Stobnica Castle -- Poland's controversial modern-day medieval castle
The construction of Stobnica Castle began in 2015
POLAND (Web Desk) - Western Poland’s Notecka Forest is home to one of the country’s most controversial buildings, a medieval-style complex known as Stobnica Castle.
The construction of Stobnica Castle began in 2015, but it didn’t start attracting nationwide attention until 2018, when people started wondering what this gargantuan structure rising up at the edge of a well-known nature reserve, on what looked like a man-made island on Lake Stobnica, was.
Aerial photos of a 15-storey medieval-like castle rising up in the middle of a pristine natural paradise about 50 km from the city of Poznan started going viral online and piqued people’s curiosity.
What was this building, who was the owner and how had they obtained a building permit for it, considering its location at the edge of a Special Protection Area for Birds (20 species) within the Natura 2000 network?
It’s been over five years since Stobnica Castle first started making news headlines in Poland, and although it has been at the center of multiple court battles and Government official sackings, the mystery surrounding the medieval-style structure persists.
For years, no one really knew who the owner of Stobnica Castle was. Some suspected it was the project of billionaire Jan Kulczyk, who died in 2015 but whom some conspiracy theorists believe faked his own death, while some more cent sources claim it belongs to doctor and businessman Pawel N.
The funds for the construction have also sparked controversy, with some news sources claiming that they originated from offshore accounts.
The purpose of the building is currently being disputed as well. While the developer’s attorneys insist that Stobnica Castle will be their client’s personal residence, there has long been speculation that it will either be transformed into a luxury hotel, or transformed into a residential complex for the rich and powerful.
Many people are finding it hard to believe that anyone, no matter how rich they are, would spend 400 million zloti ($91 million) on a personal residence.
When photos of the gigantic Stobnica Castle first went viral in 2018, they sparked massive outrage among environmental activists and the general public.
The investigators gathered evidence about how the building permits had been obtained, and whether the developer could actually build so close to a natural reserve, while also building an artificial island on Lake Stobnica.
In July 2020, the District Prosecutor’s Office in Poznań accused 6 people, including representatives of the investor, an architect, and local officials.
That same year, the provincial governor was removed from office. In early 2021, the Central Anti-corruption Bureau initiated another investigation: suspicion of financing investments from money laundering (transfers from Cyprus offshore accounts).
In August 2021, the Chief Inspector of Construction Supervision (GINB) annulled the building permit for Stobnica Castle, but the decision was immediately appealed by the developers, and construction has been continuing ever since.
Recent photos and aerial footage show that the exterior of the medieval-style complex is nearly completed, including a 90-meter-tall tower rising up from its center.
Sources close to the project estimate that Stobnica Castle will be completed around 2025, while others speculate that it might end up being demolished by the state, because of its controversial location, at the edge of a protected nature reserve.
The only sure thing is that its fate is currently up in the air.