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WROCLAW, POLAND

I arrived to Wroclaw by train, and started to looking for a place where to sleep and I found that I could to sleep in the University. If you are traveling there in other season that is not summer check first that the Hostel are open, because when I was a lot of Hostel were closed because was not summer.



Wrocław is the chief city of the historical region of Lower Silesia in south-western Poland, situated on the Oder (Polish: Odra) river. Before 1945 the city was part of Poland, Kingdom of Bohemia, Austria, Prussia, Germany, until it finally returned to Poland. Since 1999 it has been the capital of Lower Silesian Voivodeship. According to official population figures for 2006, its population is 635,280, 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. 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 14th 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 of Wrocław originated as a stronghold situated at a long-existing trading route to Greater Moravia and Bohemia. The city was first recorded in the 10th century as Vratislavia, possibly derived from the name of the Bohemian duke Vratislav I who died in 921. The history of the city begins at the end of the 10th century under the Polish Piast dynasty. At that time the city bears the name of Vratislavia and is limited to district of Ostrów Tumski (the Cathedral Island).















In the year 1000 king Boleslaw I of Poland established the first bishopric of Silesia there. The city quickly became a commercial center and expanded rapidly to the neighbouring Wyspa Piaskowa (Sand Island), and then to the left bank of the Odra river. In 1163 it became the capital of the duchy of Silesia. By 1139 two more settlements were built. One belonged to Governor Piotr Włostowic (a.k.a Piotr Włast Dunin, Piotr Włost or Peter Wlast; ca. 1080–1153) and was situated near his residence on the Olbina by the St. Vincent's Benedictine Abbey. The other settlement was founded on the left bank of the Oder River, near the present seat of the university. It was located on the trade route that lead from Leipzig and Legnica) and followed through Opole, and Kraków to Kievan Rus'.















The city was devastated in 1241 during the Mongol invasion of Europe. The rebuilding included expansion of the Main Market Square (Rynek) and all surrounding areas. Decimated population was reinforced by many Germans[citation needed] who settled there. Soon the name Breslau appeared for the first time in written records. The new and rebuilt town adopted Magdeburg rights in 1262 and, at the end of the 13th century joined the Hanseatic League. The Polish ruling dynasty remained in control of the region.

In 1289-1292 the Přemyslid King of Bohemia, Wenceslaus II, became Duke of Silesia, then also King of Poland. With John of Luxemburg and his son, Emperor Charles IV (and king of Bohemia), Silesia was united with Bohemia, but retained its separate Ius indigenatus. The first illustration of the city was published in the Nuremberg Chronicle in 1493. Documents of that time referred to the town by many variants of the name including Wratislaw, Bresslau and Presslau.

During much of the Middle Ages Wrocław was ruled by its dukes of the Silesian Piast dynasty. Although the city was not part of the Duchy's principality, its bishop was known as the prince-bishop ever since Bishop Preczlaus of Pogarell (1341-1376) bought the Duchy of Grodków (Grottkau) from Duke Boleslaw of Brzeg (Brieg) and added it to the episcopal territory of Nysa (Neisse), after which the Bishops of Wrocław had the titles of Prince of Neisse and Dukes of Grottkau, taking precedence over the other Silesian rulers.

In 1335, it was incorporated with almost the entirety of Silesia into the Kingdom of Bohemia and was part of it until the 1740s; from 1526, it was ruled by the Empire's Habsburg dynasty. By this time the inhabitants of mixed Silesian, Bohemian, Moravian, and often of Polish ancestry, had become dominated by influx of German colonists and settlers throughout the centuries.

The overwhelming majority of the population became lutheran during the Protestant Reformation as did most of Lower Silesia, but they were forcibly suppressed during the Catholic Reformation by Jesuits working with the support of the Habsburg rulers.

After the death of the last Silesian Piast ruler, Georg Wihelm of Liegnitz Brieg in 1675, the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria inherited the city of Breslau. They resorted to forceful conversion of the city back to Catholicism. During the War of the Austrian Succession in the 1740s, most of Silesia was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia's claims were derived from the agreement, rejected by the Habsburgs, between the Silesian Piast rulers of the duchy and the Hohenzollerns who secured the Prussian succession after the extinction of the Piasts.

Places to visit:


Hala Ludowa ("Peoples' Hall") by Max Berg — a World Heritage Site
Ostrów Tumski ("Cathedral Island", German: Dominsel)
Racławice Panorama
Plac Grunwaldzki ("Grunwaldzki Square")
St. Elisabeth's Church
Wrocław Palace

The city of Wrocław originated 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 10th 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).
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 13th century Wrocław even became the political centre of the divided Polish kingdom.

The city became a commercial centre and expanded to Wyspa Piaskowa (Sand Island, German: Sandinsel), then to the left bank of the River Oder. Around 1000, the town had 1000 inhabitants. 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 River Oder, near the present seat of the university. While the city was Polish, there were also communities of Bohemians, Jews, Walloon and Germans.

The city was devastated in 1241 during the Mongol invasion of Europe. While the city was burned to force the Mongols to a quick withdrawal, most of the population probably survived.
Afterwards the town was partly populated by influx of German settlers(see: Ostsiedlung), who would eventually become the dominant ethnic group in the following centuries, though the city remained multi-ethnic as an important trading city on the Via Regia and Amber Road. "Breslau", the Germanised name of the city, appeared for the first time in written records. The city council used Latin and German languages.

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, 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 13th century joined the Hanseatic League. The Polish Piast dynasty remained in control of the region, but the city council's right to govern independently increased.

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.
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.

The precise recordkeeping of births and deaths by the city of Breslau led to the use of their data for analysis of mortality, first by John Graunt, and then later by Edmond Halley. Halley's tables and analysis, published in 1693, are considered to be the first true actuarial tables, and thus the foundation of modern actuarial science.

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 centre of German Baroque literature and was home to the First and Second Silesian school of poets.

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.
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 centre 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 mobilisation for the campaign which ended at Leipzig.
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 reconstructed 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.

In 1821 (Arch)Diocese of Breslau was disentangled from Gniezno (Polish) ecclesiastical province and made Breslau an exempt bishopric.

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. 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.

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 1900 census listed 5,363 persons (just over 1% of the population) declaring to have competent knowledge in the Polish language only, and another 3,103 (0.7% of the population) being also competent in Polish. In religious respect there were 58% Protestants, 37% Catholics (including at least 2% of Poles ) and 5% Jews (counting 20,536 in the 1905 census). The Jewish community of Breslau was among the most important in Germany and several distinguished artists and scientists originated from it..

After First World War the Polish community starting having masses in Polish in Churches of Saint Ann and since 1921 in St. Martin church; Polish consulate was opened on the Main Square, additionally a Polish School was formed by Helena Adamczewska.

During the month of August 1920, at the time of Polish Silesian Uprising in Upper Silesia, the Polish Consulate and School were demolished, whilst the Polish Library was burned down by a mob. The number of Poles as a percentage of the total population to 0.5% after the reconstitution of Poland in 1918. . Antisemitic riots occurred in 1923.

The changes after WW1 spread nationalistic frenzy among people, who saw their city turn into an advance post of Germany.

The city became one of the strongest support bases of the Nazis, who in the 1932 elections received 44% of Breslau's votes, their third-highest total in the entire country.

After Hitler's takeover of the German government in 1933, political enemies of the Nazis were persecuted, and their institutions closed or destroyed; in the city the Gestapo began actions against Polish and Jewish students (see: Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau), Communists, Social Democrats, and trade unionists, arrests were even made for using Polish in public, in 1938 the police destroyed the Polish cultural centre. Many of the city's 10,000 Jews as well as many other enemies of the Third Reich were sent to concentration camps; those Jews who remained were killed during the Holocaust. 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.

The number of Jews remaining in Breslau lowered from 23.240 in 1925 to 10.659 in 1933 . Later Jewish and Polish minorities ceased to exist.

The last big event organised 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.
For most of World War II, the fighting did not affect Breslau. In 1941 the remnants of the pre-war Polish minority in the city, as well as Polish slave labourers organised a resistance group called Olimp. As the war lengthened, refugees from bombed-out German cities, and later refugees from farther east, swelled the population to nearly one million. including 51,000 forced labourers in 1944, and 9876 Allied PoWs. At the end of 1944 an additional 30,000-60,000 Poles were moved into the city after Germans crushed the Warsaw Uprising 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 January 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, Hanke surrendered on 6 May 1945, just before the end of the war.

Along with almost all of Lower Silesia, the city became part of Poland under the terms of the Potsdam Conference. The Polish name of Wrocław became its official name. There had been some discussion among the Western Allies to mark the southern Polish-German boundary on the Glatzer Neisse; this would have meant that post-war Germany would have been allowed to retain approximately half of Silesia, including Breslau. However, the Soviets insisted that the border be drawn at the Lusatian Neisse farther west.

Most remaining German inhabitants in Wrocław fled or were forcibly expelled from Wrocław between 1945 and 1949 and moved to Allied Occupation Zones in Germany. A small German minority remains in the city till this day, although the city's last German school closed in 1963. The Polish 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 east region, many of whom came from Lviv (Lwów).

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.


Wrocław - flood 1997In July 1997, the city was heavily affected by a flood of the River Oder, the worst flooding in post-war Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. Around one-third of the area of the city was flooded. An earlier equally devastating flood of the river took place in 1903. A small part of the city was also flooded during the flood in 2010.













November 2006

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