I have been to Cieszyn several times and every time I try to find something interesting there. This time my visit was only temporary, on the way further, but I managed to visit the Jewish cemetery in Cieszyn, which I consider to be one of the most interesting objects of this type I know.
One could write a lot about Cieszyn. I often visit this city because it is full of nice places and it is also a great base for visiting the other side of the border. Cieszyn is one of the few cities that looks much better on the Polish side than on the other. Let’s look at Słubice-Frankfurt or Zgorzelec-Gorlitz – there the cities on the other side look much better. In the case of Cieszyn, we have a lot to be proud of. The city has a rich history and I have recently discovered Jewish traces in it as well. They constituted a large group of Cieszyn inhabitants, and the history of the cemeteries is one of the pieces of evidence.
Jewish cemetery in Cieszyn
In fact, two cemeteries – the Old and the New are located on the same street (Hażlaska) on both sides. The Old Cemetery was established in the 17th century, but at the beginning, the area was owned by the Singer family. In 1785 it was sold to the Jewish community in Cieszyn, and the last burial was made there in 1928. It is one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Poland. Currently, it belongs to the Jewish Religious Community in Bielsko-Biała, and over 1,500 tombstones have been preserved on it. During World War II, the cemetery was planned to be turned into a park, but the recommendation was never implemented. There is a funeral house on the street, which was used as a warehouse in the seventies.
The New Cemetery was established due to the lack of space in the old Jewish cemetery. It was founded in 1907. The last burial here took place in 1961. Like the Old Cemetery, the new one survived the war despite plans to make a park out of it. The funeral hoose could not be rebuilt in its original form. It has been renovated as a permanent ruin.
Both cemeteries are signed in the register of monuments and you will know which is old and which is new immediately after visiting them. The new one shows the layout and the area prepared for the Jewish cemetery. In the old one you can see the wildness which gives this place a lot of charm.
Cieszyn itself works well as a destination, but it is also a great place to stop on the way to the Czech Republic or beyond. It is worth visiting the Castle Brewery and seeing the Romanesque rotunda, the image of which can be found on the PLN 20 banknote. It is also a great base. In the area (already on the Czech side) you will find, among others:
- Tatra Museum
- Radegast Brewery
- The Crooked Church in Karviná
- many other! 🙂