We have exciting news to share. Because of the pandemic situation, probably not many of you were able to see the latest highlight of Wroclaw: The Odra Centrum. In our opinion, this is going to be one of the major sightseeing attractions in Wroclaw!
Why? Because this is literally a place for everyone. This „educational culture center“ combines water, ecology, history, culture, science, workshops and adventures in an extraordinary way. In addition, it provides a space to relax, observe wildlife, enjoy a drink but also to be productive on many different levels – no matter if you need a co-working space or a DIY workshop to craft something.
All of that makes it just the perfect place for everybody. It is just so diverse and we are sure that almost everyone will be captured by the energetic vibes there.
What is the Odra Centrum in Wroclaw?
As you see, it is really hard to narrow down and simplify this new landmark of Wroclaw – but no worries, we will go through some of its offers in more detail here in this post.
There are seven main themes Odra Centrum is putting focus on: People, Culture, Water, Education, Ecology, History and Entrepreneurship.
Brought to life by the OnWater.pl Foundation, it took roughly 5 years to finalise everything and bring this floating house into the right position just next to the Grunwaldzki-Bridge. Finally it could open now, although covid-restrictions are still in place.
We had the lifetime opportunity to be guided around the Odra Centrum in February 2021 and will be taking you on a virtual tour now.
Don‘t forget to add this special place to your list when you visit Wroclaw the next time!
The Odra Cafe - Reading, Relaxing, Co-Working
Hooray! Wroclaw gained another unique (in a positive sense) café with amazing view. We already wrote about the most unusual cafés in Wroclaw in a separate blog post, and this is definitely the latest 2021 addition!
Many cozy corners with Oder river view are inviting to read, work and just chill out. Our favourite place is the table just next to the wall full of barometers – a private collection that made its way here. However, if you look at the huge table in the middle, it is also a good choice for meetings and conferences, all the technical equipment is available too.
However, we can‘t wait to see the rooftop café and little beach bar on top in summer! These pictures unfortunately are not available yet but be sure – you will find us there quite often and we will be updating the pictures.
The Odrathek - a library on the water
This is most likely the only floating library in Poland. Well, not in that sense that you can take books home, but you will find a large collection of books related to Wroclaw, the Oder river or water.
Even if you don‘t speak Polish, there is no reason to worry. We were surprised how extensive the collection was and how many books about these topics actually were written in German and English. We could not resist to leave a copy of our German-speaking alternative guidebook to Wroclaw either! Now you can enjoy that in a very special atmosphere 🙂
In a post-pandemic world there are plans to have readings here, which is not a surprise to us. Nadia Szagdaj, who is writing crime novels that play in Wroclaw, might be one of the first. The team behind Odra Centrum is full of creative ideas, even a digitalisation of the inventory is planned.
It is quite obvious that sharing knowledge is important in many ways, and later we will tell you about one example directly related to the Oder river.
Workshops in the Odra Centrum Wroclaw
One of the main offerings in Odra Centrum is a variety of different workshops. We will be introducing some to you – upon request most are available in English too!
The knot workshop
We are on a floating house, or better: on a ship! Why not learning how to make some real knots? There are around 70 knots available in the exhibition and as you don‘t learn how to make all of them in one single workshop, that just means another reason to get back.
After mastering all the different knots, you can move on to the next level which could be the art of Macrame. If you have not heard about it: Macrame is an ancient technique of braiding strings without tools. Of course, there is an own workshop for that.
Build your own boat
Why not moving to the well equipped workshop now and building your own boat? Okay, maybe just in a small size, but here you can build boat models from sustainable materials such as bark, sticks, corks, string and recycled fabrics.
3D Printing Workshop
As you see, not all the workshops are utilising old techniques from the past. This one certainly is touching the future. If you want to learn the basics of 3D printing, here you go.
What we find very amazing is the plan to design and print all the bridges of Wroclaw soon!
Many, many more workshops
As the choice of workshops is simply so broad, we cannot describe every one in detail here, but we would like to at least give you some more ideas of the others:
- In the photography workshop you learn specifically how to make great pictures of water and wildlife
- In the natural and artistic workshops you will be taught how to make ceramics, tie-dye, and much more
- In ecology workshops you will be exploring the nature during river walks and gain knowledge about wildlife
- The robotics workshop is about programming LEGO robots, a great thing for kids (and for adults too!)
A little museum in the Odra Centrum
We are far away from telling you that the Odra Centrum Wroclaw is a museum, but there are a couple of exhibits which simply deserve to be mentioned!
Don‘t miss the barometer collection in the Odra Café area which we have shown in one of the pictures further up this post. It is amazing to see how different they all are and yet so similar.
In the whole Odra Centrum you can find old maps and pictures of Wroclaw – many from the German times of Breslau. But one of the highlights certainly is a collection of more than 5000 old post cards related to Wroclaw and the Oder river – of which you will see a nice selection here.
It is just so impressive to see the comparison and how the city changed over the past decades. At this point we are not aware of any other public place in Wroclaw that has a comparable collection of old post cards. Beautiful!
The past, the present and the future
Another thing that makes Odra Centrum very special is the fact that all times – the past, the present and the future – were taken into account when it was designed.
The location was chosen by utilising knowledge which already existed more than a century ago. Back in German times, this specific location was considered safe for ships, as the current is pushing ships slightly towards the side of the river instead of taking them away. Also the ice on the river during winter does not built up a huge pressure in this location – another thing known already for long time and visible on old pictures.
Another example is the flooding in 1903. A lot of knowledge was actually gained with that, and if these documents had been available before the huge flat in 1997, the city would have been able to prepare better for it.
This is just another reason why the team behind Odra Centrum is trying to preserve all this knowledge now and shows how the past can have strong influence on the present and future.
Considering the present, a strong focus is on education. The educational part of it wants to make sure that our kids still will be knowledgable about nature and why its protection is so important rather than just playing on phones all day.
Doing the best to be able to still enjoy Wroclaw and our planet in the future, it was built in a way to consider highest standards of sustainability.
Zero Waste and Sustainability
There are so many features of this floating house which were chosen to minimalise the impact on the environment, it won‘t even be possible for us to mention only half of it.
But just some couple of examples:
- The water is going to be reused as much as possible, e.g. when you are washing your hands, that water later on will be used to flush the toilets
- The windows consist of three layers to be prepared for higher temperatures and keep as much heat inside as possible
- Some mini eco-systems were created, that for example plants are watered with water from the aquarium which you can see in the green wall
- Many materials were re-used, for example some of the wooden birds were made out of branches and trash found in the water
- The heat in the building can be re-used more than one time, using the most recent eco-friendly heating technologies available
- 3D printing workshops do not use plastics, but alternative eco-friendly materials, some of the parts required in doors were even printed here
- The workshop should inspire people to repair and reuse old things rather than just buying new stuff and throwing old items away which still could be upcycled or used in other ways
A highly unusual kayak rental
Another great idea we believe is the kayak rental. But the intention here is not to just create another ordinary rental place…. Let us say that the terms and conditions are a bit unique!
The idea is that you can rent a kayak for free, but only under one condition. During your kayak adventure on the Oder river, you just need to collect a little bit of garbage. If you return a full bag of trash, you don‘t need to pay the rental fee!
We participated once in an Oder river cleaning tour with our own kayak and can not stress enough how much we love this idea. Unfortuntaly we cannot show you the kayak launchpad today as it was fully covered with snow, but will update this post during summer again for sure.
If you want to read about more other free things in Wroclaw, check out our post on the best free things to do in Wroclaw here.
Great, but where is it? When is it open?
The OdraCentrum is located just next to the Grunwaldzki-Bridge, not far away from the city centre.
For the workshops you should contact them before and sign up of course, but the Odra Café will be open daily from 9-20h once the covid-restrictions are lifted and restaurants and cafés are allowed to open again. Check out the latest covid-restrictions in Wroclaw here.
We hope that you our post about the Odra Centrum in Wroclaw has inspired you – not only to visit it the next time you are in Wroclaw but also to consider the eco-friendly message behind this project.
On our blog about Wroclaw we have much more information about Wroclaw out there! Check our sightseeing category for a start or our planning guides on how to get to Wroclaw, where to stay, etc. with many personal recommendations.
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