Wroclaw has a very turbulent past and over the last 1,000 years, it has been controlled by eight kingdoms and empires. However, look beyond that and you will soon see a city that is beautiful in every way. Often called Poland’s Venice, the Oder river splits up and has more than 100 bridges. The city was destroyed during the end of the Second World War but today there are no scars of this difficult time, just amazing architecture and plenty to see and do. Make sure you find time to see the cobble-stoned market square. Due to the contribution of its large student population the city has a bustling nightlife. With a multitude of bars and clubs you will find the perfect place to spend your evenings.
Wroclaw was almost flattened during the siege of the Breslau and that in itself makes the amazing skyline of churches and Baroque townhouses even more inspiring. Make sure that the Market Square and the Cathedral are at the top of your list of things to see but the Old Town is also the perfect place to take a stroll and go on an adventure of your own. The non-stop flower market is a real pleasure to see and with the tallest church in the city, St Elizabeth, to climb, there is always something to keep you occupied here. Take a look at the old butchers’ quarters which could be seen to be the best-preserved street in the city where you can find buildings that date back to the 1600s and 1700s.
Rynek (Market Square)
This is one of the largest squares in Poland and Europe at 3.8 hectares in size but the market square has not changed a lot since it was established in the 13th century. Following the Second World War, much of the square, as well as the colourful tenements needed to be heavily restored. The pillory that is positioned next to the Town Hall dates back to 1492 and also had to painstakingly pieced back together.
On the 4th April 1794, the Battle of Raclawice took place with the Polish taking victor in the failed Kosciuszko Uprising against Russia. In order to pay tribute on the 100th anniversary of the battle of a large cycloramic painting was started by Jan Styka. Other famous artists were encouraged to help him finish it and at 15 x 114m, it is impressive in every way. This was a huge success and was originally on show in Lviv but following the Second World War, it was moved to Wroclaw. However, during the days of the Soviet Union, it remained hidden and didn’t come to light again until 1985 and since, it has been on show where you can marvel at it in all its glory.
This Baroque palace was chosen to be the home of Frederick the Great following Prussia taking over Silesia in the 1740s. Over the following 100 years, each Prussian king added his own mark to the building and this can be seen in the Rococo, Neoclassical and Neo-Renaissance design. As with much of the city, it was heavily damaged during the war but restorations took place before it became the place of Wroclaw’s City Museum. Here you can learn all about the difficult 1,000-year history of the city and take in the huge array of artefacts and beautiful interiors. The Beyersdorf Room is a must see and the Dutch 17th-century tiles clad the walls with the Baroque formal gardens offering a great place to take a stroll.
This is the largest fountain in Poland and is located by the UNESCO-listed Centennial Hall. At one hectare in size, it was finished in 2009 in order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first free elections in post-war Poland. It has an ivy-clad pergola around the edge of it and has 800 programmable lights that can change colour as well as a range of water jets that can be adjusted along with nozzles that can fire flames into the air. From May to September, on the hour, you can see an amazing show of light, water and music as well as special shows that take place at 10 pm on weekends.
This is the oldest and largest zoo in the country as well as the most-visited but here you can find the third most species of any attraction in the world, standing at 1,382. Every year, new exhibits are added such as the Afrikarium aquarium complex which was opened in 2014. Here you can take in four environments from Africa such as the Red Sea, East Africa, Mozambique Canal and the Congo Jungle. There are crocodiles, rays, sharks and hippos on display here.
Map of Wrocław
Pictures of Wrocław
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