Anecdotally present in historical records from the 10th century, Kłodzko occupies a strategic position that accounts for its enduring attraction: a monstrously powerful stone fortress, begun by the Austrians in 1662 and completed two centuries later by the Prussians. It’s the dominant, even dominating, landmark of the town. It's also the best reason to pay a visit, although the winding streets of the Old Town, with interesting churches, museums and bridges, have a charm of their own.
One of the oldest settlements in Silesia, Kłodzko (kwots-koh) started out as a major trade centre thanks to its location on the Nysa Kłodzka River, a tributary of the Odra. Like most settlements in the region, it changed hands every century or so, with Bohemia, Austria and Prussia all having a crack; only after WWII did the town become uncontestedly Polish.