Wroclaw – the city of dwarfs

We have been to Wroclaw in October 2014 to celebrate the Vitali’s birthday. This city was chosen spontaneously, just by reading the first several articles in Google search on the beautiful cities of Poland. And, you know, we chosen a right place. Wroclaw is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Poland. In addition, it is the fourth by the populous cities in the country, after capital Warsaw, Lodz and Krakow.

So, day 1.

We arrived to Wroclaw by bus from Lviv, having transfer at Krakow. The bus station is next to the train station, and also not too far from the city center. It is worth to mention that the Wroclaw railway station is very nice and its exterior reminds a castle. So, even railway station can be called a kind of “landmark” =)

Wroclaw railway station

We stayed at the Ibis Style – in a very nice and comfortable hotel, which just opened at that time. So we were almost pioneers) We were pleased with this hotel; especially by its modern design of the rooms and halls, as well as a delicious breakfast, and friendly staff.

Have settled in the hotel, we went to explore the city center. Towards the center, we came upon a spectacular installation of the sculptures – “Transition” (also called “Monument to the victims of martial law”), which is located at the intersection of Marshal Pilsudski and Shvidnitska Streets. This mysterious composition of people who go down into the ground on the one side, and rise up on the other, is placed here as a symbol and a monument to the people’s demonstrations during martial law in Wroclaw in 1981. Author of these sculptures is Jerzy Kalina, who, as people say, gave to the heroes of the installation some features of his close friends and relatives, which have suffered as a result of numerical repression.

statuette wroclaw

When we have reached the center of the city, we saw the square, which as in many European cities, called Market Square (in pol. Rynek), because it is the place where in the Middle Ages local merchants sell their goods. The square is quiet small, but beautiful. There are many flower beds and fountain. Walking throughout the square we saw many cozy cafes and restaurants which serving delicious local food. Bright little houses in the center may be remind you the famous Amsterdam houses.

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wroclaw market square

wroclaw market square

Around the corner we found the Wroclaw Town Hall (in pol.  Ratusz Wroclawski) – the main administrative building of the city. Near of it we found a sculpture-fountain Bear (in pol. Fontanna Niedźwiadek), who stuck his tongue – and every tourist (we’re no exception) tries to touch it, so it is polished and shines as a gold. This fountain with drinking water in form of bronze Bear is set in 1998 as a copy of the same bear, which was established in 1904 by the German sculptor Ernest Moritz Geyger as a gift to the city.

wroclaw town hall

church
bear

By the way, on the central square, we met our first Dwarfs. Wrocław dwarfs are bronze statuettes, which are set around the city since 2004. At the moment, there are more than 300 dwarfs, but the number of them increases every year. Even just walking through the streets of this beautiful city, you unexpectedly meet at least one of the 30-inch figures. These cute gnomes are a popular tourist attraction in the city, and by their cute appearance they make you smile and cause a desire to find others. So, let’s find some =)

dwarfs

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dwarfpost
dwarf

Near the Market Square we found two other interesting architectural sights –  St.Elizabeth and St. Mary Magdalene Churches.

townhall
church1

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We finished our 1st day by evening walk around the city and of course some shopping. There we found a large shopping center – Dominican Gallery (in pol. Galeria Dominikanska). This three-storeyed shopping mall contains more than one hundred shops and boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Just at that time, shopping centers were preparing for Halloween, so at many places there were good discounts for shopping.

Day 2.

After the good breakfast at the hotel, we had a walk to the other side of the Oder River. On our way back we found the dwarfs, of course, and found a chair. Yes, yes, a huge folding chair. As we found out later, this 9-meter-high monument that weighs almost 8 tones, is called “Cantor Chair” (in pol. Kreszlo Kantora) in honor of its author – Polish artist and filmmaker Tadeusz Kantor.

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chair
river odra

Then, we walked along the promenade next to the Wroclaw University. This is one of the oldest universities in Poland, and many of its graduates became the Nobel laureates. On its territory there is a fountain “Naked Swordsman”, or as it’s called by youth – “naked student.”

statuette

After that we arrived to one of the famous and very beautiful architectural monuments of the city – the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (in pol.  Archikatedra św Jana Chrzciciela). This Catholic cathedral was built in the XIII century and  located on the island Tumski. This is the first temple in the Gothic style in Poland. Its height reaches 98 meters.

Another beautiful building is the Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and St. Bartholomew (in pol. Kolegiata Świętego Krzyża i św. Bartłomieja). In front of church there is the monument of saint Jan Nepomuk (in pol. Pomnik św. Jana Nepomucena) – one of the world’s greatest monuments of saints.

The entire island is permeated with beautiful streets that evoke some romantic feelings. That is why the Tumski Bridge is a favorite place for lovers. Loving couples hang locks with their initials as proof of their feelings on this bridge.

cathedral
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church tumski bridge tumski bridge

On this day we also decided to explore one of the most picturesque places in the city – Botanical garden of Wroclaw University (in pol. Ogród Botaniczny Uniwersytetu Wroclawskiego). It was founded in 1811 and is one of the oldest botanical gardens in Poland. Entrance to the garden costs about 10-15 PLN, reduced ticket (for students, pensioners, etc.) costs 5 PLN. The garden has an area of more than 7 hectares and is a comfortable home for almost 8 thousand plants. Personally, I remember the big green bushes in the shape of a ball, which are too big to cover them with the hands. Also on the territory of the garden there is a beautiful pond with wooden bridges, from which you can feed the ducks and make beautiful photos. Besides, on the territory of the garden you will find nice little gnomes – nature lovers))

botanical garden botanical garden garden 3 garden4 

As animal lovers, we decided to go to the zoo, because the Wroclaw Zoo is the most famous and most beautiful in Poland. Tickets cost 30 PLN per person. Wroclaw Zoo is home on the territory of 33 hectares for almost 7000 animals from different continents of our planet. Every year above 500 thousand people visit it and enjoy time here, because it is magical and lovely place for both kids and adults. The zoo is very large and beautiful, we saw a lot of animals, and even fed some of them.

zoo zoo1 zoo2

zoo5 zoo3 z004 

Having walked for a day more than 30 kilometers, we were tired but also satisfied with such interesting day =)

Day 3.

On the third and last day of our holidays in the beautiful Polish town of Wroclaw, we decided to examine its modern part. For lovers of the panoramic views of the city there is a nice place – Sky Tower – 221 meter high skyscraper with 51 floors. It is the second tallest skyscraper in Poland. On its 49 floor there is a glazed observation deck, which offers incredible panoramic views on the city from the 200-meter height. Tickets to the observation deck cost 10 PLN and PLN 5 (reduced). On weekends and holidays the tickets are a little expensive, so it’s best to plan your visit there on weekdays. Also you should remember that you buy a ticket for a certain time, to which it is better to arrive at the side entrance of the building. And there, at the appointed time on the ticket, you take the elevator to floor 49 and then enjoy the beautiful views of the city.

skytowerpanoramicview

 Fans of shopping and leisure will find a lot of boutiques and shops as well as cafes and other entertainments at the Sky Tower. Art lovers and especially who adore Salvador Dali will notice the installation of its enlarged sculpture “Profile of Time” at the  front entrance to the building.

dali

Beauty in Wroclaw can be found in all things – whether it’s small lanes with courtyards, or even a train station. The only thing you should do is to let the spirit of the city in your heart and dissolve in its atmosphere.

Wroclaw is a great city. It’s modern, but values and protects its history. That why it is worth to visit at least for a couple of days =)

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