Wroclaw Region Tourist Attractions

| |

St. Hedwig's Basilica and Monastery in Trzebnica

Trzebnica - a small town situated 25 km north of Wroclaw – is full of architectural monuments. The most famous one is the former Abbey of Cistercian nuns founded in 1202 by Duke Henry the Bearded and his wife St. Hedwig who after her husband’s death joined the local convent. Nowadays the complex consists of St. Hedwig's Basilica and the Monastery. It is mainly the sacred cult of Saint Hedwig that attracts thousands of tourists and pilgrims every year.

St. Hedwig's Sanctuary is the oldest church in Silesia and one of the most significant necropolises of the Dynasty of the Silesian Piasts. It is also one of the twelve largest 13th century buildings in Central Europe which have been preserved till the present day.The Basilica boasts valuable masterpieces of baroque painting and sculptures made by such artists as J.F. Mangoldt, Michael Willmann and Philip Krystian van Bentum.The ones presenting the scenes from the Saint’s life are particularly worth mentioning here. In St. Hedwig's Chapel - the first Polish building constructed in pure Gothic – there is a huge and impressive baroque sarcophagus of the Saint made of marble and alabaster. The other peculiarities include the tombs of Henry the Bearded, the Basilica founder, and Konrad von Feuchtwangen, the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, situated in the chancel, and St. Bartholomew’s crypt – the oldest part of the church built in the Romanesque style. The Basilica also possesses an old organ dating back to 1903 ad thus holds the Festivals of Chamber and Organ Music from May to October.

In the immediate vicinity of the sanctuary there is the Monastery – one of the largest ones in Europe built in the 17th and 18th centuries – with equally interesting sculptures and paintings. Nowadays it is used by the Sisters of Charity of St. Charles Borromeo as their motherhouse and as a hospital. Not only the sacred buildings are worth a visit but the Museum mainly devoted to the cult of St. Hedwig and the Monastery Museum (prior booking is required) as well.


UNESCO Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica

Jawor and Swidnica are particularly notable for the Churches of Peace which are regarded as the largest timber-framed buildings in Europe. They were built by Silesian Protestants in the mid-17th century following the Peace of Westphalia (1648). In accordance with this Treaty, the denomination of the ruler became the dominant religion of the country. Thus, Protestants became a persecuted minority. However, thanks to the successful intervention of the Lutheran King of Sweden, Protestants were finally granted permission to build three churches. However, the following constraints were imposed by the Catholic Habsburg Emperor. The churches had to be made of wood or clay and the use of nails was forbidden. Moreover, they had to be situated outside the city walls and constructed in a short period of time. Though pioneering methods and architectural solutions were implemented, the Churches have survived till the present day. In 2001 both churches were entered on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites. Both the unique exterior and the interior of the churches with the decorations and galleries are worth seeing.

Details: http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/churchesofpeace.html

Botanical Garden in Wojslawice

The Wojslawice Botanical Garden dating back to the 1820s became a branch of the Botanical Garden of the University of Wroclaw in 1988. It is more frequently called the Arboretum of Wojslawice as mainly various species of shrubs and trees are grown here. Some of them are really rare and exotic, e.g. the mammoth tree or the cedar. However, the Arboretum is the most famous for a rich collection of rhododendrons and azaleas. Come and see them in bloom! Open from May to September the Arboretum attracts lots of tourists every year. The Arboretum looks like a huge park with benches and recreation areas. It is a perfect place for a Sunday family outing.

Details: http://www.ihar.edu.pl/gene_bank/Gardens/Wroclaw/ptob.html

The Castle of Ksiaz

Ksiaz is situated not far from Walbrzych, northwest of Wroclaw. It is famed for its castle which is said to be the third largest one in the country. Famous for its 400 chambers, the castle is often referred to as ‘’Versailles of Lower Silesia.’’
The castle of Ksiaz used to be a Gothic fortified stronghold which was erected on a steep rock by Bolko I, Duke of Swidnica and Slask, in the 13th century. During the centuries that followed the castle got into the hands of various aristocratic families. In the mid-16th century the character of the castle changed as the Hochbergs turned it into a luxurious residence. As such it was visited by the celebrities such as Frederick William II, Prussian king; John Quincy Adams Jr., future President of the USA; Nicholas I, Tsar of Russia; Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, among others. However, in 1941 the castle was confiscated by the Nazis who intended to convert it into Hitler’s headquarters. They started to drill the corridors in the rock under the castle but did not manage to finish them as World War II was over. It was then that the Soviet army used the castle as their barracks. Fortunately, thanks to the extensive renovation works, the rich interiors of the castle have been preserved and can be seen on a guided tour.

Apart from the castle and its terraced gardens, one should also see the Ksiaz State Stallion Stud Farm located on the premises of the castle complex. Moreover, the Palm House in Lubiechow on the outskirts of Walbrzych is also worth visiting. There one can see about a hundred species of tropical plants from all over the world and, if tired of sightseeing, sip a coffee in the Palm House Café.

Details: http://www.polandforvisitors.com/poland/sudety_ksiaz

Cistercian Monastery in Lubiaz

This Post-Cistercian Abbey - situated in a small village of Lubiaz -is considered to be one of the largest European complexes and the biggest cistercian abbey in the world. It dates back to the 12th century (1163) when Boleslaw I, Duke of Silesia, brought the Cistercians to Lubiaz and founded the abbey here. The monks came from Pforta an der Saale (Saxony). Athough the abbey was badly damaged during the Hussite Wars (the 15th century) and during the Thirty Years’ War (the 17th century), it managed to turn into a huge religious complex. The years 1681 – 1739 were a prosperous period. It is then that the monastery, the bakery, the brewery, the castle of abbots, the hospital and other buildings were built. During this particular period the buildings got its present shape.

The complex consists of a Gothic basilica, the monastery and the abbots’ palace (the 17h -18th centuries).However, after the dissolution of the abbey in 1810, the abbey was used as a lunatic asylum, an arsenal, a horse stud farm, and after World War II as the the Soviet Army’s hospital.The monastery and the other buildings began to fall into decay. Because of a lack of the owner, the site was due for demolition. Fortunately, in 1989 the Lubiaz Foundation was established. Its aim is to renovate the whole abbey and restore it to its former glory and fame. Some rooms have already been renovated and can be seen by the tourists. Of course, as the whole complex is huge, it will take time to renovate it.Thanks to the renovation works which are still going on, the magnificent interiors of the monastery can be admired nowadays. The Ducal Room, the Abbots’ Refectory, the Library and the rooms beautifully decorated with Michael Willmann’s (a famous Silesian painter) paintings are a must !!! The abbey complex is a masterpiece of Silesian baroque so it is really worth visiting.

Details: http://www.fundacjalubiaz.org.pl

The Castle on the Water in Wojnowice

The Wojnowice Castle is situated about 16 km northwest of Wroclaw. It used to be a defence castle with a moat around and a drawbridge leading to it. Its architectural design was similar to the small defence castles (with an inner courtyard and a well) built in Central and Eastern Europe at those times. It was mainly a defence structure, thus, only its part was habitable. In the 16th century the castle was converted into a Renaissance residence by Nicolaus Schebitz. It is then that the expansion works started and were continued by the distinguished family of the Boners. After World War II the castle fell into decay, however, in the 1960s the Wroclaw branch of the Association of Art Historians became the owner of the castle. They began the restoration of the castle and have contributed to the preservation of this historical site. Since then they have been in the possession of the castle. They have turned it into a hotel and an important culture centre organizing various meetings, conferences, banquets, exhibitions and workshops.

Details: http://www.zamekwojnowice.ig.pl/ang/

Nowoczesne projekty wnętrz