About the city of Wroclaw

Wroclaw is the host city of the 8th PAC World Conference. It is the fourth largest city in Poland.

The city originally dates back to 147AD, but was first recorded in the 10th century under the name of Vratislavia, where the Bohemian Duke Vratislavus founded a Bohemian stronghold. Over the years, the city has been part of the Kingdom of Poland, Bohemia, Prussia, Germany, Hungary and the Austrian Empire. Wroclaw became a part of Poland in 1945, as a result of the border changes stemming from the end of WWII.

Wrocław was once described as “the holy blossom of Europe, a beautiful gem among cities”, and has always been a bone of contention, changing hands many times throughout its long history. In the past, Wrocław has belonged to Poles, Czechs, Austrians, Hungarians and Germans. Settlers here have included Walloons, Jews, Italians and Ruthenians. The mixture of many different religions and cultures, while troublesome at times, has also contributed a lot to the city. Wrocław lies in the middle of the Silesian Lowland, where the Oder River branches out to form 12 islands. The city is spanned by more than 100 bridges.

The heart of Wrocław is the Market Square, one of the most beautiful and largest urban squares in Poland. As in centuries past, it is home to large banks, elegant stores and famous restaurants. Wrocław’s Market Square was built on the crossroads of important transport routes running from the Czech Republic in the south, to the north, and from Western Europe to the East. The wealth of Wrocław’s residents was built on international trade, and the city grew rich from the taxes flowing into its coffers. With over 20,000 residents in the 14th century, Wrocław was among the largest cities of Europe at the time. In 1387 it became a member of the Hanseatic league, the powerful union of northern German, Rheinland, Teutonic, Swedish and Polish towns, which monopolized northern European trade and became a political power. People come to Wrocław for more than just business. Kings, emperors and presidents have been guests at the Under the Golden Sun, Under the Seven Electors and Under the Blue Sun tenement houses located on the Market Square. They have received homage, held political negotiations and borrowed money from the city. Today their former residences are the most beautiful buildings in the Market Square, and the Town Hall is recognized as a gem of Gothic- Renaissance urban architecture.

There are a number of destinations not to be missed during your stay in Wroclaw. The city center is essentially divided into three main districts. Old Town is home to the famous Market Square, which is surrounded by an array of cobbled street, canals, bridges and churches. This is where you will find a majority of the city’s historical monuments and museums. It also includes the “District of Mutual Respect” where you will find side by side places for different denominations of worship, as well as the city’s only surviving Jewish Synagogue.

While Old Town may be the most popular tourist destination, many say that Cathedral Island, or Ostrow Tumski, is the soul of the city. It was the first part of Wroclaw to be settled by Slavic tribes in the 9th century, and is told to be where the city began. The district and its history hold close ties to Catholicism, and contains the famous Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (Katedra św. Jana Chrzciciela), a true Gothic masterpiece, inside and out.

Last but not least, be sure to take a trip east of the Old Town to Centennial Hall. The city’s only UNESCO World Heritage site, this outstanding piece of architecture turned 100 in 2013 and is surrounded by beautiful parks and gardens, including Wrocław’s Zoo and a spectacular multimedia fountain.