Thanks to our efforts the impressive, long neglected castle in Ratno Dolne (formerly Niederrathen) has finally found a new, caring owner. Mr. Karol Glowa, a Cracovian entrepreneur, is planning to renovate the estate and open there an educational centre (quote from the interview with Mr. Glowa in Gazeta Klodzka, translated):
An environmental education centre will be set up in the castle. […] It will be a combination of a science park and a resting place with an ecological theme. The castle park will be available already in spring for school and family picnics. During the winter it will be cleaned and tidied up so that it can be used by local school children and families in the spring. In the summer, we will open the café in the annexe building on the right-hand side of the castle to visitors.
The once impressive Niederrathen castle, rebuilt first into a Baroque and then into a Neorenaissance palace, is scenically located on a rocky hill over the river Ścinawka (Steine).
Rathen, a village in Kłodzko region, used to be a Bohemian fortification against Poland, probably built in the 11th century and a castle on this site was first mentioned in 1347.
Its history remains relatively unknown with just a few facts recorded: the estate has belonged to several German noble families, the main construction works took place in the 2nd half of the 16th century, the castle was badly damaged during the wars against Sweden in 1645 and was rebuilt afterwards.
The complex consists of the main four-winged building with a residential tower and the so-called “small castle” on its western side. There used to be terraced gardens south of the castle, converted in the 19th century into a landscape park.
After WWII Niederrathen, like all previously German-owned palaces and castles in Lower Silesia, was confiscated by the Polish communist authorities to serve practical purposes, like an orphanage or cheap holiday accommodation.
Sadly, the changes of 1989 didn’t bring it to its former glory; on the contrary – the palace was bought by a private investor, who allegedly planned a proper renovation, but after the fire of 1998 the estate has been abandoned and decaying ever since – till the auction in the fall of 2021.
Our foundation undertook several legal actions to prove that the owner’s negligence is criminal, which led to him being charged with fines of ca. 25k EUR and being forced to sell the castle to a new owner.