Łapalice Castle – The never completed derelict mansion of a Polish artist.
This eerie castle rots within the small village of Łapalice, Poland. It was abandoned before it was even completed, essentially doomed to exist as a shadow of what it could have become.
However Zamek Łapalice, in Polish, isn’t an ancient castle or medieval fortress at all: Its construction began in 1979, and it was meant to be a studio for local artist Piotr Kazimierczak, who was granted permission to build a 170sq/m work studio on a patch of ground overlooking the lake. But he planned for it to be a grand (too grand) estate, complete with a swimming pool, ballroom, ramparts, and 12 towers representing the 12 apostles.
And in fact it wasn’t long before progress hit a snag. Not only did Kazimierczak run out of funds, he also extended construction for the enormous castle onto land he didn’t have a permit for. To say he bent the rules is an understatement: what went up was a 5,000 sq/m mock castle complete with gateways, turrets and ramparts.
Thus, he was forced to abandon his dreams of completing the space fleshing out its inside, adding wooden floors and stuccos, and installing decorated vaults and, as a result, the structure has been fenced off.
However, according to many, he has yet to give up hope and is still fighting to once again resume construction. In 2006, after a failed revival of the project and with the banks scared off purchasing it by the (monstrous) price tag attached, Kazimierczyk had been ordered to demolish the now-illegal structure. Wild-goose chase, given his financial means. Rumours have been circulating since then that the local council will be knocking it down “sometime in the next few years”.
And, still today, the fabulous folly is no more than an empty shell with its great walls at risk of collapsing, and its gloomy interior covered with graffiti. But still, its sad state has yet to deter people from passing through the estate’s imposing brick entrance gate and exploring the massive abandoned building.
Author’s notes: you need your own vehicle to visit the castle and there’s also a small parking area near the building. However, If you don’t have a car, catch a regional train from Gdynia Główna out to Kartuzy, walk up to the cemetery in Bilowo and hike 5km through the picturesque Bilowo Forest. There’s a big fence behind it, but you can easily access the site through the gate. The castle is a ruin and some parts are in danger of falling apart, so enter at your own risk.