Neighbourhoods,  Places,  Sightseeing

30 Facts about the Market Square in Wroclaw you should know

Breslau Marktplatz

If you have been already in Wroclaw, for sure you have seen the Market Square (Rynek). But do you know that actually there is a lot of trivia about the Market Square in Wroclaw? We collected our favourite facts and are going to share them with you in this post!

We promise you some secret tunnels, Egyptian art, fake windows, executions and more! Although the Rynek, how the Market Square is named in Polish, is one of the most popular places to see amongst tourists from all countries, no a lot of people actually know all these facts.

Of course we put our fun facts about the Market Square Wroclaw into an order that is walkable. That makes it possible to just take this post with you and walk from one fact to the next!

General Facts about the Market Square

The Market Square in Wroclaw is the third biggest in Poland! That qualifies it to be amongst the largest market squares in Europe as well.

There are different sources with different opinions on its size, we believe that 205 by 175 meters is the most accurate.

The Market Square of Wroclaw has a long history. It was delineated in the early 12th century, most likely after the Mongolian invasion in 1241.

Well, it also used to be a quite busy place. Not only was the Market Square in Wroclaw full of cars, but also trams were directly crossing it.

They were banned in the late 90‘s and today only bicycles, horses and special electric cars for tourists are permitted.

Max Berg, the architect who designed the Centennial Hall (one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Wroclaw), wanted to demolish a part of the Market Square in order to reshape the centre of Wroclaw. The plans have never been completed.
Market Square Wroclaw Rynek
The history of giving names and coats of arms to houses started in the Middle Ages, when most of the population was illiterate.
That is why buildings for example are named the Golden Stag House No. 44, the Golden Jug House No. 22, the Golden Dog House No. 41 etc.
This is a moving Market Square! Why?
It wasn’t always located on the same level. Since the Middle Ages it went up by 2 meters!
Hey Jimmy Wroclaw
Since 2003 each year on Wroclaw‘s Market Square people meet to beat the Guiness World Record in the category of the largest guitar ensemble.
It happens during the „Thanks Jimi Festival“ and the participants are playing the “Hey Joe” song by Jimmy Hendrix. In 2020, that happened virtually.
Christmas Market 2020 in Wroclaw

Christmas Markets in Wroclaw have a long tradition. They were already organized in the 16th century.

Nowadays, in late November and December we can still enjoy this event…unless it’s 2020 😛

Here we have more information on the Christmas Market in Wroclaw for you.

Let‘s start a trivia walk around the Wroclaw Market Square now!

While the previous facts were more general items, now we are starting a little round trip around the Market Square. For that purpose, we took care that the following facts are all in order for a perfect round trip, starting in front of the Town Hall at the Świdnicka Restaurant 🙂

We recommend to bookmark this page if you plan to visit Wroclaw soon – then you can use it as mobile navigation and hunt from one fact to the next one.

Piwnica Świdnicka

The Świdnicka Cellar is considered to be one, if not the oldest restaurant in Europe.

There is a secret tunnel which leads to the house at No. 22 where the beer supplying the restaurant was brewed.

Bear at Wroclaw Market Square

You are superstitious? Perfect, then you should touch the nose of this bear for good luck! But wait, the tounge will work too… We guess.

It was created in 1998, but after another bear which used to be here from 1904 till the Second World War when it got lost.

Richard Plüddemann
The figures on the Town Hall represent different classes of society. But did you know that they have faces of real people that lived in Wroclaw.
Richard Plüddemann, a city architect, was one of the models, you see him here in our picture.
Fredo Wroclaw Rynek

Close to the main entrance to the Town Hall there is a monument of Aleksander Fredro, a polish poet.

This statue was taken from Lviv to Wroclaw in 1956 and replaced a statue of the Prussian King, Frederick William III. 

This is also where the famous free walking tours in Wroclaw are starting!

Wroclaw Old Town Rynek

The construction of the Town Hall started already in the 13th century, to be precise in 1299.

The tower of the Town Hall was added only in the in 16th century and it is 66 meters tall.

It took more than 300 years to finalise this building!

Salt Square Wroclaw
The Salt Square is just right next to the main Market Square, you could say it is the smaller brother/sister.
The name has roots dating back to the Middle Ages when wagons of salt were being brought there. Nowadays you can find 24/7 flower stalls. More info in our post about the best local markets in Wroclaw here!
Gas Station Wroclaw Rynek

It’s hard to imagine but back in the times there was a gas station directly at the Market Square.

It was built before the Second World War but operated there for many years until the 70’s. Today in the same place you find the citybike station (click here for more info about city bikes) – at least here the revolution of urban mobility has already happened!

Egyptian Relief Wroclaw Market Square
An Egyptian relief in Wroclaw? Indeed.
The facade of the Santander Bank is covered by reliefs which are inspired by Egyptian ancient art.
This building was built in 1929-32 and used to be one of the tallest back in the time.
New Town Hall Wroclaw

The New Town Hall on the west side of the Market Square was built between 1860 and 1863.

It is the seat of the mayor of Wroclaw and the City Council. And actually also Wrocek, the city cat which is roaming around in the mayors office!

Portal Wroclaw

Long time ago, there was ab building in the middle of the Market Square with the function as a city scale.

In the passageway of Sukiennice Street you will be able to see the remains of it – a beautiful portal and bay window.

The Western Side of Wroclaw Rynek

The largest part of the Market Square is the western side.

This area has seen many fortunate and unfortunate events – concerts, tournaments and executions.  

The Hussite Jan Krasa was killed there, to give you one example…

Seven Electors Wroclaw

The whole west side of the Market Square is also known as the “Side of Seven Electors”.  

This name refers to the mural on tenement house No. 8 where an image of Leopold I along with seven Prince-electors is painted on the front wall.

Pan Tadeusz Museum Wroclaw

In the Golden Sun House, you will find the Pan Tadeusz Museum. The manuscript of polish national epic – “Pan Tadeusz” is kept here.

And on the left side as part of the museum we can recommend you the „Popiół i diament“ café 🙂

Fake Window Wroclaw

If you look closer on the windows of building No. 5 you might see something odd.

Yes, indeed one of the windows is purely fake. It was simply painted to keep the symmetry.

Golden Eagle Wroclaw

The beautiful baroque portal from the Golden Eagle House is not an original part.

In the past it belonged to the mansion of the Schreyvogels.

Fountain Wroclaw Rynek

The modern glass fountain was created in the year 2000 on the west side of the Market Square.

It is named after the previous major of Wroclaw – Bogdan Zdrojewski – and hence is simply called „Zdrój”.

Market Square Wroclaw
The tower of the St. Elisabeth Church is a perfect viewpoint if you want see a panorama of the old town.
We all are very lucky to have that opportunity to climb the more than 300 stairs up to the very top of the church tower – it got burned a couple of times…
Hansel and Gretel Wroclaw

The tiny „Hensel and Gretel“ houses are joined by an arch.

This place used to be the gate leading to the cemetery of the St. Elisabeth Church and became one of the most popular picture motives at the Market Square in Wroclaw!

Pillory Wroclaw

The pillory on the Market Square just in front of the town hall is no longer used as a tool of justice…

Today it is a popular place for public demonstrations as against the dictatorship and cruelty in Belarus, and of course also against the Polish government.

Feniks Wroclaw

The Feniks department store is missing the tower globe which used to be on top – check out some old pictures!

It has been destroyed during a thunderstorm – which must have been a dramatic moment!

Pharmacy Museum Wroclaw

Another museum is located in the „House of the Silesian Pharmacists“ – since the 13th century till the 1950s it was constantly in operation as pharmacy.

Quite obviously it became the Museum of Pharmacy where today also an alchemist workshop is located in the basement.

The Penitents Bridge Wroclaw

The two towers of the St. Mary Magdalene Church are connected by a footbridge in 45m height.

It’s another amazing viewpoint which even has its own legend… More information in our post about the best things to see in Wroclaw here.

You want to learn more about Wroclaw now?

Want to know more about Wroclaw? Of course on our blog there is much more information about Wroclaw! Or maybe you want to try one of the guided tours in electric cars, during winter cozy and with heating, during the summer open air 🙂

Here you find the latest availabilities and best online fares of the electric car guided tours of Wroclaw – as well as other cool tours to do in Wroclaw.

We hope that you liked our post with 30 interesting facts about the Market Square in Wroclaw!

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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