Playing soul to the Rynek’s heart, Ostrów Tumski 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.
During the latter part of the 9th century what is now known as Ostrów Tumski (the name means 'Cathedral Island' in Polish) was settled by a Slavic tribe, the Ślężanie, who considered the island impregnable. The first bishopric in Lower Silesia soon followed in 1000, and for the next two and a half centuries Ostrów Tumski was the centre of Wrocław before the marauding Tartars proved they could indeed make it pregnant (so to speak); pregnant with fire and ruin, that is. After its destruction, the city’s nucleus shifted across the river where its development would be less restricted by rivers. Ostrów Tumski, meanwhile, became a place of almost exclusively religious and royal (the Piast Dynasty built a castle here in the 1260s) significance. With a few exceptions it remains primarily a place of worship and reflection to this day; as such, there are few shops, dwellings, cafes, bars and restaurants, and the Wrocław Archdiocese occupies almost all of the beautifully maintained classical buildings you will see.