Now that the weather is nicer, Rafal (1st counselor in the Branch Presidency) and the Reeds were scouting out some things which might be feasible in which the Branch could participate. We visited a castle in the town of Pszczynie which housed royalty down through the years. The original castle was built in the 1500′s, but through wars and invasions was destroyed, rebuilt, and destroyed again several times. The site now houses a castle which was built in the late 1700′s, and the interior has been reconstructed to look exactly like pictures and drawings from those years. It is beautifully done and truly breath-taking. The castle has been owned by many royal families and is now a museum of reknown.
Here is the front view of the castle next to the town square.
The town square, which is next to the castle, is lined with beautiful buildings. Rafal was a wonderful guide on this excursion and has become a good friend.
When the castle housed royalty, this was the “Entrance of the Chosen Ones” guarded by sentinels on duty at all times. Only certain people could pass through this entrance to the palace grounds.
The grand staircase leads up to the main gathering rooms.
The hallways are lined with interesting artifacts, paintings, and lighting. Here the trophies of some of the hunts are the decorative features. Rafal, who used to be a reporter, said that he talked with one of the princes who lived in the castle. He told him that he used to ride his bicycle up and down the hallways when he was young. There was one hallway which was very wide, and the prince had a great time on that one.
The room of the hunters displays the hunting trophies. One of the main past times of the men was “the hunt.” Many of the rooms are filled with this evidence.
There were elephant tusks, a rhino horn, a coyote, but the most prominent hunt was for deer, which were plentiful in the forests.
The women’s sitting room was peaceful and serene.
The master of the house slept in these elegant quarters on one end of the castle..
Several of the rooms had domed ceilings with interesting paintings.
The library opened up into the main gathering room for conversation with large groups.
On a reading stand in the library was a copy of the Bible which was used by Martin Luther dating back to 1507.
The walls of the gathering room were lined with beautiful art work.
At the end of one of the hallways more of the hunting trophies were greeting us.
The ballroom is now used for concerts of various kinds.
A concert grand piano was on stage at the moment.
The gardens behind the castle are breath-taking, especially this time of year when the green of nature is so vibrant.
Interesting bridges cross the ponds and streams throughout the garden.
We met this man who gave us directions on which path to take to get back to the castle. The gardens are so vast that we weren’t sure of the pathway. Many of the Poles, young, old, men and women, use a bicycle for their main mode of transportation. We have seen this in all of the cities and in the countryside. Actually, it’s more efficient in the narrow city streets which are many times jammed with traffic overloads.
The city square has most interesting architecture.
In the square was Princess Daisy, who came from England and married a German Prince. Daisy was a champion for the downtrodden in the area and was the sponsor of many philanthropic projects in her day (late 1800′s). She is still revered by the people here. She and Sister Reed had quite an interesting conversation.