Innovative technology, or a box for hats.
In Prussia, the hundredth anniversary of the victory of the armies of the anti-French coalition led by Napoleon Bonaparte at Leipzig was celebrated; on this occasion, the Centennial Exhibition (Wystawa Stulecia) was organised in Wroclaw. It was planned that the exhibition area would be situated in the area of a non-active race track, at the edge of Szczytnicki Park (Park Szczytnicki). Max Berg, former city architect, proposed to build an enormous exhibition hall with the use of the reinforced concrete technology, which had not been used on such a scale until then. The city counsellors did not like the design, as they compared the Hall building to a box for hats or to a gas meter.
The building’s cost – almost two million marks, also raised objections. Berg had his own way, and the city took out a loan for the construction, which started in June 1911 and ended in December 1912. The building, made of reinforced concrete, was back then the largest establishment built with the use of this technology in the world. The dome of the Centennial Hall (Hala Stulecia) is 65 metres wide and 42 metres high. The screening room is surrounded with back rooms. The auditorium and the floor can provide seats for up to 10 thousand persons. Furthermore, the Centennial Hall (Hala Stulecia) contained huge organs, which did not survive despite the fact that the building itself was not seriously damaged during the war.
In 1913, within the exhibition areas, the following establishments were also built: Four Domes Pavilion (Pawilon Czterech Kopuł), as designed by Hans Poelzig, and the Pergola surrounding the multimedia fountain. Today, this is one of the citizens of Wroclaw and tourist favourite places for walks.
Rallies, matches and prayers
Before war, the Centennial Hall (Hala Stulecia) was a place for mass events, among others, Nazi rallies with the participation of Adolf Hitler; although, the chancellor of the Third Reich did not like this place, as he preferred monumental stone establishments. After 1945, the building was named the People’s Hall (Halą Ludową), and its original name was returned no sooner than at the beginning of the 21st century. Here, the World Congress of Intellectuals in Defence of Peace and The Recovered Territories (Ziemie Odzyskane) exhibition took place (in 1948).
For many years, this has been a place for sports events, concerts; until the 90s of the 20th century, there was a cinema Gigant; the Lower Silesian Opera (Opera Dolnośląska) regularly shows their performances here. In 1997, the Eucharistic Congress with the participation of Pope John Paul II took place in the Centennial Hall (Hala Stulecia), and in summer 2012, the International Cultural Congress was organised in a thoroughly renovated building.
Since 2006, the Centennial Hall (Hala Stulecia) has been included in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage list.
The history of Max Berg’s work is presented in a multimedia exhibition in the Cognitive Centre (Centrum Poznawcze) at the Centennial Hall (Hal Stulecia). Moreover, it provides information about other historic places in Wroclaw, Lower Silesia and remaining Lower Silesian establishments included in the UNESCO list.
Winter season (November - March): - Mon – Fri, from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sat – Sun, from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Summer season (April – October): Mon – Thu, Sun, from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Fri – Sat, from 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Prices of tickets:
- normal: PLN 12
- reduced: PLN 9
- group (minimum 10 persons) – PLN 8
- family (2 adults and 2 children up to 16 years of age) – PLN 30