Guest Author - Barbara Swiech
Breslau (how Wroclaw is called in German), situated in west-south part of Poland, is not only one of the biggest and oldest cities in the country but also one of the most beautiful places in Poland. It is also historic capital city of Silesia region. Its first official mentions come from 1000 year, when one of the first bishopric was located there. Already since 10th century Wroclaw was under the rule of Piast family, that was the first royal dynasty of Poland.
The legend says that when the Tartars invaded the country and were approaching Wroclaw, the inhabitants managed to escape. They destroyed the city beforehand to make sure it does not get into the hands of the invaders. The Tartars, however, due to the miraculous signs in the sky (thanks to prayers of Blessed Czeslaw Odrowaz) withdrew from the city. Wroclaw was rebuilt very quickly. In 14th century Breslau was taken over by Czech kings and therefore afterwards incorporated into Habsburg’s Monarchy. In 17th century Polish-German language border fell nearby Wroclaw making it Polish speaking city.
At the beginning of 19th century Wroclaw was occupied by soldiers of Napoleon. It was the centre of organizing Polish legions. It stayed under the rule of the French till 1813 when it was once again taken over by Prussia. In 1945 – during Potsdam conference – Silesia with Wroclaw came back to the boundaries of Poland. Citizens of German origin were made to leave the city and move to their homeland, while Wroclaw was inhabited by Poles from Central Poland and Great Poland region as well as east part of the country that was incorporated into Soviet Union.
Although during WW II 70% of the city was destroyed, Wroclaw is still full of original building as well as those rebuilt or reconstructed. It can boast of many exceptional buildings such as beautiful Gothic Town Hall or Cathedral in Ostrow Tumski (the oldest quarter of Wroclaw) and many other churches and municipal buildings. Apart from that, Wroclaw has one of the biggest concentration of burgher houses built in various styles – starting from Baroque through Classicism, Historic style, Art Nouveau up to Modernism. One can find there streets with unchanged architecture since centuries. It has also fourth highest amount of bridges and footbridges in Europe (after Venice, Amsterdam and Petersburg) – therefore it is very often called Venice of the North.
Wroclaw’s Town Hall is one of the oldest and most beautiful in Poland. It does not only contain the oldest clock-bell and tower clock but also one of the oldest restaurants in Poland called Piwnica Swidnicka (translated into English as Swidnica Cellar) with delicious bear.
Wroclaw is more and more often visited not only by Polish but also foreign tourists. It develops every year its tourist infrastructure. It offers the visitors many museums as well as refurbished sightseeing places. One of the inventions is to promote the city through small dwarves scattered all around it. The tradition was especially developed in 2003 when ‘Museum of Dwarves’ miniature plaque was unveiled on the main square. The plaque is hung at the height of human’s kneels. From 2005 there have been more and more bronze sculptures of dwarves scattered around Wroclaw, becoming one of the most popular hallmarks of the city. There are right now between 150 and 200 dwarves of Wroclaw.
This beautiful city became one of the must-sees of Poland. Its beautiful market square and architecture will make your stay exceptional and pleasant.