The historic, prosperous city of Wrocław, Poland, has the charm of more well-known Central European destinations but it’s yet to be discovered by mass tourism. Perhaps better known by its former status as the German city of Breslau, Wrocław is beautifully situated on the River Oder. Balancing a modern, progressive lifestyle with the ambience of the city’s tapestry past and historical architecture, the city’s Old Town is packed with interesting sights and welcoming cafés, restaurants and shops.
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Wrocław (pronounced Vrotz-waf) is the 4th largest city in Poland, part of the European Union since 2004. The city is developing as a financial, industrial and educational center attracting significant foreign investments and companies – LG Electronics, IBM, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and Google to mention a few – while retaining its old-world allure. Testifying to its rising cosmopolitan profile, Wrocław was a host city of the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship and will be one of two European Capitals of Culture in 2016.
The Market Square
For visitors and locals alike, the heart of Wrocław is the Old Town Market Square. This pedestrian-only square, one of the largest in Europe, was established in the 13th century and carefully restored after the destruction of WWII. In its myriad historical buildings you’ll find many shops, cafés, bars and restaurants. The most prominent building is the Gothic Town Hall featuring beautiful rooms, a museum, and a magnificent cellar restaurant, possibly Europe’s oldest.
Stroll around the Old Town and beyond
From the Market Square, you can walk in any direction to explore the city’s sights and atmosphere. Prior to WWII, Wrocław had a large, dynamic Jewish community. At the newly-renovated White Stork Synagogue, visitors can view a permanent installation about Jewish life in the city. Today, the Old Jewish Quarter is a hip city neighborhood – perfect for a leisurely stroll. Historic churches and interesting museums are plentiful, and there are often excellent concerts and cultural festivals to enjoy. A walk through the vibrant University Quarter takes you to Wroclaw's riverfront. The city counts over 120 bridges and 12 islands. On idyllic "Cathedral Island," which is now landlocked, you can wander down romantic streets, at night lit by original oil lamps. Visit the landmark Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, and take the elevator to the top of the tower for a grand view of the city.
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