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Located on the Odra River, Wrocław is in the southwestern part of Poland, in the region of Lower Silesia. Wrocław is about 170 miles southwest of Warsaw, and with a population of more than 600,000, it is the fourth largest city in Poland.
Wrocław was established in the 10th century at the intersection of major trade routes between the Baltic Sea and the Roman Empire, and between the Black Sea and Western Europe. The city was ruled by many dynasties throughout its long history, including the Bohemians in the 1300s, the Hapsburgs in the 1500s and the Prussians in the 1700s. Each of these dynasties left its mark on the city, creating a blend of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Classic architecture throughout the city. The people of Wrocław are also a blend; after World War II, the German population was largely replaced by people from all over Poland, especially those from the regions of Poland taken over by the Soviet Union.
Given its history as a transportation hub, it is no surprise that Wrocław continues this tradition today. Five European capitals are located within 250 miles of Wrocław. The city is serviced by easy access to major highways, multiple train connections to major cities, a river port and Copernicus Airport. The airport is located about 7 miles outside of the city, and serves about 2 million passengers per year with an ultimate goal of serving 7 million per year.
Wrocław has a number of historical and cultural sights and attractions. Market Square is the city center with many restaurants and shops located by picturesque buildings. Cathedral Island is the oldest part of Wrocław and is the location of St. John the Baptist Cathedral and the Holy Cross Church. The city has 200 bridges and is known as the Venice of Central Europe.
One-third of Wrocław is parks and open spaces, notable attractions are the Botanical and Japanese Gardens. Wrocław has become a world capital of avant-garde theater thanks to Jerzy Grotowski’s Laboratory Theater, Henry Tomaszewski’s Pantomime Theater and the International Open Theater Festival. The city also hosts a number of cultural events throughout the year, including Wrocław Non Stop, a weeklong citywide festival; Creamfields, an international music festival; and KAN, a festival of amateur and independent movies.
In the region surrounding Wrocław there are more attractions, including castles and palaces; spas and health resorts; active tourism such as hiking, kayaking, fishing and hunting; and agrotourism.
As the fourth largest city in Poland, Wrocław is a dynamic business and academic center. More than 3,000 companies with foreign capital are located there. The city’s motto is “The Meeting Place” because of the many meetings and large events that have been hosted there. Wrocław hosted a papal visit in 1997, the Weimar Triangle Summit in 2003 and will host games for the 2012 Euro Cup. The city contains a number of venues for hosting meetings and conferences, including Centennial Hall and academic lecture halls at its universities. Industries include metalworking, electronics, chemicals and textiles.
Wrocław has over 20 higher academic institutions and a student population of about 135,000. Universities located in Wrocław include the University of Wrocław, Wrocław University of Technology, Wrocław Medical University, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences and Wrocław University of Economics.
Things to Do and Sights to See:
Wrocław's airport has flights to and from various European cities, including Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Munich, and Vienna. A train ride from Warsaw takes about 5 hours while one from Krakow takes about 3. Buses are another easy option for travel.
Old Market Square (Rynek): Rynek is known for its colorful architecture and beautiful restoration of buildings and fountains. Equally notable is its wonderful atmosphere and bustling nightlife. Rynek is the second largest town square in Poland!
The Raclawice Panorama: This monumental panoramic painting depicts the Battle of Raclawice during the Kosciuszko Uprising in 1794. The painting is one of the oldest historical relics in Poland. The exhibit caters to English speakers and is known for its realistic atmosphere.
Wroclaw Opera House: Recently renovated, the Wrocław Opera House has been the pride of the city since 1841, and is now one of the most stunning opera houses in all of Central Europe. In addition to its stunning interior and exterior, the Wrocław Opera House is renowned for its "super-productions" for several thousands of viewers.
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Additional information on Wrocław:
Official Wrocław Website