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The capital of Lower Silesia (Dolny Slask) has a huge Old Town built on several islands connected by over 100 bridges. Apart from its unique location, Wroclaw amazes with its volume of Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture. Several musical and theatre festivals, as well as its busy nightlife, attract innumerable visitors from all over Poland and abroad. Wroclaw's extremely complicated history, combining the cultural influences of Germany, Bohemia, Austria and Poland, has left its mark on the atmosphere of the city.


Wroclaw is the principal city of Lower Silesia, a voivodship situated in the south-western corner of Poland, adjoining the German and Czech territories. Its population of 632,000 makes it the fourth largest city in Poland.

The Old Town is comparable to Krakow's in beauty and size, and includes the Gothic St. John's Cathedral, the Renaissance houses near the Market Square, the Baroque university and lots of fine examples of Art Nouveau and Functionalism.

Apart from these sights, Wroclaw captivates with its marvellous location on the Odra River, its branches and tributaries that have resulted in a great number of bridges needed to join the islands. Despite Wroclaw's failure to become the host city for the Expo exhibition in 2002, it has undergone a significant boom in terms of tourism. The intense promotion of the city resulted in a rising number of visitors.

The uniqueness of the city is due in part to its long and entangled history. Situated on the interface between ethnically diverse areas, Wroclaw has been part of the Polish, Czech, Austrian and German states. It has inherited the spirit of German Breslau (a previous name of Wroclaw), which partly disappeared when the Germans left the city, and that of Polish Lwow, whose population was resettled here after World War II. Wroclaw is also an important cultural and academic centre of the region, with a large student community that animates the city’s nightlife.


Wroclaw is picturesquely located on several rivers: the Odra and the smaller tributaries Olawa, Sleza, Bystrzyca and Widawa. Consequently, the city lies on 12 islands linked by many bridges. The Cathedral Island, the first Slavic settlement site, is no longer an island as a branch of the Odra was filled in. Wroclaw is the capital of Lower Silesia, one of Poland's voivodships. The region to the north is characterised by flatlands and is predominantly rural, while to the south Lower Silesia is bordered by the Sudeten Mountains – a popular tourist destination in winter and in summer.

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The history of Wroclaw is one of tumultuous and dramatic events. It began in the 10th century on Ostrow Tumski (the Cathedral Island) where Czechs founded the first town. Wroclaw then came under Polish rule, brought about by Prince Mieszko I in the 10th century. In 1000 it was already quite a large stronghold and the seat of a bishopric. After the Tatars invaded Poland, the town was moved to the left bank of the Odra River and rebuilt on a pattern that has survived to the present day.

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coat of arms
Population: 632300 #4
Province: Lower Silesian
Telephone: +48 71
Museums: 25
Districts: 5
Theatres: 20
Mayor: Rafał Dutkiewicz
Higher Education: 35