If ever you are in Poland, when you are in the Silesian region, you must not miss Pszczyna. It is also know as "The Pearl of Princess Daisy" and it boasts of the Polish version of the Versailles palace ;) but most of all, it is a place where time has seemed to stand still. If you will manage to get to this beautiful yet small city, make sure you do so when it's spring or autumn to check out the foliage of the lovely trees. Also make sure the weather is fine. If it is so, then you can make the tour of the most important things to visit in one single day - take it from early morning till the afternoon ;)
The "heart" of the old town in its current form was built after a huge town fire that happened on the 8th of August 1748. The fire started in the blacksmiths house and in a fee hours it managed to destroy the whole town... but I think that was a good thing, as after that all buildings were made out of brick (to avoid similar kind of accidents). For us, when we first came to Pszczyna, it was essential to see a couple of places but 3 have remained close to our hearts, so let me tell you about our top 3 picks for this town:
1. The Polish Versailles = The Pszczyna Castle = The top pearl of Princess Daisy's jewels :) Calling it the Polish Versailles is in no way an exaggerated or complimentary expression! I really mean it! The moment I stepped inside the Palace I thought of 2 places: the house inner staircase reminded me of the one at Downton Abbey + the rooms with French style furniture reminded me of Versailles. And I was not the only one to say so ;)
A very popular place inside the Palace is the Mirror Hall, where concerts are being held and also the famous festival of baroque music "Evenings at Telemann's". Today the Palace contains a museum first opened on 9th May 1946. If you have a chance, make sure you visit it first as it is not open during the whole day - only up to 5 pm during summertime. The fun part is when you get inside you have to put special slippers on ;))) they look quite funny but the preserve the carpets and the lovely floors. Women who are pregnant and disabled people should not use them.
You probably ask yourself why it is called "The Pearl of Princess Daisy"... well Daisy Hochberg von Pless nee Mary Theresa Olivia Cornwallis-West (1873-1943) was the owner of the Palace and had large properties in both the Upper and Lower Silesia (castles in Pszczyna and Ksiasz, hunting palace in Prom nice and coal mines, spas and even held the Tyskie brewery!).
2. Pszczyna Skansen = Pszczyna Country Farmstead. If you love history, architecture and old style wooden houses you will love this place! It was first opened in 1975, so it has more than 40 years on the market and loads of visitors who come and want to experience how life was back when there was no internet/cell phones/tv/electricity...
You can admire a stable, a coach house, a forge, a manor granary, a cottage, a barn and even a working water mill ;) a lot of interesting objects are gathered inside so I recommend you to get inside each wooden house and explore. The Skansen is usually open from 9 am to 4 pm (and sometimes as late as 7 pm in April - July).
3. Visiting the king of the forest = The Bison Reservation in Pszczyna. The first bison came to the forests near Pszczyna in autumn 1865 from the Bialowieza Forest. Today the bisons can be seen in a closed - almost 10 hectares - reserve in Jankowice where in October 2006 the Center of Ecological Education "Pszczyna bison" was opened. The Bison Yard was creates in the wild scenery of the Bestiary park, just a stone throw away form the Castle.
The animals live here safely amongst old oak trees, beeches and hornbeam. We recommend you to check when the feeding time is on for the bisons and come then. There is also a platform to watch them from above - you can use the stairs or elevator for the disabled people.
Of course we are not saying these are the only things you should visit in Pszczyna but for sure these are the 3 places you should not miss. One day is enough and make sure you get there early. There is a nice restaurant nearby that we recommend - for some nice local lunch - very close to the Castle. We recommend you to first visit the castle as it will take you a while... The town is quite small so everything is within walking distance. Make sure you park the car at one of the nice parking spots near the Bison Yard and enjoy the time at The Pearl of Princess Daisy :) let me know what you think of it when you finished visiting it :)
Yours sincerely,The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves to discover small pretty Polish towns