Tour 3 - Pless Palace, Garden, Park & Bison Enclosure
Pless Palace in Pszczyna
This beautiful and awe inspiring palace still contains over 80% of its original furnishings and works of art and along with its well preserved interiors makes it one of the very few palaces in this part of Europe that have survived so well intact. It is considered one of the most beautiful palace residences to visit in Poland.
There is also an impressive Armoury to explore found in the gothic cellars below the palace that contains a large collection of hunting guns, crossbows, swords, and many other European and oriental armaments dating from 16th to the beginning of 20th century.
The Palace was originally constructed as a castle in 13th century as residence for Silesian and Polish Piast dynasty nobles.
During Promnitz’s family stewardship (1548-1765) the castle was converted from a fortification into a Renaissance stately palace.
In 1846 the Duchy of Pszczyna which included Pless Palace was inherited by the Duke von Hochberg Hans Heinrich X, head of the Hochberg’s family, one of the wealthiest noble families in the Holy Roman Empire who made their enormous fortune from coal mines in Lower Silesia (Poland).
After Hans Heinrich X passed away the Duchy and Pless Palace was inherited by his oldest son Prince Hans Heinrich XI, the longest ruling prince at the Palace (1855-1907).
During his residency he oversaw the creation of the extensive gardens and landscaped park, and between 1870 and 1876 updated the palaces exterior and interiors to designs made by the French architect Aleksander Hipolit Destailleur to what we see today.
Throughout this time Pless Palace was visited by Prussian kings, German emperors and influential guests from all over Europe with Hans Heinrich XI in his later years being honoured to the rank of the Emperor's Master of the Royal Hunt at the Berlin court.
The Last Family to live in Pless Palace
After the death of Hans Heinrich XI, the Duchy of Pszczyna was inherited by Prince Hans Heinrich XV (1861-1938) who was known for his extravagant well connected life style throughout the European social scene.
His English wife Lady Mary Cornwallis-West, Princess von Pless (1873-1943) was famous for her beauty known affectionately as Daisy. She wrote a frank and open memoir called ‘The Private Diaries of Princess Daisy of Pless’ 1873 - 1914 which describes the Princess's life as a member of one of the wealthiest noble families in the German Empire and her life at the Palace.
After their marriage in London and a long safari honeymoon traveling Africa and India she arrived at Pless Palace in December 1891 (just 18 years old!) and noted her first impression in her diary: “There were hectares of terraces and gardens as well as many indistinguishable sculptures. A wonderful order of a stately residence of a heavy luxury but with no comfort or convenience, or even a personal bathroom!".
First World War
Between 1915 and 1917, Pless Palace played an important role in the First World War housing the Emperor’s Headquarters (GHQ) and the General Staff of the German Army. It was here where the German Emperor, Chief of General Staff Marshal Paul von Hindenburg and the Chief of Eastern Staff General Erich von Ludendorff made the military decisions that changed the history of Europe and ultimately due to their final defeat by the Allied Forces in WW1 ended the reign of the aristocratic ruling class over the lands of Europe and beyond.
Prince Hans Heinrich XV died in 1938 and is entombed in the necropolis found in the park along with his son Prince Bolko son of Daisy.
On the 9 May 1946 Pless Palace was opened to the public for the first time.
The Palace has an amazing atmosphere and it’s easy to lose yourself in its long history, pure decadence and the sheer beauty of the place.
The Gardens, Park and Bison Enclosure
After visiting the Palace which usually takes between 2 to 3 hours, we will stop at one of the many restaurants found in the town square for something to eat and drink before continuing on to explore the palaces gardens, park and animal enclosure where you will be able to see a family of the rare European Bison, stags, deer and other animals.
We will then head back to your hotel or pickup/drop off point where this great tour and day out ends.
Tour Fact Box
Pickup & Drop Off
Pick up between 8.30 -9 am from your hotel in Krakow or arranged pickup point. In the unlikely event we are running late due to unforeseen circumstances, we will call you to let you know what is happening and estimated time of arrival.
Return back to your hotel or arranged drop off point will be approximately between 5.30 to 6.30 pm.
Up to 4 People
210 km / 130 miles
Available throughout the year.
Closed Mondays between 1st November to 1st March.
Easy - please wear comfortable walking shoes and clothing.
Wheelchair access very good.
Method Of Travel
Latest Mitsubishi Pajero Mk4 long 4WD and on foot.
Sustenance (Not included in price)
We will stop for lunch in one of the many restaurants found on the town square.
Stops for comfort breaks as and when needed.
Tickets (Included In Price)
All tickets & attraction entry fees will be pre booked and paid for by ourselves on your behalf or by your driver on the day. All entry fees and tickets are included in the price below.
Based on 4 People includes all fees/tickets, travel expenses, your guide and private driver for the day.
A discount will be made if your group has less than 4 people. We will let you know the amended price and availability before you go ahead and finalise your tour booking.
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