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Ostrów Tumski ("Cathedral Island", German: Dominsel), in Wrocław, Poland, is the oldest part of Wrocław. Built on what used to be an island ("ostrów", in old Polish), it was an early crossing point on the Oder River.

Archaeological excavations have shown that the area was first inhabited on the west, between the Church of St. Martin and the Holy Cross. The first, wooden church (St. Martin), dating from the IX century, was surrounded by a couple of defensive walls before the river. There were approximately 1500 inhabitants in Ostrów Tumski at that time.

The first constructions on Ostrów Tumski were built in the X century by the Piast dynasty, and were made from wood. The first building from solid material was St. Martin's chapel, built probably at the beginning of the eleventh century by Benedict monks. Not long after the first cathedral was raised, in the place of a small church.

In 1163 the settlement was raided by Boleslaw I the Tall when he returned after being banished. After taking control of the area and waiting for the political situation in Silesia to stabilize, he chose ostrów Tumski as his new seat. He soon started to replace the wooden defenses with bricked ones and to build a roman-style residence.


In 1315 Ostrów Tumski was sold to the church authorities. The whole island ceased to be under secular jurisdiction, which was often used by those who broke the law in Wrocław. An interesting indication of the special status of the island was a ban to wear anything on the head already on Tumski Bridge after the border pole of this small "Church nation" (the law also affected royal members).
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Additional Photos by Ghost Cat (jasmis) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3169 W: 840 N: 3804] (57824)
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