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Hansel & Gretel

Hansel & Gretel
Wrocław’s not short on photo opportunities and one particular favourite is the two skinny buildings that connect ul. Św Mikołaja with ul. Odrzańska at the northwest corner of the market square (A-3). This pair of storybook tenements are commonly known as 'Hansel and Gretel' (or 'Jaś i Małgosia' in Polish), apparently because the connecting archway is symbolic of a couple holding hands. Built in the 16th and 18th century respectively they are all that remain of the line of townhouses that once circled the cemetery of St. Elizabeth’s, and the archway is inscribed with a Latin motto proclaiming ‘Death is the gate to life’. Hansel, or Jaś - the smaller, less decorative of the two buildings - features several bas-reliefs by local artist Eugeniusz Get-Stankiewicz, including a self-portrait. Get-Stankiewicz is a bit of a local legend and commonly regarded as one of the key movers in 1960s Polish counter-culture. Since 1995 the Hansel house has also doubled as his studio, which he rents from the city for a token one groszy coin per month. Gretel, on the other hand, houses a long, narrow, completely rubbish bar on the ground floor which doubles as a souvenir shop. The saving grace is that in the warm months there’s a brilliant little beer garden in the courtyard in front of the church.

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