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For centuries, history was shaped in Lower Silesia at the crossroads of many cultures – before the region came under the rule of Mieszko I at the end of the 10th century, it was probably controlled by the Czech rulers. In later periods, it was a part of the lands subject to Polish princes and kings, and then also to the Czech, Austrian, Prussian, and German rulers, and from 1945 it became one of the most important territories of the Polish state rebuilt after World War II. Inhabited by residents of different nationalities, religion, views, and finally the language.

 

A short and incomplete guide to places of special importance for the culture of Lower Silesia certainly has to include, among others, Wroclaw Old Town Hall, built in the 13th century it is a pearl of secular Gothic architecture, and sacred buildings erected in the same style including, e.g. the Archcathedral of St. John the Baptist and the church of St. Mary on the Sand in Wroclaw, Cistercian Abbey in Krzeszow, Czocha Castle or, once belonging to the princely family of Hochbergs, Ksiaz Castle near Walbrzych, sometimes called the ‘Lower Silesian Versailles’, Churches of Peace in Swidnica and Jawor and Wroclaw’s Centennial Hall (entered on the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List), as well as the main edifice of the University of Wroclaw, beautifully illuminated at night, along with the famous Baroque Aula Leopoldinium.

 

Wroclaw museums boast of extremely interesting and important collections of works of art. They include: the Contemporary Art Museum, the National Museum with the recently opened Modernist Four Domes Pavilion, the National Ossolinski Insitute, which houses manuscripts of plays by the Count Aleksander Fredro, as well as, in Pan Tadeusz Museum located in a historical building in the heart of the capital of Lower Silesia, a manuscript of the national epic by Adam Mickiewicz. Apart from Wroclaw, it is worth visiting e.g. the Living Museum of Ceramics in Boleslawiec, the Automotive Museum in Topacz or the City Museum in Jelenia Gora, which includes the house of Gerhart Hauptmann – a German Nobel prize winner in literature.

However, culture is not only the past but also the present and the future. That is why cultural events taking place throughout the year in Lower Silesia include: music, literature, film and theatre and folk art festivals. To prove the importance of culture, there are many meetings with artists, discussions, educational programs, etc. It is no accident that Wroclaw, along with the Spanish San Sebastian, was awarded the prestigious European Capital of Culture title in 2016. Lower Silesia is – and this is not just an empty advertising slogan – a meeting place.

 

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