The old and the new coming hand in hand

A long time ago the gardens surrounding the castle in Leszczyny were often visited by the extravagant Ernestine - the wife of the owner of the magnificent estate - who used to ride here in a donkey-drawn carriage. Today, the interiors of the notable family’s headquarters and the stately park spaces are filled with chatter of local residents. Thanks to its revitalization, one of Silesia’s most beautiful residences is integrating the local community.

The photograph shows a man with short gray hair, wearing glasses and a dark jacket, with his arms folded.

Andrzej Wącirz
Head of the Department of Programming and External
Funds Czerwionka-Leszczyny Town and Municipality Office

The construction of Leszczyny castle was commissioned in 1882-1883 by the owner of the village, Konrad Bartelt. The fact that he dedicated it to his second wife, Ernestine, is evidenced by an inscription preserved on the building’s pedestal in the southeast corner. Over more than 130 years, the place has witnessed many wonderful, idyllic moments, interspersed with tragedies and dramas – stories of ardent love, but also fierce struggles for money and influence.

Over the years, the building has deteriorated and lost its original beauty, and its functions have also changed. Several years ago, the castle’s turret was renovated, but upgrading the whole structure was far beyond the municipality’s financial capabilities. The European Funds turned out to be helpful. In order to faithfully restore the original shape of the castle, which was modeled on Italian Renaissance villas, the designers reached for archival photos. The work included not only the renovation of the facility, but also the construction of a sanitary and utility building and the landscaping of the former park complex. Today, in the green scenery of the park, you will find a gym, street workout equipment, a playground, family barbecue spots, places to relax by the pond, as well as a volleyball and basketball court, which in winter can be turned into an attractive ice skating rink. The culmination of the revitalization efforts was the development of a special application with a mini-play performed by actors from the J. Kochanowski Theater in Opole. Residents and tourists can learn about the history of the building and the intricate history of the Bartelt family.

Inside the castle there are training and conference rooms and office space, as well as a Day Care Center for children. Residents enjoy spending their free time in the park. Concerts, picnics, fairs, and sports games are held here.

The revitalization of the castle received recognition not only from the local community, but also from the jury of the fifth edition of the “Investment of the Year” competition, organized by the National Chamber of Real Property Management. We took first place in the “Historical Sites” category. In addition, in 2022, the castle in Leszczyny received an honorable mention in the “Best Public Space” of the Silesian Province competition.

The photo shows a smiling woman with straight dark hair, who is wearing a pink shirt.

Aneta Chojnacka
Inspector at the Social Welfare Center in Czerwionka-Leszczyny

The revitalization of the castle and park has transformed the whole Leszczyny neighborhood. We also wanted the positive transformation to engage the local community, especially residents at risk of social exclusion, who experience many difficulties on a daily basis. In cooperation with the “Imago” Foundation in Wrocław, we prepared a Local Activity Program aimed at strengthening local bonds. Before a recreation and leisure area was built around the castle, residents had nowhere to meet and enjoy themselves. Now that has changed. The facility has become a place for holding interesting social and cultural events. We organized numerous events such as “Breakfast on the Grass”, a clothes exchange “Clothes for Clothes,” “Neighbor’s Day”, and an eco-picnic. Residents were also offered a chance to attend a ball called „ Dance with us, the Leszczyny residents”. The event began with a traditional polonaise which the residents were dancing in 19th-century costumes referring to the city’s cultural heritage.

As part of the project, we also prepared individual support for 50 residents, including those with disabilities. Each participant had the opportunity to speak with a personal counselor and a psychologist, whose job was to motivate people to change their difficult life situation. Fourteen people benefited from vocational training tailored to their individual needs. They chose courses for forklift operators, cashier and salesmen, warehouse workers as well as courses in cutting and sewing, and massage. Six people received job placements.

Social integration and education activities were also an important part of the venture. They were attended not only by participants of our project, but also by other people interested in this type of activity. Residents together with an entertainer organized sports tournaments, as well as a competition in skat, a card game known as “Silesian bridge.” It was a perfect opportunity for great intergenerational fun. Although the project has come to an end, interest in local initiatives is still high. We are very happy and proud of it.

The photo shows a smiling woman with blonde hair, who is wearing a jacket. She’s sitting on the steps running up to the terrace and entrance to the Castle.

I am a mother of Sylwia, Marcin, and Karolina, whom I am raising on my own. I don’t complain or grumble. We manage to cope with everyday life because we can count on each other and the support of our loved ones. Since I devote my time to raising my children, I do not work professionally. However, I would like to change this in the future and find a job. It was the staff of the Social Welfare Center who encouraged me to participate in the project. I admit that in the beginning I had doubts mainly related to whether and how I would cope with the new tasks. Talks with a counselor and psychologist motivated/empowered me and helped me believe in myself. I was also able to talk about the problems, tensions and crises of raising three children.

I love to draw, but I am an amateur. When I have a moment to myself, I spend it with a pencil and paper. My children know that when I reach for a pencil, it’s a sign that I need to rest. I calm down then, enter my private world of imagination. This passion was noticed quite quickly by career counselors. They told me that I could try to become a.... tattoo artist. Professional training at one of tattoo studios in Cracow was quite a challenge. I have never been to Cracow before. I had to overcome my fears and anxieties and find my way in a big city. I gave it a go because I knew it was a chance for me to change my life. The course was intensive. For several weeks I learned the theory and practice of the art of tattooing. Sometimes even nine hours a day. I am a visual learner, so I quickly learned how to use the equipment. The theory was more difficult for me. Although I enjoy interacting with people, I was withdrawn. Old fears returned but with time I eventually overcame them and made progress. I completed training. I bought the materials and I am currently designing tattoo patterns. I don’t know yet whether I will go down this path, but taking the course has certainly boosted my self-esteem. I am determined to continue learning and gaining more experience.

If you, guys, are looking for your professional path, I recommend participating in such projects. This is a time of intensive self-improvement, which I am convinced will pay off in the future.

Say it the Silesian way:

Say it the Silesian way


Say it the Silesian way

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Say it the Silesian way

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Social and infrastructural revitalization through the renovation of the historic castle and its surroundings in Czerwionka-Leszczyny

Beneficiary: Czerwionka-Leszczyny Town and Municipality
Project value: approx. 13.3 million PLN
RPO SV co-financing: approx. 4.3 million PLN
Implementation period: December 2018 - November 2020


Reintegration and integration is the future of our city – Local Activity Program

Beneficiary: Czerwionka-Leszczyny Town and Municipality
Value of the project: approx. 440 thousand PLN
ROP SV subsidy: approx. 375 thousand PLN
Implementation period: January 2021 - December 2022