Wroclaw City of Culture

The Take 12 Trips Challenge is a fun initiative encouraging wannabe travellers to take a trip away each month. While you don’t necessarily have to go abroad, we’ve already given you some great idea for European getaways on this blog, and there’s plenty more where that came from…

This time we’re headed to Poland, to learn all about Wroclaw, the 2016 European Capital of Culture. Poland’s 2nd Capital of Culture, after Krakow in 2000, Wroclaw is the largest city in western Poland and has been on a slow and steady recovery since its large-scale destruction in the Second World War and its brutalist rebuilding during the communist era.

Since winning the Capital of Culture award, the city has set about increasing its visibility to tourists by focussing on its very special and fascinating local culture. Since it was founded in the 10th century by Bohemian duke Vratislaus I, the city has been home to Bohemians, Poles, Habsburgs, and Prusso-Germans, as well as a sizeable Jewish population before the horrors of the holocaust. These days, the city’s recent regeneration has seen its cultural diversity return, but in a more modern and cosmopolitan fashion.

Not to take away from the city’s cultural and historical heritage, but by all accounts the most important pilgrimage for visitors to Wroclaw is to visit Piwnica Świdnicka, the city’s foremost beer hall. It has been said that those who have been to Wroclaw without visiting Piwnica Świdnicka haven’t really visited Wroclaw at all, such is the importance of the beer hall. In fact, its location tells its own story, sitting as it does on the southern façade of the town hall.

Once you’ve paid your dues at Piwnica Świdnicka, we’re sure you’ll have a taste for the drinking culture of the city, and luckily there is plenty more to discover in the Old Town’s Market Square, which includes close to 200 pubs, bars, cafes and clubs, offering a range of drinking experiences, all served with a side of that legendary Polish hospitality.

Wroclaw is decorated with monuments, which are spread all over the city. The Market Square’s most popular meeting point is the fountain with a dragon, while the medieval slaughterhouse has a monument outside to the memory of all of the animals slaughtered there. On Świdnicka Street, near the subway, is the Dwarf Monument, which represents the Orange Alternative movement who protested against martial law in the 1980s.

The Polish are known as fanatical and passionate sports fans, so treat yourself to a slice of the fevered and frenzied atmosphere at either a handball, football or basketball game, with all 3 teams bearing the name Slask Wroclaw. The basketball team is one of the best in Poland and plays its games in Ludowa Hall, originally built in 1913 as a concert venue.

There are plenty of great places to eat in Wroclaw too, with a wide range of cuisine available including vegan options at Machina Organika, fine fast food at Patelnia, a small food hatch near Kalambur, or even the small soup kitchen which is dubbed Las, but sometimes called Zupa too.

With so much to do in Wroclaw, you’re sure to find something to make up a trip from your 12 trips. Whether you’re looking to take in the city’s history, culture, nightlife or sports, there’s something for you in the continent’s latest Capital of Culture.

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