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Wroclaw is Poland's fourth-largest cities in terms of population and one of the oldest as well. Dubbed “Venice of the North”, it stands out against the backdrop of other European cities in terms of an enormous number of bridges and footbridges.
Its landscape is dominated by the Odrer River, marked by numerous tributaries, old river beds and backwaters as well as 12 islands. As one of few cities across Europe, it takes pride in a preserved and water-filled urban moat.
For centuries, Wroclaw has been among the most significant cities in Europe. There were many precious monuments of architecture and art here. Despite the horrendous destruction during the war (70% of the buildings), many edifices were spared in their original shape and a significant part was reconstructed or renovated after the war. Wroclaw features one of the oldest Town Halls in Poland, with the oldest toll bell, tower clock and the oldest restaurant in Europe – the Świdnicka Cellar.
The rich cultural offer of the city gives Wroclaw its exceptional ambiance. Its cultural signatures are the globally-acclaimed musical festivals (such as Wratislavia Cantans, Festival Jazz upon Odra, Actor Song Review)as well as the International Film Festival New Horizons. The streets of Wroclaw beam with life well after dark and the city is famous for a great number of musical clubs, discos, pubs as well as flower shops open 24/7.
On 21 June 2011, Wroclaw was elected as the European Capital of Culture 2016.
© 2011 Polish Guide
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