The architecture in Wroclaw is full of contrast and diversity as more than 1000 years of history shaped the city. Many different rulers left their marks which are still visible today and of course the tragedies of multiple wars contributed to what we see today when we visit Wroclaw.
In this article we want to introduce you to the 25 most impressive buildings in Wroclaw. Of course we know that there are much more remarkable buildings – again we had to limit ourselves to our favourites.
You will find one of the most impressive baroque buildings in the entire region, castles and palaces, Gothic churches, but also modernist and post-war realism architecture. All pictures were taken by us, if you are interested in some of them as a print or for other use, just drop us a quick mail. Obviously you are also invited to share this post with your friends 😉
Let us find out now if you already know all of the most impressive buildings in Wroclaw!
1. The Water Tower
One of the remains from the German part of Wroclaw’s history is this unique water tower. We believe it is one of the most beautiful water towers of the world! Designed by Karl Klimm and built in 1904-1905, it even had an electric lift from the beginning. It is 63m high and has an observation platform at 42m, unfortunately currently no public access is possible – it is available for sale.
2. The Centennial Hall
Built during the times of the German Empire from 1911-1913 based on a design from architect Max Berg, the Centennial Hall (Hala Stulecia) is one of the most impressive buildings in Wroclaw. When it was built, it was the largest ferro-concrete building in the world.
In 2006 it was recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you want to find out why the construction workers were afraid and some people even estimated that it would collapse within 5 minutes, you should check our special article on it.
The building itself was already created in 1690-1710, the Ossolineum moved into it in 1947. Some of the most important cultural treasures of Poland are kept here under special security measures. The garden is a popular picture and instagram spot – and a little hidden café makes the stay even better.
4. Renoma Department Store
A masterpiece of modern architecture, opened already in 1930 as department store „Kaufhaus Wertheim“. The parking lots on the roof top provide great views over the city and during summer times it transitions into an urban roof garden.
5. National Forum of Music
Opened in 2015, the National Forum of Music is one of the latest huge public building investments. After six years of construction time, just in time before Wroclaw was the European Capital of Culture in 2016, one of the largest concert halls of Poland was born.
6. The Cathedral (Ostrów Tumski)
One of the most impressive landmarks for sure is the 98 meter tall Cathedral of Wroclaw, the full English name is Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Originally built in the 13th-14th Century it had to be reconstructed a couple of times as sadly throughout history, people did not manage to live together peacefully. In front of it, you will find pictures of the destruction from the Second World War. Just in 1991, the towers were fully reconstructed again.
Originally, those six 55 meter tall buildings with brutalist character erected in 1973 were planned with an urban garden on the facades. However, in the end there was not enough money and we can just imagine how those buildings would look like today if they were covered in green leaves…
8. The Town Hall (Ratusz)
For sure the most iconic landmark of Wroclaw is the beautiful town hall (Ratusz). It is a true gothic masterpiece which origins go back as far as the 13th century. However, it was only finalised in the middle of the 16th century.
9. Market Hall (Hala Targowa)
Originally four market halls were planned to be built in Wroclaw. Two made it from planning stage to the completion and only one survived the war – the popular „Hala Targowa“. After a temporary use as horse stable it is an amazing market hall again today!
- Click here to navigate to the Market Hall
- Check out the craft-beer place in it in our article about the best craft-beer in Wroclaw
- Visit the AeroPress world champion in his café inside of the market hall – click here for our coffee guide to Wroclaw
- And this way for the best markets in Wroclaw please, including much more secret ones
10. The University
The construction of the university had to face a lot of challenges. Politics, natural disasters, lack of money and war are just some of the themes related to it. Today we can be happy that the longest baroque facade of the world was finally completed in 1740. Just in time for new owners as shortly after, Silesia went to Prussia….
11. Sky Tower
Is it the highest building of Poland or not? Well, that depends on the definition as the 212 meter tall building is just a bit smaller than the Palace of Culture in Warsaw with 237 meters height – but only including its spire. Without doubts, it is the tallest building in Wroclaw and provides great views from the top!
A funny comment we got on reddit was like this: „Why is the Sky Tower the best place to live in Wroclaw? Because then you do not see the Sky Tower!“…
12. Monopol Hotel
Often described as the most beautiful hotel of Wroclaw, the Monopol Hotel was already built in 1891-1892. In the long history many famous guests have stayed here, including Marlene Dietrich and Pablo Picasso. Yes, even the balcony was just added for a well known dictator. Don‘t miss the amazing view from the roof top bar!
13. The Wroclaw Train Station
No, this is not a castle, this is the main train station of Wroclaw! Designed by Wilhelm Grapow and constructed from 1855-1857, the style is quite uncommon for this point in history. Our personal highlights besides the architecture are that it does not host a shopping gallery inside and the fact that there are amazing night train connections!
14. The Courthouse of Wroclaw
If you have to go to court for some reason, here you can do it with style. Since 1852 it serves as prison and district court. Some people say, there are significant similarities with the main railway station in Wroclaw…
15. The Partisan Hill
This beautiful Belvedere was a gift to the city from the Liebich-Brothers back in 1867. Before the war it even was a main reason for a lot of people to travel to Wroclaw, today it screams for renovation. The past years that was a challenge as in 1990 a questionable deal was made with a private investor who was supposed to restore it – but never did. Just recently the city got all rights returned, stay tuned…
16. The Police Headquarters
Another building where you hopefully do not have to go inside for some reason – it is the Police Headquarters. The six sculptures on the front facade are watching on you from the very top… Once it used to be the regional Communist Security Office. Beautiful or not? Well, definitely another category than the other buildings we are listing here, this one is from the 1930s.
17. White Stork Synagogue
The only Synagogue that survived the war in Wroclaw. The arsonists were too afraid that a fire could also spread to other buildings around and did not burn it down. Very fortunate as today the White Stork Synagogue it is hosting a great summer festival every year! Enjoy the view with a breakfast or drink from Mleczarnia, a great place in the backyard…
18. The Faculty of Architecture
Often compared to Hogwarts, it has a little magic touch for sure. Again some names were involved that appear quite often, Karl Klimm and Richard Plüddemann created this wonderful building in Wroclaw in 1904. Still the German sign for „Maschinenbau“ is visible, along with the remark „Erbaut 1904“ to indicate the year it was completed.
19. The Opera
The Opera of Wroclaw was built between 1839-1841 based on a design from Carl Ferdinand Langhans, another name that is attached quite a lot to architecture and Wroclaw. Located in a corner together with Hotel Monopol, Renoma and the National Music Forum is it the perfect place to make a couple of nice pictures with amazing buildings!
20. The Contemporary Museum
One of the five air raid shelters created in Wroclaw during 1940-1943. But this one is special as it holds not only the contemporary museum of Wroclaw… It even has an amazing urban roof top café that can be visited without buying a ticket for the museum. And if ever something should happen, keep in mind that the walls are 110cm thick. Oh, and did you notice the train to heaven just in front?
21. Leśnica Castle
This lesser mentioned building dates back already to the 12th century and is hosting a cultural center now. A couple of times it was burned down, but re-build every single time. If you have not been yet, don‘t miss a nice walk around the gardens. In front you find also more information on the castle route of Lower Silesia.
22. The Four Dome Pavillon
Created simultaneously with the Centennial Hall in 1913 you can see another example for the great architectural spirit of the city. Hans Pölzig designed this wonderful building with lots of natural light in mind. Since 2016 it hosts the contemporary part of the National Museum – totally worth a visit!
23. The Pawłowice Palace
Now used as a congress centre, it often is forgotten when people are talking about beautiful buildings in Wroclaw. Although it is a little bit outside of the city centre, it is totally worth to take a little trip. Especially the park around is amazing and again provides great opportunities for (hobby) photographers. The restaurant inside is supposed to be good too, but unfortunately we could not try it yet…
24. The University Library
Richard Plüddemann created this wonderful piece of neo-Gothic architecture, it was built in 1887-1891. We love the details, especially the wonderful clock on the tower – which looks at you late at night when you change pubs from the city centre towards the Four Denomination District 😉
25. The St. Mary Magdalene and Elisabeth Churches
Yes, we definitely could create a post with just 25 beautiful churches of Wroclaw… And although it is always hard, we had to limit ourselves here to our top favourites. We picked the St. Mary Magdalene Church with the Penitents Bridge and in the background the Elisabeth Church with the largest gothic tower of Poland. You can go up on both of them and enjoy amazing views!
Interested in the architecture of Wroclaw?
If you are interested in the architectural history of Wroclaw, we can highly recommend you the architectural guide which you can see here on the side.
It provides an amazing overview of all periods and includes many, many more buildings with much more details and information.
We have it ourselves and soon in one of our upcoming posts we will recommend the best books about Wroclaw in more detail, this will certainly be part of it.
We hope that you enjoyed the most impressive buildings in Wroclaw as much as we did! For sure we could add much more, like the theatre or the igloo house, but we just had to limit ourselves 🙂
Don’t forget to check out some other very hipster things to do in Wroclaw!
You want to plan a trip to Wroclaw? Check out our planning guides in the useful information section here.
Are you interesting in using some of the pictures above? Maybe a nice framed print for your living room? Also if you want to use some of them on your website, please just contact us.
Do you have some comments on this article? Did we miss an important landmark? Did you visit some of them? Help us and also help other visitors by leaving your feedback in the comment section below!