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How do we pronounce "Wroclaw"? "Vrock-off"? "Rockclaw"? "Vrots-waff?" Either way, this is is a cold Polish city we should visit

October 27th, 2015 by admin | Filed under Blog.
  • Wroclaw will come into a spotlight in 2016 as European Capital of Culture
  • Poland’s fourth largest city has a violent past, and lots of manifest history
  • It is reduction good famous than Krakow and Warsaw, though also giveaway of ram parties

Martin Symington



Hats off to anyone who has even listened of Wroclaw

If we can pronounce a name of a city in south-west Poland – European Capital of Culture for 2016 – we are in still some-more disdainful company.

‘Vrock-off’, ‘Rock-claw’ or anything else that sounds like a impression out of Harry Potter doesn’t come close. Strangely (to non-Poles during least) it’s ‘Vrots-waff’.

Wroclaw: As flattering and charming as any of a Polish counterparts, though still undiscovered by mass tourism

Wroclaw: As flattering and charming as any of a Polish counterparts, though still undiscovered by mass tourism

More surprisingly still, there are approach bill airline flights to Wroclaw from several UK airports, including Luton, Bristol and Doncaster.

Within hardly an hour of touching down I’d done my approach to a Rynek – a outrageous marketplace block framed with Gothic houses and spired churches, with a gargoyled 14th century city gymnasium in a middle. It’s a trafficfree area of markets and restaurants, bars and alfresco cafes.

People were sipping Zywiec beers, examination travel performers, holding horse-and-carriage rides turn a block or parading adult and down like Italians on their passeggiata.

So is lesser-known Wroclaw a new Prague or Krakow?

Yes, in a way. A European city humming with fun; remarkably good value; packaged with ancestral treasures and – a critical and in my book – comparatively giveaway of ram and hen parties (so far).

The stones from that today’s Wroclaw is built tell a intolerable story.

Over a past few hundred years, it’s been fought over time and again, carrying been partial of Bohemia, Austria, Prussia and – until a finish of World War II, when a name was Breslau -Germany. Little some-more than a raise of rubble was left after a Red Army laid encircle in 1945.

Then when Poland shifted west, gaining a newly named Wroclaw while losing Lwow (now Lviv) to Ukraine, tens of thousands upped sticks and substituted cities.

The rebuilding and replacement of a Rynek and ancestral centre began in Communist times and has been painstaking.

There is a Gothic essence amid tiny squares, large antique churches and cobbled alleys clustered with low-lit bars.

I stumbled on oddities such as a Hansel and Gretel building where dual slight houses are related by an archway, suggesting a integrate holding hands.

Romantic? ‘Death is a embankment to life,’ reads a Latin sign on a archway.

Then there are a gnomes. we kept my eyes peeled for a bronze, boot-sized mischief-makers that cocktail adult all over a place and have turn black of a city.

They initial seemed in Communist times, placed personally and defiantly by a subterraneous Orange Alternative transformation to travesty a authorities.

But a small fellows have kept adult with a times and now paint all walks of life: in a wheelchair; tucking into an oversized sausage; or sketch money from a tiny ATM.

A standard Polish meal, we shortly found, was some-more of a swig than perplexing to pronounce Wroclaw.

Even a posher restaurants, such as a Renaissance-fronted Gospoda Wroclawska on a side travel only off a Rynek, will offer we adult robust helpings of pig ribs or kaszanka (blood sausage) with heaps of normal pierogi (dumplings) and burak (beetroot).

Round a dilemma we wandered down cobbled Stare Jatki, an alley of 13th century slaughterhouses and butchers now tarted adult as a fibre of qualification galleries and commemoration shops.

The internal homunculus – butcher, of march – is minding a cluster of bronze plantation animals subsequent to a board dedicated: ‘In honour of a slaughtered animal — on interest of their consumers.’

A few streets divided from a ancestral centre, we found a calmer mood amid a tangled waterways where a stream Oder splinters and rejoins, combining islands related by pleasant bridges.

‘Wroclaw: The Venice of Lower Silesia’ proclaims a internal traveller literature, that is a bit of an exaggeration. (I can't remember Venice being referred to as ‘the Wroclaw of north-east Italy’).

On a other hand, a dual cities are equally explorable on feet and fortifying arias will shortly be listened wafting over Wroclaw’s regretful bridges.

Opera, exemplary song and jazz on a Oder are among a informative extravaganzas betrothed for 2016, along with festivals of film, art and theatre. ‘In a entrance year, we are awaiting to three-way a numbers of a visitors from all around a universe – generally Europe,’ a tourism central told me confidently.

If she is right, and we wish to spend a few days in an alluring and ancestral – though still somewhat trusting – city during a heart of Europe, afterwards go now before it becomes as mainstream as Prague or Krakow.

But if we mark a unit of sozzled bronze gnomes out on a ram celebration lash, we will know we are too late.


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