Situated on the Odra River, Wrocław is the historical capital of the Silesian province and the 4th largest city in Poland after Krakow, Warsaw and Lodz. Maybe it is not the first city you think of when visiting Poland, but you should. Beautiful, well-preserved streets, over 100 colorful bridges, bohemian architecture scattered throughout 12 islands, buzzing nightlife and pretty parks; Wrocław is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Poland and makes for an excellent value city break destination. Here is our list of the Top 8 Things To Do In Wroclaw.
The Panorama Raclawicka is a cyclorama painting of a late 18th century battle of a Polish uprising against Russia near the village of Raclawice in 1794. It was one of the first battles of the Polish Kościuszko Uprising against Russia. Thanks to special lighting inside the cyclorama, and very realistic shading techniques, visitors can nearly relive the famous battle as it swirls around them.
Leave the Old Town and cross the bridge to Ostrów Tumski (Cathedral Island), the oldest part of the city, dating back to the 10th century when it was a religious center of the first settlement of Wrocław. The beautiful buildings, manicured gardens, narrow cobbled streets and a magnificently high gothic cathedral with its spires make this place magical.
Cathedral of St John the Baptist
Located in the Ostrów Tumski district, Cathedral of St John the Baptist is a three-naved, Gothic, oriented basilica with two, nearly 100 meters (328 ft) high, towers. It is a lovely example of gothic architecture that has been meticulously restored to its glory. The passage and the chapels around the chancel contain the best art works and most impressive interiors of the cathedral. Take the lift to the top of the towers for the marvelous city views.
Wrocław Market Square is one of the most beautiful market squares in Europe and the second largest market square in Poland after the Main Square in Krakow. This is the historical center of the city, where shopping, food and business gather for locals and tourists alike. In the heart of the sqaure is gothic Town Hall with 66 meters (216 ft) high clock tower.
The Wrocław Fountain is a multimedia musical fountain and ornamental pond. Fountain runs only during the summer season – from the last weekend of April or the first weekend of May to late October.
Hala Stulecia (Centennial Hall)
Hala Stulecia, listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006, was built at the beginning of the 20th century and used for trade fairs and concerts. It was designed by Max Berg with a clever eclectic combination of tradition and modernity. The hall has a huge dome that measures 65 meters (213 ft) in diameters.
White Stork Synagogue
The White Stork Synagogue is a 19th century synagogue located in the Quarter of Mutual Respect. Following the design of prominent German architect Karl Ferdinand Langhans, it is ironically considered a sterling example of 19th century Protestant sacral art. The Synagogue now serves as a museum with a permanent exhibition on the history of Jews in Wrocław, a place of worship and cultural center.
Find the Dwarfs (Gnomes)
Wrocław’s dwarfs are small figurines that first appeared in the streets of Wrocław in 2001. Since then, their numbers have been continually growing, and today you can find more than 300 dwarf statues around the city.
Why are they here? The Polish city of Wrocław was, in the 1980s, still in the thrall of an authoritarian communist regime. A dissident protest movement, Orange Underground, evolved to peacefully protest against the regime as part of the wider Solidarity movement. These protests would be as nonsensical as possible, so that the police could not arrest its members without becoming a laughing stock. When the authorities painted over anti-government graffiti, Orange Underground moved to respond. In perhaps its most fondly remembered antic, its members painted dwarfs on top of the whitewash. This was commemorated in 2001: with the country now a democratic state, the council placed a sculpture of a dwarf on the city’s Świdnicka Street. It didn’t stop there. Source: kuriositas
Just So You Know…
- For many years Wroclaw was a German city, called Breslau, and this influence can be seen in the architecture throughout the city.
- Wrocław hosts a massive medieval LARPing festival, complete with jousting, archery, and other fun stuff.
- There are over 100 bars and clubs in Wroclaw, and many of the islands have restaurants with the most amazing riverside views.
- The oldest restaurant in Europe, Piwnica Swidnicka, dates back to 1275, and can be found in Wrocław.