WrocławThe south-western city of Wrocław is the 2016 European Capital of Culture. Wrocław, the historic capital of Silesia, is one of the biggest and oldest Polish cities. Vratislavia was first unambiguously mentioned as a mighty burg about the year 1000. It was then that a Polish ecclesiastical see was created there. In 1335 the city has fallen under the sway of the Czech king John of Luxembourg and broke its ties with Poland. Later Vratislav, together with the entire Poland, fell under the sway of the Hungarian monarchy, and it is from those times that the Hungarian name of the city, Boroszló, dates. Together with the Czech crown, Wrocław was incorporated in to the Habsburg monarchy and renamed to Breslau. In 1741 the entire Silesia was taken over by Prussia, and thus Wrocław was incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia, and later the German Reich, until 1945. After the Second World War Wrocław was returned to Poland.

It will officially receive the title during a series of events in ten days’ time, culminating in a large-scale performance on 17 January titled “Awakening”. It is the work of Chris Baldwin, one of the curators of the year-long Wrocław festival. The three-day opening gala comprises of over 100 events, including an exhibition “Made in Europe. Twenty five years of the European Union Award for Contemporary Architecture” and a one-man show of the San Sebastian-born Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillidy. San Sebastian is, alongside Wrocław, the 2016 European Capital of Culture. Later in the year, Wrocław will host an international theatre festival and the European Film Awards presentation ceremony, among many other events. According to City President Rafał Dutkiewicz the European Capital of Culture project is one of the most important events in the city’s post-war history.

Wrocław is full of monuments of its thousand years of history. It is best to begin visiting the town in its oldest part, or the former islands on the Odra River and its forked tributaries. The most famous of these are Ostrów Tumski and the Piasek island, a medieval residential quarter, today one of the Polish Monuments of History. 

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