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Wrocław: Old Town, Poland

Wrocław is one of the largest and most beautiful cities in Poland. We invite you for a day trip to this unique city, during which we will visit the Old Town, including the particularly beautiful Market Square - a historical and cultural gem. In fact, to thoroughly visit the Old Town of Wrocław, you would need to spend here a week. Within a few hours, we will barely touch the most important monuments and interesting places. However, we hope that it will encourage you to travel to Wrocław. We will be happy to come back here and stay for a longer time.

Parking in Wrocław near the Old Town

As we want to leave the car as close to the Market Square as possible, we will park in the underground parking lot under Plac Wolności and the National Forum of Music, built in 2014 (P1; GPS; 51.1075115, 17.0262543). The parking lot is modern and spacious - it has 660 places, and the price per hour is 4 PLN (as of 2020). We arrived on Saturday around 10am and there were plenty of places available in the parking lot. Of course, it should be taken into account that when there are concerts in the building, there may be less free places. Remember that the entrance to the parking lot is from Krupnicza Street, and the exit from Helena Modrzejewska Street.

Walk towards the Market Square

We go upstairs from the underground parking lot (or take the elevator) to the Plac Wolności Square. Its area is impressive, especially when you look at the modern shapes of nearby buildings of National Forum of Music. There's also the Museum of the Theater located at this square (A; GPS: 51.1069189, 17.0279781), at the entrance to which you can see an interesting bronze sculpture depicting a bust of Orpheus.

We walk the Helena Modrzejewska Street, and on the left we pass the birthplace of Max Born - mathematics and physics, Nobel laureate in physics (B; GPS: 51.1064981, 17.0297669). Immediately after it appears the body of the historic Monopol Hotel, built in the Art Nouveau style and opened in 1892 (C; GPS: 51.1060956, 17.0310517). It was reopened in 2009 after a major renovation.

At the crossroads, we turn into Świdnicka Street, which becomes here a promenade. On the left side we pass the late Gothic church of St. Stanislaus, St. Dorothy and St. Wacław, which once belonged to the Franciscan Order (D; GPS: 51.1065417, 17.0311617). After about a hundred meters, we arrive at a wide, two-lane road. We cross the street and continue towards the Market Square, passing shops, restaurants and cafes (E; GPS: 51.1083539, 17.0327389). If you want to have a cup of coffee and/or a cake, it's a good idea!

Market Square in Wrocław

We enter the Market Square from the south-west corner and we are immediately stunned by the beauty of the City Hall building (F; GPS: 51.1095258, 17.0320792). It is a late-gothic building built in the 13th century, later extended and rebuilt. Currently, it houses the Museum of the Town's Art, and in the basement there is the Piwnica Świdnicka pub. The Town Hall's tower is 66m high. It has the oldest clock bell in Poland (from 1368).

A complex of tenement houses, tightly arranged on a rectangular plan, is adjacent to the Town Hall. Historically, they were places where trade took place, hence the names Cloth Hall, Rich Stalls, Cloth Stalls, etc. Inside the complex there are three short streets.

On the other side of the Town Hall there is a monument to Aleksander Fredro (G; GPS: 51.1096708, 17.0312369), erected in 1956 on the site of the removed monument to Frederick William III. The Fredro monument was originally located in Lviv - in 1946 it was moved to Warsaw, and in 1956 to Wrocław.

Tenement houses in the Market Square

It is worth seeing all the frontages of the Market Square, which are made up of interesting, colorful tenement houses. Remember that during World War II about 60% of the buildings on the Market Square were destroyed - the most important of them were rebuilt. It is worth taking a look at for example House Under Seven Electors (H; GPS: 51.1100531, 17.0303033), House Under the Blue Sun (I; GPS: 51.1102719, 17.0303947), Polish Manor House (J; GPS: 51.1105025, 17.0305153), House Under the Griffins (K; GPS: 51.1108528, 17.0306683), or Hansel and Gretel (L; GPS: 51.1111272, 17.0307300). Next to the latter there is located a beautiful 14th-century basilica of St. Elizabeth of Hungary (M; GPS: 51.1114828, 17.0303383).

As we mentioned, in the very center of the Market Square there is a complex of tenement houses and three streets. We enter one of them called Przejście Garncarskie (Pottery Passage) (N; GPS: 51.1102483, 17.0322481), and another - Sukiennice (Cloth House) (O; GPS: 51.1099300, 17.0319664). A handicraft market was just taking place here.

The Solny Square

The Solny Square (P; GPS: 51.1094569, 17.0295308) is adjacent to the Market Square (in its north-eastern corner). Contrary to the Market Square, it is not built-up, but only surrounded by tenement houses. One of most interesting houses is the Oppenheim House (Q; GPS: 51.1098425, 17.0292681).

Penitential Bridge in the Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene

In order to be able to look at the Old Town from above, it is worth climbing the Penitential Bridge. It is a vantage point on the bridge connecting the church towers in the Gothic church of St. Mary Magdalene, less than 100 meters from the Market Square (R; GPS: 51.1094636, 17.0347586). The entrance is paid. A normal ticket costs 8 PLN, and a reduced ticket 5 PLN (as of 2020).

Summary of our trip to Wrocław

This is the absolute minimum that can be visited in just a few hours, including a break for a meal in one of the many available restaurants. The area of the Old Town is much larger, with many interesting places. As we wrote, perhaps a week in Wrocław would be enough to visit them, although we are not so sure about it.

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