- Joanna Tatarzycka

The Wrocław of today is so bustling with life! A whole myriad of cultural events going on here… Concerts, festivals, fairs… They all attract thousands of curious visitors, both students and loan sharks… People from all around the world simply can’t wait to pay a small visit to our charming city again. Well, let us remember, though, that what’s most interesting, is usually invisible to the eye. Many legends and mysteries are waiting to be uncovered… Are you brave enough to face the challenge? Here are some stories about our city which shall certainly catch your attention!

Both our Guests and all the inhabitants of Wrocław are most welcome to enjoy our little trip in the footsteps of the Wrocław legends. Let’s hope you’ll find this choice a good one, indeed! ;)

#1  History of the Naked Swordsman statue                                         

Let’s start our merry stroll at the doorstep of our hotel, going then through the picturesque Shambles, an alley where butcheries and butchers’ shops used to be, towards the University Square. In 1904, just in front of the main university building, a fountain was erected, embellished with a sculpture of the Swordsman - a naked young man keeping a rapier in his hand. There’s a legend circulating around Wrocław that through this unique piece of art, its very author – Hugo Leder – was immortalised, as an eternal warning for all the future generations of students. And why is the young man naked? Well, people believe that one reckless night the totally intoxicated Hugo was gambling, yet the fortune did not quite favour him and the poor chap lost his entire property, even his clothes. So he ended up in his birthday suit, with nothing more but his rapier as a symbol of nobility. Well, noblesse oblige, doesn’t it?

The four faces adorning the fountain are believed to reflect the lectures whom our author was not necessarily fond of. The whole is supported by two fine ladies, all naked. The legend has it, the fencer shall revive if a virgin graduates from the university with the master degree.

The Swordsman Sculpture, which was supposed to serve as a warning, has now become a part of the students’ jests and frolics. Many a time, the poor man was tried to be dressed or even deprived of his precious rapier. Today, he’s one of the most recognizable Wrocław monuments and a meeting point for the local youth.

#2  The mysterious sculptures in the Saint John the Baptist Church will bring you love

Going towards the Ossolineum Institute and Grodzka Street, we finally get to the oldest part of Wrocław, namely the Cathedral Island called in Polish Ostrów Tumski. Here, in the very heart of these old buildings, the spirit of the city is hidden, waiting for you to revive it again! A true pearl in the crown is the Saint John the Baptist Cathedral. At the entrance, on both sides, there are some sculptures made of stone. Sadly, over the years, they have been quite worn out, poor things, so if you can’t figure out what they depict, we shall tell you. One is a lion, and the other one an eagle. Legend has it that if a single man wants to meet his true love, he shall touch the eagle. A single woman in turn is advised to touch the lion. Well, should you be looking for love – go for it! Don’t be shy… ;)

#3  Our lovely girls must know their place!

Alright, let’s leave the Cathedral Island behind and go towards the Saint Mary Magdalene Church in Szewska Street. Once you’ve reached our destination, look upwards. There, 45 meters above the ground, a bridge hangs between the church towers. It is called the Bridge of Witches or the Penitent Bridge. They say, every night, some mysterious girls appear on this bridge and start sweeping it carefully. They had been cursed by their parents for the laziness the lassies showed at home, avoiding both household chores and wedlock, too, having fun instead. Today, this lovely bridge often serves as a background for romantic photo sessions. How perverse the lot can be, wouldn’t you say?

#4  Tunnel full of beer

Next, our fancy stroll takes us to a place where a popular riddle finds its solution, namely: “Where in Wrocław can a cart drive by on a cart?” Any ideas what it may be? Well, in the past, there was a tunnel on the Old Market Square, used for transporting beer brewed in one of the tenements to the Świdnicka Cellar. The tunnel was supposed to spare the local inhabitants all the fuss and confusion which the overground transport would cause. And the tunnel survived till today! Yet, now it serves merely as an attraction for tourists. Some even claim it goes up to the city moat, have you known that? 

#5  The Wrocław Phantom as an inspiration for Goethe

Our stroll ends in front of the Saint Elisabeth’s Church. An old tale has it that there was a cemetery between the market square and the church once. Every night, a ghost of a swindler cloth saleswoman rose from the grave. Her eternal punishment was measuring the cloth at the Cloth Halls nearby. Only after having dug the body out and burnt it, the ghost ceased to haunt the place where she once cheated on her customers. This legend is believed to have served as an inspiration for Wolfgang Goethe when he wrote the ballad “Dance of Death” during his stay in Wrocław in 1970.

We do cherish this hope that our city walk will inspire you to take a spring stroll and spend some time in the fresh air. Visit Wroclaw and choose our comfortable rooms at PATIO HOTEL, located just 50 m from the historical Market Square. Find our SPECIAL OFFERS and plan Your trip to Wroclaw!


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