This small town on the Polish-Czech border has a greater mix of different cultures than anywhere else in Poland. Silesian Cieszyn, Bohemia, Moravia, Austria, Hungary and Germany have all been closely connected with the town at some point in its history, and this long past is as both complicated and fascinating as the rich history of Silesia and the Duchy of Cieszyn. Divided into two parts – Polish and Czech – today’s Cieszyn can be proud of its beautiful “little Vienna” Old Town with its atmosphere of Prague, its Summer Film Festival, the ever popular “Prince Polo” chocolate wafer bars, and its own flower – the cieszynianka.
When you visit this delightful place you will believe that time must have forgotten all about it. Almost every detail here tells you something of the story of ten centuries of changes that have happened since the three brothers, Bolko, Leszko and Cieszko, arrived here in 810, discovered a spring and decided to settle here on the Olza River. They called the place Cieszyn from the Polish phrase “cieszym się” which means “we’re happy”. There is a well at the Three Brothers Street as a token of remembrance, but this is not the only place in the town to remind us of the past.
Cieszyn, one of the oldest towns in Poland, is situated in the Silesian Voivodship on the Olza River, opposite Český Těšín. The town was divided into two parts, with the left-bank being part of the Czech Republic and known as Český Těšín. Together the towns constitute an important transit centre on the Czech-Polish border, close to the territory of Slovakia, and form the capital of the Cieszyn Silesia Euroregion.
The town came into being in the 10th century as a stronghold built to defend Poland’s southern borders. From around 1290 Cieszyn was the capital of the autonomous Duchy of Cieszyn, a region that later became Cieszyn Silesia. In the 16th century the town was one of the most important centres of trade and commerce, and also a centre of the Reformation movement. After the World War I, Czechoslovakia attacked the Polish part of the region and forced Poland to withdraw from the greater part of the Za... ( more >>)