The Olza connects
Selected Polish-Czech projects
Selected Polish-Czech projects co-financed by the European Union
Joint Small Project Fund of the Cross-Border Cooperation Programme PHARE Poland – Czech Republic in Śląsk Cieszyński – Těsínske Slezsko Euroregion:
“Promotion of tourist routes in Cieszyn and Český Těšín as an element of integration in the town divided by a border” – About 79 km of walking trails were designated and marked as part of the project (one common route around the centres of Cieszyn and Český Těšín and six routes on the outskirts of Cieszyn). A guide to the routes was published in four language versions (PL, CZ, EN, DE) in 8000 copies. Three information boards (with maps of both towns, map keys in four languages and the routes marked) were placed in the busiest spots in the town (near the railway station, the bus station and on the market square by the Town Hall). (2003)
“Online breaking down of barriers. Creating a uniform information system in the town divided by a border” – Creating an information website about Cieszyn, www.cieszyn.pl, which was consolidated and linked with an equivalent system devoted to Český Těšín. The website is available in PL, CZ and EN language versions. www.cieszyn.pl presents varied information about the town, including its history, address books, interactive town maps, a web cam and an event calendar. Throughout the years, the website changed significantly. New features and additional language versions were added and the site is now accessible to the visually impaired. (2003)
“Developing an architectural concept of the bridge on the Olza River located at the intersection of Młyńska Brama and J. Łyska Streets”
The author of the concept is Franςois Roche, a renowned French architect. The bridge is a metaphor of a mental labyrinth. Crossing it can be compared to a game, in which it is necessary to take a step back to find a hidden passage. This step back symbolizes uncertainty and hesitation between being an immigrant and an emigrant.
The bridge will have two levels and the construction will be made of steel elements. The entrance to the bridge on the Polish side will have a zigzag shape. The bridge itself will first lead us downward to a path which will take a turn at mid-length, lead us to the upper level and on to the other side of the river. In order to reach the other side, one will have to turn back in the middle of the bridge and go back a little bit. The structure will be grey and illuminated 24 hours a day. The lights will flicker at times to indicate that the bridge is alive. The design will be irregular and contorted, bearing resemblance to lattice, a fish skeleton or a dragon fly. (2005)
Spatial model of the bridge (unrealized) from the project “Developing an architectural concept of the bridge on the Olza River located at the intersection of Młyńska Brama and J. Łyska Streets”, 2005 (Archives of the Municipality Office in Cieszyn)
Micro-Project Fund of the Community Initiative Programme Interreg III A the Czech Republic – Poland 2004-2006 in Śląsk Cieszyński – Těsínske Slezsko Euroregion:
“Enjoy Cieszyn: A garden on two banks” – The project involved the preparation of a joint Polish and Czech concept of the development of land along the Olza River on both sides. The aim of this concept, which included a development strategy and a town planning project, was to mitigate negative consequences brought about by the division of the town in 1920. The idea was to create a new centre of both towns by the banks of the Olza in Cieszyn and Český Těšín.
A Polish and Czech workgroup which included representatives of local governments and business, as well as architects, got down to work on how to achieve this goal. The result of their work was a list of tasks which Cieszyn and Český Těšín were going to undertake in the area by the Olza River. The list was submitted to public consultations. On a joint session of Polish and Czech Town Councils, local authorities presented a project for the development of the banks of the Olza River, which included joint projects and the schedule of their implementation. The project was also presented at an international conference which concluded this undertaking. (2007)
The full text of the “Development Strategy for the border area in Cieszyn” can be viewed at:
Micro-Project Fund of the Cross-Border Co-operation Operational Programme the Czech Republic – the Republic of Poland 2007-2013 in Śląsk Cieszyński - Těsínske Slezsko Euroregion:
“Celebrating the 90th anniversary of the appointment of the National Council of the Duchy of Cieszyn” – The National Council of the Duchy of Cieszyn was established on 19 October 1918 in Cieszyn and was the first organized and independent Polish authority on lands inhabited by Poles before the formation of the first Polish government. The Congress of Poles in the Czech Republic helped organize the celebrations. This project commemorated the most important events that happened in 1918 through concerts, exhibitions and history lessons, which took place both in Cieszyn and in Zaolzie (the Trans-Olza Region). Some promotional materials were also published, such as “The First Independence” in PL and CZ language versions (it included books, leaflets, bookmarks and posters).
Pierwsza Niepodległość (PL): http://www.cieszyn.pl/?p=categoriesShow&iCategory=2553
The First Independence (EN): http://www.cieszyn.pl/?p=categoriesShow&iCategory=2824
“Schengen and the integration of Cieszyn Silesia” – On 27 September 2010, local authorities presented the achievements of Cieszyn and Český Těšín, focusing on the joint implementation of projects related to the development of border areas and the integration of residents of both towns, as well as results obtained thanks to funds received from the European Union. Due to the fact that Śląsk Cieszyński – Těsínské Slezsko Euroregion promoted good practices in cross-border cooperation, inspired by the French-German border region, an idea was born to create a common strategy for the development of the border area by the Olza River. Activities related to cross-border cooperation between Cieszyn and Český Těšín now serve as a model for the whole Euroregion. The official presentation was followed by a long tour around the areas which had been included in the project, so that participants could see for themselves what changes occurred in the towns after they had joined the Schengen Area. (2010)
“A joint study on traffic and parking in the centres of Český Těšín and Cieszyn” – The aim of this project was to prepare a study on traffic and parking in both towns, which covered the following areas: the centre of Český Těšín (from the Olza to the railway line Bohumín-Žilina) and the centre of Cieszyn between the Olza, the railway line and the Bobrówka River. The study examined accessibility in terms of transport, with particular focus on transport across the Olza River over the Friendship Bridge and Liberty Bridge. The analysis is intended to serve as the basis for designing traffic solutions for both towns in the future. The first change was the introduction of two-way vehicle traffic on Liberty Bridge on the Olza, which happened when the project was being introduced. The project ended with a conference at which the study was presented. (2011)
“A garden on two banks 2012” – A comprehensive presentation which showed the results of the implementation of two projects: Sports Park and Sports Bridge. The results of joint projects undertaken by both towns show that European funds have been used efficiently and that further cooperation is necessary. It was also shown how both towns located in the Śląsk Cieszyński – Těsínské Slezsko Euroregion prepared themselves for the new European Union programming period 2014-2020. Experts on cross-border cooperation, representatives of Euroregions located on the Polish-Czech border, representatives of central and local governments, as well as project contractors took part in these events. (2012)
INFO TESSIN – The aim of the project was to design joint promotional materials which would be attractive and could be used to promote the most interesting tourist attractions of Cieszyn and Český Těšín, as well as to enhance cooperation between the towns. Among the materials designed, there was a painted map, prepared on the basis of bird’s eye view photographs (it is available as a folding printed map and an A3 printed map, but there is also an information board in the town and an interactive map on the website). (2012)
“Cross-Border Centre for Volunteers and Event Support” – The Cross-Border Centre for Volunteers was established and provided with essential IT and media equipment. Now it is used as a training centre for young people living in Polish and Czech border areas. It fosters active cooperation with the organizers of both regular and special events which take place in both towns. It is also supposed to improve the competencies of youth with regard to creative thinking, efficient communication in a team, free time management and event organization. A series of Polish-Czech integration and training workshops gave volunteers an opportunity to prepare themselves for organizing cultural and sports events on their own. They can also work on behalf of other event organizers, especially those in the border areas. What’s more, as part of the project, a procedure manual for the organization and implementation of events on the Polish and Czech side was published. (2013)
Projekt INFO TESSIN II – The project was a continuation of the joint promotion of tourist values in both towns. This time, it was done thanks to a mobile tourist guidebook Cieszyn/Tesin4mobile, which uses GPS technology. The guidebook included information on tourist attractions and walking routes in both towns in five language versions (PL, CZ, EN, DE, FR). Traditional print guidebooks to the towns and walking routes were also published in 5 language versions. The project also included shooting a promotional video. (2014)
Promotional video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqxAprnw3Es
Cross-Border Co-operation Operational Programme the Czech Republic – the Republic of Poland 2007-2013:
Revitalpark 2010 – As part of the project, neighbouring parks located on both sides of the Olza were revived. One was the park on the Castle Hill and the other was Masaryk Park. There are historical monuments in both of them. A sewer system, a waterworks system and a fountain were built on the Castle Hill. Old footpaths, lighting and the illumination of buildings were upgraded, street furniture was installed and green areas were revived. Survey and rescue archaeological research was also carried out. In accordance with guidelines given by the conservation officer, some relics of the old castle development were made more pronounced. It included e.g. the old access road to the so-called medieval Upper Castle. Pavements and lighting at Zamkowa Street were also refurbished on the section stretching from the entrance to the Castle Hill to Friendship Bridge. The Czech part of the project included the revival of Masaryk Park, the reorganization of the bank of the Olza River and the reconstruction of the former AVION cafe, as well as the refurbishment of pavements and railings, adding lighting to Friendship Bridge and preparing a visual identification system for the whole area covered by the project.
AVION café, 2014 (photo R Karpińska) 3b Masaryk Park, 2014 (photo M. Siedlczek)
Sports Park – As part of the project, a cross-border sports and leisure complex was created on both banks of the Olza. To achieve this goal, the following parks were revived and extended: Pod Wałką Park in Cieszyn and Adam Sikora Park in Český Těšín. The project included the construction of a bicycle and pedestrian path in both parks (which are a part of the bicycle trail running through both towns), the development of the parks for leisure purposes (adding playgrounds, footpaths, park furniture, picnic spots, a small lake, a garden square, the revival of green areas), the refurbishment of Olza camping site, building rest and refreshment areas, accommodation facilities, food and beverage services, caravan and camping stands, the refurbishment of the kayaking lake, the construction of football, volleyball and basketball fields, the construction of a car park near the Stadium called “Pod Wałką”. (2011)
Olza camping site, 2014 (photo R. Karpińska), 4b Adam Sikora Park, 2014 (photo M. Siedlczek)
Sports Bridge – A bridge connecting the banks of the Olza, which also became the main traffic route in the vicinity of the sports and leisure complex. It has made it possible to fully use bicycle and pedestrian paths and other facilities, not only in the Sports Park. As part of this project, paths and the bridge were also illuminated.
The bridge is 95.40 m long, 3.5 m wide and connects a network of paths. The bridge has four spans which measure from 13 to 45 m. The construction of the bridge is supported by a narrow girder with a curved design. The girder is suspended off a leaning arch. It was made of a steel pipe with a diameter of 45 cm. The inside was filled with concrete. The length of the arch is 45 m and the height of the bridge above the ground surface is 8.80 m. The author of the design is prof. Ing. Jiří Stráský, DSc, a Czech architect. (2012)
Sports Bridge, 2012 (photo M. Siedlczek)
“Firefighters without borders” – The aim of this project was to enhance cooperation in the area of fire and flood hazards between Voluntary Fire Brigades from both sides of the border. Joint tactical and combat exercises, meetings and firefighting days were organized. As part of the project, authorities bought 4 rescue and firefighting vehicles which comply with the requirements and standards of firefighting in the European Union. (2014)
“A garden on two banks 2013-2015” – As part of this project, bicycle and pedestrian routes along the Olza were built. They run along Jana Łyska Street, Nábřeží Míru and Przykopa Street and are the extension of bicycle paths in the Sports Park. The new paths lead to the revived areas of the Castle Hill and Masarykovy Sady. The area of Cieszyn Venice, the historical craft district by the Młynówka Canal, was revitalized along with Jana Łyska Street and Nábřeží Míru in Český Těšín. Street furniture was supplemented, lighting and old playgrounds were refurbished and some new playgrounds were built as well. An information system for visitors was also developed. (2015)
Micro-Project Fund of Interreg V-A Programme the Czech Republic - Poland in Śląsk Cieszyński – Těsínske Slezsko Euroregion:
“Joint Action Zone” – his project included activities whose aim was to reinforce cross-border cooperation between the municipal offices of both towns, as well as between culture, education and sports committees of town councils and representatives of cultural and sports institutions. Joint promotional action schemes were prepared and the parties shared their experiences in this field. Joint posters and leaflets with information about cultural and sports events in both towns were published as well. Mutual promotion of each other’s events contributed to the fact that these events are now more recognizable to the residents of both towns. Joint actions have also become more professional. “Study walk” meetings were organized e.g. in Adam Mickiewicz Theatre, Těšínské Divadlo, Town Library and KaSS Střelnice. They were an excellent opportunity to get to know the history and activities of both the meeting places and those who participated in the meetings. They were also practical, since some of the issues which were addressed included co-funding, promotion and the functioning of cultural institutions. Moreover, the project included building a shared organization database and manufacturing gadgets which were distributed at Polish-Czech events. (2017)
“Restoring the tramway line as a tourist attraction of Cieszyn and Český Těšín – a feasibility study” – In 1911, a tramway line was built in order to provide transport from the western side of Cieszyn (nowadays Český Těšín) to the old town centre. The line was 1793 metres long. It led from Bielska Street through the Market Square and Głęboka Street and then across the bridge on the Olza to the Railway Station. On the Market Square and near the bridge there were passing loops. A siding branched off Zamkowa Street and led to the depot located behind the brewery. The line was closed 10 years after the regular service started. The traces of the tramline were slowly disappearing. However, memory and sentiment remained vivid, which is visible in plans to bring back the old tramway line or to base the tourist offer on one of the most characteristic elements which used to connect Cieszyn and Český Těšín. However, there has never been a feasibility study which would make it possible to take the final decision. Moreover, there has not been any work on a common policy which would be devoted to the creation of a significant tourist product based on the potential of the Cieszyn tramway and its history.
The aim of the project was to prepare a multifaceted social, economic and technical analysis, which would include historical, spatial, technical and marketing aspects, as well as the legal possibilities of introducing variant models of the potential new tramway line (the entire length of the historical route or just a part of it could be restored) in Cieszyn and Český Těšín. The study also included different versions as to the scope of the potential project, models of operating the tramway line using different power sources, a simplified economic analysis for the operation of the tramway line, and possible sources of financing for both the tramway line and associated infrastructure. Necessary investment and restoration work at Głęboka Street and on the Market Square, as well as at Główna and Dworcowa Streets in Český Těšín, will be taken into account and catalogued as well. The possibility of creating a tourist offer on the basis of the new tourist product was also analysed, along with the forms of its potential implementation.
A joint Polish-Czech workgroup for the restoration of the tramway line was also appointed. The workgroup cooperated with the consulting company which had prepared the analysis. The results of the analysis were presented and discussed at a conference which summed up the results of the works undertaken. (2018)
PL presentation http://www.cieszyn.pl/?p=categoriesShow&iCategory=3214
CZ presentation http://www.cieszyn.pl/files/Cieszyn_prezentacja_CZ.pdf
“Programme for the culture of Cieszyn and Český Těšín” – The aim of the project was to jointly draw up a cross-border document entitled “Programme for the culture of Cieszyn and Český Těšín”. It was supposed to address the fact that the condition of culture and the direction of its growth were not sufficiently described in strategic documents of both towns. The project included focus studies and surveys, as well as personal interviews with cultural workers, animators, heads of cultural institutions and representatives of cultural associations. The cultural environment of both towns was mapped and meetings with residents were organized. In the document entitled “Programme for the culture of Cieszyn and Český Těšín”, the possibilities for growth and cooperation between cultural workers, institutions and organizations from both towns have been comprehensively balanced. The document also diagnoses the cultural needs of residents and visitors coming to both towns in order to prepare a tourist offer which could be co-authored not only by municipal institutions, but also by other public institutions, companies, non-governmental organizations, amateur artists or even informal groups made up of culture enthusiasts. The results of these studies, as well as demands and recommendations, were presented at a conference which concluded the project. They are also included in the programming document. (2018)
Interreg V-A Programme the Czech Republic – Poland:
“Open Air Museum. Cieszyn. Český Tĕšín” – The aim of this project was to create a new form of a tourist project based on the uniqueness of a divided town. The museum was established in a special location, literally on the border of two countries. It presents the history of Cieszyn and Český Těšín from various perspectives, for example from the point of view of historical and political events, including the history of the division of the town and the consequences of this division. All actions were consulted with the Polish-Czech Programme Board. Due to its open nature and unique location on the border, the museum has both a tourist and an educational value. Moreover, as part of this project, both banks of the Olza were revived and a new attractive space was created. It includes a bicycle and pedestrian path with street furniture, lighting and a museum exhibition designed by the architectural studio RS+ Robert Skitek. The museum exhibition includes public hot spots which encourage the residents of both towns and tourists to spend time together. An information centre, a website and a mobile application were created as well. Both towns, divided by a border, once again constitute a single whole. (2019)
OpenAir Museum, 2019 (photo R. Karpińska),
OpenAir Museum2019 (photo M. Podžorny)
“Kaj indzi inakszy – u nas po naszymu. Folk culture of Cieszyn Silesia” (2019)
The aim of the project was to increase tourist attractiveness on the basis of a joint tourist offer centred on the heritage of Cieszyn folk culture. A joint Folklore Centre of Cieszyn Silesia was established. It has two sections which bring together active folk artists and craftsmen. The Centre serves as a platform to present the cultural heritage of Cieszyn Silesia. On the Polish side, the entire cultural centre called Dom Narodowy was refurbished and adapted to the needs of the disabled. All necessary upgrades were also introduced in Český Těšín. In the mobile application, there are three quests which promote the common heritage. When a tourist completes these quests, he or she can collect a small gift with typical Cieszyn motives from either of the municipal information centres. The application (available in 5 language versions) also includes a complementary tourist offer of both towns. Moreover, paper maps and books entitled “Cieszyn Primer” were published as well (they are available in PL and CZ language versions). (2019)
„Český Tĕšín/Cieszyn INEurope” – The aim of this project was to strengthen institutional cooperation between the partner towns (Cieszyn and Český Těšín) in close cooperation with regional partners, i.e. both parts of Śląsk Cieszyński – Těšínské Slezsko Euroregion, by devising a strategy to shape common social and cultural space in the divided town. The document has set goals and defined challenges related to the integration of local communities, the creation of a joint cultural and tourist offer, and the strategy concerning marketing and visual identification to promote common undertakings. The strategy includes the following topics: spatial planning, institutional cooperation and public service, cultural and social cooperation, a shared tourist offer and tourist products, and co-marketing. It will serve as guidelines for cross-border cooperation. (2019)