Wroclaw! Tucked away in the south east, it’s our final stop in Poland. It seemed so very far away when we started, but here we are.
It’s a city with multicultural influences. Through the centuries, it’s been under Austrian, Czechoslovakian and Prussian control before reverting to Polish hands. It too, suffered terrible damage in the last months of WWII – more than three-quarters of the city was destroyed and had to be rebuilt. If you’ve been following our travels, you’ll not be surprised to hear they did an excellent job.
We wrangle a tram into town successfully, starting as is our want, in the Old Town Market Square.
Can I just stay at this point, how much I’ve loved Poland’s market squares?
They’ve literally been the jewel in each of the towns we’ve been to, the perfect way of bringing a community together.
This one is no exception. Centred by an impressive Gothic Town Hall, it’s Poland’s second largest market square after Krakow.
Wroclaw’s Town Hall is deemed one of the most important examples of Gothic architecture in central and eastern Europe. Built between 1470 and 1510, its interiors include impressively vaulted halls,
gothic archways and Renaissance doors.
The Square features houses from the 14th century onwards, their colourful frontages adding to the atmosphere. As always, there are endless dining options.
The Square features a few standouts: the House of the Golden Sun, built in 1727
the House of the Seven Electors (1672) with its beautiful artwork
and the Art Nouveau Phoenix store (1904)
I was rather fond of these two as well, but couldn’t find any detail on them.
We manage to see the 14th century Church of St Elizabeth, the largest in Wroclaw,
before Himself declares it’s time for lunch.
It has to be classic Polish fare for our last lunch in Poland: a beef roulade for Himself,
and I finally crack and succumb to a pork knuckle.
I would have felt I missed out, had I not tried one. A light meal it’s not, but oh so very tasty. I wish I knew how they cooked my cabbage, deliciously creamy without being rich.
Post lunch, we potter the Square again, running into a few of Wroclaw’s gnomes.
There are 350 of them, tucked around the city, with a map for children to follow and tick off. Brass sculptures are very popular here, I also find a bear with attitude
and this cat who seems to be wondering where all the gnomes came from.
Further afield, we pass the covered market (closed being Sunday)
and cross the river Odra to Ostrow Tumski and Piasek Island.
Despite the Old Town’s name, this is actually where Wroclaw’s history began. The city was founded here by Duke Vratislav of Bohemia, with a bishopric established in the year 1000. Over the next 300 years, power shifted from ducal rule to the church, leaving the island a base for ecclesiastical authority.
The Cathedral of St John the Baptist dominates the skyline
but there’s also the Church of the Holy Cross
and the tiny churches of St Martin and St Giles. Certainly no shortage of churches in Poland.
By this stage it’s late afternoon and we’re both flagging. There’s a big drive ahead of us tomorrow. We’ll farewell Poland and move into the Czech Republic. I’ll be sorry to leave. Poland has been quite unique in our travels thus far – we’ve both enjoyed it immensely.