Bielsko-Biała is a city in southern Poland located 1 hour south of Katowice and approximately 1 and 1/2 hours south-west of Kraków. Bielsko-Biała is composed of two former cities on opposite banks of the Biała River, Bielsko and Biała. Bielsko-Biała is one of the most important cities of the Beskidy region.
A fortified settlement was discovered in the 1930’s in Stare Bielsko (Old Bielsko). The settlement was dated to the 12th – 14th centuries. The current center of the town was probably developed as early as the first half of the 13th century. At that time a castle, Zamek Sułkowskich,(which still survives today – and is shown in these pictures) was built on a hill. In the second half of the 13th century, the Piast Dukes of Opole invited German settlers to land between Silesia and Lesser Poland in order to colonize the Silesian Beskidy. The town was first documented in 1312 when a Duke of Cieszyn granted a town charter. From 1457 the Biała River was the border between Silesia (within the Holy Roman Empire) and Lesser Poland.
During the First Partition of Poland in 1772, Biała was annexed by Austria and included in the crown land of Galicia. In 1918 both cities became part of a reconstituted Polish state, with the majority of the population being ethnic German.
During World War II the city was annexed by Nazi Germany and its Jewish population was sent to Auschwitz. After the liberation of the city by the Red Army in 1945, the ethnic German population was expelled westward.
The city of Bielsko-Biała was created on 1 January 1951 when the cities of Bielsko and Biała were unified.
1 Zamku Sułkowskich (Sułkowski Castle).
2 Street view from the castle.
3 Various street views.
5 Cobblestone alleys – many streets around the castle are cobblestone since they are part of the Stare Miasto/Starówka (Old City).
6 Side view from the castle.
7 Polish Poczta (post office) and Theatre.
12 The castle at night.
13 Armour room.
19 Gorgeous medieval art in this museum
20 Unknown sculptor – Madonna and Child, 15th/16th century.
21 Unknown German painter – St, Ann with Virgin and Child, 15th century.
22 Unknown sculptor – The Holy Family, 15th/16th century.
23 Unknown German or Silesian sculptor – Madonna and Bird,14th century.
24 Sculptor, Marcin Czarnego (? – 1509) – Archangel Michael, culmination triptych of Łękawica, 1510 – 1530.
25 Sculptor, Marcin Czarnego (? – 1509) – Chrystus Bolesny (Pained Christ), side of Św.Bartłomiej wing of the Łękawica triptych.
26 Antwerp Guild of St. Lukas – triptych of the prostate pastors, 15th/16th century.
27 Unknown sculptor – Our Lady of the Mantle, 16th century.
28 Close up of sculpture; beautiful detail.
29 Unknown sculptor – from the Mary Virgin and Child Group, 15th century.
30 Close up of upper part of Antwerp triptych.
31 More detail from the Antwerp triptych.
32 View of the theatre from inside the castle museum.
33 Miniature of the castle from the and outlying areas during the 14th century.
37 Castle in the 15th century.
38 Medieval pottery.
40 The medieval city walls and the western elevation of the oldest building of the castle.
41 Medieval walls being excavated within the castle.
44 Castle approximately around 1600.
45 Medieval and Renaissance walls excavated.
46 The oldest element of what is now a brick castle was a medieval fortified wall surrounding the city built during the first half of the 14th century.
In the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century, the walls were demolished and on their foundations, new, thinner walls were built.
Simultaneously with the construction of a new wall, a stone tower was built positioned perpendicular to the former defense wall in the southeastern part of the castle.
In the northern facade of the castle, a stone keyhole for shooting was set.
During the second half of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century, a communication passage was built leading from the courtyard to the castle garden. At this period comes the structure probably representing the foundation stone stairs to the garden wing and the stone drainage channeling water from the site of the castle courtyard.
47 Standing on a glass floor above the medieval walls.
50 The arrangement of the layers of the castle between the 13th – 17th centuries.
51 Looking down at the Medieval walls.
52 Front view of Św. Mikołaja (St. Nicholas).
53 I tried to capture the Cathedral as close as possible – it was a bit tricky, but the detail of the church is lovely.
54 View of the Cathedral from a side alley.
55 Side view of Katedra św. Mikołaja
56 View of the entrance during Mass.
57 Standing in the front entrance after the Mass has finished.
58 Closer view of the door detail.
59 Statue inside.
60 Beautiful Cathedral interior.