The stronghold of Dzierzoniow was founded in the 13th century. The first historical records about Reichenbach come from 1258[1.1].

From 1291 the town was owned by Duke Bolko I the Strict from the Piast dynasty. By the end of the 13th century, Reichenbach developed into the economic and administrative center of the region.

Dzierżoniów was subsequently ruled by the dukes of Wroclaw, and later it became one of the main centers of the Duchy of Świdnica and Jawor. The urban plan implemented then, with a spacious market square, town hall and streets beginning at each frontage, is preserved till the present day. In 1337 the town became independent from the Duke of Świdnica and Jawor, and in 1392, together with the Duchy of Świdnica and Jawor, it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Bohemia. The next century brought the Hussite revolution, due to which the town and the whole region suffered great damages from troops marching through the town and epidemics. In the 15th century the town became a well known weaver’s craft center.

In 1526 the Kingdom of Bohemia, together with Dzierżoniów, passed under the reign of the Habsburg dynasty. In the 16th century trade and craft developed there, as well as linen and cloth production. The second half of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century are sometimes called the golden age” of Dzierżoniów. The times of prosperity ended in 1618 with the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War that brought fires, depopulation and downfall to the town. The century which followed was relatively peaceful, interrupted from time to time by breakouts of Silesian wars (1740-1763). As a result of the wars, Dzierżoniów and most of Silesia went under Prussian rule. In 1790 diplomats of Prussia, Sweden, England and Poland held a meeting in Dzierżoniów, the so-called “Reichenbach congress”. In the period between 1816-1820, the town became the capital of one of the four regencies of the Silesia Province.

In the 19th century the town and region became the center of Silesian textile production. In June 1848 when the weaving sector was industrialized, a serious crisis followed. The town weavers, who lost their jobs due to the crisis, went on strike by the town gates. The course of the strike was described in the drama “Tkacze” [“Weavers”] by Gerhard Hauptmann, a Nobel Prize winner from 1892. In the 19th century a lot of communal investments were carried on in town. Numerous public buildings and residential estates were built then. In 1855 a railway line was opened from Świdnica to Dzierżoniów. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries the local Sowia Góra railway line,connecting Dzierżoniów with nearby towns, was launched.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Dzierżoniów was the sixth largest town in Silesia, because the town named Ernsdorf (at present: Dzierżoniów Dolny) was incorporated into it. During World War II some branches of the concentration camp Gross-Rosen were located in the town’s surroundings. The prisoners were transported every day to work from the camp to the town plants.


  • Czocher T., Dzierżoniów, Bielawa, Pieszyce, Wrocław–Wałbrzych 1979.
  • Dzierżoniów – wieki minione, red. D. Adamska, S. Ligarski, T. Przerwa, Dzierżoniów 2009.
  • Dzierżoniów. Zarys monografii miasta, red. S. Dąbrowski, Wrocław–Dzierżoniów 1998.
  • Hasse E., Chronik der Stadt Reichenbach im Eulengebirge, Reichenbach 1929. 
  • [1.1] Dzierżoniów. Zarys monografii miasta, red. S. Dąbrowski, Wrocław–Dzierżoniów 1998, pp. 51–52