Things to do in Wroclaw, PolandFotostrasse was in Wroclaw and we had to write about the best things we did there.
Understanding Wrocław Poland
Wrocław originated at the intersection of two important trade routes: Via Regia and the Amber Road. The first one is a historical road in the Middle Ages that ran west-east through the center of the Holy Roman Empire and connected Moscow with Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. The second one, the Amber Road, was a trade route for the transfer of amber from the North Sea and the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. Because of these roads, settlements existed in the area where Wrocław is today since the 6th century. But Wrocław only came to be sometime in the 900s, possibly because of Vratislaus I, the Duke of Bohemia. Maybe it was named after a warrior of Silesia. We don’t know for sure but we don’t care that much about how this beautiful city came to be named. We care that for 400 years, Wrocław switched hands between Poland, Silesia, Hungary and Bohemia. These years marked the history of the city as much as the mongol siege of 1241 and the earthquake that shattered the city in 1443.
Below you can see some of the best things to do in Wrocław.
Wroclaw Market and the Salt Square
The first thing you have to do in Wrocław is visit the Market Square. Also known as Rynek, this is one of the largest market squares in Europe. This is the heart of Wrocław, where shopping, food and business gather for everybody to see and enjoy.
Ostrów Tumski and the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Cathedral Island, also known as Ostrów Tumski, is Wrocław oldest part, dating back to around 1000. Located on the north bank of the Oder River, this part of the city is filled with picturesque buildings and tiny streets covered in cobblestones. This is where you are going to find most of the historical churches like the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
The Racławice Panorama
The Panorama of the Battle of Racławice is the only surviving Polish panorama painting left and one of the only few preserved in the world. This large painting, if we can describe it like that, shows the Battle of Racławice. It was a famous episode of the Kościuszko Uprising against Prussia and Imperial Russia, a heroic but failed attempt to defend Polish Independence back in 1794.
A Visit to the Centennial Hall
The Centennial Hall is one of the most interesting landmarks Wrocław has. This huge building was constructed between 1911 and 1913 under the supervision of Max Berg when the city was still a part of the German Empire. The Centennial Hall was designed to be a multifunctional structure, able to host exhibitions, concerts, operas and sporting events.
Museum of Architecture in Wrocław
Since we are talking about architecture, Wrocław is home to the only architecture museum in Poland. Founded in 1965, Muzeum Architektury is located in a 15th century set of buildings that include a church and a old monastery. Inside the museum, you are going to see a collection focused on the evolution of architecture in general, although with a specific focus on Poland. They also have the largest collection of stained glass in Poland and a lot of different exhibitions happen there throughout the year.
The National Museum in Wrocław
On the last hours we were in Wrocław, we decided to enter a beautiful building that surprised us by being the National Museum. We had a few hours to waste before we had to leave the city and we decided to explore this museum. We didn’t know but it was one of the best choices we did during our days there.
Take a walk around Fosa Miejska
Fosa Miejska is the name of the historical moat fortification that used to surround Wrocław. The structure was built to protect the city from invaders in the 13th century. It was later extended and improved until early 19th century, when under occupation by Jerome Bonaparte, the fortifications started being demolished.
Can you catch all the Wroclaw Dwarfs?
Wroclaw is overrun by dwarfs. Everywhere you walk in the city, you are going to find a dwarf. Near most major landmarks, you are going to find a dwarf. After a while, you start thinking about trying to find everyone of them. The problem is that there are more than 300 dwarfs around Wroclaw. Can you catch them all? We tried. You may be asking yourself why so many dwarfs and the answer is not what you expect. Back in the 80’s, when communism was in power in Poland, dwarfs became the absurdist card of the Orange Alternative movement. They wanted to have an alternative way of opposing against the authoritarian communist regime so they came with something different. They wanted a way of peacefully protest and they found it through painted ridiculous graffitis of dwarves.