Wroclaw

Nadodrze

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Head uptown, north across the wide murky band of the Oder River, and you will encounter a city quarter seemingly in the midst of an identity crisis, where decorative nineteenth-century architecture shares urban space with squats and concrete utilitarian buildings. Crumbling abandoned structures stand side-by-side with brand-spankin'-new playing fields and freshly-painted facades, while a power plant looms over neatly-trimmed greenery. Not grimy and grungy enough to satisfy the odd thrill-seeker, and lacking any true historical landmarks that could help it contest the Old Town or Ostrów Tumski, at first glance it might seem that Nadodrze doesn't have all that much to offer potential tourists – but dig around a bit and you’ll find a lively art scene, young cultural initiatives, unique workshops, charming cafes, and some of the city's best eats.

This 19th-century artisan district - severely damaged during WWII and plagued by poverty and alcoholism in the post-war years - has been the target of a huge revitalisation/overhaul project during the past decade. Once known as a notoriously dangerous and grim neighbourhood, Nadodrze has emerged as a firmly-established artistic district drawing creative minds from around the city and spawning new places of interest left and right. With a whole army of enthusiastic, efficient NGOs dedicated to improving every aspect of Nadodrze life - from renovating buildings and courtyards, to breathing life into the cultural landscape, to tackling socioeconomic issues - impressively much has been done here. And it seems the winds of change are blowing ever stronger. Tourists and Wrocław-dwellers are finally starting to appreciate the grand transformation the district has been undergoing and slowly viewing it as a place to escape the crowded main square or to take a break from museum-hopping and ticking off all the obligatory Wrocław sights. So don't be shy, dip underneath one of the nondescript archways to any of the spacious courtyards (true feats of 19th-century urban planning) beyond, and see what's been brewing in this off-the-radar area.

For more information on specific sights and hangouts, read our Nadodrze feature, and also visit the district's official info centre.

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