Jelenia Góra

For other places with the same name, see Jelenia Góra.
Jelenia Góra
St. Anne Chapel and Wojanowska Gate
Country Poland
Voivodeship Lower Silesian
County (Powiat) city county
Coordinates PL 50°54′12″N 15°44′4″E / 50.90333°N 15.73444°E / 50.90333; 15.73444Coordinates: PL 50°54′12″N 15°44′4″E / 50.90333°N 15.73444°E / 50.90333; 15.73444
Area 109.2 km2 (42 sq mi)
Population 84,306 (2010)
Density 772/km2 (1,999/sq mi)
Founded 10th century
 - Town rights 1288
Timezone CET (UTC+1)
 - summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 58–500 to 58–588
Area code +48 075
Car plates DJ

Jelenia Góra ([jɛˈlɛɲa ˈɡura]; German: Hirschberg im Riesengebirge) is a city in Lower Silesia, south-western Poland. The name of the city means "Deer Mountain" in Polish, and German. It is close to the Krkonoše mountain range running along the Polish-Czech border – ski resorts such as Karpacz and Szklarska Poręba can be found 10 to 15 kilometres (6 to 9 miles) far from the town.

Jelenia Góra is situated in Lower Silesian Voivodeship (since 1999), having previously been the seat of Jelenia Góra Voivodeship (1975–1998). The city constitutes a separate urban gmina and city county (powiat), as well as being the seat of Jelenia Góra County (which surrounds but does not include the city). As at 2009 the population of Jelenia Góra is 84,564.


City name mentioned in historical sources, seems to be consistent. German-name Hirschberg, written differently through the centuries (e.g. Hyrzberc 1281, Hyrspergk 1305 and 1355 Hirssbergk, Hirsberg 1521). After the incorporation of local lands to Poland in 1945, the city was given the name of Jelenia Góra. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Latin words appear in different records, for example Mons Cervi, Cervimontia, Monscervinus, Cervigera. Polish name Jelenia Gora and Hyrszberg is mentioned in the book "Krótki rys jeografii Szląska dla nauki początkowej" published in Głogówek in 1847 by writer Joseph Lompa Silesia.


The city's origins officially date back to the legendary founding of the settlement by the Polish prince Bolesław III Wrymouth in 1108,[1] and in 2008 celebrated its 900th anniversary.[2] Jelenia Gora is also mentioned as having been used as a base by Bolesław III Wrymouth for his campaigns against the Czechs in 1110.[3]

St. Anne Chapel and Wojanowska Gate, part of the medieval defense complex

In 1281 the city was given an urban charter in 1281, by the Polish duke Bolesław Rogatka during the Ostsiedlung.[4][5][6] In 1281 the settlement was first mentioned as Hyrzberc, and in 1288 in Latin as Hyrsbergensium.[7] When the Silesian Piasts lost inheritance and Agnes of Habsburg, the last duchess of Świdnica-Jawor died in 1392, the city passed to Bohemia, ruled by the House of Luxembourg.[8]

The town was inherited by Habsburg Austria in 1526, two years after the town adopted the Protestant faith. A Protestant school was built in 1566. In 1560 a fire destroyed large parts of the city and stopped the economic development, which until then had been characterized by linen-weaving. The city recovered when Joachim Girnth, a shoemaker on a return journey from Holland, introduced veil-weaving. The first "light veils" were offered in 1625, and five years later the city received an imperial privilege by Ferdinand II for these veils.

During the Thirty Years' War the city suffered badly. Hirschberg was beleaguered by troops of both parties, paid high contributions, and during a siege in 1634 the city burned down again. Two more sieges followed in 1640 and 1641. The town needed several years to recover. One reason for the new boost was the creation of a merchant society 1658, which secured Hirschberg's position as the most important center of linen and veil trade in the Silesian mountains during the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Protestants of the city were oppressed during the Counter-Reformation, but the second Treaty of Altranstädt, which allowed a Protestant community center and church to be established outside the medieval city walls, brought relief. Great sacrifices by the merchant society, especially its most prominent member Christian Menzel, made the construction of a large church, modeled after Church of Catherine in Stockholm, possible. The cemetery of the church was the preferred burial place for most merchant families.

Hirschberg was annexed with Lower Silesia by the Kingdom of Prussia during the Silesian Wars. The city was again partly destroyed, had to pay contributions and was seized several times. The detachment from Austria and the new border in the mountains to the south badly damaged the economy as the merchants lost a large part of their customers. Although Prussia took on substantial efforts to revive the economy, they never recovered completely and finally lost their position during the industrial revolution.

In 1800, John Quincy Adams, ambassador in Berlin at that time and future President of the United States of America, visited Hirschberg/Jelenia Góra[9] and said: "Nothing can be more beautiful than the location of Hirschberg, a beautifully built city with numerous splendid buildings, in a valley surrounded by hills on all sides, with the magnificent view of the Giant Mountains (Karkonosze/Riesengebirge Mountains)".

In 1871 the town became part of the German Empire with the Prussian-led unification of Germany, as one of the largest towns in the Province of Silesia. In 1889 the Deutsche Riesengebirgsverein (German Giant Mountains Club), an organization to protect the environment of the Giant Mountains (Krkonoše) and to promote tourism, was founded by Theodor Donat and 47 other dignitaries of the region.

After World War I, the town became part of the Prussian Province of Lower Silesia in 1919, and in 1922 became a separate city. During the Nazi era under the regime of Adolf Hitler, a subcamp of KZ Gross-Rosen was located in Hirschberg.

Following the end of World War II in 1945, the town was placed under Polish administration according to the decisions of the Potsdam Conference, and became officially known by its Polish name of Jelenia Góra, which was first recorded in 1882.[7] All remaining German inhabitants were expelled westward[10] and replaced with Polish settlers. The city was not destroyed in the war.[11] However, the new Polish authorities dismantled the Old Town until 1965[12] and destroyed the cemetery of the former German Protestant church.[13] Since then the buildings around the market place have been reconstructed in simpler forms.[14] The town was enlarged through the incorporation of surrounding localities, including the spa town of Cieplice (German: Bad Warmbrunn) in 1976, now the district of Cieplice Śląskie-Zdrój.


Members of Parliament (Sejm) elected from Jelenia Gora-Legnica constituency in Polish parliamentary election 2011 included: Grzegorz Schetyna PO, Ewa Drozd PO, Norbert Wojnerowski PO, Zofia Czernow PO, Robert Kropiwnicki PO, Adam Lipiński PIS, Elżbieta Witek PIS, Marzena Machałek PIS, Wojciech Zubowski PIS, Ryszard Zbrzyzny SLD, Małgorzata Sekuła-Szmajdzińska SLD, Henryk Kmiecik RP.


City is located in the northern part of the Jelenia Góra Valley. From the west, the city is surrounded by mountains and foothills of Izera Mountains, north Kaczawskie Mountains, east Rudawy Janowickie Mountains and in the south Karkonosze Mountains. The center is located about 1 km (0.6 mi) east from place where two rivers Bóbr (Beaver River) and Kamienna (Stone River) connects.

Jelenia Gora Panorama, view from Mount Szybowcowa (Schieferberg)


Population of Jelenia Góra.

The first written records from the mid-sixteenth century mention a population of approximately 3.5 thousand residents. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenthcentury, the population was about six thousand people, to rise up to about 20 thousand in the early twentieth century. The population of Jelenia Gora in 1939 increased to over 35 thousand people and after World War II, the city had a population of 39 thousand residents, including more than 35 thousand Germans. During the period 1945-1947 the German population was mostly expelled from Jelenia Gora. After the creation of (voivodeship) Jelenia Góra province in 1975 and connection to thecity surrounding towns, including Cieplice Śląskie-Zdrój, Population increased to 80 thousand. In subsequent years, the city's population grew, but mainly as a result of joining another nearby villages . In 1996 population raised to 93 570 inhabitants After the administrative reform in 1998 and the establishment of Lower Silesia voivodship, the population of Jelenia Gora is steadily decreasing. In December 2004 amounted to only 87 643, and in June 2010 fell to 84 306 people.


In 1957 in Jelenia Góra a broadcasting station for medium wave was inaugurated at ul. Sudecka 55. Until 1967 it used a 47-metre-tall wooden tower, which may be the only wooden radio tower built in Poland after 1945. In 1967 it was replaced by a 72-metre-tall steel mast. Since the shutdown of the medium wave transmitter in 1994, this mast has been used for FM broadcasting.[15]


Jelenia Góra is a city with a wide range of cultural institutions, including theaters, concert hall, cinema and art exhibitions office. In the city, festivals such as the International Film Festival "Zoom Zblżenia", International Street Theatre Festival in Jelenia Gra and the International Festival of Organ Music "Silesia Sonans" take place.

Silesia Sonans poster from 2013
55 Wrzesień Jeleniogórski, poster from 2013
Poster- Barejada 2013

Jelenia Góra September, and "Silesia Sonans" European Organ Music Festival in autumn, is the venue of a series of cultural and entertainment events: musical concerts, artistic shows, exhibitions, fairs or events targeted at children and families. The"Silesia Sonans" Festival is particularly noteworthy. Outstanding Polish and foreign artists gather to play pieces of famous composers inside the Garrison Church.


A view of the historic arcades with Jelenia Góra Town Hall and "Seven Houses" in the distance

The Wojanowska gate and tower were part of the medieval defense complex that protected the road to Wojanów. Dungeons served as a prison. In 1480, the tower due to strong wind collapsed burying five people. Quickly it was rebuilt by adding the clock and the dome with a lantern, and this state has survived to this day. Coats of arms have been placed on the pillars: Prussian, Silesia, urban and inscription. In 1869, the gate was dismantled and moved to the barracks at Obrońców Pokoju street. After the renovation in 1998, returned to its former place. Located inside the medieval bastion was the St. Anne Chapel of the Wojanowska gate. In the portal above the entrance to the chapel there is an inscription: " „HonorI Magnae ChrIstI aVlae DIVae Annae ereCta”"(built for the glory of the great grandmother of Christ, St. Anna) with a hidden date of 1715.

The Basilica of St. Erasmus and St. Pancras built in the 14th century features the chapel dedicated to the Patrons of Jelenia Gora; however, it got its present form in the next century. The church was built of stone in the form of a three-nave basilica topped with a tower. Even today, you can admire numerous Gothic stone details best preserved in portals and window frames. The southern portal is exceptionally rich and interesting. Two sepulchral chapels (from the 17th and 18th century) were built into the church’s walls; over 20 epitaphs and tombstones from the 16th and 18th century were placed on the two chapels. The main entrance to the chapel is located on the west, on the ground floor. The interior is also Gothic, but the fittings come from Renaissance and Baroque. The incredibly rich and monumental altar from the 18th century dominates the interior. The temple also houses priceless organs from the same period made in the workshop of an Italian organbuilder – Adam Casparini. The 16th century pulpit and the intarsiated (made of different wood types) choir stalls are a little older. There are also two 18th century figures on the church grounds – the Marian column is near the main entrance, and on the northern side there is a sculpture of St. John of Nepomuk. It used to be located on one bridge over the Młynowka river; however, after it was damaged and then reconstructed in the 19th century, it was moved to its present place.

Feast of the Holy Cross Church

The Feast of the Holy Cross Church was erected as a proof of grace of the catholic Emperor of Austria for the Silesian evangelicals. Under thearrangement concluded in Altranstadt after a religious war they were granted the right to build six churches in Silesia which at that time was under Austrian rule. The design of the temple was prepared by the architect, Martin Frantz of Tallinn. The construction works lasted nine years (1709–1718) and the newly built church was deceptively similar to its prototype – St. Catherine’s Church in Stockholm (the work of the same designer). The structure was erected on the plan of a cross and topped with a dome. The interior was equipped with a three storey matronea which couldaccommodate more than 2 thousand members of the congregation. The railings wereadorned with citations and paintings displaying scenes from the Old and New Testament. The altar together with the organ front placed over it make up anextended, beautifully adorned architectural form.

The Townhall is the central point of the market square. The building was erected between 1744 and 1749. The entire square is surrounded by Baroque tenement houses with arcades, which originally used to serve the merchands to sell their goods. At the beginning of the 20th century the tenement houses near the City Hall were bought and adjoined to the town hall (the so-called "Seven-Houses"). Right next to the town hall there is a fountain with a sculpture of Neptune – god of the seas. The sculpture is to commemorate old trade relations with overseas lands.

Schaffgotsch Palace – Cieplice

The Schaffgotsch family ruling vast lands around Karkonosze settled in Cieplice in 1675. Their previous seat was Chojnik castle, burned down due to a stroke of lightening. Their Schaffgotsch Palace's greatest ornament are the two semi-circulary finished porticos with richly ornamented cartouches carrying the family crestofthe owners. The interiors boasts early classicistic fittings. The palace currently houses a branch of the Wrocław University of Technology.

Jelenia Góra trams – Tram communication operated in Jelenia Góra in the years 1897–1969. Today there isn't much left of it – fragments of the tram line and a plaque can be found near town hall. One of the old tram carriages can be found by the north entrance to the town hall and serves as a souvenir kiosk (the other two trams are placed in front of the tram depot, in Wolności Street and at the bus terminal in Podgórzyn).

Jelenia Góra districts


Cieplice Promenade

Known from the 13th century owing to warm, curative springs that gave it their name. Owing to the old owners of these lands, the Silesian Schaffgotsch family, at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries its fame extended far beyond Silesia and managed to attract flocks of patients, including many eminent persons. Modern analysis show that water therapeutic effectiveness is due to sulphur, silicon and fluorine compounds together with high temperature reaching 90 Celsius degrees. Therapeutic sessions used to be based mainly on baths, today a wide range of treatments in the field of hydrotherapy, inhalation therapy as well as physiotherapy, phototherapy and electrotherapy.

Zdrojowy and Norwegian Parks

These two parks are located close to main pedestrian street of Cieplice. Zdrojowy Park main avenue was created already in 1796, however, the entire park was created in the first half of the 19th century when the Schaffgotschs reconstructed part of the garden into an English garden and made a part of it available to the residents of Cieplice and patients.

At the beginning of the 20th century owner of paper machine factory Eugen Fülner made several investments towards the spa. One investment was creating a picturesque park, called the Norwegian Park. Norwegian Park owes its name to a woodenbuilding erected in 1909, whose finishing resembles Viking boats.

The Gallery and Zdrojowy Animation Theatre was built in 1797–1800 and designed by the architect Carl Gottlieb Geissler from Wroclaw. Inside there is still functioning restaurant, a cigar lounge, a reading room and a large concert hall. Theatre was built between 1833–1836, it can accommodate up to 270 spectators. Founded by Schaffgotsch family built in theneoclassical style. Currently scene belongs to the Zdrojowy Animation Theaterin the Zdrojowy Park.


Sobieszów is located along the stream of Wrzosówka and nearby is the Chojnik castle. From the fourteenth century to 1945, the village belonged to the Schaffgotsch family and wore a German name Hermsdorf unterm Kynast. Karkonosze National Parkmanagement is established in Sobieszów. Location area creates favorable conditions for starting here hiking in the Karkonosze Mountains.

Chojnik Castle

Chojnik Castle

Chojnik Castle (German Kynast, pol. Chojnasty 1945–1948) – a castle located near JeleniaGóra-Sobieszów k on the top of the chojnik mountain in Karkonosze Mountains. This mountain rises to a height of 627 meters above sea level, and from thesouth-east side is a 45-meter cliff plunging into the so-called Hell Valley. The fort is located in a nature reserve, which is the exclave of Karkonosze Mountains National Park.

"Chojnik Golden Bolt" Knight's crossbow tournament – Once a year the picturesquer ruins of Chojnik play host to the struggles of knight fellowships. The tournament is accompanied by shows of medieval customs, dances, crafts and warfare.


Jagniątków (up to 1945 German Agnetendorf; Agnieszków 1945–1946) – a district of Jelenia Góra (since 1998) From here leads many trails in the mountains, both pedestrians and cyclists. It is the highest district of Jelenia Gora, hasgood communication with the city bus (lines 15 and late-night course line 9).

Divine Mercy Church in Jagniątków

Divine Mercy Church in Jagniątków

The church was erected in the years 1980–1986. Its shape was inspired by the architecture of Podhale. Thanks to this shape the church perfectly inscribes itself into the mountainous landscape.

Jagniątkowski Black Cauldron

Jagniątkowsk Black Cauldron – glacial cauldron in the Western Sudetes in the Karkonosze Mountains and is located in south-western Poland, in the Western Sudetes in the western part of the band Karkonosze Mountains, in the Karkonosze National Park, north of the Black Pass, on the north-eastern slope of Śmielca and north-western slope of the Czech Stones.



Owing to natural factors the Jelenia Góra Valley boasts exceptionally good conditions for gliding and hand-gliding. Consequently, the Jelenia Góra airport and the local flying club enjoys much popularity among flying aficionados from Poland and abroad alike.

Soaring glider over Jelenia Góra


Jelenia Góra offers many and varied cycling routes like " Bóbr valey trail" (ER-6) or the biking ringroad of Jelenia Góra, the Jelenia Góra- Łomnica biking trail. City organizes biking events:

The FISU selected Jelenia Góra to host the 2014 World University Cycling Championship.[16]

Śniezka at winter
Czech Stones
Jagniątkowski Black Cauldron – Glacial cauldron in the Western Sudetes in the Karkonosze Mountains

Sport clubs


Kayakers may admire Jelenia Góra from their favourite perspective, using the water route on the Bóbr river. More informations at PTTK site.

Hiking Trail

Majestic mountains surrounding the city, offers many great trails for visitors, including a route to the highest peak of the Karkonosze – Śniezka 1602 meters above the sea. During the mountain expeditions, visitors can stay over night in mountain shelters like "Strzecha Akademicka", "Samotnia","Odrodzenie" czy "Dom Śląski".

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Jelenia Góra is twinned with:

Notable people


  1. Informacje Ogólne Jelenia Góra City Official Webpage
  2. 900 bębnów na 900 lat Jeleniej Góry
  3. Piotr Pregiel, Tomasz Przerwa, Dzieje Śląska (The History of Silesia), page 30 W odwecie Krzywousty najechał Czechy (1110), zaskakując przeciwnika przejściem przez Karkonosze (wykorzystując bazę w Jeleniej Górze). Published by Cadus, 2005
  4. Weczerka, ibidem, p. 189
  5. Badstübner, ibidem, p. 387
  6. Franke, ibidem, p. 6
  7. 1 2 Barbara Czopek, Adaptacje niemieckich nazw miejscowych w języku polskim, 1995, pp.66, ISBN 83-85579-33-8
  8. Weczerka, ibidem, p. 491
  9. "Kalendarium historyczne" (in Polish). City of Jelenia Góra. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  10. Franke, p.13
  11. Weczerka, p. 192
  12. Badstübner, p.389
  13. Badstübner, p.391.
  14. Bürgerhäuser am Ring mit gewölbten Laubengängen. Fassaden ursprünglich reich gestaltet, vereinfacht während der 1965 durchgeführten Rekonstruktion. – Badstübner, p. 393
  15. Witold Papierniak, Stacje radiowo-telewizyjne na Dolnym Śląsku from the Internet Archive
  16. "Cycling". International University Sports Federation. Retrieved 12-09-2012. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)


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