The Town Hall and ‘The Seven Houses’
The present town hall building was built in the 18th century. If you want to know more about the history of the seat of city authorities you should go down to the cellars where you can find Gothic and Renaissance remains of the predecessors of this building. The first of them was built in the second half of the 14th century. The first brick seat of the authorities was built on today’s Town Hall Square only at the beginning of the 16th century. Subsequent fires ravaging the city caused its destruction: it was renovated a number of times. The present Town Hall was built from 1744 to 1749 and was given a classical look.
At the beginning of the 20th century the tenement houses near the City Hall were bought and adjoined to the town hall (the so-called ‘Seven Houses’). One obstacle preventing the integration of the main building with the tenement houses was a tram line running between the town hall and the tenement houses. The problem was solved by building a covered veranda at the first storey level.
The so-widened town hall survived to the present day. The two-storey building is crowned with a tower with an onion dome, a clock, and a gallery where a trumpet player used to sound the city bugle call. You can enter the interior through two entrances. Over the southern entrance there is a Latin inscription saying: ‘The City was built by Bolesław Krzywousty in 1108’ . While visiting the interior of the town hall, take your time to admire the sculptures of Ernst Rülke (a teacher of a famous woodcarving school in Cieplice) which grace the balustrade and a low relief in the Conference Room. Another worthwhile memento of the old times is a Medieval well discovered during the last renovation.
Over the centuries, the town hall had many functions; above all, it was the seat of city authorities and a venue of city council’s meetings; however, other important institutions had their seats there: court, archive and treasury. Today the Town Hall houses the City Hall, the City Council and the Registry Office.
Jelenia Góra Trams
Tram communication operated in Jelenia Góra in the years 1897-1969. Today there is not much left of it – just fragments of the tram line and a plaque set in the town hall’s wall, under the gallery connecting the town hall with the ‘Seven Houses’. The plaque was installed on the hundredth anniversary of opening the first tram line. On some buildings you can still find rosettes which were used as fastenings for the tram system and also tram carriages, one of which can be found by the north entrance to the town hall and serves as a souvenir kiosk (the other two trams are placed in front of the tram depot, in Wolności Street and at a bus terminal in Podgórzyn)
The Neptune’s Fountain
Right next to the town hall there is a fountain with a sculpture of Neptune – god of the seas. This may come as a surprise given that the city lies at the foot of several mountain ranges. The sculpture is to commemorate old trade relations with overseas lands. The fountain replaced an old city well in the 19th century.
We leave the Town Hall Square by taking Maria Konopnicka Street and later turning into Boczna Street to reach the oldest temple in Jelenia Góra – the Basilica of St. Erasmus’ and St. Pancras’.