Ostrów Tumski

Ostrów Tumski is the oldest part of Wroclaw.


This ancient town, from which Wroclaw originates, is surrounded by the waters of the Oder River and includes marvellous architectural monuments. The most splendid include the ones rebuilt after war damage: the Gothic St John the Baptist Cathedral (katedra św. Jana Chrzciciela) and St Cross Church (kościół Świętego Krzyża). The Archdiocese Museum (Muzeum Archidiecezjalne), i.e. the oldest museum building preserving historic continuity in Wroclaw – for over 100 years, it has been collecting relics of sacral art, which were withdrawn from cult usage and possess an immense historic and artistic value, is also situated here. Among them, one can find the Book of Henryków (Księga henrykowska) from the 13th – 14th century with the first sentence written in Polish.

St John the Baptist Cathedral (Katedra św. Jana Chrzciciela) – called the Mother of Silesian churches, it is the most magnificent monument of Gothic sacral architecture. Its history begins from the Gniezno Congress, when in 1000, the Wroclaw bishopric, along with the ones in Kraków and Kołobrzeg, was established. Throughout the ages, it has succumbed to war destruction and fires. It was rebuilt in 1951 and consecrated by Archbishop Stefan Wyszyński – the Primate of Poland. Inside the cathedral, one can admire valuable relics of sculpture and painting: The Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Zaśnięcie Najświętszej Marii Panny) triptych from 1552 (moved from Lubin), a brick pulpit (1723), oak choir stalls created in 1662–1665, as well as numerous gravestones from the Middle Ages and the Mannerism and Baroque eras. The cathedral has as many as 21 chapels, out of which the following ones deserve special attention: St Elisabeth (św. Elżbiety) (1680–1686) and Electoral (Elektorska) (1716–1721), being a piece of work by the prominent Viennese architect J.B. Fischer von Erlach.

From the viewing terrace of the cathedral, up to which one can get by lift, you can admire a panorama of Wroclaw and its surroundings. Ostrów Tumski’s most charming nook is ul. Kanonia, established in the Middle Ages, at which St Giles Church (kościół św. Idziego) is situated - the oldest among the existing Wroclaw churches.

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