Zamek w Pszczynie (Polish)
|Location||ul. Brama Wybranców 1
|Rebuilt||15th century, 16th century, 1734–1768, 1870–1876|
|Architect||1870-1876: Hippolyte Alexandre Destailleur|
|Architectural style(s)||Baroque Revival architecture|
Pless Castle (Polish: Zamek w Pszczynie), is a classical-style palace in the city of Pszczyna (formerly called "Pless") in south-western Poland. Constructed as a castle in 13th century or earlier, in a Gothic architectural style, it was rebuilt in a Renaissance style in the 17th century. During the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, the exterior of the castle was partially changed into a Baroque-Classical style. The Classicist modernization transformed the complex into what is usually described a palace.
In its history the castle was a residence of Silesian and Polish Piast nobles, then the Promnitz family members (mid-16th to mid-18th centuries) and later the von Pless family. The castle has been state-owned since 1936, after the death of the last Prince of Pless, Hans Heinrich XV. In 1946 it was turned into a museum operating until today.
In 2009 it was voted as one of the "Seven Architectural Wonders of the Silesian Voivodeship" by the Silesian authorities and is often described as one of the most beautiful castle residences in Poland. 
In the early the Middle Ages, Pless was a stronghold of the Piast dynasty and several dukes of Poland. The city belonged to the historical region of Lesser Poland until 1177, when it became part of the Duchy of Ratibor. From this time on, it also was part of the Bishopric of Cracow. In 1548, the palace was sold to the noble Promnitz family from Saxony and given a Renaissance appearance, which it lost after a fire. It was subsequently rebuilt in a more baroque style.
In 1705, Baroque composer Georg Philipp Telemann became Kapellmeister to Erdmann II of Promnitz, privy Councillor to Augustus II the Strong, elector of Saxony and king of Poland, and spent considerable time at the Pless Palace when the latter's court summered there. This gave Telemann an opportunity to study Polish and Moravian folk music, which fascinated and inspired him.
In 1742 Pless became part of Brandenburg-Prussia. In 1848 the Duchy of Pless became a Principality, ruled by the Hochberg-Fuerstenstein family until 1939. Between 1870 and 1876, reconstruction of the palace was directed by the French architect Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur.
During the First World War, the palace, then in the German-controlled Silesia, at times hosted William II, German Emperor, and there are pictures on display of him together with Generals such as Erich Ludendorff and Paul von Hindenburg discussing military operations. After the war and a plebiscite in 1921, the town became part of Poland. Following the invasion of Poland in September 1939, the complex was occupied by the Wehrmacht.
After the Second World War, Upper Silesia became part of the Polish People's Republic. For a brief period there was a Soviet military hospital in the palace, but in May 1946 it was turned into a museum, which still operates today.
The Royal Apartments, also referred to as the Apartamenty Cesarskie, are the rooms in which the rulers of the principality and the German Kaiser resided. They have been fully recreated with an all of the original furnishings intact.
When ascending the Grand Staircase, designed by Alexandre Destailleur, the apartments of Princess Mary Theresa Olivia Cornwallis-West von Pless are reached. The princess, called Daisy, lived there from 1891, when she married Prince Hans Heinrich XV and left her native England, until her death in 1943. The rooms are decorated with pictures of the princess and hunting trophies of her husband and the German Emperor.
The highlight of the palace is its eclectic Chamber of Mirrors. An art nouveau dining hall and the smaller rooms are another place of interest.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pszczyna Palace.|
- "Znamy 7 cudów architektury województwa śląskiego". Slaskie.pl. 2009-10-09. Retrieved 2014-03-07.