Discovering Silesia: Walking to Siedlęcin with its unique frescoes

May 2023 in Silesia, in the Giant Mountains. We walk from Jelenia Góra north west to Siedlęcin to see the unique medieval frescoes in the tower house. 


The gorgeous view from the top of the “mushroom”

On top of the “city mountain”, called Wzgórze Krzywoustego, there is a tower.

It is called Grzybek or “little Mushroom”.

From the top we have a gorgeous view of the Giant Mountains.

We can identify the Schneekoppe (Snezka) and the Schneegruben (Śnieżne Kotły) in the haze.


Walking along the Bóbr river (Bober)

The train from Jelenia Góra to Kořenov in Czechia whistles loudly and shows us the way to the train viaduct crossing the Bóbr river. 

The train crosses the Giant Mountains up to Czechia (Korenov). It is from the early 20th century and has been reinstalled in 2010. 

We walk under the viaduct and continue our way along the river Bóbr. 

A fountain on the way… refreshment for the hikers.

A snail in the sun… hurry up, little one, the sun will dry you out.

Rocks are scattered in the foresr; glaciers have dropped them a long time ago.

A restaurant in the forest, we have lunch here. 

The river Bóbr has been dammed.


Siedlęcin – our target with the medieval frescoes

After about 6km we reach the tower house at Siedlęcin. This is, what it looked like in the 18th century.

The tower house and part of the complex are still around. On the first floor of the tower, we find this wall full of frescoes.

The frescoes have been  painted in the years 1320 to 1340, applying the al seco technique on a chalk-bed. The frescoes tell us about the life of knights; this is unique in Europe. 

Christopher watches over the scenery. To the left of Christopher are two couples. One lady wears a hud – she is married. The seond lady wears no hood – she is not married. They are standing on top of a line of graves. 

Chrstopher is carrying Christ across the river. He stands in the water, barefeet, and some small fish around his legs indicate, this IS water. 

The scene to the right of Christopher tells the story of Lancelot. Lancelot is a knight of the Round Table of King Artus and he is in love of Queen Guinevere. The adultery causes a civil war, as described in literature of the 12th century. 

On this fresco, Lanzelot is sleeping and Guinevere tries to wake him up. Lancelot has deposited his helmet in the background; the helmet carries a dog sculpture.

Later Lancelot fights a duel with Tarquyn. Lancelot can be recognized by the helmet with the dog scultpure.

Some frescoes decorate the windows such as the coat of arms of the family Redern; they had acquired the tower house in 1354 and owned it for about two hundred years.  

On the fourth floor, guards defended the tower house. The roof construction dates from 1315. It had to be renewed after a fire in the late 16th century. The clay floor provides heat insulation and protection against fires.

The ceiling of the third floor from 1315 has been largely preserved. Only parts of it had to be renewed after the fire of the 16th century.  

While my friend takes the bus back to Jelenia Góra, I walk back, taking a different route and getting lost, though following the green markings. Our car was waiting for us next to the central bus station which helped finding it nevertheless. After a wonderful day, we return to “our” palace, the Palac Stoniszów. 



  • Frank Schüttig, “Riesengebirge”, Trescher Verlag, Berlin 2022
  • Malgorzata Ulrich-Kornacka, “Niederschlesien”, Via Nova, Wroclaw 2018
  • Dieter Schulze, “Polen der Süden”, Dumont Reisehandbuch, Osfildern 2020
  • Tomasz Turbos, “Polen”, Dumont Kunst-Reiseführer, Hamburg 2011
  • Explanations in the tower house of Siedlęcin


Discovering Silesia: Hirschberg or Jelenia Góra

In May 2023, I am in Silesia again, now with a good friend of mine. We stay south of Hirschberg (Jelenia Góra) at the foot of the Riesengebirge (Karkonosce or Giant Mountains).


Staniszów, the castle that is our home for a week

We have selected the castle Staniszów to stay for a week. 

It is located in a beautiful park that offers…

… charming corners.

Until 1945, the castle belonged to the family Reuss from Thuringia. In 2001, it has been acquired by the government. It has been restored and is now a spa hotel with an excellent restaurant. We are very pleased with our selection, we just had to learn, how to master the labyrinth of corridors and stairs in this old building.


Around 1100, Hirschberg or Jelenia Góra was a good place for hunting

Hirschberg was founded in 1108. “Boleslaus Distortus urbem struxit (Boleslaw with the distorted mouth constructed the town)”, the inscription on the townhall says. 

He liked the place, because it was good for hunting deer, hence the name “Hirschberg” that the Poles translated literally to “Jelenia Góra”.


Now, we find a pretty city centre around the town hall

We enter the city centre next to the St. Anna Chapel. It has been built into the city wall. The Wojanów gate has been removed. The tower is not a belfry. It was the Schildauer tower that protected the gate. 

We stroll along the street of 1st of May. Nice shops here. We enter the wine shop that, besides international wines sells Polish wines from the area around Jelenia Góra and from the Owl Mountains (yes, wine is grown here as well). The street is also a good place to buy fashionable clothes. 

The townhall dominates the market square or Rynek. 

The small gallery connects the townhall with the seven neighbouring houses. The complex has been used by the city government until today.

The townhall and the seven houses are sourrounded by carefully restored medieval buildings.

They show that Jelenia Góra was rich based on trading with cloth, particularly in the 16th century. Various coffee places and restaurants invite to sit down under the arcades.


In former times, trams crossed the old city centre. This wagon reminds of that; it is small coffee shop now.

In the museum of the Giant Mountains (Muzeum Karkonoskie), we find a photo of the old tram in action.


The church of Saint Erasmus and Pankratius is of gothic style with a baroque decoration

Not far from the Rynek, we enter the Basilica of Erasmus and Pankratius. The gothic vaults seem to rise to heaven.

The wooden altar from the 17th century has been painted to look like marble. 

The choir from the 18th century – beautifully carved – shows clearly: We are at Hirschberg.

Epitaphs from the 17th century decorate the outside walls. Mayors, wealthy citizens, even a Swedish warrior from the war of thirty years.


The Gnadenkirche or Church of the Holy Cross

The Gnadenkirche was built as a protestant church under the Habsburgian Emperor Josef I in the beginning of the 18th century. 

Though being a protestant church, it was richly decorated and painted inside. This is the view towards the altar (with the organ above)…

… and towards the entry from the west.

The baptismal font is made out of blue marble.

Around the church, various tombs of German patrician families have been restored.


The hotel Europe, formerly “Hotel Drei Berge”

The hotel Europe was one of the main hotels, when Silesia still belonged to Germany. Then it was called “Hotel Drei Berge” and had a roof top terrace. It is still a recommended hotel today. 

We return to our beautifuk castle Staniszów. I have a long swim in the pool (20x8m). After that I enjoy delicious asparagus in the castle restaurant, while my friend has a turbot with couscous and vegetables, also excellent.



  • Frank Schüttig, “Riesengebirge”, Trescher Verlag, Berlin 2022
  • Malgorzata Ulrich-Kornacka, “Niederschlesien”, Via Nova, Wroclaw 2018
  • Dieter Schulze, “Polen der Süden”, Dumont Reisehandbuch, Osfildern 2020
  • Tomasz Turbos, “Polen”, Dumont Kunst-Reiseführer, Hamburg 2011