Departure for O'Hare had been scheduled for 12:35 pm but we didn't leave until a couple hours later.
The National Museum in Wrocław (Polish: Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu), established 28 March 1947 and officially inaugurated on 11 July 1948, is one of Poland's main branches of the National Museum system. It holds one of the largest collections of contemporary art in the country.
The holdings of Wrocław Museum are closely connected with the history of border shifts in Central Europe following World War II. After the annexation of Eastern half of the Second Polish Republic by the Soviet Union, main parts of Poland's art collections were transferred from the cities incorporated into the USSR like Lviv. Collections not returned included the Ossolineum holdings which became part of the Lviv National Museum. The cultural heritage shipped in 1946 included Polish and European paintings from 17th to 19th centuries. The 1948 unveiling of the Wrocław Gallery of Polish Painting at a brand new location, composed of national treasures from already disappropriated museums, had a symbolic meaning in the lives of people subjected to mass expulsions from the Eastern Borderlands arriving in the previously German city of Breslau/Wrocław. The Gallery was arranged to remind them, that they were again residing in Poland.
Conclusion of World War II
Most historic buildings in Wrocław were destroyed or heavily damaged in World War II (see: the Siege of Breslau). The new Polish Department of Museums and Heritage Protection (Referat Muzeów i Ochrony Zabytków, RMOZ) was entrusted with the task of selecting a suitable placement for the newly arriving cultural artifacts. The relatively undamaged location was chosen on January 1, 1947 among the ruins of the old city center, at the former Silesian regency office built in 1883–1886.
Although the location of National Museum and its collections were new in Wrocław, the actual tradition of art museums in the city were centuries old. Its predecessors included the Royal Museum of Art and Antiquity formed in 1815 (German: Königliches Museum für Kunst und Altertümer) and the Silesian Museum of Fine Arts created in 1880, as well as the Silesian Museum of Applied Arts formed in 1899. When Poland disappeared from the map of Europe at the end of the 18th century many artifacts produced by Polish artists and artisans were also displayed there.
Admission to gallery is free on Saturdays. Among the permanent exhibitions set up on different floors of the Museum are four distinct departments divided by art-periods and historical epochs. The oldest is the "Silesian Art of the 12th to 16th century", featuring tombs of Silesian princes and most precious works of the Gothic art in Poland. The second is the "Silesian Art of the 16th to 19th century" with sculpture, painting and decorative arts from Silesian Renaissance to Romanticism. The next is the "Polish Art of the 17th to 19th century" with Polish Baroque portraits by Marceli Bacciarelli and Canaletto among others. And finally, the renowned "European Art of the 15th–20th Century", which features the works of such artists as Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Agnolo Bronzino, Cosimo Rosselli, Giovanni Santi, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Paris Bordone, Frans Floris, Osias Beert, Jan Frans van Bloemen, Francisco de Zurbarán, Lovis Corinth, Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun and Wassily Kandinsky.
Apart from these exhibitions, the museum includes "Polish Art of the 20th century" collection with art of Tadeusz Makowski, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Władysław Strzemiński, Henryk Stażewski, Alina Szapocznikow, Tadeusz Kantor, Tadeusz Makowski, Jerzy Nowosielski, Józef Szajna, Magdalena Abakanowicz and many prominent others. Month of September 2011 marked the opening of "New Gallery of Contemporary Art" in the Museum's remodelled attic.
Its history begins with the Congress of Gniezno when in 1000 three dioceses were created: wrocławska, krakowska and kołobrzeska.
Cathedral of St. John Baptist (Katedra Wrocławska, Archikatedra pw. św. Jana Chrzciciela we Wrocławiu) was destroyed many times. Rebuilt in 1951, it was consecrated by Archbishop Stefan Wyszyński, Primate of Poland.
Inside the cathedral we can admire precious statues and paintings: a triptych Dormition of Mary from 1552 (transported from Lubin), a pulpit (1723), oaken stall from 1662-1665 and many tombstones from Middle Ages, Mannerism and Baroque. The cathedral has 21 chapels, among which are: St. Elisabeth (1680-1686) and Electors’ Chapel (1716-1721), a work of an architect from Vienna, J. B. Frischer von Erlach.
On the top of the tower there is a viewpoint where it is possible to get with the lift.Read more
Sand Islet took its name after the church from this place which patroness was Saint Mary on the Sand. The Latin name Sancta Maria in Arena is connected with a Roman church built on the site of an earlier circus. In the Middle Ages the Polish version of the name came into use. In 1149 a monastery of Augustinians, was established here. Equipped by its generous founders, the monastery was one of the wealthiest in Wrocław. The original temple was erected here before 1148 on the initiative of Maria Włostowicowa and her son Świętosław. The brick Gothic church started to be constructed in 1334 under the supervision of Master Builder Peschel.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, the church continued to be expanded. In 1632, during the Thirty Year's War, the church was looted by Swedish troops. The new monastery was built in stages between 1709 and 1802 on the site of the mediaeval one. During the Seven Year's War the Prussian government used the church as an ammunition depot. In 1810 the Prussian authorities secularized the monastery. The church, however, remained in the hands of the Catholic Church.
In 1944 Hitler declared the city of Breslau a fortress. During the subsequent Soviet siege of the city the general command of the city was headquartered in the evacuated church and monastery. As a result, the building sustained heavy damange, and the entire Baroque interior of the church burned to ash, including paintings by Michael Willmann, a large organ and a pulpit by Franz Joseph Mangoldt.
The reconstruction returned the church to its original, severe Gothic architecture, as the Baroque fittings of the 17th century were considered too German by the Communist government. Most of the interior fixtures of the church were taken from other destroyed churches and from the Archdiocesan Museum. New stained glass windows were created by the Warsaw-based artist Teresa Reklawska in 1968. The 16th-century Victory Madonna in the church was a gift from the city of Mariampol in the Ukraine and was the first piece installed in the reconstructed church.Read more
An early Baroque church with the neighbouring University is one of the masterpieces of architecture in Silesia, left by Jesuits. It has a main nave, matroneum and two rows of chapels.
Beautiful illusionist pictures of Johann Michael Rottmayr on the ceilings of the church come from the years 1705-1706. The interior was made according to the designs of Christoph Tausch, a Jesuit artist. It was him, who also designed the Main Altar, created in the years 1722-1724. The artist himself painted the picture over the main altar, "Presentation of Jesus at the Temple" (8m x 3,8m).Read more
St. Elizabeth's Church of the Catholic Third Order of Saint Francis is a Gothic church in Wrocław, Poland. It is one of the most iconic structures of the city's panorama.
Between 1525 and 1945, it was the principal Protestant church in Breslau.
The structure dates back to the 14th century, when construction was commissioned by the city. The main tower was originally 130 meters tall. From 1525 until 1946, St. Elizabeth's was the chief Lutheran Church of Breslau and Silesia and the principal congregation of the Evangelical Church of Prussia in Breslau. In 1946 it was expropriated and given to the Military Chaplaincy of the Polish Roman Catholic Church. The church was damaged by heavy hail in 1529, and gutted by fire in 1976. The church's renowned organ was destroyed. The reconstructed main tower is now 91.5 meters tall. An observation deck near the top is open to the public. Since 1999 there is a memorial on the church property to Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a native of the city (then Breslau, Germany) and martyr to the anti-Nazi Cause.Read more