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

2 thoughts on “Discovering Silesia: Hirschberg or Jelenia Góra

  1. What a wonderful looking town. The castle looks fascinating too. Enjoy your stay!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.