Wrocław: If you have more time...

Many of the monuments in Wrocław might be identified as the icons of the city. However, the list of interesting places is very long. If you have more time on your hands, we strongly recommend you spend it in Wrocław.

District Court

District Court

This stylish red-brick building with some interesting details of sandstone and yellow brick was designed as a Neo-Gothic fortress and was a part of former Exercises Square (Wolności Square at present). It was originally to be a prison according to the plans of 1835, however it was decided to use it a as court. The building was erected between 1845 and 1852, then it was enlarged twice. At present the complex consists of two parts linked with each other: the 3-wing building of the court, placed between the streets of Sądowa, Podwale and Muzealna, and the prison built on a Greek cross plan. After World War II the building remained unchanged. In 1945 the first Magistrate Court in Wroclaw was open, then District Court. The first trial took place there on 28 June 1945 and the first Polish court sentence was announced then. Currently there are 11 adjudication departments, 6 branches of court administration, Press Spokesman's Office, National Penal Register information point, Internal Audit, Centre of Land Register Migration, District Pedagogical Supervisory Body, District Chief Education Officer and Family Consultative and Diagnostic Centre.

Sepulchral Art Museum

Sepulchral Art Museum

This branch of Wroclaw Municipal Museum is not the typical exhibition area one might expect, but an old Jewish cemetery which is the city's only end of 19th and beginning of 20th century necropolis preserved until today. The first burial took place there in 1856 and the last one in 1942. During that time the cemetery was enlarged 3 times to the size of today's 5ha where about 12,000 can be found. Original and unique grave sculptures can be admired there as well as petite architecture blending with well-kept greenery. You can see the changes in sepulchral design over decades. Besides traditional mitzvahs some monumental family tombs can be found there whose frequently daring forms reflect contemporary fashion and architectural influences ranging from antiquity through the middle ages to Art Deco and Modernism. Numerous eminent persons are buried there e.g. Ferdinand Lassalle (1825-1864) - founder of German's first working class party; Heinrich Graetz (1817-1891) - founder of the famous historical school; Ferdinand Cohn (1828-1898) - biochemist of worldwide renown; Herman Cohn (1836-1906) - eminent oculist; Leopold Auerbach (1828-1897) - biologist of worldwide renown: Friderike Kempner (1828 - 1904) - famous Silesian writer; Auguste and Siegfried Stein - Edith Stein's parents (St. Theresa Benedicta of The Cross; HenrykToeplitz (1822 -1891) - artists' patron, among them Stanisław Moniuszki; Jakob Rosanes (1842 1922) - mathematician and chess master; Clara Sachs (1862-1921) - Impressionist painter; Gedalje Tiktin (1810-1886) - Wroclaw's orthodox rabbi; Marcus Brann (1849-1920) - historian, specialist of Jewish History in Silesia; Max Kayser (1853-1888) - Social Democrat, Reichstag member. The cemetery was declared a historical monument in 1975 and it was turned into epulchral museum in 1988.

Water Tower

Water Tower

This 62m tall tower in the Borek district, designed by Karla Klimma, was built from clinker brick between 1903-904. It still impresses with its refined architecture, its ornaments and reliefs of Eclectic, Art Deco, Neo-Romanesque and Neo-Gothic styles. Originally the first two storeys were intended for technical service apartments, at present however it serves as functional space as well as the attic above. The top octagonal part, leaning on nine pillars, covered with a tented roof, used to be a water tank. It is crowned with an Art Deco dome. In the middle pillar, which used to contain waterworks, there is one lift and in the side turret there is another one, along with the staircase. Soon after the tower was opened in 1906, it started to be visited as the visitors enjoyed the observation deck at a height of 42m. It has a splendid view of the city. When the weather is good, even Ślęża River (30km away) and Karkonosze Mountains (100km away) can be seen. This is why it was a perfect observation deck for the Germans during the Wroclaw Siege by the Red Army in 1945. From here was where firing was supervised. After the war it gradually fell into disrepair even though it was part of the city's waterworks until the mid-1980s. It was declared a historical monument in 1978. It was thoroughly renovated by Stephan Elektronik Investment which purchased the tower at the end of the 1990s. After the renovation it became a restaurant complex of "Water Tower" ("Wieża Ciśnień").

Post-Bernardine Complex and Museum of Architecture

Post-Bernardine Complex and Museum of Architecture

It is Poland's only Museum of Architecture. It is devoted to all kinds of construction and is located in an admirable place, post-Bernardine complex. It is one of very few buildings of such type preserved in Silesia, being one of Wroclaw's most precious monuments. The complex consists of St. Bernardine of Siena's Church and a square plan convent with a cloister which is a really worth seeing and attracts visitors with its unique beauty. The convent was started as a result of St. John of Capestrano activity, a co-founder of Bernardine Order who was named a general inquisitor against corruption and heresy by Pope Nicolas V. In 1450 he started his 6-year mission journey during which he taught and founded new Bernardine convents. He arrived in Wroclaw in 1453 and having received the land he began erecting a convent. The first church was wooden. In 1517 the brick church and convent were completed. However, Bernardines were forced to leave Wroclaw in 1522 due to the conflict with Franciscan sisters of St. James' Convent and with the City Council of Wroclaw. The convent was turned into a hospital and the church was given to Lutherans who used it until 1945. The museum was started in 1965 and it is involved in collecting, restoration and research of any material concerning architecture. It organizes exhibitions. In its collection it possesses projects, graphics, paintings, drawings, architectural crafts and design. It also organizes museum lessons on topics connected with architecture.

Monument of Katyń Crime

Monument of Katyń Crime

The monument was designed by Warsaw sculptor and medallist Tadeusz Tchórzewski. It consists of two oblong blocks of granite, symbolizing mass graves of Polish officers and policemen executed by NKVD (Soviet Secret Services) in 1940. On the top pedestal there is a winged Angel of Death, in front of him between symbolical graves, there is Pieta of Katyń, personified Homeland Mother mourning the body of an executed war prisoner. On the granite walls of the graves there are names of Polish war prisoners' camps: Kozielsk, Ostaszków, Starobielsk and the places of mass murders of Katyń, Miednoje, Charków. The monument was ceremonially unveiled on 22 October 2000.

Tołpa's Park

Tołpa's Park

Actually, it is Stanisław Tołpa's Nowowiejski Park who was a famous botanist of the Agriculture Academy of Wroclaw. It is a 9ha area between the streets of Nowowiejska, Prusa and Edyty Stein. It was started between 1905 and 1907 but it is typical for 19th century city parks. It is marked by its free arrangement of paths, around the central elements such as a pond or a hill. It is an open space park with no fence surrounding it which makes it more than just a recreation area. It plays quite an important communication role as well. Wyszyński Street runs across the park, though it did not exist when the park was created. Still, the most important thing there is the green area. There are no architectural features, except for a playground and benches.

Feature Films Studio

Feature Films Studio

It is situated near Centennial Hall and Szczytnicki Park, in the building which is a part of Four Domes Pavilion. It has been there since it was started in 1954. Originally it had two filming studios, the bigger one of 1000m2 was put to use in 1975. There are also two sound studios, a montage studio and the construction of decoration department. In Wroclaw numerous feature films, cartoons and documentaries have been made. In Communist Poland young directors liked to make their films there because of bigger artistic liberty than in other Polish studios. It is where AndrzejWajda debuted, filming "Pokolenie" ("Generation") with Tadeusz Łomnicki, Tadeusz Janczar and Roman Polański. "Nóż w wodzie" ("Knife In The Water") by Roman Polański was also made in WFF. Altogether almost 500 feature films have been made there, among them there are such films as "Popiółidiament" ("Ashes And Diamond"), "Rękopis znaleziony w Saragossie" ("Manuscript Found In Zaragoza"), "Jak być kochaną" ("How To Be Loved"), "Lalka" ("Doll"), "Sami swoi" ("Our Folks"), "Nie ma mocnych" ("No Can Do"), "Kochajalborzuć" ("Love or Ditch"), "Wielki Szu" ("Great Shu"). After the transformation of the political system WFF has mainly rented studios, organized music concerts and film production of international partners. Recently it has co-operated with the outstanding film director Zbigniew Rybczyński and his company ZBIG VISION. With the support of the Ministry of Culture And National Heritage, and the Polish Film Institute the project of Wroclaw Visual Technology Studios is being developed. WFF's new image should be revealed in 2012.

Oławska Gate

Oławska Gate

It does not exist anymore. In 1807 Wroclaw fortifications were demolished at Napoleon's command. Oławska Gate was the first one to be pulled down which proved its importance. It was a large fortified building in the eastern part of the walls, on the internal line of fortification. It was built in the middle of the 13th century. In fact, there were two gates: the inner one consisted of a square plan tower and the front yard. It was demolished earlier, in 1792; the outer one from the 15th century resembled the inner one but it was later rebuilt, the front yard was enlarged, a new tower was added and a barbican was built at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries which later was replaced by a bastion.During further alteration the gate tower got a semicircular shape with cannon posts on the top and a ravelin. But sadlt it was all demolished. The relics of the forgotten Oławska Gate were discovered during the construction of WZ Street (East-West Street) and underpasses on Dominikański Square between 1977 and 1978. Fragments of the foundation were found, however they were destroyed in major part during the construction works. What has survived, can be seen in the underpass. Outside, at the top of the stairs, there is a scale model of the Gate and its nearest fortification system.

Edith Stein's House

Edith Stein's House

Edith Stein (1891-1942), a German Jew, was a philosopher, a freethinker and an atheist from the age of 14. She studied German linguistics, history and psychology at Wroclaw University, but lived through a change which led her to holiness. In 1933 she left Wroclaw and joined the Order of Barefoot Carmelites in Cologne. She was scientifically active and left a lot of work, philosophical and St. Thomas Aquinas text translations above all. In 1942 she was arrested by the Gestapo in Holland and the same year she died in the gas chamber. She was canonized by John Paul II on 11 October 1998 and was announced Europe's patron. She is also known as Sister Teresia Benedicta of the Cross. In Wroclaw the Steins' family house still stands where she moved to in 1910. It is a beautiful Neo-Classicistic building called "Vier Türme" ("Four Towers" or "Under Four Towers"). It is currently a seat of the Edith Stein Association which organizes meetings, lectures, concerts, exhibitions, workshops, international exchanges and language courses. The Associations' main activities are in the field of intercultural dialogue. Since 2003 there has been developed a cultural project "Edith Stein's House" within the program "Culture Manager in Central and Eastern Europe". It also co-operates with local educational and cultural organizations.

Niedźwiadek Tower

Niedźwiadek Tower

The oldest preserved fragment of the city walls ring. It is situated between the streets of Piaskowa and Krasińskiego, behind Market Hall. It dates from the 13th century and consists of the tower and some fragments of walls. When the fortification was being built, there was only a bay window there which allowed one to strike an enemy. The tower was enlarged in the 15th century and got a square plan, embrasures and a cannon post. As the city started to spread, the tower remained within the internal ring of the city walls and lost its military importance. This is why it was not pulled down in 1807 when on the orders of Napoleon the city walls were demolished. Later it served various purposes and survived in good condition until 1945. After being destroyed during World War II it was reconstructed between 1957 and 1958 by Mirosław Przyłęcki. This is also when the tower got its nick name (Bear's Tower) as in the south-eastern corner a stone relief representing a bear was fixed, having been found in the ruins near Łaciarska Street. At present it is a seat of Polish Students' Society and there is also a restaurant.

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