Top Historic Sights in Wrocław, Poland

Explore the historic highlights of Wrocław

Wroclaw Town Hall

The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant. The town hall was developed over a period of abo ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Wrocław, Poland

St. Elizabeth's Church

St. Elizabeth"s Church dates back to the 14th century, when construction was commissioned by the city. The main tower was originally 130 meters tall. From 1525 until 1946, St. Elizabeth"s was the chief Lutheran Church of Breslau/Wroclaw and Silesia. In 1946 it was expropriated and given to the Military Chaplaincy of the Polish Roman Catholic Church. The church was damaged by heavy hail in 1529, and gutted by fir ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Wrocław, Poland

Centennial Hall

The Centennial Hall was constructed according to the plans of architect Max Berg in 1911–1913, when the city was part of the German Empire. The building and surroundings is frequently visited by tourists and the local populace. As an early landmark of reinforced concrete architecture, the building became one of Poland"s official national Historic Monuments, as designated April 20, 2005, together with the Four Domes ...
Founded: 1911-1913 | Location: Wrocław, Poland

St. Mary Magdalene Church

St. Mary Magdalene Church was established in the 13th century. During the Second World War the church was seriously damaged. In 1945 the legendary Sinner"s Bell, which was the biggest Silesian bell, was also damaged. St Mary Magdalene was rebuilt during the period 1947–1953. The most precious relic of the church is a Romanesque portal dating from the 12th century, coming from a Benedictine monastery in Ołbin th ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Wrocław, Poland

St. Giles Church

Built in the 13th century, St. Giles is the only church in Wrocław to have survived the Tatar invasions and is today the oldest active church in Wrocław.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Wrocław, Poland

Wroclaw Cathedral

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is a landmark of the city of Wrocław in Poland. The current standing cathedral is the fourth church to have been built on the site. A first church at the location of the present cathedral was built under Přemyslid rule in the mid 10th century, a fieldstone building with one nave about 25 m in length, including a distinctive transept and an apse. After the Polish conquest of ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Wrocław, Poland

St. Bartholomew's Church

Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and St. Bartholomew is one of Ostrów Tumski"s most beautiful and iconic structures, thanks to a 70m steeple and impressive entry staircase, this curious sanctuary is actually two churches in one. Split over two levels, the building comprises the shorter windows of the Church of St. Bartholomew beneath the soaring windows of the upper level Church of the Holy Cross. The first ...
Founded: 1295 | Location: Wrocław, Poland

St. Vincent's Church

The Church of St. Vincent is the seat of the Greek Catholic cathedral of Wrocław. The church was founded by Duke Henry II the Pious together with a monastery for the Franciscans brought from Prague around 1240, perhaps even as early as 1232 or 1234. Initially it was named for St. James and built in the Romanesque style. Very soon into its construction the crypt became the burial place of its founder, who was killed i ...
Founded: c. 1240 | Location: Wrocław, Poland

St. Dorothea's Church

The Church of Sts. Dorothea, Wenceslaus, and Stanislaus was founded to commemorate the signing of a treaty between Casimir III the Great of Poland and Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor. The patrons of the church represented Bohemia, Poland, and Silesia: the coat of arms of the three realms were placed under the windows on the outside of the apse. The church was built under the supervision of the Augustinian hermits on a plot ...
Founded: c. 1240 | Location: Wrocław, Poland

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace was originally a palace of the Prussian monarchy and today it houses the city museum. Initially a Baroque palace of Heinrich Gottfried von Spätgen, chancellor of Bishop Francis Louis of Neuburg, it was built in 1717 in a Viennese style. In 1750, after Prussia took control over Silesia in the First Silesian War, the palace was purchased by the Prussian king Frederick the Great and was converted into his r ...
Founded: 1717 | Location: Wrocław, Poland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Palazzo Colonna

The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.

The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).

With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).

Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.

The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.

The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.