Photographer's Note

St. Elisabeth's Church built in XIII century

Wroc³aw is the chief city of the historical region of Lower Silesia in south-western Poland, situated on the Oder River. Since 1999 it has been the capital of Lower Silesian Voivodeship. The city of Wroc³aw originated as a stronghold situated at a long-existing trading route to Greater Moravia and Bohemia. The city was first recorded in the 10th century as Vratislavia, possibly derived from the name of the Bohemian duke Vratislav I who died in 921. The history of the city begins at the end of the 10th century under the Polish Piast dynasty. At that time the city bears the name of Vratislavia and is limited to district of Ostrów Tumski . In the year 1000 king Boleslaw I of Poland established the first bishopric of Silesia there. The city was devastated in 1241 during the Mongol invasion of Europe. The rebuilding included expansion of the Main Market Square (Rynek) and all surrounding areas. Decimated population was reinforced by many Germans who settled there. Soon the name Breslau appeared for the first time in written records. During much of the Middle Ages Wroc³aw was ruled by its dukes of the Silesian Piast dynasty. Although the city was not part of its principality, the Bishop of Breslau was a prince-bishop since Bishop Preczlaus of Pogarell (1341-1376) bought the Duchy of Grottkau from Duke Boleslaw of Brieg and added it to the episcopal territory of Neisse, after which the Bishops of Breslau had the titles of Prince of Neisse and Duke of Grottkau, and took precedence over the other Silesian rulers. After the demise of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, Prussia, and the city, became a part of the German Confederation. In February 1945 the Soviet Red Army approached the city. Nazi Gauleiter Karl Hanke declared the city Festung Breslau. By the end of the Battle of Breslau (1945), two-thirds of the city had been destroyed as a consequence of German resistance to Red Army attacks. 40,000 inhabitants including forced labourers lay dead in the ruins of homes and factories. Wroc³aw is now a unique European city of mixed heritage, with architecture influenced by Bohemian, Austrian, and Prussian traditions, such as Silesian Gothic and its Baroque style of court builders of Habsburg Austria (Fischer von Erlach). Wroc³aw still has a number of buildings by eminent German modernist architects (Hans Poelzig, Max Berg), famous Centennial Hall (Hala Stulecia or Jahrhunderthalle) by Berg (1911–1913) being one of its finest examples.

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Additional Photos by Aleksander Liebert (alexlie) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 368 W: 86 N: 775] (5359)
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