Wroclaw, Breslau, two names for one city (Part 1)

Photo Catherine Gras

Some regions of Europe remind us that borders have moved a lot over the last centuries, such as Breslau, now Wroclaw, in Silesia.

This city belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, then became part of Germany and since 1945 is in Poland. It is a city of great architectural wealth. When you visit it today, you are definitely in Poland, but for those who are familiar with Berlin and the modernist movements of the early 20th century, many of the buildings have a familiar feel.

Some of the great names of the Bauhaus, Expressionism and other modernist movements that were active in Berlin can be found here.

But let’s start with its old town, a colourful town, especially in its main square:

Even more beautiful in the late afternoon sun:

The city is crossed by the river Oder or Odra (which a few hundred km further on forms the border between Germany and Poland) and around its banks there is a district with many churches:

The great hall, a covered market, built at the very beginning of the 20th century, prefigures an ambitious use of concrete:

If you look hard enough, you can find Jugendstyl courtyards like in Berlin:

Also at the beginning of the last century, in a brick expressionist version, the post office building, which for a long time was the highest building in the city:

Just before the First World War, in 1913, Marx Berg built the Centenial Hall, a very interesting building which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site:

I’ll see you in the next post for the aftermath of the First World War.

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