Wrocław situated on the River Oder in Lower Silesia, is the largest city in western Poland. Wrocław was the historical capital of Silesia, and today is the capital of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship. Over the centuries, the city has been part of either Poland, Bohemia, Austria, Prussia, or Germany, and has been part of Poland since 1945 as a result of border changes after World War II. According to official figures for 2010, it is the fourth largest city in Poland. The city of Wrocław originated as a Bohemian stronghold at the intersection of two trade routes, the Via Regia and the Amber Road. The name of the city was first recorded in the 10th century as Vratislavia, possibly derived from the name of a Bohemian duke Vratislav I. Its initial extent was limited to Ostrów Tumski.
Ostrów Tumski is the oldest part of the city of Wrocław in south-western Poland. It was formerly an island (ostrów in old Polish) between branches of the Oder River. Archaeological excavations have shown that the western part of Ostrów Tumski, between the Church of St. Martin and the Holy Cross, was the first to be inhabited. The first, wooden church (St. Martin), dating from the 9th century, was surrounded by defensive walls built on the banks of the river. The island had approximately 1,500 inhabitants at that time. The first constructions 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 eleventh 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. Wrocław Cathedral Church west towers. In 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 Wrocław, as a place of sanctuary. An interesting indication of the special status of the island was a ban on wearing anything on the head, effective even on Tumski Bridge beyond the border pole of this small "ecclesiastical nation" (the law also applied to royalty).
photo by lucky
edited by mobydick74
Added by Lucky