Wroclaw today

Today Wrocław, the fourth largest city in Poland with almost 640,000 inhabitants, is a center of art, culture and education as well as of commerce, industry and technology. On the one hand it is a city of tradition and on the other a city of progress.

Wrocław possesses an extensive network of cultural activities and venues, from museums and cinemas to theatres and musical ensembles, as well as a puppet-theatre for children and one of Poland's most renowned operas. In Wrocław there are many annual events and special gatherings such as the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1983 and the World Eucharistic Congress in 1997.

When you visit Wrocław for any of it's diverse cultural, social or economic events taking place in city, you will certainly be struck by the many changes that are happening through out the metropolis. In the 1990s there was an explosion of building projects and renovation programs. The Old Town underwent thorough restoration and the public transit system was upgraded and refitted.

One major testimony to the transformations occurring in Wrocław is the scale of new construction activity. In several ways and methods architects have managed to combine the most contemporary architectural innovations with the appearance and spirit of varying styles from all eras of the city's history. At no. 30 ul. Malarska (Painter St.) the Baroque facade of the Artzat House received a modern addition faced in glass and tiles, built for the headquarters of the Pomorski Bank Kredytowy. This building in form and material, recalling the historical buildings along the street, won First Prize in an architectural contest in 1992. Another example of harmonious blending of the old and new is the Passage of the Blue Sun. The walls of this modern building on ul. Kiełbaśnicza (Sausage-Grinders' St.) are enriched with Gothic and Renaissance details. Nearby, on the corner of ul. św. Mikołaj (St Nicholas St.), the shopping mall "Wratislavia" was built in 1999-2000 along with the Hotel Dorint. Just opposite in 2001 arose the skyscraper of the "Renaissance Business Centre". The elevation of this dark-blue glass building is decorated with elements in stone and the windows are framed in sandstone. In the same neighbourhood, and likewise effectively intermixing the differing styles of the city, is the new seat of the Faculty of Law and Administration of Wrocław University, which stands on ul. Więzienna (Gaol St.). The sandstone-faced building recalls structures of the 19th century, while retaining a modern appearance for the 21st century.

Among the historic architectural monuments of the Old Town there also have been risen new buildings that function aesthetically on the principle of contrast. The enormous Galeria Dominikańska was built in 1999-2000 on Dominican Square. The seven-storey shopping mall with a floor area of 60,000 sq. metres contains shops, restaurants, cafes, a garage with 900 parking spaces and office space. Next to the Galeria is the equally modern Hotel "Mercure Panorama." Another example of this distinctive architecture is at the intersection of ul. Wita Stwosza (Veit Stoss St.) and ul. Szewska (Tailor St.) where there was built in 2001 the office tower of the "Wratislawa Inwest Company," next to that of the "Howell Complex" which was opened the previous year. The glass facade of the retail and office center is set off with a polished travertine. On ul. Świdnicka (Åšwidnica St.) the postmodernist department store "Solpol" was built at the beginning of the 1990s. In the year 2000, on ul. Kazimierza Wielkiego (Kazimierz the Great St.) arose a multi-layered parking garage along with the office block of the LG Petro Bank and in 2001 the "Wratislavia Tower," a multi-levelled complex including offices, retail space and a multiplex cinema was built.

The changing architecture of Wrocław reflects not only the new designs of the metropolis but also the transforming facets of life within the city. Although Wrocław has always been the administrative, cultural and industrial center of Lower Silesia, today it has also become a major focus of foreign investment. Considered a safe and attractive investment target, it has drawn the attention of many multinational companies, which now dominate the city's industrial and production lines. Here it is possible to find divisions of Schweppes, Cadbury, Cussons, Volvo, Siemens, ABB and many more. Investors who build factories and establish firms here value the highly qualified workforce, especially in the fields of electronics and information technology, and frequently seek employees among the graduates of the Wrocław Polytechnic.

Wrocław is a city that respects its past while looking towards the future. It has placed major importance on its development, which is based on technology and transportation. Two large projects will further serve to attract investors in various fields: the creation of the Wrocław Technology Park, which will bring together entrepreneurs with developers and employers of high-technology goods, and the building of the Wrocław Integrated Logistics Center, facilitating the transportation needs of domestic and foreign firms.