10 things to see in and around Wroclaw

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Joel Fulleda
@joelfulleda
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wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Maybe Wroclaw is not the first city you think about when you decide to visit Poland, but it is definitely one of the recommended stops! Wroclaw is the largest city in Poland western as well the capital of the province of Lower Silesia. Known for the striking and unique painting known as the Panorama of the Battle of Racławice and the historic Ostrów Tumski district, the city is full of popular and lively historical sites and places of cultural interest.
Of all the cities of Poland, Wroclaw possesses perhaps the most complicated and turbulent story. Known by dozens of different names, it has been dominated by as many as four nations and many previous kingdoms. It was one of the richest cities both culturally and architecturally in Central Europe, before being reduced to rubble only 65 years ago. The city, with pride and effort, was slowly rebuilt and in the postwar period was joined by a wave of migrants from western Ukraine, who contributed to enrich not only the ethnic composition of Wroclaw, but also its cultural wealth.
Having freed itself from the yoke of communism in 1989 and, consequently, been "rediscovered" by the West, Wroclaw has established itself with Prague and Krakow as one of the main tourist destinations in Eastern Europe and one of the undisputed highlights of Poland.



Index

  1. The Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista
  2. The road of the Gnomes
  3. Multimedia fountain
  4. Hala Stulecia, Hall of the Centenary
  5. Sky tower
  6. Wroclaw Zoo
  7. Market Square - Rynek
  8. Panorama of the Battle of Racławice
  9. Ostrów Tumski
  10. The Synagogue
  11. User questions and comments

1 - The Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista

Romantic and beautiful are just some of the adjectives that can be used to describe this place, especially at night, when the whole area is illuminated. This charming part of the city is one of only two locations in all of Europe to visit the lighting is not electric: every evening, at dusk, the lamplighter turns on the lights by hand.
The cathedral is one of the most important and of greatest historical value among the monuments of the city. It was built in the Middle Ages, around the th century, and represented the first brick building in Poland. Its beautiful symmetrical spiers offer a wonderful panoramic view of Wroclaw. Also worth a visit are the panel decorating the altar, painted in Lublin in 1522, showing the Virgin Mary asleep, and an immense pipe organ, built in 1913, which was the largest pipe organ in the world until the Second World War.



2 - The road of the Gnomes

Find as many dwarves as you can! Wroclaw offers a fun activity, not only for children: there are many scattered throughout the historic center statues of dwarves and gnomes. They were part of a project that started in the s to support a peaceful protest against the communist regime.

Nowadays you can find them in the most unusual places, all represented in different poses that suggest the history of the buildings and the attractive old town.

3 - Multimedia fountain

The Wroclaw Fountain is one multimedia music fountain located by an ornamental lake. The show offered by the fountain runs only during the summer season - from the last weekend of April or from the first weekend of May until the end of October.
The Multimedia Fountain was created in 2009 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Polish democratic elections, it is located in the colorful Szczytnicki park and near the Centenary Hall. It consists of 300 nozzles which create a great multimedia show combining water splashes coordinated with music and color effects. The shows take place every hour, at 22 pm the longest shows take place during the months of July and August, slightly earlier in the months of September and October.

4 - Hala Stulecia, Hall of the Centenary

This building - also called the people's hall - was built in 1913 by Max Berg and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2006. The hall has a large dome measuring 65 meters in diameter, it is the most important cultural hall in all of Poland and periodically hosts concerts, conferences, exhibitions, and other similar events.

The design is an eclectic combination of tradition and modernity, just like the events it usually hosts. Fortunately, it did not suffer damage during the Second World War, it was also a meeting point for participants in the 1980 Solidarity movement's protest for workers' rights, and is still a symbol of democracy today.



5 - Sky Tower

The Sky Tower is a skyscraper built after the demolition, in 2007, of the 24-story Poltegor Center building, until then the tallest building in the city. Sky Tower has been awarded the title of tallest residential building in Poland. The first 3 floors of the skyscraper are occupied by a large shopping center, while from the fourth to the 26th there are offices. To reach the floors it is possible to use one of the 15 lifts, leave the car in the parking lot that includes 1500 spaces, perhaps look for an apartment in the living area that measures 20.000 square meters ... certainly not cheap!
In 2013 the hypothesis of creating one was raised panoramic terrace on the 50th floor but, for security reasons, it has not been made accessible to the public. However, it is possible to stop on the lower floor by paying the ticket which costs about 2,50 Euros.

6 - Wroclaw Zoo

The city zoo was inaugurated in 1865, when Wroclaw was still linked to Prussian rule. Currently it still is the largest wildlife park in the nation, with an area of ​​over 30 hectares where over 7.000 animals are housed. Among giraffes, elephants, lions, a visit to the Afrycarium-Oceanarium is not to be missed: recently opened, at this huge aquarium it is possible to walk right under the tanks that house the fearsome sharks. The zoo is right in front of Hala Stulecia.

7 - Market Square - Rynek

Many Polish cities have beautiful and colorful market squares where tourism is usually concentrated. Wroclaw is no exception! Founded in the early thirteenth century, the market square it is one of the liveliest and most crowded places in the city. It is one of the largest market squares in Europe, and houses not one, but two town halls. The Gothic Old Town Hall has a clock tower that is over 60 meters high, making it the tallest town hall in the country. Also the Piwnica Świdnicka, located in the square, is the oldest restaurant in Europe.
The market square is also an excellent place to try local culinary specialties in the various restaurants there, as well as a meeting place: on New Year's Eve the traditional concert takes place here, as well as the celebrations of local festivals and street art events.



8 - Panorama of the Battle of Racławice

The Panorama of the Battle of Racławice is a huge 15th century painting measuring 114 meters high and meters long. This unique work of art in the world is kept in a special room of a circular building, dedicated exclusively to the painting where, due to special effects such as particular lights and the shape of the floor, the observer feels inserted into the painting itself.
The battle represented really took place - it is about the revolt led by the Polish Kościuszko in 1794 against Russia.

9 - Ostrów Tumski

Ostrów Tumski is the oldest part of the city and dates back to the th century: from here the city began to develop and grow. It is also the most fascinating area, as it is home to a series of historic buildings and monuments of great importance. In addition, it is surrounded by the Oder River. Taking a walk in this neighborhood is almost a must: here you will find the Gothic cathedral, the oldest building in the neighborhood, that is the Church of S. Egidio, bronze sculptures, suggestive gardens and bridges that lead to the rest of the city.

10 - The Synagogue

The Wroclaw Synagogue was built in 1829 by the German architect Karl Ferdinand Langhans and, paradoxically, is a classic example of Protestant sacred art. For a long time, the Jewish minority was a large part of Polish cultural identity, and the country was much more multicultural than it became after the war, but even today it plays an important role. During the Second World War, members of the Jewish community were deported to Nazi concentration camps. Restored after the war, the building reopened in 2010 and became one of the main Jewish cultural centers. It is also home to a permanent exhibition on the history of the Jews of Wroclaw and Lower Silesia.


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