The History of Castle Hill and the Castle
The oldest evidence of settlement on the hill dates from the 6th and 5th centuries BC. In the 13th century the castle became the capital of the independent Duchy of Cieszyn, but after the line of the Cieszyn Piasts died out the ducal residence fell into ruin. It was not of strategic importance for the Habsburgs, and only in the 19th century were building works begun on Castle Hill. The Supervisory Council of the Cieszyn Duchy was based here in later years and subsequently the Directorship of the State Forests. In 1947 the State Music School moved here, and since 2005 the castle has been the home to a regional design centre.

The oldest evidence of settlement extends back to the 6th and 5th centuries BC. With time the Cieszyn castle gained in importance, in the 12th century it was promoted to the rank of castellany, and a century later it became the capital of the independent Duchy of Cieszyn, playing an important role as the state administrative centre of the first Piasts and as a border post. The wooden castle acquired a new, Gothic character in the 14th century, when it was rebuilt in stone.
It was divided into two parts: the upper and lower. The upper part, surrounded by a wall and bastions, consisted of living quarters. The castle chapel and the still-surviving defensive tower called the Piast Tower were also located there. In the lower part there were stores and utility rooms, the living quarters of the court servants, an armoury, stables and also dungeons for prisoners.
Unfortunately the following centuries were not kind to the castle. The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) and the dying out of the Cieszyn Piasts (1653) sealed the decline of the ducal residence. The castle became the property of the Hapsburgs for whom it served no strategic purpose. Only in the 19th century (1840) was the hill modified in Neo-classicist style according to plans by Joseph Kornhäusel. A summer hunting palace was built on the foundations of the lower castle, which contained the guest rooms of the Cieszyn archduke and the offices of the Teschener Kammer. A park was established in the remaining part of the hill which contained the Piast Tower and the Rotunda of St. Nicholas. Before the First World War artificial ruins were built on the remains of the keep whose original appearance was restored in the 20th century.
The Supervisory Council of the Cieszyn Duchy was located here until the end of 1918 and subsequently the Directorship of the State Forests. Since 1947 some of the rooms of the hunting palace have been occupied by the State Music School, and since 2005 the castle has been the home of a regional design centre – Zamek Cieszyn.
Thanks to funding from the EU’s Structural Funds the building underwent a makeover and the palace orangery was totally reconstructed. In 2005 a regional design centre, i.e. Zamek Cieszyn – Research Centre into Material Culture and Design (formerly the Silesian Castle of Art and Enterprise) was opened.

Worth seeing:
The Rotunda of St. Nicholas
It is the oldest and most important architectural treasure in the Cieszyn Region, and has been extensively written about. Its likeness also appears on the 20-zloty banknote.

It was built in the 11th century and for many years was the castle chapel, the patron of which is St. Nicholas. As the castle’s only stone building it was the most important point of resistance in the event of war. It also fulfilled the function of religious administrative centre for the Cieszyn castellany.
It is probable that Cieszyn’s oldest cemetery was located next to the rotunda, where the commanders of the castellany, members of their families and knights would have been buried. In the 14th century it was modified and in the following century it was damaged by fire. Four centuries later the entire castle complex was adapted in Neoclassicist style. In the years 1947-1955 the rotunda regained its earlier Romanesque character.

The Piast Tower
It is one of the oldest architectural treasures of Cieszyn Silesia, the remains of the medieval Gothic Piast castle. The stone tower was the place of final refuge in the event of the castle being seized.

It could fulfil the function of watchtower, prison and living quarters. It is almost 29 metres tall, and after climbing its 121 steps you emerge onto a viewing terrace from which you can see a panorama of Cieszyn and Český Těšín and even mountain peaks. In the years 1976-1989 the tower underwent restoration. The crenellations were restored, the corner coats of arms were reconstructed and the observation terrace was built. Today it is an essential part of any sightseeing tour around Cieszyn.

Design on Castle Hill
Since Zamek Cieszyn became a design centre it has been possible to see and test street furniture and other objects by Polish and foreign designers in the immediate vicinity of the castle.

Shining Pink Stag – man urban design to cheer you up / Hanna Kokczyńska and Luiza Marklowska    
Terra Chairs / Nucleo Studio  
Siksa Bench / Maciej Jurkowski
Irena Bajerska’s Garden - The Lane of Cieszyn Women
Kabaretki Benches / Maciej Jurkowski - Sweet Dreams Security Fences / Matthias Aron Megyeri
HThe Hammock (Into the Flowers Bench) / Michał Ruciński, Silvia Ciamci, Yellow Office
Swiss Bench -  designed by Alfredo Häberli
Lace Fencing - designed by Joep Verhoeven