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Discover Poland's Moszna Castle

 While passing through Poland, curious travelers have the opportunity to explore the wondrous 19th-century Moszna Castle, which truly is a sight to behold. When seen from a distance, this massive dreamlike structure looks just like a castle from England's Elizabethan era. However, when you're standing right in front of it, the castle displays a far more eclectic style, which is the result of many different owners giving it their own 'personal touch' over the ages.
The quaint village of Moszna is named after the Moschin family, who bought a massive estate and relocated there at the start of the 14th century. Legend has it that they moved there to run a monastery that would provide aid to the Knights of the Temple of Solomon. Historians have never managed to completely prove the veracity of this claim, and even if it were true, it would have been very short-lived, since the last Templar leader was burnt at the stake in 1314.
This popular legend was of great interest to the von Skall family, who ended up buying the estate in 1679, and who are responsible for laying the foundations of the castle that exists today. Historical evidence shows that the Great Marshal at the court of Frederick the Great, George Wilhelm von Reisewitz, who was Urszula Maria von Skall's cousin, ended up inheriting the castle after her death in 1723.
Upon acquiring his new estate, von Reisewitz immediately got to work on building a grand and extravagant castle, which is still standing today as Moszna Castle's baroque center. The renowned Argentine writer and poet, Jorge Luis Borges, once voiced his views on this exuberant style, when he said, "I would define the baroque as that style that deliberately exhausts (or tries to exhaust) its own possibilities and that borders on self-caricature. The baroque is the final stage in all art when art flaunts and squanders its resources.”
Much in the same way, over the years von Reisewitz ended up squandering all of his resources, causing his family to lose the estate in 1771. Due to the staggering cost of the castle's upkeep, they were forced to sell the estate in an auction, thus placing the castle in the hands of Heinrich Leopold von Seherr-Thoss, who already owned another castle and many other properties in the surrounding areas.
A few generations of the von Seherr-Thoss family inhabited Moszna up until 1853, when it was sold to Heinrich von Erdmannsdorff. Curiously, for completely unknown reasons, it was sold once again only 13 years later to a man named, Hubert von Tiele-Winckler. Then, in 1883, his eldest child, Franz Hubert, inherited the castle and all of the family's wealth, and during this time built much of the castle that can be seen today.
Unfortunately, just 3 years after Franz Hubert acquired the property, a large portion of the castle burnt down in a ferocious fire. However, instead of simply restoring it to its former glory, he instead opted to expand the castle eastwards in a lucrative Victorian Gothic style. As a result, the castle's Neo-Gothic east wing was born.
Around ten years later, the castle was then equipped with a lavishly-landscaped garden in the front, along with yet another wing towards the west. Franz Hubert built this new wing in a Neo-Renaissance style in order to accommodate Emperor Wilhelm II, whom he had befriended a few years earlier. The emperor was honored to have such a magnificent vacation home, and granted Franz Hubert the title of earl in response.
The castle of today is practically the same as when Earl Franz finished rebuilding it, complete with its 365 rooms and 99 towers. Sadly, however, the castle was raided by the Red Army during World War II's aftermath, and only an empty shell was left behind them.
Presently, the entire castle serves as a reasonably-priced hotel for anyone who wants to get a first-hand experience of its majesty. Set in an outstanding park, full of stunning rhododendrons, azaleas, and oak trees, Moszna truly is a haven for anyone who needs an incredible short escape.
Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
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