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 to Norbertine’s sisters in Rybnik. The end of the 13th century and the entire 14th century was related to a reconstruction of the castle and replacement of wood by bricks. The Romanesque rotunda was adapted to the Gothic castle: the level of the floor was raised by two meters, Romanesque windows in the apse were walled up and bigger, Gothic ones were created.
At the time of the conversion of the lower castle in 1838-40, the Romanesque walls of the temple were ringed by a brick wall. New and bigger windows were walled out and a new, tin helmet was put up. The level of the interior nave and the exterior area was raised (the building was almost halfway up rimmed by soil). The Romanesque chapel received a classical division of the façade adjusted to the style of the castle. The design of a romantic pavilion was created by Joseph Koernhausel. The interior of the Rotunda was decorated by a neo-gothic wooden altar and a picture of Saint Wenceslas.
The Rotunda of Cieszyn as one of the oldest monuments of Polish architecture is depicted on the current Polish 20 PLN banknote.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.