Wroclaw

Ostrów Tumski

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Ostrów Tumski's quiet, almost car-free cobbled lanes are perfect for a stroll.
Sergii Figurnyi - Dollar Photo Club

Playing soul to the Rynek’s heart, Ostrów Tumski - known as 'Cathedral Island' - is the gem at the centre of Wrocław’s crown. This, after all, is where the city began, making it one of the most historically significant parts of town, in addition to its most archaically picturesque. The district’s history has always been closely tied to Catholicism and today you’ll find an incredible concentration of religious buildings across the river, making it an incredibly peaceful place to explore and relax.

Located north-east of the Old Town, one of the first things observant visitors may notice is that though Wrocław's 'Cathedral Island' is indeed accessed from central Wrocław by bridge (take your pick, there are several), it is not actually an island. It was until the 19th century, but persistent flooding led town planners to fill in one of the Odra’s tributaries in 1810 (though the city has sadly seen its share of floods since then as well). The most direct way to access Ostrów Tumski is on foot or bicycle via Most Piastkowy (Sand Bridge) onto Wyspa Piasek (Sand Island) and then the picturesque Most Tumski (Tumski Bridge). Alternatively, you can take the scenic route via Most Uniwersytecki (University Bridge), then Kladka Słodowa (Malt Footbridge) onto the green recreational Wyspa Słodowa (Malt Island), before doglegging to your right via Most Młyńskie (Mill Bridge) onto Wyspa Piasek (Sand Island) and then Most Tumski (Tumski Bridge), which officially ushers you into Ostrów Tumski. Yes, Wrocław has a lot of bridges.

Seemingly miles from the bustle of Rynek, perhaps the real joy of Ostrów Tumski is its other-worldly atmosphere. Katedralna and Idziego Streets both provide cobbled reminders of the past - Idziego especially, though it lacks the postcard worthy sights of Katedralna, is a particularly gorgeous street, still lit today by original gas lamps and providing the perfect frame for a picturesque, romantic evening stroll. Keep your eyes peeled at dusk for the district’s famous lamplighter as he goes about his daily duty of lighting Ostów Tumski’s gas lamps by hand.

For more info on the history of Ostrów Tumski and which highlights not to miss in the district, read our feature.

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