The Regional Museum in Ziebice was established in 1931, collecting presents and testimonials from the town inhabitants. In 1937 Marta Schlaffke-Langer, widow after a painter from Ziebice, professor of Art School in Wroclaw Joseph Langer, turned over his rich antiques and paintings collection which is the most valuable treasure of the museum. In 1972 the museum was changed into the museum of household articles and appliances. Apart from collection of cutlery and household articles (irons, washing equipment, refrigerators, typewriters, mangles) there are valuable collections of personal and guild seals from 15th to 20th centuries, as well as old prints, liturgical books, baroque sacral sculpture, military accessories, furniture and some rarities such as icon of St. John Baptist Angel of Desert from the first half of 17th century, one of few preserved in Europe wooden guild altars and the largest collection of paintings by Joseph Langer.
A village at the Olawa river, at the western foot of the Niemcza-Strzelin Hills, approx. 50 km from Wroclaw (Breslau), and at the cross of the road 395 Wroclaw – Ziebice. The beginnings of Henrykow, an old monastery village date from the first half of 14th century and are related with Cistercians who came to this area from Lubiaz. The abbey of Cistercians was founded thanks to the notary of the Duke Henryk Brodaty – canon Mikolaj (Nicholas).
The Cistercian convent came to Henrykow from Lubiaz in 1227. The first abbot became father Henryk. Cistercians owned the wooden church dedicated to the Ascension of the Holy Virgin and St. John Baptist. In 1241 it was destroyed during Tartarian invasion. In its place an early gothic monastery church was built of brick and stone. During baroque in the choir part the St. Cross chapel and the tower were built. The church in Henrykow remained in this form until now. It is famous for its beautiful, renaissance-baroque stalls, decorated with wood-carving and figures of Cistercian saints. The first historian of the abbey was father Piotr I. In 1268-1273 he wrote his famous work „Księga założenia klasztoru” (Book of the monastery foundation), later called „The Henrykow Book”. „The Henrykow Book „ is a precious relic for the Polish language. In the Latin text appears the first Polish sentence „day ut ia pobrusa, a ti poziwai” (let me mill and you take a rest), which a Polish peasant said to his wife. In 1270 abbot father Gotfryd established a monastery school. In the middle of 14th century abbot Jan II created an agricultural school in Henrykow. In 15th century the monastery complex was destroyed during Hussite wars. In the first half of 17th century, during the War of 30 years the abbey was attacked several times by the Swedes and finally burnt down. Till the end of the war the monks and their abbot were away from their monastery. The abbey had its period of rise and development under the father Henryk Kahlert who cared about culture and education of the monks. Henryk Kahlert reconstructed the medieval monastery in Henrykow and expanded old facilities and structures of the abbey, which remained until today in good condition. In that period the baroque altars, renaissance stalls and Loretto chapel were built. The main executors were famous Silesian artists: Michael Willmann and his disciples Johann Christoph Lischka and Joseph Kretschmer. The artistic wood-carvings (beautiful stalls of oak) were made by Georg Schrötter, Thomas Wiessfeld and Matthias Steinl from Lubiaz. The fall of the abbey starts with the beginning of the Silesian wars and occupation of Silesia by the Protestant Prussia in 18th century. The Prussian authorities tried to limit international contacts of the abbey and the monks were repressed. The last abbot in Henrykow was father Konstanty Gloger. In 1810 the king of Prussia Fryderyk Wilhem III issued an edict, based on which the abbey in Henrykow was liquidated and its property seized. The largest Silesian library with 20.000 precious books was parceled out. Large part of archives and works of art was included in the state-owned collection in Wroclaw, some parts were transferred to church collections. The abbey Gloger was forced to leave Henrykow. He died in exile in Paczkow. In 1812 the sister of the Prussian king Fryderyk Wilhelm III, Luiza Wilhelimna, acquired most of post-Cistercian properties in Henrykow. Thus appeared the largest Silesian real estate which belonged to Hohenzollern family, and later to protestant Saxon-Weimar dukes. The estate existed until 1945.
In 1947, thanks to efforts of the Szczyrzyce abbot, father Bernard Birosa, the Cistercians took over their old church and a part of the monastery. The remaining buildings were taken over by the Group of Agricultural Schools. In 1991 the structures were taken over by the Metropolitan Theological Seminary in Wroclaw.
The architectonic Complex of the Cistercian Abbey in Henrykow belongs to the greatest monuments of the European culture. It is placed among the monuments of the highest artistic, historical and scientific value.
In 1990 the abbey in Henrykow was included in the European Cistercian Route. The Complex of the Cistercian Abbey in Henrykow comprises: Early gothic monastery church dedicated to the Ascension of the Holy Virgin and St. John Baptist– made of brick and stone basilica of 14th century (in eastern part some Roman remains), 70 m long and 20 m wide.The Marble Altar (1684 G. Schrötter with paintings by M. Willmanns “Birth of Jesus in St. Bernard’s vision” and “Blood Offertory”, in main nave a cycle of paintings (8) “St. Bernard’s legend” by G. Bonor from 1729-1730, the most famous “Henrykow Stalls” (1567) with 36 low reliefs (scenes of the life of Jesus and Mary), 8 large standing figures and later sculptures (1702-1710) by T. Weissfeld – separated by a decorative crate (18th century) from the rest of the nave. In lateral naves: large semicircular paintings by M. Willmanns and his disciples. Men’s choir: 3 baroque chapels with wall paintings by J.H. Kynast (1760-63), Chapel of the Holy Trinity from 1687, Chapel of Mary Magdalene from 1760 with a mausoleum of the Piast prince Bolko I from Ziebice (died in 1341) and his wife Jutta (died in 1342) – only sepulchral plate remained as original, chapel of St. Joseph from 1687, organ from 1656-80, tower from 1608, with a hall from 18th century. Meditation House from 14th century – reconstructed. Old farmstead buildings from the turn of 17th century with summer pavillion of abbots – baroque structure from 1727 with characteristic, onion-shaped dome, in the middle of old garden remains of 3 (previously 4) stone wells which in the past symbolized 4 elements (18th century by L. Webber). Upper gate – gothic structure from 1711 with characteristic, onion-shaped dome, decorated with stone figures of St. Benedict and St. Bernard. Lower gate – built in 1680, next to it there is a statue of St. Nepomuk from 1730, St. Andrew Church from approx. 1315, once a parish church, only men’s choir maintained till present. St. Joseph Well made of sandstone from 1696, St. Trinity Column made of sandstone in 1698, 11 m high. Statue of Nepomuk made of sandstone in 1789. Landscape park (over 60 hectares) with numerous old trees. Old coach-house from the first half of 17th century.
In the villages that surround Ziebice, there are many monuments of sacral art, churches, chapels, penitential crosses, border stones from 13th century which divided former land of princes and the so-called Bishops Duchy – Otmuchow and Nysa region. The old village of Henrykow is of special significance, with its complex of former Cistercian monastery, as well as Witostowice with a water castle. The neighbouring forests are created by different concentrations of trees. There are very interesting tourist routes from Ziebice, through fields and forests:
There are St. John border stones on the routes.
St. John border.
At the end of 13 century, due to arguments between the prince Henryk Probus and the archbishop Thomas of Wroclaw, border of the Bishops Duchy was created by means of stone posts. Today there are 6 such border posts maintained.
(c) Fot. S. Popardowski (c) Fot. S. Popardowski
A small village at the foot of the Niemcza-Strzelin Hills, with very good recreation and tourist conditions. There is a historical castle (residence of Henrykow abbots) surrounded by wide moat, with tower and casemates. The area is surrounded by forests on hills. Witostowice is a good starting point for excursions to Nowoleska Kopa, Gromnik, Kalinka, and to hills with remains of villages from 9th – 12th centuries.
(c) Fot. S. Popardowski