Wałbrzych is the second-largest city of Dolnośląskie in Poland. Although founded by Slavic settlers in 12th century, for most of its history it belonged to German-speaking lands, and was known as Waldenburg (in German) or Valdenburk. It became a part of Poland after 1945. From 1975–1998 it was the capital of Wałbrzych Voivodeship.
Wałbrzych was an important regional centre throughout its history, specializing in clothmaking, and enjoyed the most growth after it and the surrounding areas developed large-scale coal mining. Other industries followed, including most prominently pottery. Wałbrzych suffered relatively little destruction in the Second World War and, apart from the city itself, it can boast a number of historic building and attractions in its immediate surroundings, like the magnificent Książ castle or the spa town of Szczawno-Zdrój.
It was home to 111,000 people in 2019.
The region is quite economically depressed, however, due to the fall of its traditional industries.
Wałbrzych is also a major railway junction.
The town can be reached by road within an hour's drive from Wrocław using the DK35 road.
Wałbrzych is an expansive city over many hills and has a well-developed, street and road network.
- 1 Książ Castle (Zamek Książ), ul. Piastów Śląskich 1. Largest castle in Silesia (third in Poland), built in 13th century and remodeled several times. Cultural and exhibition centre of the region.
- 2 Palm House (Palmiarnia), ul. Wrocławska 158. Built in 1911-1914 by order of Jan Henryk XV Hochberg, in tribute to the beautiful wife of the duchess Maria Theresie von Pless called Daisy.
- 3 Ruins of Old Książ Castle (Stary Książ). Faux Gothic ruins built opposite (across a valley) Książ Castle at the end of 18th century.
Wałbrzych Old Town
- Wałbrzych Market Square. A place where a weekly market took place in the past. From 1731 to 1853, its centre was occupied by the Baroque town hall. Today, the attraction of the Market Square are historic tenement houses and a fountain in which water compositions change every several minutes
- Town Hall. A representative three-storey building maintained in the style of historical eclecticism, imitating gothic. In the middle top of the front facade there is a clock, under it there are bas-reliefs depicting three shields with the arms of Wałbrzych in various historical periods. Since 1999, the bugle call of Wałbrzych has been heard every day.
- 4 Wałbrzych, the Guardian Angels Church. Built in 1898 in the neo-Gothic style, in the place of the previous church. The church is hall, built on a Latin cross plan, it is 60 meters long, 30 meters wide, and 22 meters high.
- 5 Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sorrows. Gothic church, rebuilt into a Baroque style.Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sorrows placed in the centre of Wałbrzych and is the oldest building of the city, called by the inhabitants "the heart of the city". According to chronicles, already in 1191, there was a settlement of Wałbrzych founded on a hill in the midst of a deep forest, near a wooden church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. From the altar in this church came a spring, having the power to heal the sick. The legend says that a pious knight, in thanksgiving for saving him from certain death, set up among the forest on the hill, near the spring with miraculous water healing eye diseases, the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows, and built a wooden church for her glory.
- Protestant church. Designed in the years 1785-1788 by Carl Gotthard Langhans, the founder of the Berlin Brandenburg Gate
- 6 Centrum department store building (originally Kaufahus Schocken), ul. Słowackiego 7. One of the network of department stores owned by the Schocken family spanning the entire Germany was built in 1930 in the then Waldenburg as a striking modernist building. After the Second World War, it became one of Poland's Centrum department stores. The latter chain did not survive the economic changes in Poland and the building now houses various unrelated retail establishments.
- District Court (Sąd Rejonowy), Słowackiego.
- Post Office (Poczta Główna).
- District Prosecutor's Office (Prokuratura Okręgowa, built as a Reichsbank branch).
- Alberti Palace (District Museum).
- palace of the Czetritz. The palace used to be called the "Castle of Walbrzych". It was built in 1606 - 1628 by the family von Czettritz. It happened after the fire of the "Nowy Dwór" castle.
- Ruins of Nowy Dwór Castle. The ruins of the castle Nowy Dwór (Ogorzelec) are on the top of Castle Hill (618 m). Probably the castle was erected by the prince of Świdnica-Jawor Bolek II Mały in the mid-fourteenth century.
- 7 Old Mine in Wałbrzych. (Centrum Nauki i Sztuki Stara Kopalnia) is the biggest post-industrial tourist attraction in Poland, located in the former bituminous coal mine – Kopalnia Węgla Kamiennego “Julia” (“Thorez”). It covers the area of 4.5 hectares of historic post-industrial objects with authentic equipment, such as a machine park which has been secured and made accessible for visitors. With the help of guides working in Stara Kopalnia (former miners who worked in KWK “Julia” in the past), all visitors can not only see the enormous scale of mine infrastructure, but also learn about the character of the dangerous and demanding work of a miner.
- Wałbrzych Museum, ul. 1 Maja 9. Departments include ceramics, art, history and geology.
- Gross-Rosen Museum (Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp), ul. Szarych Szeregów 9, ✉ email@example.com. The archives are located in Wałbrzych. The concentration camp is in Rogoźnica, 25 km north.
- 8 Gold Train. Alleged location of hiding the legendary train with gold plundered by the Nazis during the Second World War
- 9 Mausoleum in Wałbrzych (Totenburg). Hitler's monument of "pride, glory and strength" commemorated the victims of World War I, in fact it was a place of cultivation of Nazi ideas
- Railway tunnel under the Little Wołowiec mountain. Counting 1,601 m (5,253 ft) is the longest railway tunnel in Poland.
- 10 Mountain Borowa (black mountain). The highest mountain in the Wałbrzyskie Mountains, in 2017 a public observation tower was built.
- 11 Mountain Chełmiec. The second largest peak in the area. A monumental mountain in the shape of a dome that dominates the city. At the top there is an observation tower, 45 meter cross, and two radio-television masts.
- The city has several tunnels and underground bunkers built during World War II, some of these tunnels are buried completely or partially. As well as a lot of mining facilities (mining shafts, industrial halls, tunnels)
- "Książ" Herd (Stado "Książ"), ul. Jeździecka 3. Horse riding.
- 1 Galeria Victoria, ul. 1 Maja 64, ☏ . M-Sa 09:00-21:00, Su 10:00-20:00. A very modern out-of-town shopping centre with a range of stores representing many of the retail chains popular in Germany and Poland, covering footwear, apparel, beauty, electronics and more, even including a foreign currency exchange point. Due to the city's economic situation, the apparel/footwear selection is mostly low-end. Anchored by the Intermarche supermarket and featuring a cinema and a food court. Ample parking and a free bus to Plac Grunwaldzki in the centre of Wałbrzych every 25 minutes (every hour on Sundays). Great for convenience shopping. Absolutely not the place to go for local produce or those who don't enjoy formatted retail.
- [dead link] Pasaż, pl. Magistracki 8, 58-300.
- Pierogowa Chata, ul. Wrocławska 82.
- Caffe Sztygarówka, ul. Wysockiego 29.
- Palmiarnia Kawiarnia "Pod Tropikiem", ul. Wrocławska 158.
- Pod Pretekstem Art Cafe, ul.Rycerska 1 58-300.
- Złota Stacja, ul.Rycerska 1 58-300.
- [dead link] PTTK „Harcówka”, Lotników, 58-301.
- ibis Styles Wałbrzych, ul. 1 Maja 70 (Follow directions to Magnolia shopping centre.). A Holiday Inn Express built to the brand's newest standards in 2013, and then hastily rebranded to ibis Styles. Reasonable prices, breakfast and WiFi included. The hotel is within an out-of-town shopping complex and very convenient to reach by car, while pretty much impossible otherwise. 149 zł per night.
- Castle Hotel (Hotel Zamkowy), ul. Piastów Śląskich 1.
- Hotel Club Restauracja APROPOS, Ul. Wieniawskiego 82.
- Zielone Wzgórze, ul. Świdnicka 12A.
- Hotel „Maria”, ul. Wrocławska 134 b.
- Hotel Arkadia, Ul. Wrocławska 113.
- Pensjonat Stada Ogierów Skarbu Państwa „KSIĄŻ”, ul. Jeździecka 3.
- Zajazd „Adamski”, ul. Fabiana 20.
- Zajazd, ul. Orkana 92.
- Dolnośląskie has a wealth of destinations to offer within an hour's drive from Wałbrzych, including:
- Wałbrzych is close to the border of Poland and Czech Republic