Urban complexed, Ciężkowice
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Preserved urban complex from the times of chartering. Traditional, wooden main square buildings.

History and description

A town located in Pogórze Cięzkowickie, in a variegated agricultural landscape. It is a dominant landscape feature over the valley of the river Biała. A mosaic of fields, view to the river valley, hilly surroundings and diversified coverage elements (forests, rocks, diversity of cultural forms with a dominating landscape feature in the form of the tower of the parish church) make the landscape of Ciężkowice particularly attractive. The first mentions about Ciężkowice come from a document of cardinal Idzi of 1125 as Cecouici villa Gneuani, a village owned by the Benedictine monastery in Tyniec. On 29 February 1348, Casimir the Great issued a charter, providing Ciężkowice with municipal rights. In the 16th century, the town by the river Biała already had a water supply system, hospital, town hall, mill, butcheries, fulling mill, cropping hall, town scale and a right to organise a market every week (on Mondays). From 1655, the advancing Swedish army, and then Hungarians led by Rákóczi caused numerous damages and losses in the local population. Since then, the city had decayed into decline; and the act of destruction was completed by epidemics and natural disasters, as well as loss of importance of the former trade routes. The 19th century brought many investments, among other things a new town hall was commissioned, a wooden road bridge was built over the river Biała, and a railway connection was launched (the first passenger train crossed Ciężkowice in 1876). During the First World War, the Austrian-Russian front was formed between Dunajec a Biała. Graves of soldiers, among other things at the parish cemetery in Ciężkowice, are remnants of the bloody fights which took place there. After the war, Ciężkowice fell further into decline, and in 1934, its municipal rights were revoked. On 1 January 1998, Ciężkowice regained the status of a town. In the town, the church of St. Andrew, built in 1901-1902 according to a design by Jan Sas-Zubrzycki in the place of the former wooden one from 1336, is a dominant architectural feature. It is neo-Gothic in style, three-nave, with a tower constituting a significant landscape dominant feature of the valley of Biała. The interior is covered by cross-rib vaulting, and features lavish architectural detail. The main altar is neo-Gothic in style and originates from 1904. It was made by S. Wójcik. On the altar, there is an early-Baroque painting of Christ the Merciful "Ecce Homo" painted on wood, famous for grace. The historic residential buildings are concentrated around the Market Square and adjacent streets. The surviving elements include urban layout from the times of chartering and wooden houses with arcades from the 18th and 19th century. The most valuable buildings include burgher houses in the Market Square from the end of the 18th and the early 19th century; partially converted after the fire of the town in 1830 and in the years 1950-1960, wooden, wooden and bricked, single-storey, with basements beneath some of their sections; the basements covered by stone barrel vaults. From the front, there are deep arcades on decorative wooden pillars, covered by half-hip roofs. The houses at Grunwaldzka Street from the early 19th century - made of wood, based on a log structure, single storey, with basements beneath some their sections, with shall arcades along the front walls, are worth particular attention. The town hall comes from the 18th and the 19th century, it was partially converted in the second half of the 19th century; it is a brick, single-storey building, erected on a rectangular floor plan, with a small internal courtyard. It has a turret with a clock, and barrel vaults in the basements. In the vicinity of the town, there is a natural reserve "Town of Stone", with effective sandstone outcrop formations. It covers an area of 15 hectares, and the rock formations occurring in it are included to the biggest and the most attractive ones in the Polish Carpathians. The most known rocks are: Czarownica, Ratusz, Grunwald, Borsuk, Grzybek, Cyganka, Piramida, Baszta, Skałka z Krzyżem, Wodospad.

The historic monument is accessible all year round.

compiled by Olga Dyba, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Krakow, 7-07-2014.


  • Krajobraz kulturowy Polski. Województwo małopolskie, Kraków-Warszawa 2001 (współautor Dyba O.).
  • Krassowski W., Studia nad zabudową miasteczka Ciężkowice. „Kwartalni Architektury i Urbanistyki” 1957, z. 1, s. 31-60.
  • Domalewski T., Lis R., Ordyk T., Pulit F., Ciężkowice i okolice - przewodnik. Ciężkowice 1974.
  • Krupiński A. B, Zabytki urbanistyki i architektury województwa tarnowskiego. Tarnów 1989.
  • Nabożny P., Zawartka J., Kozik R., Ciężkowicko Rożnowski Park Krajobrazowy. Tarnów 1998.
  • Wróbel S., Ciężkowice. Dzieje miasta do końca XVIII wieku. Tarnów, 1998.
  • Krasnowolski Bogusław, Lokacyjne układy urbanistyczne na obszarze Ziemi Krakowskiej w XIII i XIV wieku. Kraków 2004.
  • Krasnowolski B., Leksykon zabytków architektury Małopolski. Warszawa 2013.

General information

  • Type: spatial layout
  • Chronology: 1348 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Ciężkowice
  • Location: Voivodeship małopolskie, district tarnowski, commune Ciężkowice - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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