University, Wroclaw

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  • Oratorium Marianum, August 2014
    Oratorium Marianum, August 2014
    by Kathrin_E
  • University
    by Kathrin_E
  • Exterior of the Main Building
    Exterior of the Main Building
    by EasyMalc
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    Splendid Baroque Institution

    by EasyMalc Updated Feb 5, 2013

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    The wonderful main building of Wroclaw University, along with the adjacent Church of the Blessed Name of Jesus, was built by the Jesuits back in 1670 when they founded the University.
    The buildings have had a checquered history, none more so than during the 2nd World War when they were badly damaged during the Nazis takeover of the library as their Headquarters.
    Notable academics include Alois Alzheimer who gave his name to the disease and Robert Bunsen, who although never actually invented the Bunsen Burner, done so much to perfect it that it was named after him.
    From the visitors point of view there are 4 places that you can visit - The Aula Leopoldina, Oratorium Marianum, Mathematical Tower and the Museum. When I was here (Nov 2012) it cost 12zl (less than £3) to see all 4 and that's what I did.
    The highlight is undoubtedly the Aula Leopoldina, and if you don't see anything else you must come in to see this magnificent baroque hall.
    Next on your list should be a walk up the steps (it's the only way I'm afraid) past the 51st parallel line that runs through here, to the top of the Mathematical Tower for views over the city.
    A visit here is worth 3 quid of anybody's money and you really shouldn't leave Wroclaw without visiting it.

    The Aula Leopoldina Exterior of the Main Building Aula Leopoldina Detail View from the top of The Mathematical Tower The Oratorium Marianum
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    University

    by german_eagle Updated Sep 5, 2009

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    The University origins from a Jesuit College from 1628. In 1702 it was 'upgraded' by Emperor Leopold I. to a University. In 1810 it was secularised. Many famous scientists have studied and taught there, e.g. Nobel Prize winners Theodor Mommsen, Fritz Haber, Max Born. Nowadays about 40,000 students are enrolled.

    The main building - Collegium Maximum - is a beautiful Baroque building, with a simple northern facade of 171 m along the Odra river and a very beautifully decorated southern facade towards University square. It was built 1728-41. Several of its magnificent auditorium halls were destroyed but a few survived resp. were reconstructed, among the latter the Oratorium Marianum (the music hall, see pictures) where often classical music concerts take place. Famous ensembles perform there, it must be a wonderful experience to attend.

    Beside the Oratorium Marianum you can visit the Longchamps Hall and the Mathematician Tower. Highlight, however, is the Aula Leopoldina, see next tip.

    Opening hours: Thur - Tue (closed Wed) 10 am - 3.30 pm
    Admission fee for all four halls: 10 PLN, for students/kids 6 PLN
    Admission fee for two out of the four halls: 6 PLN, for students/kids 4 PLN
    (I recommend to pick Oratorium Marianum and Aula Leopoldina as the two out of four. The box office is in Longchamps hall, so you can catch a glimpse of that one anyway :-))

    Collegium Maximum Oratorium Marianum Oratorium Marianum staircase staircase
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    University - Aula Leopoldina

    by german_eagle Written Sep 5, 2009

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    Aula Leopoldina is one of the most beautiful secular interiors I have ever seen. It is named after Hapsburg Emperor Leopold I. who 'upgraded' the Jesuit College to a University in 1702. The hall is decorated with frescos/paintings from floor to ceiling. The trompe-l'oeil fresco at the ceiling praises the Emperor as patron of the sciences, the portraits along the walls remind of professors and honorary citizens.

    The benches in front of the podium are for students, the slightly elevated seats along the walls are reserved for professors. In case there is no festive ceremony scheduled you can visit this room from Thur - Tue 10 am to 3.30 pm. Admission fee see previous tip.

    Caution: Upon entering the hall a student lunged at me and handed me an audio guide (available in Polish, English and German). Only afterwards he told me the additional cost of 5 PLN for this - I accepted because I really wanted explanations in detail (and recommend it). Who doesn't must refuse immediately. Please note: they accept Euro, but for a rip-off exchange rate. 2 Euro is almost twice as much as 5 PLN.

    Aula Leopoldina Aula Leopoldina detail of the ceiling Aula Leopoldina - detail of interior Aula Leopoldina - entrance
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    University Library

    by evona Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This beautiful neogothic building this is the University Library. It was build by Richard Plüddemann 1887-1891, since 1945 there was the seat of the Public Library and before the residence of the Municipal Savings Bank.
    Nowdays in this building (Rehdigeranum) are located General Collections and Circulation Units.

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    University Church

    by german_eagle Updated Aug 25, 2014

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    This catholic church is known under several names. Originally it was built as the Jesuit College church of the blessed name of Jesus 1689-98. A local guy was architect (influenced by Italian Baroque) but the beautiful fresco at the ceiling depicting the peoples of the world around the open heaven with Jesus Christ on a chariot was created by famous Austrian painter Johann Michael Rottmayer.

    After secularization in 1820 the church became parish church St. Matthias. Nowadays it is used by the students of the university again. It was only slightly damaged in WWII. If you are keen on ornate Baroque churches then go in an see it - but be prepared to pay a (however small) entrance fee.

    UPDATE: The entrance fee is gone, there's a box for donations instead. I found the interior to be somewhat overwhelming - it's typical for the Jesuit order: On a mission for recatholization, magnificent decoration with lots of marble, stucco works, gold etc. First thing you'll see upon entering is an excellent (plaster) copy of Michelangelo's famous pieta.

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    Wroclaw Universitymusem

    by rollinstone81 Written Feb 2, 2005

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    This is the most beautiful interior I ve ever seen inside a universtity building. They have a cool stairway as well and then the Aula Leopoldina and the Oratorium Marianum....wow. The university was founded in 1702.
    Open:
    Monday - Friday 10.00 AM - 3.30 PM

    Wroclaw University
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    Universitas Wratislaviensis

    by evona Updated Jun 9, 2007

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    This beautiful Baroque University building on the Odra River is 300 years old!! (1728-1741)
    Inside you can see magnificent Baroque Aula Leopoldina and Oratorium Marianum. Time to time there teke place concerts of classical music. The main staircase in university building is a masterpiece as it is covered with frescoes of F.A.Scheffler.
    You can enjoy also a panoramic view of the city, when you climb the stairs and visit the Mathematicians' Tower.

    the view on university from Wyspa Slodowa the River Odra in february and the University
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    University of Wroclaw

    by ZiOOlek Written Jun 2, 2007

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    The university developed very rapidly in the second half of the 19th century, then called the University of Breslau. The first Polish team of academics arrived in Wroc³aw in May 1945 and took custody of the university buildings, which were 70% destroyed. Very quickly some buildings were put in working order, and a cadre of professors built up, many coming from prewar Polish universities in Wilno (Vilnius) and Lwów (Lviv). The university was refounded under its current name as a Polish state university by a decree issued on August 24, 1945. Its first lecture was given on November 15, 1945 by Ludwik Hirszfeld.

    In 2002 the university celebrated the 300th anniversary of its founding. Nobel Prize winners:
    - Friedrich Bergius
    - Max Born
    - Hans Georg Dehmelt
    - Paul Ehrlich
    - Theodor Mommsen
    - Otto Stern

    University of Wroclaw University of Wroclaw University of Wroclaw
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    University Church: Interior

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 19, 2014

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    The University Church of the Holiest Name of Jesus (a typical Jesuit dedication) has Wroclaw's most opulent baroque interior. As it was founded by Emperor Leopold for the Jesuit order as stronghold of the catholic confession in the predominantly protestant city, the best was just good enough and money was no issue. The result is overwhelming. Any guidebook will give a description so I don't have to repeat everything here. The interior is a total art work of architecture, sculpture, stucco and fresco painting.

    You can pay a virtual visit of the church and explore all details of the frescoes on the website of the "virtual museum of baroque frescoes in Lower Silesia": http://www.wirtualnefreski.pl/miejscowosci,kosciol-uniwersytecki-pw-najswietszego-imienia-jezus All explanations are in Polish only, but the quality of the panoramas and photos is top class.

    A side chapel opposite the entrance contains a familiar statue (photo 5): a copy of Michelangelo's Pietà from St Peter in Rome.

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    Faculty of Philology – Premonstratense convent

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 19, 2014

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    The baroque convent buildings behind the (now) Greek-Catholic Cathedral of St Vincent are now the seat of the University's Faculty of Philology. It is not the only building of the faculty but the main one with the set of the dean. During the summer holidays, when the regular students are on holiday, it is used for the intensive summer courses of Polish language for foreigners... in other words, in here is where I spent all weekdays during my stay, studying the language.

    The complex was built in the late 17th century for the Norbertine (Premonstratense) convent. It suffered quite some damage in World War II but has been beautifully restored.
    Four wings surround an inner courtyard, off-bounds to tourists but very popular among students and faculty members (photo 3). The pavillon in the middle and the rose garden make it a pleasant spot to hang out during breaks.

    The rooms inside the four wings are now big and small lecture halls and offices of faculty members. Photo 4 shows the largest lecture halls. They all have these funny school benches, with table and bench connected in one piece, instead of normal tables and chairs.
    The most beautiful room is the so-called Nehring hall photo 5 which is used for official events, like the handing out of our certificates at the end of the course.

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    University of Wroclaw Main Building

    by AgnusRafferty Updated Sep 7, 2007

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    The University of Wroclaw has a rich history of more than three centuries. Founded by Leopold I Habsburg the university evolved from a modest school run by Jesuits into one of the biggest academic institutions in Poland. After the Second World War a group of Polish professors, formerly from Lvov, started teaching and research activities at the University of Wroclaw. Initially they created the Faculties of law and administration, arts, natural sciences, agriculture, veterinary, medicine, mathematics, physics and chemistry. Some of these Faculties were soon transformed into other universities. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the University of Wroclaw produced 9 Nobel Prize winners, such as Theodor Mommsen, Philipp Lenard, Eduard Buchner, Paul Ehrlich, Fritz Haber, Friedrich Bergius, Erwin Schrödinger, Otto Stern and Max Born.

    Main university building is great example of baroque architecture, its 171 meters of riverside facade should be nice theme for your Wroclaw photos.

    University of Wroclaw Main Building riverside view University of Wroclaw Main Building University of Wroclaw Main Building riverside view University of Wroclaw Main Building
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    View from the Mathematical Tower

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 8, 2014

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    The tower on the old university building is known as the "Mathematical" tower - mathematics included astronomy and that's what the tower was used for by the early scientists.

    Nowadays the terrace is a viewpoint. If you visit the old university, don't limit yourselves to the halls but buy the full ticket and climb up. Unfortunately there is no ticket for visiting just the tower, we could have done with that as we both had visited the building before.

    The terrace is not very high above the roofs of the surrounding houses, so it is no "bird's eye" view but rather like being on a rooftop. The higher buildings, towers and spires form a skyline along the horizon. The other side overlooks the river and the islands. Located between Oder bank and old town, you are 'in the middle of things' and able to enjoy a fine view together with the statues of the four cardinal virtues.

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    Fencer Fountain

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 6, 2014

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    The fountain with the statue of the naked fencer is placed in the small triangular square south of the old university. It dates from 1904, especially the shapes and figures on the pedestal show distinct art nouveau features. Is the good-looking young man to represent the ideal student?

    A story which is often told: A wealthy young student was taken on anight out by some guys he considered his friends. First they drank, then they played cards, gambled higher and higher... and in the end he had lost everything, literally everything, except his rapier.

    Pan Art History Professor tells me, though, that this is a legend without any reality background. The statue of the young man, healthy and perfectly built, brave in fencing and concentrating on his aim, is to represent the (male, of course) virtues which were valued highest at that time.

    No matter what - if you tell a legend often enough then it becomes somehow true because everyone believes it and acts as if it is true. The legend is surely more entertaining and memorable!

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    University Museum

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 8, 2014

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    The baroque halls in the main university building are the most magnificent interiors in the wholce city and should not be missed. A lot has already been written about them here on VT so I don't have to describe them in detail again.

    The Aula Leopoldina, the large main hall, survived the war relatively unharmed. It needed some restorations of course, but what you see is largely original.
    The Oratorium Marianum, however, suffered severe damage. The interior and the frescoes have been reconstructed. To paint the frescoes as close to the original style as possible, the university hired the best specialist available, the painter Christoph Wetzl from Dresden. In May 2014 the frescoes of the ceiling have been completed and the Oratorium Marianum can now be admired in full splendour. Only underneath the gallery a few pictures are yet to be completed - Wetzl is currently working on them.

    The full museum visit includes the Aula Leopoldina, the Oratorium Marianum, the museum exhibitions, and the viewpoint on the tower. There are tickets for two, three, or all four of these attractions - I recommend doing the full tour.

    Sorry I cannot tell you about ticket prices, audioguide and such, as I had the special pleasure to be guided by the director of the museum in person and was considered a guest. Our tour took at least twice as long as the usual visit and included at least three times as much information... A chance that one does not refuse!

    Please consult the website of the museum: http://muzeum.uni.wroc.pl for opening hours, actualities, temporary exhibitions and practical details.

    Aula Leopoldina Oratorium Marianum, August 2014 Ceiling of Oratorium Marianum, August 2014 Staircase Sceptres of the university in the museum
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    Main University Building

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 8, 2014

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    The university of Wroclaw was founded in 1702 by Emperor Leopold - hence the name Leopoldina, which still sticks with the main aula. It was a Jesuit university, in other words, catholic and counter-reformatory. The city was predominantly protestant at that time, so the university could not move into any seat within the city. Magistrate and citizens would have objected. Only a small stretch of land along the river bank, the grounds of the old castle, were in the hands of the Emperor. So this estate was used to build the university, the church and the Jesuit convent.

    This explains the limited space between the university building and the streets of the old town. The architecture could have done with a wide square in front for better effect, but there was no room for that. The best photo options are thus across the river, from Most Universitecki and the Marina or from Wyspa Slodowa.

    The building complex on the river bank has a representative character. Originally, as the plan in photo 5 shows, it was meant to be much larger. The present building covers about 60% of the intended length. The present main tower was meant to be one of two symmetrical side towers, while above the gate, which was to be the middle of the building, a much higher central tower had been planned. The Prussian conquest of Silesia in 1741 set an end to these plans.

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