| Traveller's tips
Top City Attractions
Wroclaw is one of Poland's most beautiful cities with splendid historic buildings. It is also a busy cultural centre. Thus, the city has a lot to offer to tourists. There is a wide choice of tourist attractions to choose from.
While in Wroclaw, one has to see the Market Square with its brilliantly painted buildings around and the eye-catching Gothic Town Hall. The other tourist attraction not to be missed is the impressive complex of religious architecture on Cathedral Island. They have been described in detail in the Sightseeing the Old Town section. Thus, other top city attractions are listed below:
Panorama Raclawicka (The Raclawice Panorama) is a colossal painting (120 metres x 15 metres) depicting the victory of Tadeusz Kosciuszko (leading a group of scythe-armed regulars and peasant volunteers) over the Russian Army under the command of General Tormasov at the battle of Raclawice on April 4th, 1794. Thanks to the paining techniques implemented, a viewer has an impression of being in the midst of the historical event. Painted mainly by J. Styka and W. Kossak, the renowned artists, the painting was on display in Lviv and was brought to Poland after World War II. Since 1985, after its renovation, the Battle of Raclawice painting placed in the rotunda has been reopened to the public.
Hala Ludowa (The Centennial Hall) is one of the thirteen historical monuments of Poland registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This monumental 20th century reinforced concrete structure designed by Max Berg, major architect of the city, has been on the UNESCO List since July 13th, 2006. With its enormous central space and the dome (23 m high), the Centennial Hall is a landmark in the history of architecture. It was erected to host the World Exhibition of 1913 held to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the battle at Leipzig. Nowadays the Centennial Hall is a multi-purpose recreational building. With its pergola and the pond, and other buildings on the Exhibition Grounds (a colonnade of concrete columns, the Four-Dome Pavilion, etc) the Centennial Hall is a popular strolling destination both for tourists and locals.
As it is situated on the edge of the Szczytnicki Park, the other attractions situated nearby cannot be missed:
Ogrod Japonski (The Japanese Garden) was set up on the occasion of the World Exhibition of 1913 by count Fritz von Hochberg, notable Japan connoisseur, and designed by Mankichi Arai, Japanese gardener. In 1996 it was restored in accordance with the Japanese landscape garden style. The exotic plants, pathways, arch bridges, a tea pavilion, cascades, ponds and streams create a unique atmosphere. Definitely worth visiting!
Ogrod Zoologiczny (The Zoological Garden of Wroclaw) covers the area of about 33 ha. Founded in 1865 it is the oldest zoo of Poland. Moreover, the Wroclaw Zoological Garden prides itself on having the largest collection of animals in Poland with approximately 4,000 species. Many of them can no longer be found in their natural environment or are threatened with extinction. The zoo is said to be one of the most beautiful in the country, thus, it attracts about half a million visitors every year.
Ogrod Botaniczny (the Botanical Garden of Wroclaw), covering the area of 7.4 ha, is a perfect recreation site with its quiet lanes amidst its rich vegetation consisting of approximately 7,500 plant species. Its origins go back as far as the year 1811 when the Botanical Garden was set up as a research institution for the University of Wroclaw. Situated in the oldest district of Wroclaw, the Botanical Garden is regarded as the oasis of calm in the bustling metropolis. The branch of the Botanical Garden located 50 km south of the city is the Wojslawice Arboretum - the most noted for a wide collection of rhododendrons.
Another attraction - the Dwarfs of Wroclaw - appeared on the streets of the city in August 2005. Their history is connected with the Orange Alternative movement and the year 1982. It is then that some dwarfs with funny hats and smiling faces were painted as a graffiti covering anti-Communist slogans. The present day dwarfs are statues sculpted by Tomasz Moczek, graduate of the local Fine Arts Academy. There are as many as five dwarfs in the city. Each of the dwarfs has a name, e.g. Dwarf the Sleepyhead in sw. Mikolaja Street or Dwarf the Butcher in Jatki Street. There is also a museum dedicated to the dwarfs in one of the ''Hansel and Gretzel'' houses near the St. Elizabeth's Church in the town centre. Be watchful not to miss its door as it is halfway up your knee.