So Where Exactly Am I?

04 Oct 2017

As a city under constantly shifting rule, Wrocław has been known by many names throughout its history. In fact, the national status of Wrocław has changed more often than any other city in Europe. Passing hands from the Polish Piasts (1000-1335), to the Kingdom of Bohemia (1335-1526), to the Austrian Hapsburgs (1526-1741), to the Kingdom of Prussia (1741-1871), into the German Empire and Third Reich (1871-1945), and finally back to Poland (1945-today, and hopefully tomorrow as well), Wrocław cannot be claimed as the by-rights homeland of any one nation or people despite the past efforts of politically motivated revisionist historians to prove otherwise (the Recovered Territories Exhibition of 1948, for example). The city’s makeup has always been diverse culturally and religiously with Poles, Germans, Bohemians, Austrians and Jews all making significant contributions to Wrocław’s development. With so many influences and upheavals, Wrocław (as we know it today) has seen more than its fair share of names used in common parlance throughout the years, including Vratislava, Wrotizla, Wretslaw, Vraclav, Vretslav, Prezlav, Presslaw and Bresslau (to name a few).

It's not uncommon to still see and hear Wrocław referred to by its old German name, 'Breslau', particularly by and for the German nostalgia tourists who come here to seek their roots. The Polish name 'Wrocław' apparently predates the German name, and is thought to have been derived from the name of the Czech sovereign 'Vratislav'.


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