Wrocław’s market square and much of the urban grid around it was laid out by city planners in 1241. It was then and remains even now one of the largest squares of its kind in Europe, and the magnificent Town Hall (Ratusz) at its centre is a masterpiece of medieval architecture. Work began on the city's administrative seat in the late 13th century and continued for 250 years, resulting in the eclectic edifice covered in decorative embellishments that we see today. Today the beautiful ensemble contains the Museum of Burgher Art - offering tourists a way to explore the interiors, as well as numerous restaurants, cafes and bars.
Ranging from Gothic to Art Nouveau, the impressive facades of the townhouses lining the market square also deserve closer inspection, one notable exception being the drab ten-storey office building at Rynek 11. Completed in 1931 the structure was designed by Heinrich Rump and offers a glimpse of how the market square may have looked had a ludicrous project to modernise the historic centre come to fruition. It was the idea of Max Berg - creator of the concrete bliss called Centennial Hall - to demolish the buildings surrounding the Rynek, replacing them with 20 storey concrete towers. After much deliberation city authorities abandoned the plan, in the process saving the Wrocław loved by all today.
Adjacent to the Market Square is Plac Solny - almost as impressive architecturally with its elaborate reliefs and figurines bursting from the facades. Formerly home to a bazaar specialising in salt, leather and honey the smaller square is now a 24-hour flower market – good news for late-night Romeos looking to delight the local beauties they may have seduced on the dance-floors of Wrocław.