You might be wandering what the heck does Harry Potter and Poland have to do with each other?
Well, you might remember that I’ve mentioned that Poland has heaps of castles! But there’s a special 18th-century castle located off the beaten path in Dolny Sląsk, the southwestern part of Poland, that is connected to the Harry Potter series in a way. The castle also is located just a 38km drive from the pretty town of Jelenia Góra.
Last year, Zamek Czocha started being used as the setting of the College of Wizardry, a live action role-playing game (LARP) that takes place in the Harry Potter universe. This is your chance to attend a make-believe version of Hogwarts acting as one of the 150 students, staff, ghosts and creatures that come together to celebrate JK Rowling's other world. Interestingly, the tickets for the November 2016 session are already sold out, but enrolment for new sessions in April and November 2017 will be announced soon.
Even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, Zamek Czocha is worth seeing. I wandered through this drafty old castle all by myself, constantly feeling the hairs on the back of my neck stand up especially when I climbed up to the tower!
Located on the top of a granite hill overlooking Leśniańskie Lake, the castle was designed as a fortress in the 13th century. After centuries of political turbulence, followed by a fire which destroyed the castle in the 18th century, the building was restored to its former glory in the late 1990s and restorations are still ongoing.
Today, visitors can even stay in one of the 40 rooms as part of the castle is a hotel and Polish restaurant. Overnight stays include guided castle tours, free Wi-Fi and rooms decorated with classical furniture, but with cable TV too. The castle grounds also have featured as the set for several local feature films and documentaries.
During my visit, I had just missed joining a guided tour in English, so I was content to wander by myself. The only issue is that you REALLY wander by yourself – with no map or instructions. I discovered secret doors in the library that led down to a musty cellar filled with medieval weapons and suits of armour. Just pick a door and see what happens.
I later learned that one of the secret doors, discovered during the renovation, had been used by one of the previous creepy male owners to dispose of his wives – so the legend goes. And of course, the ghosts still roam the hallways at night.
I thought the castle was spooky even during the middle of the bright summer afternoon light. I can only imagine how frightening a solo wander at night would be! Floorboards creak loudly so you have to wonder whether you are being followed or not.
Of course, since I was by myself, I’m sure my imagination went wild as I walked through this historic castle! At least, I made it out alive to tell this tale!
Would you like to explore a castle like this by yourself?
If you’re interested in staying the night at Zamek Czocha, please check out the
Hotele WAM website. Rooms are available from about $50 to $100USD.
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|Obligatory selfie taken in front of Zamek Czocha.|
|One of the restored out buildings at Zamek Czocha.|