When you visit Wroclaw, you start seeing the Market Square as the heart of the city. This is where shopping, food and business gather for everybody, even if you’re a local or a tourist like us.
While you are walking around one of the largest markets in Europe, don’t forget that most of the buildings there are replicas of how they used to be. Rynek we Wrocławiu, Wroclaw’s Market Square name in polish, was completely rebuilt from the pile of ruins that was Wroclaw after the Second World War and the Siege of 1945.
Most of what you see today is the work of those who resettled in the city after the germans were expelled from it. Even the statue seated south of the Town Hall was replaced by them. Now you can see the famous polish writer Aleksander Fredro but this used to be the seat of King Frederick II of Germany. And this wasn’t the only thing that changed.
The buildings around the square were built in different styles, ranging from Art Nouveau to Gothic. The impressive facades of the townhouses deserve all the attention they can get. The middle part of the ring that surrounds the square is occupied by the Old Town Hall, the New City Hall and numerous houses. We learned through the years that one of the best things to do when walking around a historical city is to look up and see the details in every building. Wroclaw seems that was made exactly for that.
At Rynek 11, you can see a structure designed by Heinrich Rump and offers a small glimpse into what this square would look like if the plans from Max Berg, who designed the Centennial Hall, would have come to fruition. His idea may sound ludicrous nowadays but it was almost put into place. He wanted to demolish the building surrounding the Rynek and replace them with concrete towers more than 20 stores high. Nothing big happened to the buildings surrounding the square but we cannot say the same for those in the middle of it. Two-thirds of them were demolished and replaced with offices built in a modernist style. But, since the square was heavily damaged during the Second World War, the buildings were restored following the Baroque and Classicism styles they were know for.
Wroclaw Market Square – a little bit of history
The history from the Wroclaw Market Square dates back to the 13th century. Most of what you see in the old city center was laid out by city planners back in 1241 following Magdeburg Law. Over time, the houses surrounding the square started to appear and by the middle of the 14th century, they had formed something similar to what we have now. Back then it was and it still is one of the largest squares in Europe with 213 by 178 meters.
When you walk around the Market Square, it is going to be hard to ignore the beauty that is Wroclaw’s Town Hall. The construction of the building started somewhere in the 13th century and it last 250 years. This is why it showcases a mix of architectural styles from Gothic to Renaissance. And it even has an astronomical clock!
Adjacent to the Market Square, you can find Plac Solny with a impressive architecture that deserves a lot of pictures. This square used to be the place for salt, leather products and honey and nowadays is a 24 hour flower market. Look at the light posts here and you will find a few of the famous Wroclaw Dwarfs!
What to do Around Wroclaw Market Square
Don’t be fooled by the idea that Wroclaw Market Square is just a bunch of old buildings. We said before that this is the heart of Wroclaw and there are a lot of things to do around the area. We know that, during the summer, the square is filled with people on its bars but… We were there in the beginning of January so winter was upon us, but we enjoyed a few places there.
Our favorite place was Pierogarnia Stary Młyn, a pierogi restaurant that has a lot of different options of this polish dish. So many possibilities and not enough space inside us. We tried a few of them and we loved everything! Go crazy with your choice because we know it is going to be great. The only bad part is that they don’t see beer inside the restaurant, only on the beer garden.
If you are looking for beer, you have to try Kontynuacja. They have over 15 different types of craft beers from Poland. If you don’t know what to order, just ask the bartender for advice. You will not regret it!
We also had dinner at Piwnica Świdnicka, the oldest medieval restaurant in Poland and one of the oldest in Europe. Opened around 1275 in the Town Hall basement, the food was good but the service was really slow and needs to improve for us to be able to call it bad. The place looks cool but… You can have better food around Wroclaw.
We went to Wroclaw to show Marcela’s mother that Poland is one of our favorite destinations around Eastern Europe. She didn’t know anything about Wroclaw and she left the city completely in love with what she saw there. We believe you will feel the same in Wroclaw. They even have a name for that: #Wrolove.