Wrocław, Poland

Friday, October 7, 2016

In the morning we headed through the gorgeous Polish countryside for our next stop: Wrocław!
Everyone that stops here loves it and it's easy to see why. While it is similar to it's larger, more famous cousin Krakow, Wrocław (pronounced "vorts-wahf), has a charm all its own. Having absorbed Bohemian, Austrian, and Prussian influences, the city has a unique architectural style symbolized by the magnificent market square.
On the square is the grand Old Town Hall. Built over the course of two hundred years in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries, the eastern facade reflects three distinct stages of development. On the right is the oldest, an austere Gothic, and on the left shows early Renaissance elements. The central portion is topped by an ornamented triangular roof adorned with pinnacles. 
One of the most fun things about this city for our kids was hunting down the collection of over 300 gnomes that are scattered around the city.
The statues are based on the Polish folklore characters known as krasnoludek, a leprechaun-like cross between a dwarf and a gnome. 
You can buy a "dwarf map" at various TIs and use it to help find them. We had fun just wandering around sightseeing and letting the kids hunt for them.
So funny!
They're everywhere!
During the Second World War, Wrocław, known as Breslau to the Germans, was a key eastern outpost for the Third Reich. When the city was besieged by the Soviets in February 1945, 75% of the city was razed to the ground. Of the prewar population of 60,000, an estimated 30% died. Any Germans who remained were expelled and the ruined city was resettled with people from Poland's eastern region. 
The difficult reconstruction continued well into the 1980s when the city passed its prewar population for the first time. Since the fall of communism, the city has undergone a transformation into a finance, manufacturing, and tourism hub.
In 2016, the city was designated a European Capital of Culture by the E.U.
The Old Town is so full of historic buildings it feels like you could wander around for days and still not see all the beautiful places. So lovely!
Yummy Polish food. 
Wrocław is not just a pretty face, it is Poland's fourth largest city and center for the region. Virtually everything in southwestern Poland starts, finishes, or is taking place here.
Around the year 1000, Wrocław was chosen, along with Krakow and Kołobrzeg, as one of medieval Poland's three bishoprics. The city continued to grow under a Czech Bohemian rule during the 14th century and reached the height of its prosperity in the 15th century. The next two hundred years it was ruled by the Austrian Habsburgs and then it fell into the hands of Prussia in 1741. All these various influences are reflected in the charming cosmopolitan character of the city. 
Fantastic flowers.
Fun painted building with cute little dormer windows.
Did I mention what a beautiful day it was? Because it was perfect. Sunny and warm but not too hot.
Pink building sandwiched right in there!
In the northwest corner of the main square two charming houses named after Jaś i Małgosia, who are known better as Hansel & Gretel to English and German speakers. The two homes are linked by a Baroque archway from 1728, which once led to the church cemetery.
Hansel. He's so hot right now. #zoolander
My kinda graffiti - gold paint!
Sunflowers! My favorite.
Detail shots from around town.

The southwestern corner of the Old Town Hall. The work on the 216 foot high tower took another century after the rest of the building was complete.
The nearby Church of St. Mary Magdalene is a mighty Gothic redbrick building that dates from the 14th century. 
The best part? You can climb the 236 foot high tower and walk across the "Penance Footbridge" connecting the two towers for great views over the city.
Wrocław? More like WOWcław!
If you find yourself in southwestern Poland, definitely swing by this charming city.
Our family in Wrocław, Poland on Sunday September 11th 2016.
Next round of re-caps: galavanting through Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Serbia!

1 comment

  1. What a beautiful city! And how fun searching for the gnomes! I would LOVE to do that!!!!!!!!!


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