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Dates of visit:
September 15 - 30, 2009

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Trip Highlights:
 Meeting Cousins
 Historic Berlin
 Karkonosze Forest
 Town of Boleslawiec
 Town of Nowy Sol
 Town of Zielona Gora
 City of Wroclaw
 Wang Church
 Kowary Mine
 Klotzko Fortress
 Ladek Zdroj

 Kachina

[ Home ] [ Travel Page ] [ Trip ] [ Part 1 ] [ Part 2 ] [ Part 3 ] [ Part 4 ] [ Part 5 ]
Intro Page - Introduction to trip
Part 1 of trip - Berlin, Germany
Part 2 of trip - Meeting Family, Towns of Kozuchow, Nowy Sol, Zielona Gora
Part 3 of trip - Lower Silesia, Boleslawiec City, Karkonosze and Zamek Chojnik
Part 4 of trip - Szklarska Poreba, Vang Church, Hauptmann & Hofman Houses
Part 5 of trip - Kowary, Klodzko Fortress, Ladek-Zdrój, Bear Cave, Ksiaz Castle
Towns and Cities of Lower Silesia

City of Wroclaw

1 ...
Location of Wroclaw

Wroclaw Coat of ArmsWroclaw (German: Breslau) is the chief city of the historical region of Silesia in southwestern Poland, situated on the Oder (Polish: Odra) river. Over the centuries, the city has been part of Poland, Bohemia, Austria, Prussia, and Germany. According to official population figures for 2006, its population is 635,280, making it the fourth largest city in Poland.






More information on city: Wroclaw
Official city web site (Polish): City of Wroclaw (English option available)

Wroclaw post World War II ...

Wroclaw RathausFor most of World War II, the fighting did not affect Breslau. As the war lengthened, refugees from bombed-out German cities, and later refugees from farther east, swelled the population to nearly one million. In February 1945, the Soviet Red Army approached the city. Gauleiter Karl Hanke declared the city a Festung (fortress) to be held at all costs. Hanke finally lifted a ban on the evacuation of women and children when it was almost too late. During his poorly organized evacuation in early March 1945, 18,000 people froze to death in icy snowstorms and -20°C weather. By the end of the Siege of Breslau, half the city had been destroyed. An estimated 40,000 civilians lay dead in the ruins of homes and factories. After a siege of nearly three months, "Fortress Breslau" surrendered on 7 May 1945, just before the end of the war.

Along with almost all of Lower Silesia, Breslau nominally became part of Poland under the terms of the Potsdam Conference. Between 1945 and 1949, most remaining native German inhabitants fled or were forcibly expelled from Wroclaw. Most of them arrived in one of the Allied Occupation Zones in Germany. A considerable German presence remained until the late 1950s; the city's last German school closed in 1963. The population was dramatically increased by government resettlement of Poles during postwar population transfers (75%) as well as during the forced deportations from Polish lands annexed by the Soviet Union in the east region.

Wroclaw Rail StationWroclaw is now a unique European city of mixed heritage, with architecture influenced by Bohemian, Austrian, and Prussian traditions, such as Silesian Gothic and its Baroque style of court builders of Habsburg Austria (Fischer von Erlach). Wroclaw has a number of notable buildings by German modernist architects.

In July 1997, the city was heavily affected by a flood of the Oder River, the worst flooding in post-war Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Around one third of the city's area stood under water. An earlier equally devastating flood of the river took place in 1903

Ostrów Tumski

On Ostrow Tumski("Cathedral Island," German: Dominsel), is the oldest part of Wroclaw. Built on what used to be an island ("ostrów", in old Polish,) it was an early crossing point on the Oder River. The first, wooden church (St. Martin), dating from the 9th century, was surrounded by defensive walls built on the banks of the river. There were approximately 1,500 inhabitants in Ostrów Tumski at that time.

The first structures on Ostrów Tumski were built in the 10th century by the Piast dynasty, and were made from wood. The first building from solid material was St. Martin's chapel, built probably at the beginning of the 11th century by Benedictine monks. Not long after, the first cathedral was raised, in place of the small church. In 1163 the settlement was raided by Boleslaw I the Tall who had returned after being banished. After taking control of the area and waiting for the political situation in Silesia to stabilize, he chose Ostrów Tumski as his new seat. He began replacing the wooden defenses with brick ones and to build a Roman-style residence.

St. John CathedralIn 1315, Ostrów Tumski was sold to the church authorities. Since the island ceased to be under secular jurisdiction, it was often used by those who had broken the law in Wroclaw as a place of sanctuary. An interesting indication of the special status of the island was a ban on wearing anything on the head when in this small "Ecclesiastical nation" (the law also affected members of Royalty).

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (left) is an immense edifice that presents a combination of styles from different periods.

The presbytery was built sometime between 1244 and 1272; the basilica was built in the first half of the 14th century.

Three quarters of the cathedral were destroyed in World War II, and most of the present building is the result of post-war reconstruction.

Botanical Gardens

Botanic GardenWroclaw boasts the most attractive botanical gardens in Poland - established in 1811 by two professors from the University of Silesia. After being destroyed in World War II were reverently recreated.

The gardens' central area contains pods fashioned from what was an arm of the River Odra when Ostrów Tumski was still an island. The gardens contains palms, an alpine garden, cactuses and a 19th century model of the geology of the Silesian town of Walbrzych. The garden contains over 7,000 species of plants.

Tumski bridge

Tumski Bridge(Most Tumski in Polish) replaced in 1889 an old wooden bridge over the north branch of the Oder river to connect Ostrów Tumski and Wyspa Piaskowa. Until 1945, its name was Dombrücke.

Situated on the River Odra, the city of Wroclaw boasts more than 100 bridges crossing numerous streams, canals, and inlets.



The Main Market Square

(Polish: Rynek, German: (Großer) Ring) is a medieval market square in Wroclaw, now the heart of a pedestrian zone.

Central SquareThe market square is rectangular with the dimensions 205 x 175m. The buildings around the square are built according to different styles: the middle part (German: Tritt) of the ring is occupied by a block of buildings consisting of the Town Hall, the New City Hall as well as numerous citizens' houses. The market square is an urban ensemble with the two diagonally contiguous areas - the Salt Market and the square in front of St. Elisabeth's Church. Eleven streets lead to the market: two to each corner, two narrow lanes, and an opened outside square, Kurzy Targ ("Chicken Market"). Image on left is of Wroclaw Market Square in 2005, view from the tower of St. Elisabeth's Church.

The market was founded according to Magdeburg law as early as the rule of Henry I the Bearded between 1214 and 1232. Over time, the patricians' houses appeared and by the middle of the 14th century they had formed a closed construction with the limits of the plots defined.

Looking towards rynekIn the 19th century the square was connected to the tramlines, at first a horse-drawn system, but after 1892 electric. Through to the end of the 1970s, cars were able to drive through along an east-west axis. Between 1996 and 2000, the square was resurfaced, while the east side, the last to be accessible to cars, was pedestrianized.





RynekThere are now 60 numbered plots on the market square, with some buildings occupying several. The limits of the plots often follow lines different from those first laid out, since estates were often merged and divided in the late Middle Ages. Each property has a traditional name, usually associated with the coat of arms visible on the facade or related to the history of the house itself, for instance Under the Griffins, Under the Blue Sun and Old Town Hall.


Map of metropolitan Wroclaw ... Metro Wroclaw
Map of central Wroclaw ... Central (Rynek) Wroclaw
Map of Ostrów Tumski ... Ostrów Tumski (upper right) - Rynek (lower left)


Video recorded: September 2009
HINT
: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.


Video recorded: September 2009
HINT
: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.

Site Gallery - City of Wroclaw<

General Views of Wroclaw
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Tumski Bridge
Tumski Bridge Tumski Bridge Tumski Bridge
Katyn Memorial
(Read about KATYN MASSACRE)
Katyn Memorial Katyn Memorial Katyn Memorial
Botanical Garden
Botanical Garden Botanical Garden Botanical Garden
Botanical Garden Botanical Garden Botanical Garden
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Botanical Garden Botanical Garden Botanical Garden
Botanical Garden Botanical Garden Botanical Garden
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Cathedral Cathedral Cathedral
Cathedral Cathedral Cathedral
Cathedral Cathedral Cathedral
Walking the Rynek (Central Square)
Rynek Rynek Rynek
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Raclawice Panorama

Raclawice PanoramaThe The Raclawice Panorama (Polish: Panorama Raclawicka) is a monumental (15 × 120 meter) panoramic painting depicting the Battle of Raclawice, during the Kosciuszko Uprising. It is currently located in Wroclaw, Poland. The painting is one of only a few preserved relics of a genre of 19th century mass culture, and the oldest in Poland. The panorama stands in a circular fashion and, with the viewer in the center, presents different scenes at various viewing angles. A special kind of perspective used in the painting and additional effects (lighting, artificial terrain) create a feeling of reality.

History ... The idea came from the painter Jan Styka (1858 – 1925) in Lwów (Lvov) who invited the renowned battle-painter Wojciech Kossak (1857 – 1942) to participate in the project. They were assisted by Ludwik Boller, Tadeusz Popiel, Zygmunt Rozwadowski, Teodor Axentowicz, Wlodzimierz Tetmajer, Wincenty Wodzinowski and Michal Sozanski.

SoldierThe project was conceived as a patriotic manifestation commemorating the 100th anniversary of the victorious Battle of Raclawice, a famous episode of the Kosciuszko Insurrection, a heroic but in the end fallen attempt to defend Polish independence.

The battle was fought on April 4, 1794 between the insurrectionist force of regulars and peasant volunteers (awesome scythe-bearers) under Kosciuszko (1746 – 1817) himself and the Russian army commanded by General Alexander Tormasov. For the nation which had lost its independence, the memory of this glorious victory was particularly important.






Lwow panoramaThe National Exhibition, organized in Lwów in 1894, offered an excellent opportunity to realize Styka’s idea. Canvas, woven to order, was bought in Brussels, the specially built rotunda’s iron structure (designed by Ludwik Ramult) in Vienna. The rotunda, located in Stryjski Park in Lwów, was ready in July 1893. The huge panorama painting was executed within 9 months, between August 1893 and May 1894. The official opening was on June 5, 1894. Since the very beginning, Panorama of the Battle of Rac?awice attracted enormous attention and brought crowds of tourists to Lwów.

Wroclaw rotundaAfter World War II, the painting was brought to Wroclaw along with a part of the collection of the Ossolinski Institution. As under the Communist regime the subject was considered politically sensitive, the efforts to have the canvas restored and exhibited, undertaken by successive Volunteer Committees, were successful only after August 1980. Reopened on June 14, 1985, the major attraction of the old Lwów has immediately become the main tourist attraction of Wroclaw. Here, contemporary viewers have an opportunity to participate in a unique illusionist spectacle. Among many guests visiting the panorama were Pope John Paul II; Beatrix, the Queen of the Netherlands and Czeslaw Milosz, winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Text Source ... Raclawice Panorama
Official website (Polish) ... Panorama Raclawicka (English option available)

Printable Story of Panorama + Battle ... Story behind the Panorama
Printable Kosciuszko Uprising ... Kosciuszko Uprising of 1794


Video recorded: September 2009
HINT
: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.

Site Gallery - Raclawice Panorama

Views of Panorama Segments
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Virtual Panoramas
Virtual Panorama 1
Virtual Panorama 2
Virtual Panorama 3
City of Zagan and Stalag Luft III

1 ...
Location of Zagan on Poland's Map
2 ... Zagan city map

Zagan Coat of ArmsZagan (French and German: Sagan) is a town on the Bóbr river in western Poland, with 26,665 inhabitants (2004). Historically the seat of the Silesian Dukes of Sagan, the town is the capital of Zagan County.

Previously in the Zielona Gora Voivodeship (1975-1998), Zagan has been situated in the Lubusz Voivodeship since 1999.









City signHistory ... Zagan, first mentioned in a 1202 deed, then belonged the Duchy of Lower Silesia at Wroclaw under the rule of the Piast duke Henry I the Bearded. In 1251 it was part of the newly created Duchy of Glogów under Henry's grandson Konrad I.

City logo










ZaganAfter Konrad's death in 1274 heirs again divided the duchy and the castle of Zagan became the residence of his youngest son Przemko of Scinawa, Duke of Zagan from 1278, who established a monastery of the Augustinian Canons here. Thus the Duchy of Zagan came into the existence. In 1284 he swapped his estates for the Duchy of Scinawa and was succeeded by his elder brother Konrad II the Hunchback. When Konrad II died in 1304 all former Glogów estates were re-unified under his surviving brother Henry III.



PalaceIn 1309 Henry III of Glogów was followed by his eldest son Henry IV the Faithful, who in 1321 again had to divide the duchy among him and his younger brothers. He ceded Glogów to Przemko II and retired to Zlagan, which again became the capital of a duchy in his own right. In 1329 all sons of Henry III of Glogów became vassals of John of Luxembourg, the King of Bohemia - with the exception of Przemko II who died suddenly two years later. When in 1393 Henry VI the Older, grandson of Henry IV died without issue, the estates were again re-unified with Glogów until in 1412 Jan I, the eldest son of Duke Henry VIII the Sparrow became the sole rule of the Zlagan duchy. After a fierce battle for the inheritance his son Jan II the Mad finally sold it to Duke Albert III of Saxony from the House of Wettin, thus ending the centuries-long Piast rule.

PalaceIn 1549 Elector Maurice of Saxony ceded Zagan to the Bohemian king Ferdinand I of Habsburg. Emperor Ferdinand II of Habsburg allotted the fief to Albrecht von Wallenstein, his generalissimo in the Thirty Years' War in 1627. It then passed to the illustrious Bohemian family of Lobkowicz, who had the Baroque Zagan Palace erected. After the First Silesian War of 1742 Zagan fell to Prussia.





PalaceIn 1786 the fief was purchased by Peter von Biron, Duke of Courland, and eventually (1843) passed to his daughter Dorothea, the wife of Edmond de Talleyrand, a nephew of the great French diplomat Talleyrand, who came to pass her retirement years at Zagan. A patent of King Frederick William IV of Prussia on 6 January 1845 invested her as Duchess of Sagan and Napoleon III recognized the title in France, in favor of her son Louis.



In France there is a prince and a duc de Sagan. The double title, both Prussian and French, served to render the duc de Sagan a neutral party in World War II: his Château de Valençay provided a safe haven for treasures of the Louvre during the German occupation of France. During World War II, the town was the location of the infamous Stalag Luft III. The town was transferred from Germany to Poland in 1945.

Palace

Text source: History of Zagan
Official city website (Polish) ... City of Zagan (English option available)
More information on the palace ... Palace in Zagan (English option available)
Official webiste (Polish) ... Palace in Zagan (No English option available)

Stalag Luft III

1 ... Location of Stalag Luft III near Zagan
2 ... Detailed map of Stalag Luft III Camp

POW Camp(Stammlager Luft, or Permanent Camp for Airmen #3) was a Luftwaffe run prisoner-of-war camp during World War II that housed captured air force servicemen. It was in the Province of Silesia near Sagan, now Zagan in Poland, 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Berlin.






Great EscapeThe site was selected because it would be difficult to escape by tunnelling. However, the camp is best known for two famous prisoner escapes that took place there by tunnelling, which were depicted in the films The Great Escape (1963) and The Wooden Horse (1950), and the books by former prisoners Paul Brickhill and Eric Williams from which these films were adapted.




Great Escape Tunnel ReconstructionThe camp ... Despite being an officers-only camp, it was referred to as a Stalag camp rather than Oflag (Offizier Lager) as the Luftwaffe had their own nomenclature. Later camp expansions added compounds for non-commissioned officers. Captured Royal Navy crew were considered to be Air Force by the Luftwaffe and no differentiation was made. At times non-airmen were interned.




WatchtowerThe first compound (East Compound) of the camp was completed and opened on 21 March 1942. The first prisoners, or kriegies, as they called themselves, to be housed at Stalag Luft III were British RAF and Fleet Air Arm officers, arriving in April 1942. The Centre compound was opened on 11 April 1942, originally for British sergeants, but by the end of 1942 replaced by Americans. The North Compound for British airmen, where the Great Escape occurred, opened on 29 March 1943. Read full story ... Stalag Luft III

Text source ... Stalag Luft III
Web site of Stalag Luft III museum ... Musem (English option available)


Video recorded: September 2009
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: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.

Site Gallery - City of Zagan, Palace, and Stalag Luft III

Old Church in Zagan
Zagan Church Zagan Church Zagan Church
Palace in Zagan
Zagan Palace Zagan Palace Zagan Palace
Zagan Palace Zagan Palace Zagan Palace
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Zagan Palace Zagan Palace Zagan Palace
Window Faces on Palace
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Zagan Palace Zagan Palace Zagan Palace
Zagan Palace Zagan Palace Zagan Palace
Zagan Palace Zagan Palace Zagan Palace
Stalag Luft III - Grounds and Museum
Memorial to the Fallen
Stalag Luft III Stalag Luft III Stalag Luft III
Reconstructed Barrack
Stalag Luft III Stalag Luft III Stalag Luft III
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Museum
Stalag Luft III Stalag Luft III Stalag Luft III
Stalag Luft III Stalag Luft III Stalag Luft III
Lubuskie Military Museum in Drzonow

1 ...
Location of Drzonow on Poland's Map
2 ... Location of Lubuskie Military Museum
3 ... Aerial view of Military Museum - #1
4 ... Aerial view of Military Museum - #2
5 ... Aerial view of Military Museum - #3

Drzonów ... a a village in the administrative district of Gmina Swidnica, within Zielona Góra County, Lubusz Voivodeship, in western Poland. It lies approximately 8 kilometres (5 mi) north-west of Swidnica and 13 km (8 mi) west of Zielona Góra.

Military MuseumThe Lubuskie Military Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating people about history. It accomplishes this mission by acquiring, restoring and preserving all units of military equipment. The primary goal supporting this mission is building a permanent collection of military aircraft and heavy military vehicles, and preserving these units in good condition. The Lubuskie Military Museum was founded in 1978. Since that time, LMM has leased a building, 600 square meters hanger and 35,000 sq.m. area located 15 kilometres from Zielona Gora, near the Zielona Gora - Slubice (Frankfurt/Oder) road. This facility houses the LMM offices, the display area, the museum store, and the restoration facility.

Text and map #2 source ... Lubuskie Military Museum
Aerial views source ... Satellite Views
UnOfficial web site of Lubuskie Military Museum (English) ... Museum


Video recorded: September 2009
HINT
: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.

Site Gallery - Lubuskie Military Museum

Military Museum Military Museum Military Museum
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Military Museum Military Museum Military Museum
Military Museum Military Museum Military Museum
Military Museum Military Museum Military Museum
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