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Kłodzko

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A view of Kłodzko from above.

Kłodzko [1] (Czech: Kladsko, German: Glatz, Latin: Glacio) is a town in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Poland. Located in the southern Kłodzko Valley, the town is renown for its major former military fortress, its number of ornate monuments, and its historical medieval stone bridge, which has given the town its nickname, "Little Prague." The population of Kłodzko is nearly 28,000.

Understand[edit]

History[edit]

Situated in the historical border zone between the Bohemian and Polish kingdoms, Kłodzko sits on the ancient northern and central European trade routes. Since its foundation in the 10th century, Kłodzko has changed hands a number of times by various kingdoms, empires and states. In the early Middle Ages, the Polish and Bohemian kingdoms vied for control over the town, resulting in a number of handovers, invasions and sacks during this period. The arrival German Augustinian monks beginning in 1376 began a slow Germanization of Kłodzko, resulting with the town's Slavic influence waning by the 15th century. Kłodzko suffered immense damage and depopulation during the Hussite Wars between 1419 to 1432, yet despite these setbacks, the town was declared an integral outer region of the Kingdom of Bohemia under King George of Poděbrady, who elevated Kłodzko as a county in 1459.

As Bohemia was subsumed under the Austrian Habsburg monarchy in the 16th century, Kłodzko (now under its German name Glatz) expanded greatly as a result of trade and royal investment. Much of its old town was built using Renaissance and later Baroque architecture. During the Thirty Years' War, Kłodzko faced conflict again between the rebellious Bohemian Estates and Austrian-led Imperial troops, who laid siege several times. After the war, the Austrians stripped all municipal and county government functions from Kłodzko.

During the First Silesian War in 1740, the Kingdom of Prussia invaded and successfully annexed the lands around the town, depriving Austria access to the Kłodzko Valley. Twenty years later in 1760 during the Seven Years' War, Austria briefly recaptured Kłodzko after a month-long siege, though the Austrians relinquished control of Kłodzko back to Prussia following the war's conclusion. The town was later captured by French and Bavarian forces during the War of the Fourth Coalition (a part of the Napoleonic Wars) in 1807.

Kłodzko became part of the German Empire in 1871. In the decades that followed, the town and its surrounding region underwent heavy investment due to the blossoming spa, sauna and health industries. Railroads connected the town to the rest of the empire, followed by tourists interested to relax in Kłodzko's sedate charms.

Kłodzko suffered no damage during World War II, yet its fortifications became a center for slave labor and prisoners of war during the Nazi regime. In 1945, the Soviet Red Army occupied Kłodzko, resulting in the expulsion of its German population and its subsequent annexation by Poland. Unfortunately during the communist period, Kłodzko's infrastructure suffered immensely, leaving many of its former tourist facilities to crumble or outright vanish.

Today, Kłodzko is reemerging as a tourist center for the region, especially for Germans drawn to the region to rediscover ancestral links.

Geography[edit]

Kłodzko is situated in the Kłodzko Valley, an uneven geographical location traversed by the upper Nysa Kłodzka River. The valley is surrounded by a number of mountain ranges, including the Table and Owl Mountains. The town of Kłodzko itself is hilly, with the old town occupying a mount.

Get in[edit]

Kłodzko Główne is one of the main train stations serving the town.

By plane[edit]

The closest airport to Kłodzko is Wrocław–Copernicus Airport (WRO), around 90 km north, or an eighty minute drive. Copernicus Airport offers routes by several mainstream airlines, including SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Lufthansa, Etihad Regional and Poland's national carrier LOT. Additional low cost airlines flying to and from Wrocław include Germanwings, Ryanair and Wizz Air. Domestic flights operated by LOT (under the Eurolot brand) connect the airport with Gdańsk.

By car[edit]

Kłodzko is a major crossroads town between several national roads. The town is intersected from the south by DK33, from the west and northeast by DK8 (E67), and from the east by DK46. There are no motorways or expressways linking Kłodzko, and none are expected or planned for the foreseeable future.

By bus[edit]

Kłodzko is the regional center for southern Lower Silesia's bus network. From the town's bus station (dworzec autobusowy) near the foot of the old town, travelers can arrive and depart. One of the major companies serving the town and the surrounding county is PKS Kłodzko. Smaller companies serving other routes can be researched through e-podroznik.pl.

By train[edit]

The town is serviced by two rail stations, Kłodzko Miasto and Kłodzko Główne. National rail operator PKP, national regional line Przewozy Regionalne, and the provincial operator Koleje Dolnośląskie all provide service to the town, largely from Wrocław. For the closest rail station to the historic town center, visitors should use the slightly shabby Kłodzko Miasto station. As Kłodzko is a major transfer point to other lines around the Kłodzko Valley and into the neighboring Czech Republic beyond, visitors should not be surprised if they must transfer in the town while heading to southerly locations. Most transfers occur at Kłodzko Główne, which was beautifully restored in 2013.

Get around[edit]

Kłodzko can be easily explored by foot, and does not require transport around the town to explore its various sites.

See[edit][add listing]

The Gothic Bridge, with the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary in the background, are among the main symbols of the town.
  • Gothic Bridge (Polish: Most Gotycki) [2]. A bridge over the Młynówka River, the Gothic Bridge is the oldest stone bridge in Poland and among one of the oldest still functioning structures of its kind in Europe. Theorized to date back to 1286 (or to the 14th century), the Gothic Bridge connects the older and new towns together, divided by the Młynówka. Around the bridge are Baroque statues depicting Biblical and other religious scenes, often evoking comparisons by tourists to the Charles Bridge in Prague.
  • Old Town [3]. The Old Town of Kłodzko is a confined area of charming buildings dating to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Constructed next to the Old Town's main square is the city's dominating neo-Renaissance city hall, revitalized at the end of the 19th century, though its tower dates to the 17th century.
  • Kłodzko Fortress (Polish: Twierdza Kłodzko, German: Festung Glatz) [4]. One of the main attractions of the town, this massive fortress, built upon other ancient military fortifications, dates largely to Kłodzko's Prussian and German eras, when the fort was among the largest of its kind in those states. Today, the peaceful fortifications dominate the hillside rising above the Old Town, giving visitors an impressive view of both the town and the surrounding Kłodzko Valley. The fortress provides an array of attractions, including zig-zagging walls, old military equipment, and a labyrinth of underground tunnels and bunkers used by personnel for over 200 years. Kłodzko Fortress also functions as a memorial, as the site was used as an extension of the Gross-Rosen concentration camp in Rogoźnica during the Second World War.
  • Church of Our Lady of the Rosary (Polish: Kościół pw. Matki Bożej Różańcowej) Constructed between 1628 to 1631, the site of this attractive Catholic church and adjoining monastery has been occupied as a place of worship since the 13th century. The contemporary church has miraculously survived a number of floods throughout the centuries. Today, the church overlooks the Gothic Bridge, and is one of the symbols of the town.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Take your time and explore the brick mazes and underground bunkers of Kłodzko Fortress.
  • Sit in the old town's charming square to have a beer or meal.
  • Lazily stroll across the Gothic Bridge on a sunny day.
  • Explore the small, hillside streets around the old town, a mixture of fresh revitalization and former glory.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Galeria Twierdza Kłodzko, ul. Noworudzka 2 57-300 Kłodzko, +48 74 660 44 11, [5]. Mon-Sat: 9:00-21:00, Sun: 10:00-20:00. One of the premier modern shopping malls in Kłodzko.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Restauracja W Ratuszu (Im Rathaus), Plac Bolesława Chrobrego 3 57-300 Kłodzko, +48 74 865 81 45, [6]. A pleasant pub and restaurant sitting in the heart of the old town next to city hall, serving German, Silesian and Polish cuisine.  edit
  • Tevere, Kościelna 5 48-300 Kłodzko, +48 74 867 93 93, [7]. An Italian-themed pizza cafe, offering a number of pizzas (as well as fish and hamburgers) to customers. Delivery pizza is also an option.  edit
  • Restauracja Forteczna, Objazdowa 11 57-300 Kłodzko, +48 603 687 309, [8]. Located within the Kłodzko Fortress, the Forteczna offers home-cooked Polish meals.  edit
  • Bar Raj Smakosza, Okrzei 2A 57-300 Kłodzko, +48 609 541 760, [9]. 09:00-17:00. An unpretentious restaurant, serving up Polish and Central European food.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Pub Stare Kino, Plac Bolesława Chrobrego 1, +48 74 814 35 45, [10]. A stylish pub in the center of the town.  edit
  • Pub AK, Armii Krajowej 2 57-300 Kłodzko, +48 74 867 81 66, [11]. A pub located close by to the fortress.  edit
The imposing stone walls of Kłodzko Fortress.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Casa D'Oro, ul. Grottgera 7 57-300 Kłodzko, +48 74 867 02 16, [12]. An unassuming Italian-themed hotel located near the foot of the old town, known for its quite and atmospheric location.  edit
  • Willa Kłodzko-Zacisze, ul. Marka Hłaski 3 57-300 Kłodzko, +48 74 867 89 99, [13]. checkin: 14:00-20:00; checkout: 08:00-10:00. A hotel in a modern building, located in the quiet northwestern area of the town.  edit
  • Hotel Marhaba, ul. Daszyńskiego 16 57-300 Kłodzko, +48 74 865 99 44, [14]. A basic and inexpensive hotel located near the heart of the town.  edit
  • Hotel Metro, Boguszyn 79 B 57-300 Kłodzko, +48 74 811 92 00, [15]. More of a motel than a proper hotel, the Hotel Metro is located 2 km north of the town center, just off of the DK8 (E67) highway.  edit

Get out[edit]

As Kłodzko is a crossroads town, access in or out is relatively easy. Thirty minutes west is the important spa town of Kudowa-Zdrój, which is accessible by car, bus, and train. Also to the west, some thirty minutes, is the holy center of Wambierzyce. To the east, the small yet charming spa town of Lądek-Zdrój is thirty minutes away, accessible by car and bus. To the north, the provincial capital of Wrocław is located two hours away, with frequent bus and rail connections between both locations. Nearly completely surrounded by the Czech Republic, Kłodzko is also an excellent place to begin an exploration of East Bohemia. The Czech regional capital of Hradec Králové is 90 minutes to the west of the city.


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