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

Abbey of Saint-Étienne

The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.

Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.

The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.

As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).