Brave festival held in July in Wroclaw let me travel to distant places without leaving my home city. And it was a very emotional, spiritual and authentic journey revealing unknown customs and traditions of the tribes and people who don't act to please the tourists but because of the inner need.
This years's edition was dedicated to "lost rhythms". I, as a part of the public, had a chance to find, or at least grasp for a moment the rhythms expressing such positive emotions as respect, dignity or love.
Fondest memory: I had a pleasure to participate only in some of many festival events. Here are several of the artists I truly admired:
Bachu Khan from India ( Thar Desrt region) with his sensuous love songs. His band accompany him vocally and play the traditional string and woodwind instruments ( sarangi, algoza, murli) and also wooden castanet. The power of male voices enhanced by the sound of instruments simply enchanted the audience.
Mohini Devi and the Kalbelia - a wandering tribe of Gypsies from Rajasthan. Their ancestors used to be snake charmers. Now, with the ban on performances with snakes, the reptiles have been replaced by women dancers. Proud, colourful and beautiful - it was an unforgettable experience to see and listen to them.
Addal - a dance of Moroccan women from the Ameln valley. What makes their performance outstanding is the fact that all the dancers are covered with one common long veil, so the audience can't see their faces. In the past this veil was a symbol of resistance against French colonisation and the Addal dance is performed in this manner to this day.
Ngqoko group - a women's choir from the Xhosa tribe in South Africa. The most extraordinary performance I have been to. The unusual language using click consonants, the unique musical bows and low voices of the singers accompanied by drumming, clapping and stamping made the performance very interesting to watch.
Every July since 2005 Wroclaw has been hosting Brave Festival, the unique event during which we can meet the forgotten cultures and traditions from around the world. When I say "meet", I do mean it. The contact with the artists is not restricted to merely watching their performance, but everyone can participate in a lot of workshops, meetings and open shows in the city centre.
As Grzegorz Bral, the initiator and director of the festival says: "This is the festival of the brave, of the people who say where they are from, what their values are, traditions and spirituality. This is not a festival about works of art but about the art which can save and protect thousands of forgotten, abandoned, lonely cultures and people."
What's more, 100% proceeds from the sale of tickets goes to ROKPA International, an organisation that helps children in Nepal, Tibet and Africa.
There's still another reason that makes this festival unique - Brave Kids project. This parallel event is to bring together children from around the world. They come from different social and cultural backgrounds, speak different languages, but what they have in common is openess and lack of prejudice. This year about one hundred children took part in different workshops which resulted in wonderful grand finale shown at the end of the festival.
And last but not least - the festival film program offering very interesting films in three categories: Brave Focus ( this year dedicated to Cambodia and its most renowned director Ritha Panh), Brave Context (referring to each year's main theme) and Brave People Doc.
Fondest memory: Although this year it was already the 9th edition of this unique festival, it was the first time for me. Earlier, I always travelled abroad in July, as it is the time of summer holidays here in Poland. But these six days of Brave Festival were so unusual and inspiring that from now on I'm not going to miss it. And I invite everyone - come to Wroclaw in the first half of July and participate in this amazing event.
PHOTOS come from Brave Festival presspack
The CENTRUM INFORMACJI TURYSTYCZNEJ or local tourist office is located at:
"The Meeting Point"
ul. Rynek 14, 50-101 Wroclaw
Daily: 10AM - 9PM
Daily: 10AM - 8PM
Useful Wroclaw links:
Wroclaw City page
Wroclaw Internet Service
Wroclaw by night is well worth seeing, as most churches and historic buildings in the Old Town (Stare Miasto) are beautifully illuminated.
So don't miss a night stroll across the Market Square (Rynek) and the surounding streets. Also the churches on Ostrow Tumski are a great panorama at night when seen from the left bank of the river Odra.
Although about two-thirds of Wroclaw were destroyed after WWII in 1945, the city is nowadays rich in architectural styles from Gothic to 20th century architecture.
One building which I especially liked in Wroclaw is the main train station (Dworzec Glowny). It looks more like a fairytale castle than a train station.
It was constructed between 1854 and 1856 in Neo-Gothic style (Tudor Gothic). It was also affected by WWII but rebuilt and renovated afterwards.
Can you believe that there are only 3 European cities that have more bridges than Wroclaw?
They are Venice, Amsterdam and St. Petersburg. Wroclaw is home to more than 120 bridges that connect the 12 islands on which the city is built.
One of the most famous bridges of Wroclaw is probably the Grunwaldzki Bridge (Most Grunwaldzki). Former names of the bridge were Imperial Bridge and Adolf Hitler Bridge. It was completed in 1910 and still is Poland's longest suspension bridge.
Wroclaw's touristic heart is the Market Square (Rynek) which originally dates back to the 13th century, but was almost completely destroyed in 1945. The 3,7 ha large Market Sqaure is surrounded by beautiful buildings with facades from Gothis to Art Nouveau.
It is home to the City Hall, the Stone Pillory, various statues and a relatively new glass fountain. Apart from many nice restaurants, cafe and pubs with outdoor seatings, the Tourist Information can be found here.
I was surprised to find the Library at the central market square.
The entrance had a great piece of modern art covering the ceiling.
Runek 58 - 50-116 Wroclaw
Mo-Sa: 10.30AM - 6.15PM
How nice and how unexpected are these "three little niggers", located on a house of the Rynek. Agatha Christie would wonder where the other seven are!
(Note: in case you didn't understand it, the title of this tip hints at Ten Little Niggers, i.e. the original title of Agatha Christie's novel Ten Little Indians. I wrote it as a literary allusion and I hope no one feels offended by reading the word "nigger".)
When visiting Wroclaw please keep in mind that the city was severely affected by the war in 1945. About 80% of the buildings in the centre were destroyed. Thus you'll see a relatively small (for a city this size) reconstructed old town around the Rynek square and rather ugly post-war architecture (I know that sort of architecture has fans, too, LOL).
I probably forgot that (wishful thinking I guess). I was quite disappointed when I left the railway station and walked along Jozefa Pilsudskiego street - a mix of a few nicely restored buildings and many buildings that were still waiting for taking care of. Besides I was immediately put off by the air pollution/exhaust emissions. It got better in the centre of the old town but still ... there was a certain smell in the air. Reminded me of the old times before the fall of the wall.
The Salt Square (Plac Solny) is situated adjacent to the Market Square (Rynek).
It is a bit smaller than the Market Sqaure and used to be a trading place for salt, honey and leather.
Nowadays it is home to a flower market, but handicraft products can be found here as well.
Among the buildings surrounding the square are the Old Stock Exchange from the 19th century and the Oppenheim family residence from the 17th century.
It is easy way.
From the airport you have to driveing on - Krakow, Katowice, and when you will pass the city, and you will see only shoping centers You have to Turn right: E40 / 4 / A4.
Take the exit towards : Opole/Raciborz.
then Continue along: road 45
Continue along: road 416
pass Glogowek city
Continue along: 40
and you are in Prudnik:)
it is Distance: 148km including 91km on motorways
1,5 hour time
Have a nice trip!!!!
Favorite thing: There are several islands in the city connected with the mainland by over 100 bridges and footbridges. This is much more than the number of bridges in Venice! Although there are no gondolas in Wroclaw
Favorite thing: Wroclaw is a tourist friendly city. You may find informations signs in most important places and they will show the direction to the most vital monuments. However, the signs are usually only in Polish so it is better to know Polish names of the place you want to get.
Favorite thing: Wroclaw is full of public art. There are many sculptures, monuments or other examples of public art in the city. Some of them are unique, like the one in the picture - just some people standing in the pavement, waiting to cross the street, like passerby...