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Ventura Carmona
Ventura Carmona

Bridges, fountains and gnomes

The most beautiful city in Poland

Wrocław is a brand new KLM destination. But how do you pronounce it? What are the highlights of this city? And what is the story behind all those gnomes?

You have probably never heard of Wrocław and chances are you have no idea how to pronounce its name. This colourful city with the tongue-twisting name (vrotz-wahv is a close approximation, if you want to practice), in western Poland is often overshadowed by its big sisters Warschau and Krakau. Undeservedly so! Wrocław is a wonderful, fun and beautiful town.

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The old city

Colourful renaissance buildings, cobblestone streets and hand-lit gas lanterns: Wrocław oozes old-world charm. The heart of the city is the colourful Rynek, one of the largest market squares in Europe. Reduced to rubble in the Second World War, the square has been fully restored to its former glory. Wrocław's best kept secrets lurk underground.That's where you will find the popular beer cellars. Our recommendation is brewery Spiz, an underground beer tasting room with hundreds of beers on offer, mostly local brews.

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A maze of bridges

Wrocław is composed of 12 islands, interconnected by 120 bridges. Also named the Freedom Bridge, the Grunwaldzki bridge from 1910 is the city's main symbol. Another unique example is the Tumski bridge. This is where couples seal their love with a padlock; the key is tossed into the Oder river.

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Thomas Demarczyk

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Looking for gnomes

Wrocław is filled with gnomes! They’re hidden in narrow alleyways and in obscure nooks and crannies, but can also be found in the heart of busy squares. Why does Wrocław have so many gnomes? It may sound like a tourist gimmick, but gnomes have been part of Polish culture for centuries, showing up in numerous stories and legends. The connection between Wrocław and its gnomes is related to the political climate of the 1980s. As a protest against communism, artists, students and other creative minds established the opposition group, Orange Alternative. This group filled the city with whimsical street art, often starring a gnome.

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Gnome scavenger hunt

The first gnome statue in Wrocław was officially placed in 2001 close to the metro station where Orange Alternative often held demonstrations. Since 2005, the number of gnome statues in Wrocław has skyrocketed. Officially, there are ‘only’ 165 gnomes, since you are only allowed to place a gnome with the official approval of the municipality. But this requirement is often ignored and there are now more than 350 statues throughout the city.

Retailers are fully aware that having a gnome outside the door means more customers and tourists will stop by while on a scavenger hunt. The tourist office can provide a map with a route that shows you where to find the thirty most prominent gnomes. Of course, what’s really fun is to search for the hidden ones.

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