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Wrocław – a city of a hundred bridges


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Introduction

A rich merchant center? The Venice of Lower  Silesia?  The  second  cultural  centre  of  old  Germany  after Berlin?  A  city  on  the  border  of  cultures  and  at  the  crossroads  of  ancient trade routes? Is it  possible at all to define the nature of Wrocław?

Day 1: Wrocław

Flight to Wrocław. During your transfer from the airport to your hotel, you will get some basic information about the city and its historic sites. In the evening we invite you to a special welcoming dinner in one of Wrocław’s restaurants. Overnight stay in Wrocław.

Day 2: Wrocław

Today we will take you on a half-day tour of Wrocław - the main city of Lower Silesia in the south-west Poland. Due to its location, the history of Wrocław is closely bound up with European history in general and the fate of the Habsburgs, Prussia and Germany in particular. The city uniqueness lies in its canals, local tributaries of the River Odra and more than a hundred bridges which have earned the name “the Polish Venice”. You will also visit Ostrów Tumski Island - the oldest part of Wrocław. According to the legend, the island was one of the first fortified settlements in Poland. Across the river stands the Baroque University building whose Aula Leopolidina Auditorium is a masterpiece of decorative art. The Old Town is an essential part of any tour of Wrocław. The Old Market Square and its Gothic City Hall form a wonderful heart to the city, and the splendid facades of former burgher houses make the whole area an interesting architectural attraction and focal point of artistic life. The city’s special atmosphere makes it a very popular destination for city breaks and short stays en route to other interesting destinations, including Kraków, Zakopane, Prague, and Berlin. One of the city’s distinctive gems is the Japanese Garden, which mimics the gardening arts of Japan down to the smallest detail. A walk along its charming paths amidst a variety of plant life and delightful cascades offers an excellent opportunity to wind down before the next day. Overnight stay in Wrocław.

Day 3: Wrocław – Książ – Szczawno Zdrój – Świdnica – Wrocław (167 km )

Today’s itinerary includes a day trip through the charming surroundings of Wrocław. First you will stop off in Książ where a visit to 13th-centuryKsiąż Castle is a must as it is  one of the best-preserved castles in Silesia, and the largest hilltop fortress in the country. During WW II it was partially transformed into a bomb-proof bunker for Hitler. Today it is both a tourist attraction and a venue for various events. Today you will also visit one of the oldest health spas in Lower Silesia – Szczawno-Zdrój. The exceptional healing properties of its waters make the pump rooms well worth a visit, and the Zdrojowy and Szwedzki parks, the pride of this attractively located town, are becoming a prime destination for many tourists and locals on health treks and walks. After a moment of peace and quiet in Szczawno-Zdrój, we would like to show you Świdnica, your final port of call before your return to Wrocław. Luckily, it did not suffer much destruction during World War II and today we can admire the Baroque facades of its Market Square, the Parish Church of Saints Stanislaus and Wenceslas, and the unique Church of Peace considered by many to be the greatest timber-framed church ever built. It was erected in 1650. Although at first it conveys a rustic simplicity, in fact it is a highly sophisticated construction. Modifications made in the 19th century include a vestibule, baptistery and a number of chapels and porches along the sides of the building. At the same time the church’s interior is sumptuously furnished and features both large and small organs. In 2001 the Church of Peace in Świdnica was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overnight stay in Wrocław.

Day 4: Wrocław

Departure.

The Holy Cross in Ząbkowice Śląskie

Erected in the 14th century, it is one of the tourist highlights of Lower Silesia. It is 34 m high and currently leans at a 2 metre angle. The tower most probably began to lean in the 16th century due either to tectonic movements or added stress caused by increasing the height of the tower in the 15th century. The tower currently functions as a viewing point.

Ruins of the ducal castle in Ząbkowice Śląskie

Built at the beginning of the 14th century this Renaissance castle stands guard over the border between Silesia and the Czech Republic. The castle was inhabited up until 1728. After destruction caused by a fire in 1784 the castle fell into ruin.

Church of Peace in Jawor

Together with the Church of Peace in Świdnica, the Church of Peace in Jawor is the largest wooden structure used as a place of worship in Europe. The church has a wooden structure and was built out of straw, clay and pieces of wooden board, because according to the resolutions of the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, a church could not be made out of durable materials like stone or brick. It also had to be located within a canon shot of a town’s walls.In 2001 it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Wang Chapel in Karpacz

A small mountain resort and winter sport and hiking centre. Karpacz offers not only sporting activities but is also well-known for its 12th century wooden church which includes Romanesque touches. The Wang Chapel was transported from Norway to Karpacz in the 19th century and today is still used for Sunday morning services for Protestants as well as for organ recitals during the summer. If the weather is pleasant you may be tempted to take a chair lift ride to the top of Kopa for a superb panoramic view of the region.

Brzeg Dolny Palace Park complex

This small town between Wrocław and Opole used to be the seat of Piast dynasty until the 14th century. Today it houses the Museum of the family. The Palace is predominantly a Renaissance structure blended with Gothic elements. Its impressive Renaissance interiors  became prototypes for other palaces in Europe. Other points of interest are the Jesuit Church of the Holy Cross, the Piast College, and the Church of St. Nicholas.

The Cistercian Abbey in Lubiąż

The Cistercian Abbey ranks as one of the largest and most impressive former monastic complexes in Central Europe. The foundations of the complex are of medieval origin, but its style is more that of sober Baroque. Although only two rooms are available for visitors, its 223m facade is worth a trip in itself.

Rydzyna Castle

One of the largest ducal palaces in Poland,which is a magnificent example of 17th century Baroque architecture,is surrounded by a moat. Some rooms have been restored to their original splendour. There is also a hotel, a restaurant and a park.

The Museum of Gold in Złotoryja

Złotoryja is a small town in the south of Wrocław and its history dates back to the 12th century, when a gold mining settlement was established there. However, gold was not the only reason for its fame as it was also located on the trading route between Leipzig and Wrocław. Highlights of Złotoryja today include the Aurelia Gold Mine and the Museum of Gold.

Książ Castle

 

One of the best preserved castles in Silesia and the largest hilltop fortress in the country. During WW II it was partially transformed into a bomb-proof bunker for Hitler until 1945 as part of Project Riese, a Nazi German mining and construction project. The castle was later occupied by the Red Army and most artifacts were lost or destroyed.

Świdnica

Luckily it did not suffer –much destruction during World War II and you can admire the Baroque facades of its Market Square, the Parish Church of Saints Stanislaw and Wenceslas, and the unique Church of Peace, considered by many to be the greatest timber-framed church ever built. In 2001 the Church of Peace in Świdnica was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the largest wooden structure used as a place of worship in Europe. The church has a wooden frame and was built out of straw, clay and pieces of wooden board, because according to the resolutions of the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, a church could not be made out of durable materials like stone or brick. It also had to be located within a canon shot of a town’s walls.