Population: 632,996 – Established: 10th Century AD - Area: 292.82km2
A BRIEF HISTORY
Now the fourth largest city in Poland, Wrocław (pronounced roughly as “Vrotz-wav”) has spent a large part of its history under the jurisdiction of other territories. After being founded in Bohemia as Vratislavia in the early-to-mid 900’s, the town transferred into the Kingdom of Poland before the century was out. Over the next few hundred years, the city spent most of its time in the control of the Duchy of Silesia and then again, a reunited Poland. However in 1241, the city was devastated in the Mongol invasion of Europe.
After the invasion, the town took on its Germanised name – Breslau – as more and more German settlers arrived, and then was incorporated back into the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1335.
Both the Habsburg Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia were to annex the city over the next few hundred years, and it even became an important city in the German fight against Napoleon in the early 1800’s – before being incorporated into the German state towards the end of the century.
Although its’ people were heavily involved in World War Two, they city itself was hardly affected. The city received numerous refugees from towns ravaged by bombing – at one point the population swelling to around 1 million.
After the end of the fighting the borders swung westwards, and much of Silesia (including Wrocław) was incorporated into the new Polish Republic. As the Germans were expelled, the city received many Polish immigrants from Soviet annexed cities in the east.
Alois Alzheimer: German psychiatrist, and discoverer of “pre-senile dementia” – or as we call it today “Alzheimer’s Disease”.
Louis M. Cohn: Prussian-born, Chicage-based importer suspected of starting the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which killed an estimated 300, and left around 100,000 people homeless.
Mirosław Hermaszewski: Brought up on the outskirts of Wrocław after the war, he is the first and only Pole to fly into space after 8 days aboard the Soyuz 30 spacecraft in 1978.
Adolf Andersson: German chess-master, considered to be the world’s greatest chess player during the 1850’s and 1860’s.
FIVE THINGS TO DO IN WROCLAW
1. Stalag Luft III
Around 80 miles to the north-west of Wroc ław sits the town of Żagań, home to the former German POW camp of Stalag Luft III. During the conflict, a number of Allied airmen attempted to escape by digging tunnels. The digging of three tunnels – Tom, Dick and Harry – became the basis for the film “The Great Escape”.
2. Wrocławski Park Wodny
Situated south of the city centre on Ulica Borowska is Wrocław’s very own indoor waterpark. Containing several slides, a wave pool, Jacuzzis, sauna and eating and drinking facilities, there is plenty to do for people of all ages.
3. Wrocławska Fontanna
In the east of the city - just off of Ulica Adama Mickiewicza - sits the Park Szczytnicki, home to the Multimedia fountain. Approximately 1-hectare in size, the fountain’s 300 jets create a screen of water capable of displaying projections. There are also around 800 lights, which play in time with classical music.
4. Rynek (Market Square)
Like many other Central European towns, Wrocław’s main central square is the heart of the city. The 175m x 205m rectangle is home to many shops, bars, restaurants and clubs; meaning it is a great place to be throughout the day.
5. Ostrów Tumski (Cathedral Island)
Located on the Odra River, Ostrów Tumski is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful places in Wrocław, and all of Silesia. The magnificent Wrocław cathedral sits here, as well as the Tumski Bridge - where people leave padlocks to show feelings for their lovers, before throwing the keys into the Odra.
The biggest city in the Lower Silesia region, Wrocław is the southernmost Polish host city for Euro 2012. The city’s modern airport has great links with Poland and the rest of Europe.
Named after the famed Polish-born astronomer, the Copernicus Airport Wrocław is located approximately 10km to the west of Wrocław city centre. In 2010, over 1.6 million people passed through the airport, and this number is steadily expected to rise to around 3.2 million.
Wrocław Airport is a hub for both Ryanair and WizzAir, receiving regular flights from the UK and Ireland. Ryanair fly to Wrocław from Bournemouth, Bristol, Dublin, East Midlands, Glasgow, Liverpool, Stansted and Shannon; whilst WizzAir fly from Cork, Doncaster/Sheffield and Luton.
For transferring between host cities during the competition, both LOT and OLT Jetair head from Wrocław to Warsaw, whilst the latter also operates services to Gdańsk.
ARRIVING IN WROCŁAW
The number 406 bus is the only bus taking passengers from the airport into the heart of Wrocław. A single ticket costing 2.40PLN (50p) will take you in the direction of the train station, however if your luggage is deemed to be too big, you may have to buy an extra ticket.
The bus journey lasts for approximately 20 minutes, and the service runs every 20-30 minutes between 4:50 and 22:50 on Monday to Saturday; whilst running approximately every 40 minutes on Sunday.
A night bus also runs from the airport to the City Centre, but this is less frequent, and takes around an hour to get to its destination.
Taxis are also available outside of the airport, and a journey to the city centre with an authorised cab driver will cost around 40PLN (£8).
The Wrocław Główny Station is located in the south of the city, along the Ulica Marszałka Józefa Piłsudskiego. From here there are regular services to Poznań (3-4 hours), Warsaw (5-7 hours) and Lviv (12-14 hours); whilst you may to change to get to Gdańsk (10 hours), Kyiv (24 hours), and beyond…
A trip to Warsaw with PolskiBus.com will take just over 7 hours, and the route operates 2-3 times per day. Other operators offer service to Poznań, Warsaw and Gdańsk – The latter taking around 12 hours.
The Wrocław Główny Dworzec PKS bus station is just across the road from the train station, on Ulica Sucha. If you exit to the south, the Bus Station should be right in front of you.
IN THE CITY
Over 20 tram lines and 70 bus routes serve the city of Wrocław, meaning that you are never far away from a public transport link.
Regular bus services start just before 5am, and run past 11pm – with 13 night bus lines filling in throughout the twilight hours.
Single tickets on the Wrocław public transport network will cost between 2.40PLN (50p) and 2.80PLN (60p), depending on the destination and the time of travel.
If you’re planning to stay in Wrocław for a few days, a timed ticket will probably be your best option. A 24-hour ticket will cost 10PLN (£2), a 48-hour ticket will cost 18PLN (£3.60), and for a 3-day ticket, you will have to pay just 24PLN (£4.80). These tickets will allow transport on all bus and tram lines, including the night bus services, for the duration of the ticket. A 7-day ticket is also available for just 30PLN (£6). These tickets can be bought in many “Ruch” kiosks throughout the city, as well as the ticket machines at major stops.
Rolada z Modrą Kapustą
Well-seasoned rouladen (beef strips, rolled into a ball) filled with pickled vegetables and ham. Usually served with red cabbage and Silesian Dumplings, and eaten on a Sunday.
A local take on a potato salad, with squared, boiled potatoes made with carrots, peas, ham, sausage, pickled fish and boiled egg; bonded together with either olive oil or mayonnaise.
Also known as “Brołtzupa”, Wodzionka is a soup made from stale bread. Traditionally, the 2-3 day old bread is soaked in the broth; and garlic, bay leaves, pepper, bacon and butter is added.
A sour rye soup flavoured with garlic, and cooked with fried bacon, sausage and mushrooms. It is usually served, poured over mashed potatoes.
Kołocz z Serem
A Silesian dessert favourite; Kołocz z Serem is a type of yeast cake made with cheese. It can also be made with poppy seeds.
Originally brewed in Wrocław, Piast is now made at the Okocim brewery in Brzesko. Its till keeps links with the city, by sponsoring the local football club, Sląsk Wrocław.
Piast is a golden beer, with an alcohol content on 5.5%; whilst a stronger version “Piast Mocne” is available, at 6.7% ABV.
Distilled in Wrocław, Krakus is a mild 40% ABV, pure vodka. The drink is still brewed using recipes dating back from as far back as 1762.
STADION MIEJSKI, WROCŁAW
Work began on the brand new Municipal Stadium in Wrocław, back in 2009; and now completed, the stadium is fit to hold 44,308 spectators.
Designed in the shape of a giant paper lantern, it is covered by a glass-fibre mesh to allow as much natural light through as possible. A sophisticated lighting system is also in place which is able to light up the stadium in various colours, depending on which team is playing.
The stadium is the home of Ekstraklasa club Sląsk Wrocław, and is currently the second biggest stadium in the league, and third biggest in the country – although it will be surpassed when the Sląski Stadion opens in 2012.
Although the stadium was completed in September 2011, both a George Michael concert and a heavyweight boxing clash between Tomasz Adamek and Vitali Klitschko took place before the Stadion Miejski finally held its first football game on October 28th 2011.
Lechia Gdańsk were the visitors to Wrocław for the opening game, and the home side got off to a winning start as Dutch striker Johan Voskamp netted the decisive goal in a 1-0 win.
Just two weeks later, a 42,000 crowd were on hand to see the Polish national team play in the stadium; where strikes from Mario Balotelli and Giampaolo Pazzini gave Italy a 2-0 victory.
GAMES DURING THE TOURNAMENT
Wrocław will host three Euro 2012 games from Group A, including the Polish team’s final group game (all times local).
Russia v Czech Rep. – 8th June 2012 (20:45)
Greece v Czech Rep. – 12th June 2012 (18:00)
Czech Rep. v Poland – 16th June 2012 (20:45)
GETTING TO THE STADIUM
Sitting to the west of the city, the Wrocław Stadium lies in between Ulica Lotnicza to the south, and Ulica Królewiecka to the north.
Bus numbers 103, 128, 403 and 435 serve the ground, whilst tram lines 3, 10, 20, 32PLUS and 33PLUS also stop close by.
The heart of Wrocław will be the place to be during Euro 2012, as the city’s Fan Zone is located in Rynek (Market Square) and Plac Solny. With an estimated capacity of around 40,000, it is situated right in the centre of the city.
Due to its location in the centre of town, Rynek has fantastic transport links available. Tram numbers 3, 6, 7, 10, 14, 15, 20, 23, 24 and 33PLUS all run past the area, whilst there is a very large number of buses running close, especially around the nearby Galeria Dominikańska shopping mall.
Nickname: Zielono-Biało-Czerwone (Green, White and Reds)
League Champions: 1977.
Puchar Polski: 1976, 1987.
Super Puchar: 1987.
Puchar Liga: 2009.
Coach: Orest Lenczyk
Captain: Sebastian Mila
After making their debut in the Polish top-flight in 1965, Sląsk went on to become a force to be reckoned with during the late 1970s. During this time, 6 top-four finishes in eight years, including their first and only league championship, meant that the club became a regular in European competition.
In their first outing, Sląsk made it to the third round of the UEFA Cup before losing to eventual winners Liverpool. A Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final loss to Napoli just a year later remains the club’s best ever European finish.
It took Sląsk a further 29 years, including a couple of relegations (even dropping down to the third tier in 2003), before they finally returned to the top end of the league – finishing second in the 2010/11 season.
Sląsk supporters have a friendship with fellow Euro 2012 hosts Lechia Gdańsk, as well as Wisła Kraków. They also friendly with fans from Miedz Legnica, Motor Lublin, and Czech club SFC Opava.
Nickname: Miedziowi (The Coppers)
League Champions: 1991, 2007.
Super Puchar: 2007.
Coach: Pavel Hapal
Captain: Szymon Pawłowski
Although located 65 kilometres away from Wrocław in the town of Lubin, Zagłębie are Sląsk’s closest rivals.
The Coppers picked up their first league title in 1991, just two years after their promotion from the second tier; whilst their 2007 win was three years after returning back to the top flight from a season in the I Liga.
Just one season after winning their second league title, the club was implicated in the corruption scandal which engulfed Polish football. For their part in the match-fixing, the club were relegated one division; but after a single season on the second tier, the club returned to the Ekstraklasa in 2009.
Etap Hotel Wrocław Stadion,
Ulica Lotnicza 151
Map Ref. H1
Distance to Stadium: 0.4km
Distance to Airport: 5.0km
Distance to Train Station: 7.7km
Distance to Fan Park: 6.7km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 3, 10, 20, 32PLUS, 33PLUS, 128.
Map Ref. H2
Distance to Stadium: 7.3km
Distance to Airport: 7.8km
Distance to Train Station: 2.2km
Distance to Fan Park: 2.7km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 14, 20, 24, 127, 136, 144.
Ulica Jagielly 7
Map Ref. H3
Distance to Stadium: 6.4 km
Distance to Airport: 9.0km
Distance to Train Station: 2.2km
Distance to Fan Park: 0.8km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 0, 14, 24, C, 128, 144.
Hotel Orbis Wrocław,
7 Powstancow Staskich
Map Ref. H4
Distance to Stadium: 7.4km
Distance to Airport: 8.8km
Distance to Train Station: 0.9km
Distance to Fan Park: 1.3km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 2, 6, 7, 14, 17, 20, 24, 125, 135, 325, 602, A, D.
Mercure Wrocław Panorama,
Plac Dominikański 1
Map Ref. H6
Distance to Stadium: 7.8km
Distance to Airport: 9.9km
Distance to Train Station: 1.1km
Distance to Fan Park: 0.7km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 17, 23, 33PLUS, 114, 120, 900L, 900P, 901. 904, 910, 914.
Sofitel Wrocław Old Town,
Ulica Swięta Mikołaja 67
Map Ref. H6
Distance to Stadium: 6.9km
Distance to Airport: 9.2km
Distance to Train Station: 1.6km
Distance to Fan Park: 0.2km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 3, 6, 7, 10, 14, 15, 20, 23, 24 and 33PLUS, 122, 132, 142, E, K.
Qubus Hotel Wrocław,
Ulica Swiętej Marii Magdaleny 2
Map Ref. H7
Distance to Stadium: 7.4km
Distance to Airport: 9.6km
Distance to Train Station: 1.2km
Distance to Fan Park: 0.3km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 23, 33PLUS,122, E, K.
The Monopol Hotel,
Ulica Heleny Modzrejewskiej 2
Map Ref. H8
Distance to Stadium: 7.3km
Distance to Airport: 9.2km
Distance to Train Station: 1.0km
Distance to Fan Park: 0.4km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 6, 7, 17, 149, 406, 409.