Siewierz is a small Silesian town of about 5,500 inhabitants, visited mostly due to its proximity to the Upper Silesian Industry Area and the international airport of Pyrzowice. Anyway, it is a great starting point for anyone who wants to explore Krakow or the Krakow-Czestochowa Upland. Besides this, the town takes pride in its long history that finds its roots in the Middle Ages, and it can still show off several remains of this past.
Siewierz was once an important location due to the several major overland routes that intersected here. The Pyrzowice airport is a modern transport link, lying a conveniently close 10 km away.
Lying outside of the industrial areas of Silesia, in the past it has played the role of health resort, focussing on the healing of tuberculosis. The natural features of the town are its clean air, forests, three landscape parks and the artificial Siewiersko-Przeczycki reservoir, all of which are attractive for any visitor.
Siewierz can boast of having one of the oldest churches in Silesia – the Romanesque church of St John the Baptist, dating from the 12th century. Another interesting monument, situated close to the river, is the ruin of a castle that has stood there since the 14th century. In the period between the 15 and the 18th centuries, it belonged to the princes of Siewierz – Krakow’s bishops.
Siewierz lies in the valley of the Czarna Przemsza River, nestled in a valley encircled by several hills of about 300-350 m in height. It is situated in the Silesian Upland, in the northern part of the Silesian voivodship.
Siewierz is one of the oldest towns in Poland but its earliest history is not well known. It was first mentioned in documents from the early 12 century and then received its town charter in 1276.
In the Middle Ages it had a number of owners – for some time it was the property of Silesian and Cieszyn Dukes, Czech kings and bishops of Krakow. By the 17th century, it had already become an important trade centre.
By the late 18th century the lands around were incorporated into the Polish Crown, but soon Poland was partitioned by neighbouring nations and Siewierz became a part of Prussia. After the Napoleon’s failed attempt on Moscow it was attacked by Russian troops and later became a part of the Polish Kingdom ruled by Russians.
The repressions that followed the January Insurrection against the Russians in 1863 brought about the decline of Siewierz, and soon it was also to lose its city status. There was some revival of industry after 1918 when the town found itself within Polish borders again. In the same period a school and a sanatorium were opened, and after World War II the process of industrialisation continued.