We are starting today to explore the capital of Lower Silesia - Wrocław. Wrocław has been an important city for a thousand years - it was first referred to around year 1000. One of the reasons for this was that it was lying at the crossing of two important trails - Via Regia and the Amber Road. With time, it became also part of other important trails like the Route to Santiago de Compostela that we talked about in summer time.
The Old Town of Wrocław is truly beautiful, with colourful buildings.
Some of them are large and other very narrow, with just two windows. In the Middle Ages the city tax was calculated based on the number of windows a given house had.
What is very unusual about the Market Square in Wrocław is that it is composed of two squares. The external one is formed by residential buildings but there is a second one, internal, that is also largely made of residential buildings.
The internal square includes also the new Town Hall, built in the middle of nineteen century. It is the seat of the local government.
Since I came to Wrocław in winter, the Christmas decorations were still in place. This could be seen in the fountain facing the new Town Hall ...
... and this huge Christmas tree.
The houses facing the Town Hall are far larger then on the other side.
I am sure that you have guessed that the presence of an "new" Town Hall means that there is an old Town Hall as well.
This one is gothic in style since its construction started in thirteen
It is not easy to take a full picture of it but luckily there is a miniature that helps to assess its shape and style.
The best known view of the Town Hall, shown on most postcards from Wrocław, is this one. The tall structure in front of the building is a pranger. In the past, this was a place of public punishment for criminals.
Obviously, the Market Square, as its name suggests, was also an important place for trade and crafts. If you walk a few steps on the left, you will see a street called Jatki that used to house butchers' shops. It is preserved in a state it had in the Middle Ages, allowing us thus to have a little trip back in time.
But if you would like to buy nowadays some fresh fruit I would recommend that you go just a bit further, to the Wrocław Market Hall.
It is relatively new since it was built in 1908 only.
Inside you can find fresh fruits and vegetables of all kinds.
The ceiling reminds me a bit of gothic churches, like the one of Virgin Mary located just on the other side of the street.
This dark building is surprisingly light inside.
I hope that you have enjoyed the first day that we have spent in Wrocław. I have more great places to show you so stay tuned. I propose we just go back to the Market Square for a second, to admire the evening illumination of the old Town Hall.