It has to be admitted that Nysa doesn’t boast the harmonious architecture of many other Silesian towns. Around 80% of its buildings were destroyed during fierce battles between German and Soviet forces in 1945, and some of the postwar reconstruction leaves a lot to be desired in aesthetic terms. Still, the mishmash of old and new is intriguing in its own way, especially the juxtaposition of Nysa’s dramatic cathedral to the other historic remnants scattered around its central square.
For centuries Nysa (ni-sah) was one of the most important religious centres in Silesia. In the 17th century it became a seat of the Catholic bishops, who were in flight from newly ‘Reformed’ Wrocław. The bishops soon made Nysa a bastion of the Counter-Reformation; so strong was their hold that the town came to be known as the Silesian Rome.