Kłodzko’s Old Town contains perfectly preserved secular and sacred monuments, almost every one a landmark of the town. When you see Kłodzko’s fortress, the town hall, the towers of the Jesuit church or the Franciscan church, you unmistakably know that you are in Kłodzko. And from every side you come across charming streets, full of traces of the rich history of this town and its inhabitants.

Kłodzko – the oldest and largest town in the region – has for centuries been a major communication, economic, and defence centre. The preserved architecture of the town shows influences of Bohemian, German, and Polish culture, which historically penetrated and complemented each other here. The town preserved much of its old atmosphere and, at every turn, you come across traces of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Classicism, Art Nouveau, or Eclectism. Come take a walking tour of Kłodzko’s Old Town.

Our tour begins at the town hall – a neo-renaissance building built between 1887 and 1890 according to a design by the German architect Ewald Berg. Mentions of the first town hall in Kłodzko date back to 1342 (the town was granted a town charter in the 13th century). Due to several fires which consumed the town over centuries, each subsequent town hall was built almost from scratch. The oldest preserved part of the current town hall is a medieval tower, with a renaissance gallery on the floor, topped with a baroque spire. The roof and the elevations have rich architectural decorations. In 1896, a clock was installed on the building, supported by a sculpture of the lion from Kłodzko’s coat of arms.

Currently, the town hall is the seat of local government. Among the nearby townhouses on Chrobrego Square, you can see on the facades of buildings the statuettes of a little African, a stag, and a bear (townhouses no. 13, 5 and 9).

Let us take our second stop at Mary’s Column on the sloping hill next to the town hall. Erected in 1680, after the bubonic plague killed 1500 local people, it is designed to protect the inhabitants from microbes and cataclysms. In each of the four corners on the balustrade, there are the statues of patrons protecting citizens from infectious diseases: Saint Sebastian, Saint Roch, Saint Charles Borromeo, and Saint Francis Xavier – the patron saint of Kłodzko. Admiring the original renaissance and baroque townhouses of townsmen and merchants, whose appearance today was shaped at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, and leaving the fortress behind, you now enter Armii Krajowej Street. Passing the renaissance doorways preserved in many buildings, you may also want to look up, as the higher floors of the townhouses delight with their extraordinary details and rich ornaments – a testimony to the talent of the architects and the wealth of the inhabitants (the most interesting townhouses are townhouses no. 7, 11 and 15).

Turing left off the main trail, you now enter Wojska Polskiego Street. You can see in front of you the characteristic arcades of the old Jesuit Collegium (now a high school), and turning right you enter the Museum of the Kłodzko Region – located in a 17th century Jesuit monastery school (according to a design by the Prague master Carl Lurago) – where you can see, among others, an interesting exhibition entitled “From the History of Kłodzko”. Meanwhile, the walking trail via Kłodzko’s old town leads you left, straight to the oldest church in town – the Jesuit Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary. Construction began in the 14th century on commission of Ernest of Pardubice – the first Polish archbishop – who had close ties with Kłodzko (his gravestone and monument can be seen in the church). A unique feature of the building are the two towers of varying height (the older and higher one is called the White tower, and the younger and shorter one – the Black tower). Raw late-gothic walls conceal lavish baroque decor – mouldings on the vaults, beautifully carved confessionals, altars, organ, pulpit, as well as statues, paintings, and epitaphs.

After leaving the church, you walk down a steep stairway, crossing the footbridge over the Młynówka River, and head towards the Church of our Lady of the Rosary (with the Franciscan monastery) upon Neisse on Sand Island. The church exists in its present form since the 18th century. At the entrance to the church, on the left side, there is a marker of the height of the great flood of 1997. On Sand Island, you can take a short walk on Grottgera, Braci Gierymskich, and Matejki Streets, where the atmosphere of the 17th and 18th century Kłodzko is perfectly preserved.

Finally, you go to the gothic St. John’s bridge – which according to some people is Kłodzko’s most beautiful monument. Due to its form and design, it is compared to the Charles bridge in Prague, and although it is smaller, you can definitely tell that it is older, because one of the inscriptions reads 1281 as the year when construction began. A legend has it that sandstone blocks were joined by builders using mortar mixed with eggs, which had to be delivered to the construction site by inhabitants of Kłodzko and of the region. Statues decorating the bridge were funded later (in the 16th and 17th century). Walking up the bridge, you can see on the right: Saint Francis Xavier, Christ Crucified, Trinity, and the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and on the left: Saint Wenceslaus, Pietà, and Saint John of Nepomuk. You can see from the bridge pieces of medieval town walls and a square under the bridge where various town festivities take place.

Heading up Wita Stwosza Street, you come straight at the baroque fountain with the crowned lion, supported on the town’s shield, and a replica of a 16th century whipping post , which stand before the entrance to the town hall, where out walk began.

Your walk on Kłodzko’s Old Town does not have to be a one-off tourist adventure, leaving you only with great memories. The streets and monuments of Kłodzko hide so many mysteries and surprises that it is worth discovering them anew every once in a while..