Top Historic Sights in Cieszyn, Poland

Explore the historic highlights of Cieszyn

Cieszyn Castle

The oldest evidence of settlement in the castle hill in Cieszyn dates back to the 6th and 5th centuries BC. With time the Cieszyn castle gained in importance, in the 12th century it was promoted to the rank of castellany, and a century later it became the capital of the independent Duchy of Cieszyn, playing an important role as the state administrative centre of the first Piasts and as a border post. The wooden castle ac ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Cieszyn, Poland

St. Nicholas Rotunda

Saint Nicolas and Saint Wenceslas Church in Cieszyn is a Romanesque rotunda to serve the role of a castle chapel and a stronghold church. The rotunda was erected within the walls of the castellan stronghold at the top of Castle Mount (built in the 10th century and the first half of the 11th century). The first reference to the rotunda comes from 1223, where it was described as St. Nicolas Chapel, obliged to pay a tithe t ...
Founded: c. 1180 | Location: Cieszyn, Poland

Museum of Cieszyn Silesia

The Museum of Cieszyn Silesia is one of the oldest public museums in Central Europe and the oldest public museum in Poland, set up by father Leopold Jan Szersznik in 1802. The building bears traces of Baroque-neoclassical style. The two storey and three wing building is made of brick and broken stone in cellars. The interior design is based on two tracts. On the ground floor there are two arterial hallways: the first one ...
Founded: 1802 | Location: Cieszyn, Poland

Old Jewish Cemetery

Land for the Old Jewish Cemetery in Cieszyn was purchased in 1647 and has since belonged to the Singer family. In 1785, the cemetery was ceased to be private property and was sold to the Jewish community in Cieszyn. The last burial at the cemetery took place in 1928. In 1986, the cemetery was added to the register of monuments. The cemetery now belongs to the Jewish Community in Bielsko-Biała. As of 2009, the cemetery h ...
Founded: 1647 | Location: Cieszyn, Poland

Jesus Church

Jesus Church is one of the largest and most important Protestant churches in Poland. The construction of the Lutheran basilica was made possible with the assistance of Sweden"s Charles XII, who forced Austrian Emperor Joseph I to provide right for Protestants. Late Austrian Baroque in style, Jesus Church was constructed between 1709-1710 and the bell tower was erected in 1750. In the first two decades of the church&q ...
Founded: 1709 | Location: Cieszyn, Poland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lednice Castle

The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.

At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.

During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.

In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.

In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.

The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.