Wroclaw Off The Beaten Path

  • Off The Beaten Path
    by Kathrin_E
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by Kathrin_E
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by Kathrin_E

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Wroclaw

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    Park Promenade along Fosa Miejska

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 15, 2014

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    In the 19th century the fortifications of the city were declared unnecessary and demolished. In their place a park promenade was edified and trees planted along the former moat. A walk, horse ride or carriage ride along the promenade became a favourite leisure activity.

    The park promenade is still there, although the usuers are not necessarily dressed in their Sunday best and horses have become extremely rare. A walk by the Fosa leads around the southern half of the old town and past quite a number of notable building and monuments.

    Starting in plac Jana Pawla II, the former Königsplatz, where you find a large fountain from the era of Emperor Wilhelm II, you pass:
    - the back gardens of the Quarter of Tolerance
    - the old station building of Dworczek Swiebodzki
    - a view of Skytower in the distance
    - the castle-like law court and prison (see separate tip)
    - the New Stock Exchange
    - Police Headquarters
    - the "Ring" monument (photo 2) and the monument to the victims of Stalinism (photo 3)
    - the crossing with ul. Swidnicka, opera house, Renoma department store, and Corpus Christi Church
    - the monument to King Boleslaw Chrobry
    - the puppet theatre
    - park Kopernika
    - the Redoute and the hill which is now named Wzgórze Partyzantów - the last remaining bastion of the fortifications
    - Galeria Dominikanska
    - the central post office, a 1920s brick building designed after the model of skyscrapers in New York
    The open water of the moat ends at Park Slowackiego. It reappears at the little port behind the National Museum where it connects with Odra river.

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    Dolnoslaski Urzad Wojewódzki: A Nazi Building

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 15, 2014

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    The large building on the Oder bank next to Most Grunwaldzki is now the seat of Dolnoslaski Urzad Wojewódzki, the administration of the district of Lower Silesia, of which Wroclaw is the capital. The building, however, is one of the rare relic of the Nazi era. The sheer size and the porticus in the middle of the facade with its simple shape and square pillars are typical elements of NS architecture. The slight curve of the concave facade, which follows the bend of the river bank behind the building, is the one extra feature that makes the architectural design interesting.

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    The Giant Chair

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 15, 2014

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    No idea who put up this funny piece of city furniture, or who is supposed to sit on it... Maybe Rübezahl, in case he comes to town? The cars and the tram as comparison give an idea of its size.

    Location: ul. Nowy Swiat, corner ul. Rzeznicza

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    Nowy Targ

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 15, 2014

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    Nowy Targ, the "New Market", used to be one of three market squares in the old town. Since the tram stop "Nowy Targ" is quite convenient to reach or leave the old town you might pass here.

    Unlike Rynek and plac Solny, its historical facades have not been reconstructed after World War II. Only one (neo?)baroque building has been restored on the southern side, and in the northwestern corner there is at least one houese from the 19th century. The rest is an assembly of socialist architecture of the, sorry to say that, lousiest kind. The apartment blocks around it ar ein bad shape - after a renovation they might look better but their architecture will never be much to write home about. The climax, however, is the piglet-pink box in photo 3...

    The square itself has recently been refurbished, though. Underneath there is a new parking garage. Its roof, the square, received a new pavement and, Wroclaw's municipality doesn't give up hope, permanent metal deckchairs that are to invite people to stay and rest in the square. Well, some really do.
    By the pedestrians' entrance to the parking garage, a window is given to students of the academy of fine arts to present their works (photo 5).

    At regular intervals, not sure if weekly or monthly, the square sees a farmers' market.

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    Palais Hatzfeld - or what's left of it

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 15, 2014

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    Ul. Wita Stwosza, formerly Albrechtstraße, used to be the richest street in the old town in the early modern era, framed by the palaces of noble and wealthy families. Most of them have disappeared already in the 19th century, and World War II irrevocably reduced the rest to rubble. The most impressive palace used to be the Palais Hatzfeld, four storeys high and the first building in the city in classical style. The palace, built in 1764-1773, was designed by the architect Karl Gotthard Langhans, the son of the architect Langhans in Berlin who designed the Brandenburg gate.

    Only the porticus is left of the magnificent palace. The column and portals give but a faint idea of the former splendour. A couple of spolia with sculpted ornaments have been inserted into its side walls. Behin there is a flat post-war building now which hosts an art gallery.

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    “Castle of Justice”: Law Court and Prison

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 15, 2014

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    The huge, castle-like brick building on the corner of ul. Podwale and Sadowa hosts the law court. The prison is right behind it (practical thinking!), but not visible from the street. The view from Skytower (photo 5) reveals the large cross-shaped complex within the inner courtyard.

    The law court was built in the 1840s and was the first neogothic building in Breslau. The architect Carl F. Busse had encountered the then modern architecture of England and America on a study trip and used it as model for his project.

    History has taken some turns and under the sequel of dictatory regimes - first the NS, then the communists - not everything was fine that took place in this building...

    The Polish eagles on the towers are of course a post-war addition.

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    Little Wooden Church

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 13, 2014

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    A relic of the 1913 exhibition is hidden among the trees of park Szczytnicki behind Hala Stulecia: a little wooden church, built around 1600, that had been transferred here from the village of Kedierzyn. The wals and the steeple are built from logs. The roof is covered with wooden shingles. A low wooden palisade encircles the church and forms a small oval churchyard.

    The building is not used as a church any more. Inside there is nothing left of the church interior, just the structure and the gallery in the west. I found the church open; there are paintings on display, rather folk art, I assume they were for sale.

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    Pokoyhof

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 13, 2014

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    Pokoyhof passage was built in 1911 to substitute an older inn building. There were several such inns and guesthouses in the Jewish quarter, usually quite large estates with passages from both sides and an inner courtyard which allowed carriages and wagons to enter. In the run of the 19th century most of these were turned into shopping passages. Nowasays there are cafes and pubs - this quarter is known for its nightlife.

    Pokoyhof is the largest and most prominent among these passages. The facade towards u- sw. Antoniego faces the busy intersection of plac Boh. Getta and is an eyecatcher for example from the trams along ul. Kazimierza Wielkiego. It has recently been beautifully restored. When the gate is open, have a look into the courtyard. The architecture combines 'modern' architecture with art nouveau elements, it resembles office and factory buildings from that era. The facades have ornaments made from coloured, glazed bricks. At the far end of the courtyard, look for the two dwarf musicians.
    The passage at the far end allows leaving the courtyard to the other side to ul. Wlodkowica.

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    Protestant Court Church

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 11, 2014

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    The church is a project of the Prussian era. It was built in 1750 as court church for the adjacent palace and of course for the Prussian King. As such it was the first Calvinist church in the predominantly Lutheran city. Nowadays it is used by a protestant community of Augsburgian, i.e. Lutheran, denomination and officially named the Church of Divine Providence.

    The interior is all in white and already has an almost neoclassical appearance. Two galleries form a longitudinal oval. Due to the calvinist tradition there are no images and little decoration.

    This church is usually closed. It is open for services and concerts only. I had the chance to quickly peep in before a wedding - the family was already arriving but the bridal couple was not yet there so I dared. They had decorated the church very prettily, with the white carpet and candles along the aisle, and white flowers. I took a few photos and then left quickly because I did not add much to the decoration...

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    KRZYKI: Once Breslau's most upscale quarter

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 7, 2014

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    The southern suburbs Krietern (Krzyki) and Kleinburg (Borek) used to be the best and most upscale residential quarters of the city. The name Krzyki is now used for the whole district, according to my map. The main street, formerly named Kaiser-Wilhelm-Straße, now ul. Postanców Slaskich, was a wide boulevard with lanes for traffic (first carriages, later cars) on both sides and a separate lane framed by trees in the middle which was meant for horse-riders. It is interrupted by the wide circle of Hindenburgplatz, now plac Postanców Slaskich. The wealthiest families of the city built their villas in Kleinburg (Borek); some of these villas are still standing. The water tower and the church of St Augustin, both built shortly after 1900, are landmarks.

    This quarter was, however, badly damaged in 1944/45 when the Russian attack on the city came from this side. Nowadays it is a mix of styles and eras. Some groups of pre-war buildings are still there. In the empty spaces between them new socialist apartment blocks were built. The structure is best observed from the top of Skytower, from which photos 1 and 2 were taken.

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    KRZYKI: Villa Schottlaender

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 7, 2014

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    Julius Schottlaender was one of the richest Jewish businessmen in Breslau. From his property he donated vast estates to the city to create a public park, now Park Poludniowy, and the horse race course.

    His villa in ul. Powstanców Slaskich, next to the park, tells of the wealth of the family. It is now a hotel which looks very upscale from the outside.

    Schottlaender family tomb in the Jewish cemetery
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    KRZYKI: Park Poludniowy and Chopin Monument

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 7, 2014

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    Park Poludniowy, the "Southern Park", is located in the southern suburb of Krzyki. It is a pretty park that invites for a walk under beautiful old trees and round the pond in the middle. The park was designed and planted in the 1890s. The businessman Julius Schottländer, who owned vast estates in this area, donated the ground to the city to create a public park. The park was of course affected by the war and its aftermaths but has been restored to excellent shape.

    The monument to Frederyk Chopin is a recent addition. It was erected in 2004 and commemorates Chopin's concert in Breslau om September 30, 1830.

    Chopin monument
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    Monument to the Victims of Katyn

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 4, 2014

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    In spring 1940, 22,000 Pilosh officers, policemen and other prisoners from three POW camps were murdered in Katyn, Miednoje and Charków by a shot into the back of their heads. The mass murder occurred on Stalin's orders. "Katyn" has become the synonyme of this war crime.

    The monument in Park Slowackiego has been erected in 1999 upon initiative of an association of the victim's families. The main figure is a grieving woman holding a dead man in her lap. The man's head shows the hole from the bullet. The woman is desperately looking up to the Angel of Death who is standing high above her on a stone pillar, leaning on a sword. Death's face is shadowed by a hood and appears ragged, but somehow stern and emotionless: what has to be, has to be. Just like the kneeling woman the spectators look up to Death, trying to look into his face, feeling helpless in the presence of this merciless power.

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    LESNICA: One Moment in History

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 4, 2014

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    Lesnica's One Moment In Time took place in 1757 and involved, of course, the Prussian King Friedrich II. (Frederick the Great). He had just won the battle against Austria in nearby Leuthen. When the officers of the defeated Austrian army assembled in Lissa (Lesnica) palace, all of a sudden Friedrich appeared among them and saluted them in most elegant French.

    The event is depicted in a large sgraffito on the wall of the post office. The post office building is located in ul. W. Skoczylasa, a few steps from the tram stop on the way towards the former protestant church. The post office is a late 19th century building with a little tower on the corner, half-timbered tower top and gable, and facades ornated richly with sgraffito pictures and ornaments.

    Post office building
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    LESNICA: The Palace

    by Kathrin_E Updated Sep 4, 2014

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    The little palace in Lesnica has changed hands many times in its history and has been refurbished many times. Its outward appearance is now baroque. The palace is surrounded by fortifications with round bulwarks on the corners, quite unnusual for an 18th century palace. These indicate that the building is older than it seems.

    In the late middle ages it was the residence of Duke Boleslaw I. In the 15th century it was owned by a patrician family, to whom it owes its present ground plan. The fortifications were added in the 17th century. Further changes took place in the 18th century to give it its baroque shape. Note the asymmetry of the bridge and the main facade (photo 1) which they carefully tried to hide by placing the left tower a few metres away from the corner.

    Nowadays the building serves as "Dom kultury", cultural centre of Lesnica. The facades have been beautifully renovated. Nothing is left of the historical interiors, though. Inside there are exhibitions, concerts and other events.

    The palace is surrounded by a park, with benches, a pond, a playground and everything a park needs. On the one hand it is very pleasant to go for a walk there. On the other hand it is a favourite hangout of the local youths and I am not sure if all of them are trustworthy, hence it's better to be aware of what happens in your surroundings.

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Wroclaw Off The Beaten Path

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