spared the city, as a result of combining the nearby administrative districts with the town and the construction of new housing estates, Wałbrzych expanded geographically. At the beginning of the 1990s, because of new social and economic conditions, a decision was made to close down the town’s coal mines. In 1995, a Museum of Industry and Technology was set up on the facilities of the oldest coal mine in the area, KWK THOREZ, which in 2012 became The Old Mine Science and Art Centre.

Interesting facts:

Wałbrzych obtained the town foundation act as early as in 1426.

The name of Wałbrzych in German means Forest Keep.

A wooden small town hall existed in the Market Square until 1857. Near today’s exit of Kosciuszki Str. was city pillory – a whipping post.

Stary Zdrój – today’s Wałbrzych district, once functioned as a spa.

Castle Książ literally stood on a rock – the huge structure was built without foundations.

The ruins of a knight mansion of Nowy Dwór on Zamkowa Mountain in Wałbrzych were built by Prince Bolko I of Świdnica – founder of Książ and Grodno Castles.

Museum of Industry and Technology at 28 Wysockiego Str. is situated in the facilities of a real coalmine.

Wałbrzych is one of the most „green” towns in Poland. There are 7 parks and several forest areas within town boundaries.

Wałbrzych is a unique town for its high concentration of marked tourist routes. Their total length is over 52 kilometres.
Mount Chełmiec is a former volcano.

From the viewing tower situated on Mount Chełmiec you could see Wrocław and Mount Śnieżka.

Mount Borowa – 853 metres above sea level – is the highest point in Wałbrzych.

The lowest: „Bolko” yew tree in the Pełcznica Valley – 315 metres above sea level.