February 12 - 18, 2017: Issue 300


Plac Solny - the Salt Square.

By George Repin

When the war in Europe ended on the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany on 8 May, 1945 many issues relating to the post-war period had to be resolved. The Potsdam Conference, from 17 July to 2 August, 1945, with the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States of America as participants, set out to resolve these issues.  Many of Europe’s borders were changed. The shifting of the eastern border of Germany to the Oder-Neisse line to the west resulted in the German city known for centuries as Breslau becoming, in 1945, part of Poland.  Its present name, Wroclaw was officially adopted.

Over the centuries the city had been part of or owed allegiance to Bohemia, the Kingdom of Poland, the Kingdom of Hungary, Prussia and Germany.
Before World War II, as Breslau, it had been the largest city of Germany east of Berlin and was a strong support base of the Nazis who, in the 1932 elections, received 44% of the city’s vote.  Ultimately a network of concentration camps and forced labour camps was established around Breslau and the city’s 10,000 Jews died in camps or in the holocaust.

For much of World War II the fighting did not affect Breslau but when the Red Army was approaching in February 1945 the Gauleiter, Karl Henke, declared that the city should be held at all costs.  By the end of the Battle of Breslau the city was in a sorry state with 70% destroyed.

However, the old Market Square and many churches and other fine buildings since have been beautifully restored and Wroclaw is one of Poland’s most attractive cities.

                               Buildings fronting the Market Square.                                               Dwor Polski.  A popular well known restaurant on the Market Square.

In August 1945 the German population was 189,500.  By 1963 most had fled and only about 1000 remained – replaced by the resettlement of Poles returning after the forced deportations conducted by the Soviet Union when it occupied eastern Poland.

Wroclaw, now the largest city of Western Poland, is unique for its mixed heritage, with architecture demonstrating Bohemian, Austrian and Prussian traditions.

It is known for its 13th Century Main Market Square (Rynek) lined with elegant townhouses which is Poland’s second-largest square (after Kracow).  St. Elisabeth’s Church with its 83m. tower is in the north-west corner of the square.  Excellent views of the city can be obtained from an observation platform on the tower. The Gothic Town Hall (built 1327-1504), with a large astronomical clock, on the southern side of the square is one of the most beautiful in Poland. The south-western corner of the Market Square opens into the Salt Square, once the site of the town’s salt trades and now a 24 hour flower market.

The Market Square (Rynek).  The tower of St. Elisabeth's Church is in the distance.

The Town Hall.

The astronomical clock on the façade of the Town Hall.

Flowers on sale on the Plac Solny - the Salt Square.

A Romanesque portal dating from 1280 is incorporated into the southern external wall of St Mary Magdalene’s Church located one block east of the Rynek.

St. Mary Magdalene's Church.

Statues on the wall on either side of a window.

The giant Panorama of Raclawicka (114m long and 15 m high) is further to the east.  It is a massive 360º painting of the 1794 Battle of Raclawice in which a Polish peasant army led by Kościuszko defeated Russian forces intent on partitioning Poland.

A day’s walk through Wroclaw is rewarding – beautiful architecture demonstrating the influences of its history, lovely churches and even some street art.

 An example of street art.

Photographs by George Repin in 2000

Previous Reflections by George Repin 

The Nineteen Thirties  Remembering Rowe Street  The Sydney Push  Saturday Night at the Movies  Shooting Through Like A Bondi Tram  A Stop On The Road To Canberra  City Department Stores - Gone and Mostly Forgotten  An Australian Icon - thanks to Billy Hughes  Crossing The Pacific in the 1930s  Hill End  The Paragon at Katoomba  Seafood In Sydney  How Far From Sydney?  Cockatoo Island Over The Years  The Seagull at the Melbourne Festival in 1991  Busby's Bore  The Trocadero In Sydney  Cahill's restaurants Medical Pioneers in Australian Wine Making  Pedal Power and the Royal Flying Doctor Service  Pambula and the Charles Darwin Connection  Gloucester and the Barrington Tops  A Millenium Apart  Have You Stopped to Look?  Gulgong  Il Porcellino  Olympia  Durham Hall  Sargent's Tea Rooms Pie Shops and Street Photographers The Ballet Russes and Their Friends in Australia  Hotels at Bondi  Alma Ata Conference - 1978 Keukenhof - 1954 The Lands Department Building and Yellowblock Sandstone  The Goroka Show - 1958  A Gem On The Quay  Staffa  The Matson Line and Keepsake Menus Kokeshi Dolls  The Coal Mine At Balmain  The Hyde Park Barracks  The Changing Faces Of Sydney From Pounds and Pence to Dollars and Cents Nell Tritton and Alexander Kerensky  Making A Difference In Ethiopia William Balmain  J C Bendrodt and Princes Restaurant Azzalin Orlando Romano and Romano's Restaurant  Waldheim  Alcohol in Restaurants Before 1955  King Island Kelp  The Mercury Theatre   Around Angkor - 1963   Angkor Wat 1963  Costumes From the Ballets Russe Clifton at Kirribilli  Chairman Mao's Personal Physician  The Toby Tavern The MoKa at Kings Cross  The Oceaographic  Museum  in Monaco  The Island of Elba  Russian Fairy Tale Plates  Meteora  Souda Bay War Cemetery Barrow, Alaska  Cloisonné  Tripitaka Koreana Minshuku The Third Man Photographs and Memories  Not A Chagall!  Did You Listen? Did You Ask?  Napier (Ahuriri, Maori) New Zealand  Borobudur  Ggantija Temples Plumes and Pearlshells  Murano  University of Padua  Ancient Puebloe Peoples - The Anasazi   Pula  The Gondolas of Venice Cinque Terre  Visiting the Iban David The Living Desert Bryce Canyon National Park   Aphrodisias   The Divine Comedy Caodaism  Sapa and local Hill People  A Few Children  Cappadocia  Symi Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre   Aboriginal Rock Art on Bigge Island    ANZAC Cove (Ari Burnu) 25 April, 1997  Hotere Garden Oputae  Children of the Trobriand Islands  Page Park Market - Rabaul  Rabual   Kotor, Montenegro   Galleries of Photographs I   Lascaux  Galleries of Photographs II   The Cathedral of St. James – Šibenik, Croatia  Ivan Meštrović  - Sculptor   Delphi   Gallery of Photographs III  The Handicrafts of Chiang Mai Raft Point  San Simeon - "Hearst Castle"  Floriade - The Netherlands - 1982  Russian New Year  Mycenae  "Flightseeing" Out Of Anchorage Alaska  The White Pass and Yukon Route  Totem Poles  Tivkin Cemetery  Krka National Park - Croatia   Tavistock Square and the BMA  Orthodox Easter  Wieliczka Salt Mine  A Walk on Santorini  Indonesian Snapshots Ephesus - The Library of Celsus  Ephesus - Some Places Of Interest  Waimea Canyon and the Kalalau Valley United Nations Headquarters 1958  A Miscellany of Flower Images Gardens Bath St. David's In Wales   Zion National Park Nicholas Himona - Artist  Kraków  Lilianfels  Collonges-La-Rouge  Gingerbread Houses   Cape Sounion   Delos  

Copyright George Repin 2017. All Rights Reserved.