A treasure hunter who led the campaign to find a mythical Nazi train filled with gold has finally hit it rich after discovering 24 lost Renaissance frescoes hidden under plaster in a castle he was renovating.
Construction entrepreneur Piotr Koper made the discovery as he was renovating a small palace in the village of Struga near Wroclaw in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship in south-western Poland.
Koper says he was working to lower what remains of a Baroque dome in the palace when he spotted a strip of one of the frescoes under the plaster.
He says he then worked with his team of restorers to carefully pull off the plaster and they then “saw a delicate strip of painting underneath”.
The team then began working to pull away more of the plaster and discovered a line of preserved wall frescoes underneath.
Koper says his team have managed to uncover 10 of the frescoes without damaging them and reports state it is believed there are between 24 an 28 paintings in the 50 square-metre space.
The frescoes which have been identified are of the medieval rulers of the historical region of Silesia and on the other side of the hall are frescoes of four emperors of Rome.
Koper said: “Each of these huge frescoes was made about four metres (13 feet) above the ground and each covers an area of 1.4 by 1.6 metres (4.6 feet by 5.2 feet).”
Local media report the last fresco to be revealed has been dated to the 16th century because Ferdinand I Habsburg, who was the Holy Roman Emperor from 1558-1564, is depicted in it.
The Czettritz family were the owners of the palace during the period the frescoes are believed to have been made.
The building underwent reforms in the 18th and 20th centuries.
Koper has previously made international headlines by leading the hunt for a “gold train” he claims is filled with 300 tonnes of treasure and art looted by the Nazis in World War II.
He claimed the train was hidden in a tunnel near the town of Walbrzych but he has never managed to find it.