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Architecture enthusiasts

The beauty and richness of Lower Silesian architecture has delighted millions of tourists who come every year to admire both the treasures of Wrocław and the entire region.

Panorama of  Bystrzyca-Kłodzka photo Jarosław-Sobański

The facades of tenement houses on the Market Square in Wrocław

In addition to the amazing landscapes in the Sudetes, it is the monuments of material culture, the remnants of extremely turbulent and complex history, which no other part of our country can boast of, make Lower Silesia enjoy unabated interest from visitors from almost all over the world. What objects should architecture enthusiasts pay special attention to, which cannot be overlooked?


When visiting Lower Silesia, it is good idea to spend more time getting to know Wrocław’s architecture. In chronological order, we will start with the buildings of the oldest part of the city, i.e. Ostrów Tumski – the historic center of the present capital of Lower Silesia. The oldest church in this area is Romanesque church of St. Idzi, dating from the first half of the 13th century, next to which there is the Kluskowa Gate, known from one of Wrocław’s legends (connecting the building of the temple with the building of the former cathedral Chapter House, now – the Archdiocese Museum). The Gothic Church of St. Martin, is an interesting building, as it is the last remnant of the former Piast castle in Ostrów Tumski. The building of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, although built in the Gothic style, was rebuilt many times in later periods, and it gained its final shape during the post-war reconstruction from war damage, and for hierarchical and architectural reasons it is one of the most important sacred buildings in Lower Silesia.

The phenomenal gothic town hall, standing on the Wrocław Market Square, in the basement of which there is one of the oldest beer houses in Europe (currently a restaurant – Piwnica Świdnicka), or the over 170-meter baroque building of the University of Wrocław, standing right on the bank of the Oder, does not an introduction- both buildings are One of the most recognizable symbols of the city. Perfect examples of what it means in architecture to care for the smallest detail are the two historic university halls – Oratorium Marianum and Aula Leopoldina – true pearls of European Baroque.

The Centennial Hall, erected more than a hundred years ago, is similarly recognizable and absolutely worth paying a visit – a modernist building, designed by an outstanding German architect, Max Berg, build particularly for the occasion of the Centennial Exhibition organized in Breslau, commemorating the victory over Napoleon’s army. Right next to it, you will find the recently re-opened for exhibition purposes the modernist Pavilion of Four Domes, which currently exhibits works from the collection of contemporary art of the National Museum in Wrocław. The most interesting buildings erected in the modernist style also include the monumental building of the Lower Silesian Voivodship Office, historic buildings of department stores Kameleon (Szewska street), Renoma (Świdnicka street) and Feniks (market square), which acquired its modernist character as a result of the reconstruction in the 1930s of 20th century.

Architecture enthusiasts will also appreciate decorations and Art Nouveau buildings, slightly earlier than in the modernist style, which in many places in Wrocław are in very good condition – especially when it comes to tenement houses and former department stores in the Wrocław Market Square (e.g. Rynek 1, Rynek 12, Rynek 25), and in its vicinity (corner of Św. Mikołaja and Rzeźnicza Streets, Rzeźnicza 32-33). in Wrocław, tenement houses in the vicinity of streets Traugutta, Prądzyńskiego and Kościuszko, at ul. Prusa, an Art Nouveau building was built at that time, which now houses the Faculty of Architecture of the Wrocław University of Technology, or the building of the former department store at ul. Podwale 37-38, one of the city’s representative arteries. So much for a short selection concerning Wrocław itself, which should not be stopped by any means.

Visiting other parts of Lower Silesia – and not only because of the architectural attractions – may turn out to be equally interesting, because also elsewhere, if not in the Lower Silesian Karkonosze Mountains, tourists visiting the region will have the opportunity to admire the Norwegian stave church (one of the two located outside Norway)? The Wang Temple, originally built in the 12th or 13th century, was moved from the town of Vang to Karpacz Górny in the first half of the 19th century to delight there with an interesting, entirely wooden structure and beautiful decorations (runic writing, representations of Vikings and dragons, etc.). The much later Churches of Peace in Świdnica and Jawor, erected under the Peace of Westphalia, ending the Thirty Years’ War, the bloodiest religious conflict in the history of Europe, are one of the most famous religious buildings in the world (in 2001, Evangelical churches were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List) – They owe their uniqueness as much to their workmanship (richly decorated interiors, including beautiful galleries) and to the rigorous restrictions that accompanied the construction itself (e.g. the need to use only perishable materials, erecting a church outside the city limits and completing works in just one year) .

Among the most important monuments of the material culture of Lower Silesia, the most important are the objects of sacred architecture. And so, a journey around the region following the traces of centuries-old Cistercian activity – from Lubiąż, through Trzebnica, Henryków, Krzeszów, Kamieniec Ząbkowicki, to Bardo Śląskie – gives you the opportunity to see some of the most interesting examples of Silesian Baroque architecture (both churches with baroque interiors and , monasteries, as well as huge and richly decorated abbey palaces – the palace in Lubiąż, together with the entire complex of buildings, forms the largest Cistercian abbey and probably the second largest sacred building in the world). Apart from Wrocław, Świdnica, Jawor and the aforementioned Cistercian centers, enthusiasts of sacred architecture should also mark places such as Wambierzyce, Stary Wielisław or Międzygórze on their map of Lower Silesia – known for sanctuaries that are places of Marian cult, among which the first of these is by far the most impressive. . And yet, parallel to these places, it is worth visiting at least some of the locations included in another thematic route – on the European Route of Castles and Palaces. There will be real gems of Lower Silesian architecture, such as the 19th-century romantic palace in Kamieniec Ząbkowicki, erected for Marianna Orańska, as well as the mysterious Czocha Castles and Książ, which were to play roles – and not necessarily episodic – in World War II, or finally Grodziec, Grodno and Chojnik castles – picturesquely situated strongholds. Similar impressions for lovers of castle (fortified) architecture will be provided by visits to Kłodzko and Srebrna Góra – in both towns you can still admire the amazing buildings of 18th-century fortresses, which were built (Srebrna Góra) or were rebuilt (Kłodzko) at the request of the Prussian ruler, Frederick the Great , contributing to the extensive defense system of the entire Kłodzko Valley against foreign troops.

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Ząbkowice Śląskie

It is no coincidence that Ząbkowice Śląskie, called the City of the Leaning Tower and Frankenstein, is an extraordinary town in Lower Silesia with unique attractions. It is here that the only such Leaning Tower is located and it is in Ząbkowice Śląskie that the terrible story about Frankenstein has its roots.