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(Czech: Vratislav, German Breslau, Latin: Vratislavia) is a city in Silesia, in southwestern Poland, situated on the Oder River. Wrocław has a population (2003) of 638,666. It is the principal city of the Lower Silesia region and the administrative seat of the Lower Silesian Voivodship (since 1999), previously of Wrocław Voivodship;. The city is also a separate city-county and a site of the Wrocław County;.

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Municipal government Rada Miejska Wrocławia
President Rafał Dutkiewicz;
Area 292,90 km²
 - total 2003
 - density

638 666
 - city rights
10th century
51°07' N
17°02' E
Area code ++ 48 71
Car registration marks DW 00001 to DW 99999
Twin towns Breda, Dresden, Charlotte, Guadalajara, Mexico, Hradec Kralove, Hrodna, Kaunas, La Vienne, L'viv, Ramat Gan, Wiesbaden
Municipal Website

Table of contents
1 City Name
2 History
3 Historical population
4 Education
5 Economy and Transportation
6 Economy
7 Politics
8 Sports
9 Photos
10 See also:
11 External Links
12 Books

City Name

Wrocław was first recorded in Thietmar's chronicle: John, bishop of Wrocław, newly established Polish diocese, is mentioned in year 1000 (Johannem Wrotizlaensem) and later the city of Wrocław itself (Wortizlawa). The first municipal seal says: Sigillum civitatis Wracislavie, and a simplified city name is mentioned in 1175 as in Wrezlawe).

The early recordings show that the medieval city name was Wrocisław in Polish and Vratislav in Czech and it means the Wrocislaw/Vratislav's town. The Polish name was later simplified in two stages: Wrocisław->Wrotsław->Wrocław and this simplified name was used since the 12th century till now. The Czech speling was used in Latin documents as Wratislavia or Vratislavia, but Polish pronunciation was also infuential as shown in the spelling of Wracislavia. Later the city name was Germanized as Breslau.

The city is named after a person called Vratislaw/Wrocislaw, but we don't know if this has any connection to a Czech duke called Vratislav I. It is also possible the it was named after the tribal duke of the Silesians, of after the early owner of the city, called Vratislav.


Situated at a long existing trading place, a city was first recorded in the 10th century as Vratislavia (Wratislaw) (the origin of its various later names) after Vratislav I (Wratislaw), duke of Bohemia (915-921). The settlement was conquered by the Polish duke Mieszko I in the 990s. Already a place of some importance, it became the capital of Silesia in 1138, where Silesians had founded a settlement south of the river. During Mongol invasion in 1241 most of the population of the city was evacuated. Settlement was then sacked and burned by Mongols, but they had no time to siege the castle where rest of burghers found refugee.

Documents of the time refer to the town by many variants of the name, including Bresslau, Presslau, Breslau and Latin Wratislaw. The restored Breslau town was given Magdeburg city rights in 1262. The first illustration of the city was published in the Schedelsche Weltchronik in 1493.

Under direct overlordship of the Holy Roman Empire the emperors granted government positions to members of various ducal and royal dynasties. The city was a member of the Hanseatic League of northern European trading cities. In 1335 it was along with the almost entire province of Silesia incorporated into the Kingdom of Bohemia and was part of it until 1740s, from 1526 under Habsburg dynasty all continuously part of the H.R.E. The overwhelming majority of the inhabitants became Protestants during the Reformation, but were forcibly suppressed during the Catholic Reformation by the Jesuits, working with the support of the Habsburg rulers.

After extinction of local Piast rulers in 1675 Habsburgs inherited Wrocław. Habsburg resorted to forceful conversion of the city to Catholicism. During the War of Austrian succession in the 1740s the city was annexed by the kingdom of Prussia. The claims of Prussia were derived from the rejected by Habsburgs agreement between the Piast rulers of the Duchy and Hohenzollerns that secured the Prussian succession after extinction of Piasts. The city became part of the German Empire in 1871 after the demise of the HRE in 1806. The kings of Prussia saw to it that Breslau became a major industrial centre, notably of linen and cotton manufacture, more than tripling in population in 1860-1910 to over half a million. Its municipal boundaries were greatly extended in 1928.

Many of the city's 10,000 Jews were murdered during the Nazi genocide of World War II. When Red Army approached, Wrocław was declared a fortress and most of population, except for 150,000, was expelled by Nazi authorities. To build the fortifications slave workforce was needed, therefore the number of concentration camps prisoners increased. After a 3 month siege by the Soviet army in 1945, the fortress surrendered on May 6, 1945. The city was damaged in almost 70%, burned by the Nazi themselves and bombed by the Soviets. A modern residential district, around the Kaiserstrasse, was pulled down by prisoners (thousands of them died) to construct a military airfield. According to the Potsdam agreement the city was given to Poland.

The remaining German population of Wrocław was transferred to Germany by Soviet- installed communist administration by the half of 1946, in line with the decision of the Allies. It was replaced by Poles either from the small town and villages form the provinces nearby, or those expelled from territories lost by Poland to the USSR (many of them from the Lviv, former Lwow, area).

Gradually the old city was restored to its beauty, nearly all the monumental buildings were preserved. Now it is a uniquely European city in Poland, with its architecture echoing that in Austria, Bohemia, Prussia. Wrocław Gothic style is originally Silesian, its Baroque style owes much to court builders of Habsburg Austria (Fischer von Erlach, Ch. Tausch), and Wrocław still has a number of buildings by eminent modernist architects, such as (Hans Poelzig or Max Berg), the famous Jahrhunderthalle (Hala Ludowa) by Berg (1911-13) being the most important.

In July 1997 the city was hit by a severe flooding of the Oder.

Famous people from Wrocław/Breslau

Nobel laureates

Historical population

1800: 64,500 inhabitants
1831: 89,500 inhabitants
1852: 121,100 inhabitants
1880: 272,900 inhabitants
1900: 422,700 inhabitants
1910: 510,000 inhabitants
1925: 555,200 inhabitants
1933: 625,198 inhabitants
1939: 629,565 inhabitants
1946: 171,000 inhabitants

1960: 431,800 inhabitants
1970: 526,000 inhabitants
1975: 579,900 inhabitants
1980: 617,700 inhabitants
1990: ?
1999: 650,000 inhabitants
2003: 638 666 inhabitants


Today's Wrocław has nine universities, including

Economy and Transportation

Its major industries are the manufacture of railroad cars and electronics. The city has both an airport and a river port.


Major Corporations


Wrocław constituency

Members of Parliament (Sejm) elected from Wrocław constituency:

Municipal politics

to be written yet


There are many popular professional sports team in Wrocław area. The most popular sport today is probably basketball thanks to Idea Slask Wrocław; the award winning men basketball team (former Polish champion, 2nd place in 2004). Amateur sports are played by thousands of Wroclaw citizens and also in schools of all levels (elementary, secondary, university).

Men professional teams

Women professional teams

Amateur teams


A skating ring in the Rynek (Market Square) - Dec 2003.

See also:

External Links


Voivodships of Poland
Greater Poland | Kuyavia-Pomerania | Lesser Poland | Lodz | Lower Silesia | Lublin | Lubusz | Masovia | Opole | Podlachia | Pomerania Swietokrzyskie | Silesia | Subcarpathia | Warmia and Masuria | West Pomerania
Principal cities
Warsaw | Łódź | Kraków | Wrocław; | Poznań | Gdańsk; | Szczecin | Bydgoszcz | Lublin | Katowice | Białystok; | Częstochowa; | Gdynia | Toruń Radom | Kielce | Rzeszów | Olsztyn