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Coat of arms
Motto: Wrocław - Miasto spotkań / Wrocław - the meeting place
Wrocław is located in Poland
Coordinates: 51°6′28″N 17°2′18″E / 51.10778°N 17.03833°E / 51.10778; 17.03833
Country Poland
Voivodeship Lower Silesian
County city county
Established Tenth century
City rights 1262
 - Mayor Rafał Dutkiewicz
 - City 292.82 km2 (113.1 sq mi)
Elevation 111 m (364 ft)
Population (2009)
 - City 632,240
 Density 2,159.1/km2 (5,592.2/sq mi)
 Metro 1,038,000
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 50-041 to 54-612
Area code(s) +48 71
Car plates DW
Town square

Wrocław [ˈvrɔt​͡swaf] ( listen) (German: Breslau (Ltspkr.png listen)) is the chief city of the historical region of Silesia in south-western Poland, situated on the Oder (Polish: Odra) river. Over the centuries the city has been part of Poland, Bohemia, Austria, Prussia, and Germany. Wrocław is the capital of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship. According to official population figures for June 2009, its population is 632,240, making it the fourth largest city in Poland.



The city's name was first recorded in the year 1000 by Thietmar's Latin chronicle called Thietmari Merseburgensis episcopi Chronicon as Wrotizlawa. The first municipal seal stated Sigillum civitatis Wratislavie. A simplified name is given in 1175 as Wrezlaw, Prezla or Breslaw. The Czech spelling was used in Latin documents as Wratislavia or Vratislavia. At that time, Prezla was used in Middle High German, which became Preßlau. In the middle of the fourteenth century the Early New High German (and later New High German) form of the name Breslau began to replace its earlier versions.

The city is traditionally believed to be named after Wrocisław or Vratislav, often believed to be Duke Vratislaus I of Bohemia. It is also possible that the city was named after the tribal duke of the Silesians or after an early ruler of the city called Vratislav.

The city's name in various foreign languages include in English: Wroclaw or Breslau, Hungarian: Boroszló, Italian: Breslavia, Latin: Vratislavia or Wratislavia, Hebrew: ורוצלב (Vrotsláv), Yiddish: ברעסלוי / Brasloi, Czech: Vratislav, Slovak: Vratislav or Vroclav, Belarusian: Уроцлаў (Urocłaŭ), Greek: Βρότσλαβ (Vrotslav), Russian: Вроцлав (Vrotslav); also Бреславль (Breslavl), Serbian: Вроцлав or Vroclav and Ukrainian: Вроцлав (Vrotslav). Names of Wrocław in other languages are also available.


Wrocław Cathedral in the oldest District of Ostrów Tumski

The city of Wrocław originated in Lower Silesia as a Bohemian stronghold at the intersection of two trade routes, the Via Regia and the Amber Road. The city was first recorded in the tenth century as Vratislavia, possibly derived from the name of a Bohemian duke Vratislav I. Its initial extent was limited to district of Ostrów Tumski (the Cathedral Island, German: Dominsel).

Centennial Hall in Wrocław*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Hall
State Party  Poland
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iv
Reference 1165
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 2006  (30th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

Middle Ages

During Wrocław's early history, its control changed hands between Bohemia (until 992, then 1038-1054), the Kingdom of Poland (992-1038 and 1054–1202), and, after the fragmentation of the Kingdom of Poland, the Piast-ruled duchy of Silesia. One of the most important events in those times was the foundation of the Diocese of Wrocław by the Polish Duke (from 1025 king) Bolesław the Brave in 1000, which, together with the Bishoprics of Kraków and Kołobrzeg, was placed under the Archbishopric of Gniezno in Greater Poland, founded by Otto III in 1000. In the first half of the thirteenth century Wrocław even became the political center of the divided Polish kingdom.[1]

The city became a commercial center and expanded to Wyspa Piaskowa (Sand Island, German: Sandinsel), then to the left bank of the Oder River. Around 1000 the town had 1000 inhabitants.[2] By 1139 a settlement belonging to Governor Piotr Włostowic (a.k.a Piotr Włast Dunin) was built, and another was founded on the left bank of the Oder River, near the present seat of the university. While the city was Polish, there were also communities of Bohemians, Jews, Walloons[3] and Germans.[4]

The city was devastated in 1241 during the Mongol invasion of Europe. The inhabitants burned the city to force the Mongols to a quick withdrawal.

Afterwards the town was repopulated by Germans[5] (see: Ostsiedlung), who became the dominant ethnic group, though the city remained multi-ethnic as an important trading city on the Via Regia and Amber Road.[6] "Breslau", the Germanised name of the city, appeared for the first time in written records. The city council used Latin and German languages.[5]

After the Mongol invasion, Breslau was expanded by adopting German town law. The expanded town was around 60 hectares in size and the new Main Market Square (Rynek, English and German: Ring), which was covered with timber frame houses, became the new centre of the town. The original foundation, Ostrów Tumski, became the religious center. Breslau adopted Magdeburg rights in 1262 and, at the end of the thirteenth century joined the Hanseatic League. The Polish Piast dynasty[7] remained in control of the region, but the city council's right to govern independently increased.

Wrocław historic City Hall built in a typical fourteenth century Brick Gothic

In 1335, Breslau was incorporated with almost all of Silesia into the Kingdom of Bohemia, then a part of the Holy Roman Empire. Between 1342 and 1344, two fires destroyed large parts of the city.

Renaissance, Reformation and Counter-Reformation

The Protestant Reformation reached Breslau in 1518 and the city became Protestant. However from 1526 Silesia was ruled by the Catholic House of Habsburg. In 1618 Breslau supported the Bohemian Revolt in fear of losing the right to freedom of religious expression. In the following Thirty Years' War the city was occupied by Saxon and Swedish troops and lost 18,000 of 40,000 citizens to plague.

The Austrian emperor brought in the Counter-Reformation by encouraging Catholic orders to settle in Breslau, starting in 1610 with the Minorites, followed by Jesuits, Capucins, Franciscans, and finally Ursulines in 1687. These orders erected buildings which shaped the city's appearance until 1945. At the end of the Thirty Years' War, however, Breslau was one of only a few Silesian cities to stay Protestant.

During the Counter-Reformation, the intellectual life of the city – shaped by Protestantism and Humanism – flourished, even as the Protestant bourgeoisie lost its role to the Catholic orders as the patron of the arts. Breslau became the center of German Baroque literature and was home to the First and Second Silesian school of poets.

Town square and St. Elisabeth's Church

The Kingdom of Prussia annexed Breslau and most of Silesia during the War of the Austrian Succession in the 1740s. Habsburg empress Maria Theresa ceded the territory in 1763.

Napoleonic Wars

During the Napoleonic Wars, Breslau was occupied by an army of the Confederation of the Rhine. The fortifications of the city were leveled and monasteries and cloisters were secularised. The Protestant Viadrina university of Frankfurt (Oder) was relocated to Breslau in 1811, and united with the local Jesuit University to create the new Silesian Frederick-William University (Schlesische Friedrich-Wilhelm-Universität, now University of Wrocław). The city became the center of the German Liberation movement against Napoleon, and the gathering place for volunteers from all over Germany, with the Iron Cross military decoration founded by Frederick William III of Prussia in early March 1813. The city was the centre of Prussian mobilization for the campaign which ended at Leipzig.

Before and after World War I

Napoleonic redevelopments increased prosperity in Silesia and Breslau. The levelled fortifications opened space for the city to grow beyond its old limits. Breslau became an important railway hub and industrial centre, notably of linen and cotton manufacture and metal industry. The new university served as a major centre of sciences, while the secularisation of life laid the base for a rich museum landscape. Johannes Brahms wrote his Academic Festival Overture to thank the university for an honorary doctorate awarded in 1881.

The Unification of Germany in 1871 turned Breslau into the sixth-largest city in the German Empire. Its population more than tripled to over half a million between 1860 and 1910. The 1900 census listed 422,709 residents, among them 5,363 persons declaring to have competent knowledge in the Polish language only, and another 3,103 being also competent in Polish.[8] In religious respect there were 58% Protestants, 37% Catholics and 5% Jews (counting 20,536 in the 1905 census).[9] The 1905 census listed 470,904 residents, among them 6,020 persons declaring to have competent knowledge in the Polish language and 3,752 of other language affiliation - with the remaining residents speaking preferentially German. Important landmarks were inaugurated in 1910, the Kaiserbrücke (Kaiser bridge) and the Technische Hochschule (TH), which now houses the Wrocław University of Technology. In 1913 the newly-built Centennial Hall housed the "Ausstellung zur Jahrhundertfeier der Freiheitskriege", an exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of the historical German Wars of Liberation against Napoleon and the first award of the Iron Cross.

Following World War I, Breslau became the capital of the newly created Prussian Province of Lower Silesia in 1919. During the month of August 1920, at the time of Polish Silesian Uprising in Upper Silesia, the Polish consulate and school were demolished, while the Polish Library was burned down by a mob. The number of Poles in Breslau dropped from 2 percent before World War I to 0.5 percent after the reconstitution of Poland in 1918.[10] Antisemitic riots occurred in 1923.[11]

The city boundaries were expanded between 1925 and 1930 to include an area of 175 km2 (68 sq mi) with a population of 600.000. In 1929 the Werkbund opened WuWa (German: Wohnungs- und Werkraumausstellung) in Breslau-Scheitnig, an international showcase of modern architecture by architects of the Silesian branch of the Werkbund. In June 1930 Breslau hosted the Deutsche Kampfspiele, a sporting event for German athletes after Germany was excluded from the Olympic Games after World War I.

The city became one of the largest support bases of the Nazis, who in the 1932 elections received 43.5% of Breslau's votes, their third-largest total in the entire country.[12]

After Hitler's takeover of the German government in 1933, political enemies of the Nazis like Communists, Social Democrats, trade unionists, Jews, Poles and homosexuals were persecuted, and their institutions closed or destroyed,[13][14][15] (see: Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau). Many of the city's 10,000 Jews as well as many other political enemies of the Third Reich were sent to concentration camps; those Jews who remained were killed during the Holocaust.[15] A network of concentration camps and forced labour camps was established around Breslau, to serve industrial concerns, including FAMO, Junkers and Krupp. Tens of thousands were imprisoned there.[16]

The last big event organized by the Nazi Sports Body called Deutsches Turn-und-Sportfest (Gym and Sports Festivities) took place in Breslau from 26 to 31 July 1938. The Sportsfest was held in Breslau to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the German Wars of Liberation against Napoleon's invasion.[17]

World War II and afterwards

For most of World War II, the fighting did not affect Breslau. As the war lengthened, refugees from bombed-out German cities, and later refugees from farther east, swelled the population to nearly one million.[18] In February 1945 the Soviet Red Army approached the city. Gauleiter Karl Hanke declared the city a Festung (fortress) to be held at all costs. Hanke finally lifted a ban on the evacuation of women and children when it was almost too late. During his poorly organised evacuation in early March 1945, 18,000 people froze to death in icy snowstorms and −20 °C (−4 °F) weather. By the end of the Siege of Breslau, half the city had been destroyed. An estimated 40,000 civilians lay dead in the ruins of homes and factories. After a siege of nearly three months, "Fortress Breslau" surrendered on 7 May 1945, just before the end of the war.[19]

Along with almost all of Lower Silesia, Breslau nominally became part of Poland under the terms of the Potsdam Conference. Breslau was the largest city of the former eastern territories of Germany. Most remaining native German inhabitants fled or were forcibly expelled from Wrocław between 1945 and 1949. Most of them arrived in one of the Allied Occupation Zones in Germany. A considerable German presence remained until the late 1950s; the city's last German school closed in 1963. The population was dramatically increased by government resettlement of Poles during postwar population transfers (75%) as well as during the forced deportations from Polish lands annexed by the Soviet Union in the the east region.

Wrocław is now a unique European city of mixed heritage, with architecture influenced by Bohemian, Austrian, and Prussian traditions, such as Silesian Gothic and its Baroque style of court builders of Habsburg Austria (Fischer von Erlach). Wrocław has a number of notable buildings by German modernist architects including the famous Centennial Hall (Hala Stulecia or Jahrhunderthalle) (1911–1913) designed by Max Berg.

In July 1997, the city was heavily affected by a flood of the Oder River, the worst flooding in post-war Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Around one third of the city's area stood under water.[20] An earlier equally devastating flood of the river took place in 1903.[21]


Wrocław is one of the warmest cities in Poland. Lying in the Lower-Silesian region, one of the warmest in Poland, the mean annual temperature is 9.7 °C (49 °F). The coldest month is January (average temperature -0.5°C), and the warmest is July (average temperature 19.5°C). The longest season is summer, which lasts 114 days. The highest temperature in Wrocław was recorded on 31 August 1994 (+37.9°C), and the lowest was recorded on 8 January 1985 (-30.0°C).

Climate data for Wrocław
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 16.9
Average high °C (°F) 3.0
Daily mean °C (°F) -0.5
Average low °C (°F) -4.0
Record low °C (°F) -30.0
Precipitation mm (inches) 31
Sunshine hours 59 68 117 169 221 225 223 217 151 118 54 44 1,670
% Humidity 81 84 76 69 66 70 71 71 75 78 83 85 76
Avg. precipitation days 14 12 12 10 13 12 14 13 11 13 15 12 151
Source: [22] 9 January 2010


Post-modernist Arkady Complex opened in spring 2007, housing offices, cinemas, shopping malls and even a sharks' aquarium
Aula Leopoldina
Grunwaldzki bridge
Skating rink in Rynek (Market Square), December 2003

Wrocław is the capital city of Lower Silesian Voivodeship, a province (voivodeship) created in 1999. It was previously the seat of Wrocław Voivodeship. The city is a separate urban gmina and city county (powiat). It is also the seat of Wrocław County, which adjoins but does not include the city.

Wrocław is subdivided into five boroughs (dzielnicas):

Main sights


Wrocław is the third largest educational centre of Poland, with 135,000 students in 30 colleges which employ some 7,400 staff.[23]

List of ten state-owned (public) colleges and universities:


Wrocław's major industries were traditionally the manufacture of railroad cars and electronics. In recent years the City Council has run an active policy to attract foreign investors from the high-tech sector. This resulted among others in the location of LG Electronics production cluster in Kobierzyce near Wrocław. After 1989 Wrocław became a significant financial centre and houses the headquarters of several nationwide financial institutions such as Bank Zachodni WBK, Lukas Bank, Getin Bank, and Europejski Fundusz Leasingowy. As of the end of 2008 Wrocław enjoyed a very low unemployment level of just 3.2% compared with the national level of 8.7%.[28] In 2008 gross domestic product in Wrocław came to 27755 $ (in Poland 17625 $).


Wrocław has easy access to the A4 motorway, which allows for quick connection with Upper Silesia, Kraków and finally Ukraine to the east and Dresden and Berlin to the west. Now an A8 motorway (Wrocław ring road) and S8 express road are being built, which will connect Wrocław and Warsaw. The city is served by Wrocław International Airport and a river port. Public transport in Wrocław consists of many lines of buses and over 20 lines of trams, operated by [2] MPK (Miejskie Przedsiębiorstwo Komunikacyjne/The Municipal Transport Company). Today, a fast tram line is being built, which will connect the eastern part of city with a stadium and airport.


Like all of Poland, Wrocław's population is predominantly Roman Catholic; the city is the seat of an Archdiocese. However, post-war resettlements from Poland's ethnically and religiously more diverse former eastern territories (Polish: Kresy) and the eastern parts of post-1945 Poland (see Operation Wisła) account for a comparatively large portion of Greek Catholics and Orthodox Christians of mostly Ukrainian (see Ukrainian minority in Poland) and Lemko descent. Wrocław is also unique for its "Dzielnica Czterech Świątyń" (Borough of Four Temples)- a part of Stare Miasto where a Synagogue, Lutheran Church, Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church stand side by side.

Professional sports

The Wrocław area has many popular professional sports teams. The most popular sport today is football, thanks to Śląsk Wrocław. In the second place is basketball. The award-winning men's basketball team (former Polish champions, second-place in 2004). The group D matches of Eurobasket 2009 are scheduled to take place in Wrocław in September 2009. Some matches of the 2012 UEFA European Football Championships in Poland and Ukraine are scheduled to take place in Wrocław.

Men's sports

  • Śląsk Wrocław - (previous names:BASCO Śląsk Wrocław, ASCO Śląsk Wrocław, Bergson Śląsk Wrocław, Era Śląsk Wrocław, Deichmann Śląsk Wrocław, Idea Śląsk Wrocław, Zepter Idea Śląsk Wrocław, Zepter Śląsk Wrocław, Śląsk ESKA Wrocław, Śląsk Wrocław, CWKS Wrocław) men's basketball team, 17 times Polish Champion, 6 times runner-up, 14 times third place; 12 times Polish Cup winner. Now in Polish 2nd league (the league after PLK and Polish 1st League)
  • Śląsk Wrocław - men's football team (Polish Championship in Football 1977; Polish Cup winner 1976, 1987; Polish SuperCup winner 1987, Polish League Cup winner 2009) (Now in Ekstraklasa (Polish Premier League)- again since season 2008/2009)
  • Śląsk Wrocław - men's handball team (1st league in season 2008/2009)
  • Gwardia (volleyball) volleyball team playing in Polish Volleyball League (Polska Liga Siatkówki, PLS: Seria A in 2006/2007, Seria B in 2008/2009 season).
  • [3]The CREW - American Football Club - Champion of Polish American Football League 2007, First polish team played in Europen Competitions EFAF Cup in 2008.
  • [4]Devils Wrocław American Football - American Football Club, played in EFAF Challenge Cup in 2009, one of the top teams in Polish American Football League
  • Atlas Wrocław - motorcycle speedway team; multi medalist in the Polish Speedway League (last time Polish Speedway Champion in 2006 season). Current team includes Jason Crump (current World Champion).

Women's sports

Major corporations

  • Whirlpool Polar
  • Volvo Polska sp. z o.o., Wrocław
  • WABCO Polska, Wrocław
  • Siemens, Wrocław
  • Nokia Siemens Networks Sp z o.o
  • Hewlett Packard, Wrocław
  • Google, Wrocław
  • Grupa Lukas, Wrocław
  • AB SA, Wrocław
  • Polifarb Cieszyn-Wrocław SA, Wrocław
  • KOGENERACJA S.A., Wrocław
  • Impel SA, Wrocław
  • Europejski Fundusz Leasingowy SA, Wrocław
  • Telefonia Dialog SA, Wrocław
  • Tieto, Wrocław
  • Wrozamet SA, Wrocław
  • American Restaurants sp. z o.o., Wrocław
  • Hutmen SA, Wrocław
  • Fortum Wrocław S.A., Wrocław
  • SAP Polska
  • Hologram Industries Polska
  • Zender sp. z o.o., Wrocław
  • Swiftway / Eureka Solutions sp. z o.o., Wrocław
  • MSI (Micro Star International) Polska Sp. z o. o.
  • Cargill Poland
  • DeLaval Operations Poland Sp. z o. o.
  • UPM Raflatac
  • Kinnarps Poland Sp z.o.o

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Wrocław is twinned with:[29]


Famous people

See also



English language

Polish language

  • Harasimowicz, Jan; Włodzimierz Suleja (eds.) (2001). Encyklopedia Wrocławia. Wrocław: Wydawnictwo Dolnośląskie. ISBN 83-7384-561-5. 
  • Kulak, Teresa (2006). Wrocław. Przewodnik historyczny (A to Polska właśnie). Wrocław: Wydawnictwo Dolnośląskie. ISBN 8373844724. 

German language

  • Scheuermann, Gerhard (1994). Das Breslau-Lexikon (2 vols.). Dülmen: Laumann Verlagsgesellschaft. ISBN 978-3899601329. 
  • van Rahden, Till (2000). Juden und andere Breslauer: Die Beziehungen zwischen Juden, Protestanten und Katholiken in einer deutschen Großstadt von 1860 bis 1925. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. ISBN 3-525-35732-X. 
  • Thum, Gregor (2002). Die fremde Stadt Brelau 1945. Berlin: Siedler. ISBN ISBN 3-88680-795-9. 
  • Weczerka, Hugo (2003). Handbuch der historischen Stätten: Schlesien. Stuttgart: Alfred Kröner Verlag. ISBN 3-520-31602-1. 


  1. ^ (Polish) Benedykt Zientara (1997). Henryk Brodaty i jego czasy. Warsaw: Trio. pp. 317–320. ISBN 8385660461. 
  2. ^ Weczerka, p. 39
  3. ^ Norman Davies "Mikrokosmos" page 110-115
  4. ^ Weczerka, p. 41
  5. ^ a b Thum, p. 316
  6. ^ Norman Davies "Mikrokosmos" page 110
  7. ^ Piotr Górecki, "A local society in transition: the Henryków book and related documents", PIMS, 2007, pgs. 27 and 62, [1]
  8. ^ Cf. Meyers Großes Konversationslexikon: 20 vols., 6th ed., Leipzig and Vienna: Bibliographisches Institut, 1903-1908, vol. 3: Bismarck-Archipel bis Chemnitz (1903), article: Breslau (Stadt), pp. 394-399, here p. 396. No ISBN
  9. ^ Cf. Meyers Großes Konversationslexikon: 20 vols., 6th ed., Leipzig and Vienna: Bibliographisches Institut, 1903-1908, vol. 3: Bismarck-Archipel bis Chemnitz (1903), article: Breslau (Stadt), pp. 394-399, here p. 396. No ISBN
  10. ^ Harasimowicz, p. 466f
  11. ^ Davies, Moorhouse, p. 396; van Rahden, Juden, p. 323-26
  12. ^ Norman Davies, Mikrokosmos, page 369
  13. ^ Davies, Moorhouse, p. 395
  14. ^ Kulak, p. 252
  15. ^ a b name="Microcosm_395"
  16. ^ Roger Moorhouse: see article "Concentration Camps in and around Breslau 1940-1945"
  17. ^ Breslau bonczek sportfest
  18. ^ History of Wrocław
  19. ^ Festung Breslau (Breslau Fortress) siege by the Soviet Army - photo gallery
  20. ^ 1997 great flood of Oder River - photo gallery
  21. ^ 1903 great flood of the Oder river - photo gallery
  22. ^ "Główny Urząd Statystyczny". 
  23. ^ Fitch Rating Report on Wrocław dated July 2008, p.3
  24. ^ "Ranking Szkół Wyższych tygodnika WPROST". Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  25. ^ "Ranking Szkół Wyższych tygodnika WPROST". Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  26. ^ "Ranking Szkół Wyższych tygodnika WPROST". Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  27. ^ "Ranking Szkół Wyższych tygodnika WPROST". Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  28. ^ Fitch Rating Report for Wrocław dated September 2008, p.3
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Wrocław Official Website - Partnership Cities of Wrocław" (in English, German, French and Polish). Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  30. ^ "Dresden - Partner Cities". © 2008 Landeshauptstadt Dresden. Retrieved 2008-12-29. 
  31. ^ "Ramat Gan Sister Cities". Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  32. ^ "Sister cities of İzmir (1/7)" (in Turkish). Retrieved 2008-07-16. 

External links

Coordinates: 51°07′N 17°02′E / 51.117°N 17.033°E / 51.117; 17.033

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Wrocław (Polish: Wrocław , pronounced Vrots-waf; also known as Breslau, its German name, and English name until 1945) is the largest city in the Dolnośląskie (Lower Silesian) Voivodeship in Poland.

Wroclaw Cathedral
Wroclaw Cathedral

Wroclaw in Polish, (formerly known as Breslau in German), is a large undiscovered gem of a city in southwestern Poland in the historic region of Silesia. It boasts fascinating architecture, many rivers and bridges, and a lively and metropolitan cultural scene. It is a city with a troubled past, having seen much violence and devastation. Prior to the Second World War, Breslau was the capital of the German province of Lower Silesia. It became Polish territory when, after the War, the Soviets moved the German/Polish border westward to the Oder/Neisse Line. It was almost completely destroyed during the end of the War as the Red Army fought its way into Germany, being declared a "Fortress City" by Hitler. However, it has been wonderfully restored and can now be counted amongst the highlights of Poland and of all Central Europe. As Poland rushes headlong into further integration with the rest of Europe, now is the time to visit before the tourist hordes (and high prices) arrive. Right now, most tourists are Polish and German. There are also many Japanese and Korean businessmen and their families living there now.

Get in

By plane

Wroclaw is served by an international airport [1]. LOT [2] flies here from Warsaw (8 times a day except Sundays when there are only 6 flights), and together with Lufthansa to Frankfurt Main and Munich. Cimber Sterling [3] flies here from Copenhagen and Wizzair [4] from Cork [begins 21 March], Doncaster/Sheffield [begins 19 March], Dortmund [begins 17 December], Eindhoven [begins 19 March], Forli [begins 19 March], London Luton, Milan Orio al Serio [begins 20 March], Oslo Torp [begins 17 December], Paris Beauvais [begins 18 December]. Ryanair [5] flies from London Stansted, Liverpool, Glasgow Prestwick, Bristol, East Midlands, Frankfurt Hahn, Düsseldorf Weeze, Barcelona Girona, Alicante, Dublin, Shannon, Stockholm Skavsta. Norwegian [6] flies to Oslo twice a week.

From the airport, bus 406 operates from the terminal building to central Wrocław between 5am and 11pm (schedule: [7]). There is also a night bus 249 (schedule: [8]). Single-ride tickets from Wroclaw Airport to the city center cost 2.40 PLN (or 1.20 PLN for students or ISIC/EURO 26 Holder). Recently a new bus service started by ARIWA, which offers a connection to the train station (schedule: [9]), it's slightly more expensive then the regular bus services (3.50 PLN).

By train

Wroclaw is a major hub in the Polish rail network, with several trains a day to all large Polish cities (route planner [10]). There are about 10 daily departures to Warsaw (travel time varies from 5h by a InterCity train, up to almost 7h with a pospieszny (fast) train) as well as quite a lot of trains to Poznań (from there you can go to Warsaw or Berlin). Several trains a day go to Kraków. There are also international trains to Hamburg (via Berlin), Prague, Dresden, Kiev (via Lviv) and Budapest.

By bus

Wroclaw is a stop on the Eurolines [11] international coach network. All international and national buses stop at the PKS Centrum station which is located directly behind the main train station. The actual timetable can be found on [12] (click "Odjazdy autobusów z Dworca Centralnego PKS"). Once a day (except monday and tuesday) a fast bus is running between Wrocław and Kraków [13]. The bus is leaving at 8.50 PM and arrive in Kraków around 11.50 PM. Tickets cost 39.00 PLN and can be bought on board).

Get around

The centre of Wroclaw is navigable on foot, but the city has an excellent public-transport system for access to the suburbs and outlying attractions, with 60 bus lines and 25 tram lines. During the past year large areas of the surrounding area of Wroclaw have been closed for extensive road works. As such there are many diversions, and journey times in and out of the city have increased especially at peak times and a few tram lines have been diverted or removed from service temporarily.

By bus or tram


To use the system, you must buy a ticket before you board from a ticket machine or any shop with a sign saying "Ruch" or "Bilety". Tickets can also be bought in most newspaper stores.

Ticket prices:

One ride ticket: Normal 2.40zł/1.20zł, students (with ISIC identification) pay half. Express or night bus - 2.80zł. You must validate your ticket on board, or face a 120zł fine if caught by an inspector (100zł if paid within 7 days). Tickets are not time-based or route-based — you must pay each time you enter a different vehicle.

One day ticket (jednodniowy), valid for all lines: 8zł/4zł (urban), 10zł/5zł (suburban).

Period tickets:

7-day in city borders: 26.00/13.00 (only normal lines), 30.00/15.00 (also express)

30-day in city borders: 80.00/40.00 (normal), 98.00/49.00 (also express)

If you travel with large bags (such as backpacks) you must buy a 1.20zł ticket for the bag. Owner of a period-ticket can travel with one child (up to 13 years old) for free on Sat. Sun. and holidays.

It's also possible to obtain a 30-day non-transferable ticket which is a bit cheaper. All prices are listed here (PL): [14]

Route numbers

  • 0-24 — trams
  • 70-79 — temporary trams
  • A,C,D,E,K,N — express lines (ticket costs 2,80zł)
  • 100-149 — normal buses
  • 3xx — normal buses, peak hours only
  • 4xx — accelerated buses
  • 6xx — suburban buses (if outside town, ticket costs 2,60zł)
  • 7xx — temporary buses
  • 240-259 — night buses (ticket costs 2,80zł)
  • List of Taxi companies [15].
  • The Rynek, or central square, is the architectural centre-point of Wroclaw, and its most obvious attraction. It is one of the biggest town squares in Europe, and is lined on all sides with photogenic and interesting buildings. Centre of tourist life, place where tourists drink beer.
Wroclaw Town Hall
Wroclaw Town Hall
  • Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, ul. Katedralna, open 10am-6pm (closed Sundays), admission 4zł, tower admission 5zł. Dating from the 13th century, featuring stunning architecture and the largest church organ in Poland. Has elevator to the top, so this is the one to go to if you can't climb. Good river views from this one.
  • Racławice Panorama, ul. Purkyniego 11, open 9:30am-5pm (Tuesday-Sunday), admission 20 zł. Perhaps the most-visited tourist site in Wrocław, it consists of a large canvas painting wrapped around a viewing rotunda. It creates a 360 degree view of the Battle of Racławice (1794) between Russian troops and Polish insurrectionists. The battle was a victory for the Poles, however the Russians ultimately won the war. Visits are conducted in tour groups roughly every half-hour and foreign-language audio guides are available.
  • Town Hall, ul. Sukiennice 14, south side of the Rynek, open 11am-5pm (closed Monday), admission 4zł. Construction of the town hall began in the 14th century. It was one of the few major buildings in Wroclaw to survive World War 2, and it now serves as the Museum of Burgher Art. The interior features stunning Gothic interiors.
  • Ostrow Tumski, a group of islands on the Oder River with beautiful Cathedrals and a few hundred year old buildings, for those who would have romantic evening, walking through mystery brick stoned streets it is a MUST. It is complete with hand-lit oil lamps lit nightly
  • St. Elizabeth's Church, ul. Elzbiety 1, open 9am-4pm (1pm-4pm Sundays), tower admission (no lift) 5zł. On the northeast side of the Rynek, this is a large and imposing medieval building with a 90m high tower with spectacular views over the old town.
  • National Museum, pl. Powstancow, open 10am-4pm (closed Monday), admission 15zł. Features a large collection of Polish art.
  • Opera House, ul. Swidnicka
Wroclaw Japanese Garden
Wroclaw Japanese Garden
  • Park Szczytnicki, East-central Wrocław. Very large, spanning over a few kilometers, it's a common place for walks. Becomes incredibly colorful in autumn and should not be missed if you travel there in late September or October.
  • Japanese Garden, a part of Park Szczytnicki, open 9am-7pm April - October, admission 2zł. A remainder from the 'World Expo' of 1913 held in Wroclaw, this is a large landscaped garden restored post-flooding with the assistance of the Japanese government. Beautiful and well worth a visit. [16]
  • Salt Square pl. Solny, formerly salt market, now flower market,
  • Eastern Park (pl: Park Wschodni) on the bank of Oława river is a masterpiece of design, but left forgotten for decades. After few years of restoration it's now a true gem especially worth visiting in April when wetland flowers are blooming or autumn when vegetation turns into picturesque blend of reds, yellows and gold. As it borders semi-wild forests and has plenty of water, you may even watch swans taking care of their nests just few meters from the walking path.
Wroclaw Botanical Garden
Wroclaw Botanical Garden
  • Synagogue "Under the White Stork", 19th century synagogue

Interesting structures in Wroclaw

  • Wroclaw Aiguille - a distinctive object placed close to the Breslau Dome.
  • St. Maria Magdalena The big church a block south of the Rynek, you can also climb this tower for 5zł. Between the two towers, there is a small bridge known as the Penances Bridge, where you can walk out and terrify yourself. Views are great, but if you can only do one, St Elizabeth is probably the one to do. However, the bridge makes a good story to tell people at home.


Go to the rope park on Opatowicka island, Opatowicka Wyspa Przygody.


Just of the square opposite a bar called Error, there is an alleyway leading to a cobbled street and a short way along, down a side street to the left is a restaurant called Mercado. Boasting a selection of cuisines including Egyptian, Greek and Italian, amongst others. The dimly lit, rustic interior offers a warm and comfortable atmosphere, with a selection of beverages from the bar to finish of an evening.


Pierożek, Marszałka Józefa Piłsudskiego 20 (next to the Casino, close to the Scandic Hotel) - according to many Wroclavians, the best pierogi in Wrocław, priced at about 10 zl for a small portion (you may need to order two if you're hungry). Try pierogi ruskie (with potatoes and cottage cheese) with kefir [17] and barszcz (borscht [18]) and "nalesniki" (pancakes) to experience what real Polish pierogi ought to taste like. The place is small and basic, you may need to wait for a seat, but the food is top-notch.

Watch out! The "bars" listed below are in fact self-service canteens, offering inexpensive and traditional Polish meals. They are a gastronomic and cultural experience. See Bar Mleczny [19] - literally translating, "Milk Bar". They should be open even at National Holidays. Expect short queues.

Bar Miś, 48 Kuźnicza Street, 700 ft. north of Rynek (Market Place or central square). M-F 7-18 and Sa 8-17. Offers an ample and diversified menu, including meat-based dishes. Students, staff and professors of the University of Wroclaw usually eat there, together with homeless people, elderly and pensioners. After entering go to the cash desk (at the left corner) and order your meal (Polish only). Turn right, go to the food counter and handle your receipt to the person serving the meals. Mains 1.50-4.50 zl.

Bar Bazylia, Kuźnicza Street / corner of Universytecki Square, 300 ft. after bar "Miś", inside the building of University's Law Department. Very clean and fast service. Offers a more stylish ambient. Mains 3-9 zl.

Bar Mewa, Dubois Ttreet, 7 minutes walk north from Rynek through University Main Building and Pomorski Bridge. M-F 8-18, Sa & Su 9-16. The cheapest. Offers some dishes only at specific hours: pirogi - 13:00, pancakes - 14:00, pirogi with cabbage - 15:00, potato pancakes - 16:00. You pay directly at the food delivery counter (Polish only).


Abrams' Tower - Resto Bar and Wine Shop (also formerly known as Baszta and La luz), 14 Krainskiego Street. Both the first wine bar and multi-ethnic kitchen in Wroclaw, with delicious dishes influenced mainly by Mexican but on special occasions also Thai, Indian, Spanish, Middle Eastern, Italian and other cultural traditions, relying on authentic preparation and ingredients. Their Mexican food is on the level of high caliber Tex-Mex cuisine, including fresh cilantro (coriander), imported corn tortillas, jalapenos and chipotles. Yet prices are amazingly reasonable. They also serve a wonderful selection of quality wines. Situated inside a 13th century tower, it's a bit hidden in a courtyard behind old buildings made in the socialist times but a rare jewel worth the effort to find, an alternative to the crowded city's market square. The first floor has a decor of illuminated wine bottles and ethnic music is also played from Caribbean to gypsy to acid jazz and Latin rhythms. Lounge sofa seating with big fluffy pillows lining the walls, antique furniture and candles everywhere, lends a very comfortable homey atmosphere. Food is served until late evening and while cigarettes are not allowed, shisha is available on the bar floor.

Amalfi, Wiezienna Street. The only place in southwestern Poland serving authentic thin-slice Italian pizza from a proper, scorching-hot wood oven. Tastes just like in Rome. About 15 zl for a pizza for one person. Italian owners.

Oregano, Igielna Street. Inexpensive restaurant with pizza and a variety of other dishes.

Piramida, Wita Stwosza Street. Egyptian restaurant. Kitschy interior and big portions.

Gruzińskie Chaczapuri, Mikolaja Street (nearly adjacent to Market Square), a budding franchise originating from Krakow, serves Georgian food (khachapuri [20]). Try "lawasz z adżapsandałem" (dough filled with a tasty mix of tomatoes, bell peppers, aubergines, garlic and goat cheese) for about 15 zl.

Mexico Bar, Rzeznicza Street. A favorite of many Wroclavians. As long as you are willing to eat a somewhat modified version of Mexican cuisine, you should enjoy the large, rich portions at Mexico Bar. You might want to order the "hot" ('na ostro') version of your dish, as the regular dishes are surprisingly mild. This is a small, popular place, so you may have to wait for your seat at the bar.


Radisson Hotel. Next to Panorama Raclawicka.

Pod papugami. At Rynek, next to Spiż Cellar (see above). Offers good meals and a good selection of salads.

  • Novocaina, Rynek 13, +48 (71) 3436915, [21]. Organic-based pizza and pasta dishes. Reservations are necessary, but can be made a day in advance through their website.  edit


There's quite a significant number of different clubs and pubs in Wroclaw. Most of them are located in the centre of the old town, many good ones however, are situated a few crossings from the Town Square, not within its very borders. The Town Square mostly contains some not very specific, quite expensive restaurants, although it is definitely needed to mention the Spiz Cellar, an interesting mini-brewery with a few tasty kinds of locally made beer and a unique interior design. There are also two disco's quite popular among fans of house/techno music - Daytona and Zwiazki. However, pub-wanderers, who want to meet interesting people and/or get involved in some discussions will probably enjoy places situated in some less obvious locations then the very Town Square. Good examples of such places are:

Pracoffnia, 6 Wiezienna st - 1 or 2 crossings north from the central square in Wiezienna street - a pub located in an old medieval prison, consisting of a basement room, overground room and also a small atmospheric yard during warm days. The dominant kind of music is jazz in it's many forms. The interior design is very unique. It consists of many old architectural tools, books and drawings, as well as some old furniture. There seem to be quite many foreign tourists among the visitors of the place although it is quite difficult to find.

Mleczarnia (pronounced 'Mletcharnya'), 5 Wlodkowica st - a bit further from the Town Square but still not too far, nearby the main courthouse in a quiet street - quite a large pub occupying the basement and ground level of an old fin-de-siecle building. It has a unique dark, cozy, wooden interiors and a specific atmosphere. Music played is quite specific and varies - among the styles played are: Jewish music, jazz, progressive rock, film music and others. There are often some cultural events, like discussion clubs or film projections taking place in the basement.

Rura jazz club, 4 Lazienna st - a must for a jazz enthusiast or someone who wants to get some jazz experience. Probably the oldest jazz club in Poland. Concerts and jam sessions are held there almost every day. It has been visited by many performers famous in the jazz community. It is also a good place to have a beer and meet some people.

There are also clubs dedicated especially to rock music fans, in Wroclaw. Most popular are:

Od zmierzchu do switu music club, 15 Krupnicza st - located opposite to the main courthouse in a basement. You can regularly hear live music there. On Wednesdays there are concerts of young rock bands, on Thursdays there are jam sessions featuring a bunch of resident performers. Their level varies from great to moderate. On Fridays and Saturdays there are rock parties with a DJ.

There's also a plenty of other clubs and pubs in Wroclaw. It's a great adventure to explore them because most have their own specific style and atmosphere.

  • Spiż [22] Cellar - see how to brew beer and how delicious it tastes
  • Beer gardens on the main square in the summer
  • Świdnicka cellar - oldest restaurant in Europe.Some people say "If you haven't been to Świdnicka cellar, you haven't been to Wrocław".

The most popular bars and night clubs are situated in the old town, main square:

  • Thursdays: students night, usually free entry, not as crowded as Friday and Saturday


  • Beer 0,5 L: 4-7 PLN in bars, 2-4 PLN in shops
  • Wine glass: 7-12 PLN
  • Vodka shot: 4-7 PLN
  • HiWay Hostel [23]. Price form: 35 zl (8 bedded dorm). Apparently the smallest hostel in Wroclaw. Comfortable facilities, WiFi, Internet, free breakfast, laundry, friendly staff. Only few minutes walk from Ostrow Tumski and Panorama Raclawicka. About 15 minutes from the Main Square.
  • Hostel Babel, [24]. Located within a stone's throw of the old city, just around the corner from the train station. Sheets, lockers and Internet are provided. There is a media lounge where you can watch DVD movies and play video games. Formerly called The Stranger Hostel. Dorm bed from 40 zl.  edit
  • International Youth Hostel
  • [27] - an Internet portal that hosts a collection of offers from Polish hostels. Offer for Wroclaw (summer hostel): "One of the most affordable places to stay in Wroclaw. The hostel offers 1, 2, and 3-person rooms. The building is located on a quiet street right near the city centre. A 20 minute walk will get you to the Main Square, passing through Cathedral Island (Ostrów Tumski) or beside the Racławicka Panorama. The train station is a 15 minute tram ride away. A 20-minute walk in the opposite direction takes you to the Wroclaw Zoo. The price includes: Internet access, tourist information, a common room, baggage storage space. Attractive discounts to organised groups."
  • Universitas Guest Rooms [28]- Located next to Politechnika - University of Technology, Plac Grunwaldzki, Hala Stulecia, ZOO. There are 5 rooms for guests: 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-bedded. Very competitive prices.
  • Qubus Hotel Wrocław [29]- Four-star hotel located in the heart of the city, in direct vicinity of a beautiful Market Square. There is also fitness centre with body-building gym, sauna, jacuzzi and swimming pool.
  • Hotel System [30] is one of the newest hotels in Wroclaw, conveniently situated close to the city centre but at the same time not far from major roads, (E67 8 Wroclaw - Warsaw, and E261 5 Wroclaw - Poznan).
  • Hotel Monopol [31] has been closed. It was a hidden gem located in the very centre of the city with very affordable prices. Room prices are generally around 150zl for a single room and 200zl for a double room. The hotel is located next door to the recently restored opera house.
  • Scandic Wrocław [32] is the first hotel in Poland managed by the most popular scandinavian hotel chain, ideally situated in the very centre of Wrocław, close to the Old Town and to Railway Station, easy accesible from the A4 highway.
  • Art Hotel [33] is the best hotel in Wrocław in 2005 according to the "Forbes".


Wroclaw, like most of Poland, is a very safe city but you should exercise the usual caution and keep guard of your valuables especially around crowded places or places popular with tourists like the main train station or the town square (Rynek).

Because international tourism has not quite hit Wroclaw yet, English is not as universally spoken as in the tourist areas of Krakow. You'll still be able to get around and pantomime, or find someone who speaks English, but is easiest to know at least a few Polish phrases.

  • Swidnica - interesting old town, UNESCO Heritage Peace Church
  • Bolesławiec - some 100 km (60 mi) away, the place to shop for porcelain, with a nearby Kliczków Castle [34] converted to a hotel
  • Jawor - UNESCO Heritage Peace Church
Routes through Wrocław
Forst ← Border PL/DLegnica  W noframe E  OpoleKatowice
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also Wroclaw




  •  audiohelp, file
  • IPA: [ˈvrɔt͡s̪waf]

Proper noun

Wrocław m.

  1. A city in Poland


Singular only
Nominative Wrocław
Genitive Wrocławia
Dative Wrocławiowi
Accusative Wrocław
Instrumental Wrocławiem
Locative Wrocławiu
Vocative Wrocławiu

Derived terms

  • wrocławianin m., wrocławianka f.
  • adjective: wrocławski

Simple English

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