Visiting this place has been one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever lived in Poland, I fell in love with its beauty, monuments, architecture and art. It is the largest city in Western Poland, and the 4th largest in terms of population. In 2016, it was the European Capital of Culture, and it is known as the Polish Venice or the City of 100 Bridges.
This is Wrocław, one of the most beautiful cities within Europe, and the most romantic in Poland.
Overview of Wrocław
Wrocław is quite a difficult word to pronounce for foreigners, at first they might pronounce it incorrectly. The city is located in the west part of Poland, and it lies on the banks of the River Oder. During its history, Wrocław has been part of Germany, Prussia and finally since 1945 it belongs to Poland.
Wrocław has a population of more than 600,000 inhabitants which made it the 4th largest city in Poland in terms of population. The quality life of the city is great! In 2015, the city was listed as one of the best cities to live in the whole world!
The city is also famous in Poland because of its student’s life, the University of Wrocław has produced 9 Nobel Prize winners just in the 20th century! In the city there are more or less 130,000 students.
Why Wrocław is Known as The City of the 100 Bridges
Wrocław’s architecture is amazing and extremely beautiful, in the city you will see many bridges. In total there are more than 100 bridges, therefore its nickname. Before the Second World War, there were as many as 303 bridges!
One of the most emblematic bridges in the city, and hence the most popular one, is the Grunwaldzki Bridge. This is one of the symbols of Wrocław and it is also known as the Emperor’s Bridge or Freedom Bridge. It took 2 years to build it, and it was completed in 1910.
There is one urban legend about this bridge, it is said that back in 1950, a young crazy-in-love pilot flew a plane under this bridge. The reason? He wanted to impress a woman :P
Other famous bridge in Wrocław is the Tumski Bridge, and it is with no doubt the most romantic site of the city! This bridge has hundreds of locks that couples left on the bridge with their initials and the date were they put there, something similar to the bridge that is located next to Notre-Dame, Paris.
Many couples that visit the city decide to lock their love with each other by putting a lock on the Bridge of Love and throwing the key to the river. In case you want to break this love story you will need to find the correct key in the river to open it.
There are many more important and impressive bridges in Wrocław such as the: Zwierzyniecki Bridge, the Sand Bridge (the oldest one in the city), and the twin-bridges known as the Trzebnickie Bridges.
A Dwarf is Looking at You
Visiting Wrocław is not only spending time visiting dozens of bridges, this city has many more attractions to offer. One of the most touristic and curious attractions of the city are the Wrocław Dwarfs. Yes, you read it right, the Dwarfs are a great attraction.
In the 80’s there was a series of protests against the communist system. One group called ‘The Orange Alternative’ came with a pacific solution to protest, to start painting dwarfs over the communism symbols that appeared around the city.
The people from Wrocław loved this idea, and in 2001 the city created the first Dwarf statue to commemorate the creative protest of this group. Since then many Dwarfs statues have been appearing around the city, it is believed that there are more than 300 dwarf statues around the city and this number is growing each year! If you visit Wroclaw you can buy in every souvenir shop a dwarf’s map that will help you to find all those little friends.
The Majestic Old Town
As in any other city in Poland, this might be the first place that you would want to visit in Wrocław, and let me tell you this: you will not be disappointed. In the old town you will find the main Market square. In the Old Town you will also find important places of the city such as: the St. Elisabeth’s Church, St. Mary Magdalene Church and the Świdnicka Cellar Restaurant, which is the oldest restaurant in Europe!
An Island Inside the City
Many people say that the Old Town is the heart of the city, but the soul of Wrocław is in Ostrów Tumski. This is the oldest part of the city, and it is an island located on the Oder river. The first building from solid material was St. Martin’s chapel, that was built in the eleventh century.
The district of the Ostrów Tumski is a really important place of royal and religious significance, and there is located the most important catholic church which is The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Wrocław.
Important Historical Buildings
There is a building in the city known as the Centennial Hall, this building was declared in 2006 as UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is Poland’s official national Historic Monument. Nowadays, the hall continues to be in active use for sporting events and concerts.
The Centennial Hall is surrounded by beautiful parks and many gardens, and you can find nearby the famous Wrocław’s Zoo and a multimedia fountain which is illuminated at night during summer season.
The Magnificent Panorama Racławicka
In Wrocław there is one of the most important Polish paintings, which is the Panorama Racławicka that was created in 1894. This panorama picture stands in a circular fashion hall and it presents different scenes at various viewing angles.
This painting was conceived as a patriotic commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the victorious Battle of Racławicka, which was a heroic but ultimately failed attempt to defend Polish independence.
A City That Has Everything
With no doubt, Wrocław is one of the most beautiful and spectacular cities in Poland and I can say that is one of the top cities to visit in Europe. You will fall in love with the city while walking around the fairy tales streets and bridges. This is a unique place that you must visit at least once in your life!
A great article about Wroclaw! Happy that we discovered your blog, we love not only Wroclaw but also Mexico and Oaxaca in particular 😉 All the best from Ewa and Mirko from http://www.wroclawguide.com – check out our blog for more local hints from Wroclaw 🙂