Jas i Malgosia Houses - Hansel and Gretel, Wroclaw
Jaś i Małgosia, in English "Johnny and Maggie", are two little houses united with an arch and built in front of Saint Elizabeth's church, one in Renaissance and the other in Baroque style. They are located close to the Rynek, so you cannot miss them.
These two houses which form a gate (together with an arch in between them) from the Rynek to St. Elizabeth's church are called Hansel and Gretel. Their Polish name, Jas and Malgosia, is the name of the famous fairytale and its protagonists, but is translated “Johnny and Maggie”. It was formerly the entrance to the church cemetery, hence the latin inscription (“Death is the way to life”) on the arch. Gretel is the larger pinkish, baroque one to the left. Hansel is an older renaissance building, but has a more modern façade. It has two plaques commemorating artists who lived in there on it. The buildings were once used for the staff of St. Elizabeth's church and its nickname was first meant to be a mock name. However, it became official after the Second World War.
Jaś i Małgosia (Hänsel and Gretel) houses are two curate houses connected by a gate that form the picturesque entrance to the former graveyard of St. Elizabeth church. The latin inscription "Mors ianua vitae" (Death, the way to eternal life) led the way. Now the graveyard is gone, but remember while walking to the entrance of the church that the bodies of the executed leaders of the rebellion of 1418 were buried under the flagstones you're walking on.
At some point the two houses got the names of the fairy tale figures Hänsel and Gretel (in Polish "Jaś i Małgosia"). The smaller house from the Renaissance era is called Hänsel, the taller one from the Baroque is called Gretel.
These two houses joined by an arcade are called John and Maggie by the locals. It may seem surprising, that Maggie is the bigger one. But looking at all the decorative elements, which make her so coquettish, it's obvious why this one has a feminine name.
In the smaller house lives a well-known Wroclaw artist - E. Get-Stankiewicz, whose image is visible on the wall.