The Bielsko Castle was built in the second half of the 14th century on the site of an earlier timber watchtower. It belonged to the Cieszyn princes and served as their defensive residence. The founder of the first castle is prince Przemysław I Noszak. In private hands it passed in 1571, first to Promnitz, then Schaffgotsch, Sunneghs and Sułkowski. In 1646, during the Thirty Years’ War, the castle was captured and burned by the Swedes. It was again destroyed during the great fires of the town in 1659 and 1664. In the second half of the seventeenth century it was rebuilt, but at the same time transformed into a palace complex. In subsequent centuries, smaller or larger repairs were carried out, the last reconstruction of the Sułkowski family in the 19th century completely obliterated the original appearance of the castle.
The earliest phase of the castle is a magnificent limestone building added to the northern section of the Bielsko defensive walls. It was a construction on a trapezoidal projection of 13×25 meters with two pillars supporting the roof. The castle was separated from the town by a wall, and in the immediate vicinity of the castle was the town Lower Gate.
In the 15th century, the gate tower of the city walls was incorporated into the castle, and in the south-western corner a two-storey residential tower was built, defending the entrance to the castle from the south. From the town side the perimeter of the walls was closed, connecting the new tower with the gatehouse and the wall in the south-eastern part was strengthened with a town tower. Before the southern wall, a second, external defensive wall was erected, and a dry moat, about 10 meters wide and about 3.5 meters deep, was dug.
In the sixteenth century, the castle was adapted to the role of the palace, its defensive qualities were reduced. At that time, two additional, relatively large, two-story buildings were created, one on the west side and the other on the east. They were connected by porches of defensive walls with neighboring, older buildings, closing the inner courtyard.
In the look of today’s Bielsko-Biała castle it is hard to imagine its medieval appearance. Only in the northern wing survived the stone framework of the pointed entry. A portal in the side entrance to the gate, has also been preserved. From the original castle walls we can only see fragments, including a stone arrowslit. In today’s palace, the Historical Museum of Bielsko-Biała is open from Wednesday to Friday from 9:00 to 16:00 and on Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays from 9:00 to 15:00.
Leksykon zamków w Polsce, red. L.Kajzer, Warszawa 2003.
Webpage muzeum.bielsko.pl, Odkrywanie bielskiego zamku.