Who knows Wroclaw, will know them: Everywhere are little dwarfs in Wroclaw, performing all possible kind of actions. Sometimes funny, but also serious and thought-provoking, they are waiting for visitors who will make pictures of them 🙂
Today we will investigate: Where are the dwarfs in Wroclaw actually coming from and what is that all about? We did not create a map ourselves but of course we have additional information and resources available for you.
Where are the Wroclaw dwarfs coming from?
Certainly, the dwarf hunt in Wroclaw is one of the most popular activities for visitors from all over the world. But how did it start? How could it happen that the city is almost taken over by these little dwarfs?
It all began with a protest in the 80’s. The so called “orange alternative” was a movement, which evolved from the dissatisfaction with the communist regime.
Well, it is commonly known how communist governments normally would treat the people critizising them. It could be dangerous to have a different opinion than the public one. For example, anti-communist graffitis were frequently overpainted that the original message was not visible anymore.
Over time, the colour orange became kind of a response to the red, which was mainly associated with communists. During demonstrations, people started to wear orange hats, which reminded of dwarfs.
In August 1982, the censored graffits were overpainted again by the anti-communist-movement – with pictures of dwarfs. Wouldn’t it be ridicoulous if the government would censor pictures of dwarfs? This is how the uprising of the dwarfs became a silent, but very visible form of the protests.
Who was the first dwarf in Wroclaw?
Back then, there were no bronze statues of the dwarfs yet – their invasion began much later, in June 2001, in Świdnicka Street. There, the “papa dwarf” was erected to commemorate the protests at that time. This triggered an avalanche of unexpected scale. In 2005 another five dwarfs were installed in the city, all designed by the artist Tomasz Moczek.
Since then, the dwarfs have miraculously multiplied exponentially and now all conceivable variants can be found. There is now a dwarf orchestra, a prison dwarf, a selfie dwarf, a computer dwarf, a Martin Luther dwarf and many, many more.
How many dwarfs are in Wroclaw?
The current number of dwarfs can only be estimated. According to some sources there are now over 500 of the small bronze statues.
The official statistics on the official dwarf website krasnale.pl cannot be trusted: The Polish text claims that there are almost 400, but as soon as you switch the language to English or German, the number drops dramatically. Apparently the website is currently being revised, so stay tuned.
Perhaps it is this fact that fuels the dwarf hunt even further? At some point someone would really have to find out the actual number …
Is there any end in sight?
In any case, the enthusiasm of dwarfs from the people of Wroclaw seems unbroken. In 2020 Tadeusz Gawęcki, the founder of Bar Witek – a sandwich bar known for its huge portions – died.
Within a few days after his dead, a crowdfunding campaign was launched to create his own dwarf. The 5,000 zloty required for it were fundraised within a few days.
Dwarfs outside of Wroclaw
When we visited Kaunas, the European Capital of Culture 2022, we were surprised…
Because one of the Wroclaw dwarfs is also there! So we can speak of a successful export product from Wroclaw!
In this specific case, however, it is probably more to do with the fact that Kaunas in Lithuania is a partner city of Wroclaw, and the dwarf has been a nice gift.
The Wroclaw gnomes can be found not only in Kaunas, but also in other cities all over the world. Where have you seen them outside Wroclaw? Write in our comment box below if you have seen any and let us know!
More Information about dwarfs in Wroclaw
Every year in autumn, usually in September, the international dwarf festival takes place in Wroclaw, with a large parade, a dwarf village and many smaller events – the highlight of the year for many families and visitors.
An overview map is available online at www.krasnale.pl (currently under re-design) or from the tourist information office at the market square.
Info: This text was taken (in slightly amended form) from our travel guide book about Wroclaw (100 extraordinary places that you should not miss).
This book is available in German language here in our shop (free shipping)
Of course it is also available from Amazon.de if you prefer to order it there with other stuff – this way directly to the book.
We hope, that our little introduction to the dwarfs in Wroclaw helped you! More information about the best sightseeing things in Wroclaw are availble here.
If you are planning a trip to Wroclaw, we have created some planning guides. Here you find the best information about how to travel to Wroclaw, where to stay in Wroclaw and much more.
Of course, we are also interested about your personal favourite dwarfs – do you have any? Post your comments and favourite dwarfs just below in the comment box…