Włocławek (Wloclawek, Leslau, Vladislavia, Wlozlawek) in central Poland and Europe has many historical monuments, museums, nature parks and clubs. From here is near to Warsaw, Gdansk, Torun, Bydgoszcz, Poznan or Lodz.
The history of this city stretches for 3000 years. Włocławek received town privileges in 1255.There were over 27 granaries (!) here and the city was second biggest port after Gdansk. Many famous persons, also expats and foreigners have lived in Włocławek, for example: Nicolaus Copernicus (astronomer, studied here in the cathedral school, he built probably the sun watch, that we can see on the Cathedral), Tadeusz Reichstein (Chemist, Nobel laureate), Jan Nagórski (first man, who has fly over the North Pole) or Charles de Gaulle (in 1920 with French Military Mission). Near Wloclawek in Popowo was born one of the most important Poles, Nobel laureate and politician, Lech Walesa (Lech Wałęsa). The villiges by Włocławek (Kłóbka, Nieszawa or Służewo) visited Fryderyk Chopin, in Służewo lived muse of componist, Maria z Wodzińskich Orpiszewska. Souvenirs of Maria z Wodzińskich Orpiszewska we can find in Włocławek in the Museum of the Kujawy and Dobrzyn Region.
Very famous all over the world are: Wloclawek Faience (Fajans Włocławek), ketchups (Ketchup Dworski and Włocławek Ketchup), grain coffee and cookies or desserts for preparing from Delecta, sweetmeats from Kujawianka, Bomilla or Cukiernia Brześć.
The most important monuments are: Copernicus Square, Higher Seminary (first seminary in Poland), Diocesan Museum presenting works by Guercino, Caravaggio or Dürer, St. Witalis Curch (1330), the Gothic Basilica Cathedral of the St. Mary Assumption - one of the oldest (1340) and highest (87 m) churches in Poland with stain glass windows (1360, the oldest in Poland) and paintings by Francisco de Zurbaran and Juan Correa de Vivar, Vistula’s Boulevards, the Church of St. John the Baptist with sculpture of John Baptist from Venice, the Museum of the Kujawy and Dobrzyn Region (faience and art treasures of Anthony van Dyck, Georg Philipp Rugendas, Rembrandt van Rijn or Parmigianino) , Culture center Brewery B in old factory and the Water Damm on the biggest artificial lake in Poland.
Włocławek at night
The Legend about the griffinA long time ago, the prince of Kujawy had many sons, among them Włodzisław. Włodzisław wanted to build a new settlement and began a journey with his people. During walk through the forest he met a griffin. The griffin declared himself the owner of the forest. He allowed Włodzisław to build the settlement, and promised to protect it as long as the citizens take care of the forest. The city took the name Włodzisław/ Vladislavia after its founder. The inhabitants took care about forest and griffin defended them.
After many years the city came under the rule of bishops. They began to log the forest using wood to build city walls. One day the Teutonic Knights decided to attack Vladislavia in search of treasures. Despite the promise had been broken, griffin warned the people about upcoming attack and they managed to escape. The city was burned down by the Teutonic Order.
In the following years inhabitants rebuilt the city and griffin became a part of city’s sign. Now griffin is in a sign of Kujawy-Pomeranian Voivodeship.
The history of city stretches for over 3000 years: to the settlement belonging to the Lausitz culture, the Pomeranian culture and the Roman period. Włocławek received its own Diocese (bishop) in 1123 and town rights in the year 1255. During the 14th and 15th century it was destroyed and also captured several times by the Teutonic Knights. Włocławek prospered afterwards with the grain trade. There were over 27 granaries(!) here, and the city was second best after Gdansk.
After the Second Partition of Poland in 1793 Włocławek became part of Prussia and since 1831 of the Russian Empire. There was a big jewish community in the city. Wloclawek was the area of the battles during the First World War, the Polish-Soviet War 1920 and II World War . In 1969 a dam was constructed. It regulates the water level of the Vistula river, forming the Włocławek Reservoir.
Many famous persons have lived in Włocławek: Nicolaus Copernicus (astronomer, studied at the cathedral school in in 1488-91, he built the sun watch, that we can see on Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of Mary), Tadeusz Reichstein (Chemist, Nobel laureate) or Jan Nagórski (first man, who has fly over the North Pole) or Stanisław Zagajewski („Polish Gaudi”, fine-art sculptor).Exactly here began affection of Copernicus about astronomy. Da Vinci Code is not true so maybe Copernicus Code is real? If yes, some information must bee in Wloclawek, specially on the sun watch on the Cathedral on Copernicuc Square. This history we can read in The Solar Mystery of Prof. Jeremi Wasiutynski. Włocławek is also a city of pilgrimage and religious tourism. The destinations are baslilica Cathedral, All Saints Church of Franciscan-Reformers and Crucifix on the stage of fall on the Vistula. Here was famous battle of polish-soviet war 1920. Włocławek is also well known as a city with a big Jewish community before II World War.
- the monument of Nicolas Copernicus
- the Main office of the Higher Seminary, founded in 1569 (first seminary in Poland).
- the famous Diocesan Museum (Polish Muzeum Diecezjalne) with paintings of Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) or group of Caravaggio
- the Seminary Library of Chodynski Brothers with big collection of books, for example missals from 1500
- the St. Witalis Curch, 1330
- the monument of a famous Pole - primate Stefan Wyszynski.
St. Witalis Curch (Polish Kosciół sw. Witalisa), 1330, it is the oldest building in Włocławek. In the interior we see at beautiful works of the Polish 15th century painting.
Municipal Park of Henryk Sienkiewicz (Polish Park Miejski im. Henryka Sienkiwicza) - it is one of the oldest municipal parks in Europe. In the central part of the park, we can see a monumental of Henryk Sienkiewicz writer with Nobel Prize for Quo Vadis.
Bishop’s Palace (Polish Pałac Biskupi) - there is at the bank of Vistula, from 1858-61 and it have a beautiful garden. Earlier was here a castle, but was damaged after attack of Teutonic Knights.
- the Guardian Angel painting (1635),
- the baroque font from the 17th century,
- the sculpture of John Baptist from Venice (Polish Jan Baptysta Wenecjanin).
Liberty/ Freedom Square (Polish Plac Wolności) is the town’s central square with the monument for soldiers of the II World War, the hotel Zajazd Polski (18th century), restaurant, banks and shops. We see also All Saints church, Franciscan-Reformers cloister and Mühsam's Palace from the 19th century.
The stage of fall on the Vistula river (Polish Tama na Wiśle or Zapora na Wiśle) was built in 1970. Here is the biggest unnatural lake in Poland - the Wloclawek's Lake (Polish Jezioro Włocławskie). In the Vistula river priest Jerzy Popiełuszko found his death and we can see a big crucifix. That is now a pilgrimage destination.
Green Market (Polish Zielony Rynek) - square with many trees, fountain and houses from the begin of 20th century. Here is also Gallery of Modern Art and City Office.
Wzorcownia is one of the beautiful shopping centers in Poland in the faience factory of Teichfeld & Asterblum from 1873. There are many shops, restaurants and clubs.
Diocesan Museum (Polish Muzeum Diecezjalne) have paintings of Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) or group of Caravaggio and graphs of Albrecht Duerer. We cen also see here reliquary from 12th century or Czara Włocławska (10th century) – the oldest christ souvenir in Poland.
Municipal/ Communal Cemetery (Polish Cmentarz Komunalny we Włocławku) - central cemetery in the city between streets: Komunalna, Chopina, Aleja Królowej Jadwigi; the biggest and the oldest in Włocławek. There are here parts: Polish, Jewish, German (Protestans, Evangelicals), Russian (Russian-Orthodox Church), victims of 1. and 2. World War. You can find here also the Russian Orthodox Curch (Polish Cerkiew Prawosławna we Włocławku).
Table for victims of jewish ghetto in Wloclawek (Polish Tablica Ofiar Ghetta we Włocławku) - it's for the memory of ghetto Grzywno in Włocławek. The table is by one of the schools (Polish Zespół Szkół Budowlanych we Włocławku).
In the Main Edifice we can see 2 stable exposition : "Wloclawek`s Faience" , "The Gallery of polish portraits" with impressionism by Leon Wyczółkowski, symbolism by Jacek Malczewski, secession by Józef Mehoffer, Olga Boznańska, Antoon van Dyck and Marcello Bacciarelli. In the Ethnography Museum we find folc culture and equipment of house and farm of Kujawy. The Museum of the History of Włocławek shows history from archaeological excavations to the Liberation of Włocławek 1945. We can see elements of knights, measures and weights, treasure chest with coins, pharmaceutics uniforms, firearms, weapons, photographs and the archives. The Art Collection shows sculptures by Stanisław Zagajewski – the “polish Gaudi” and exhibition of Wacław Bębnowski (ceramic sculptures and objects). Sometimes open for tourist are expositions with paintings by Carlo Cignani, Georg Philipp Rugendas, Francesco de' Rossi, graphs by Rembrandt van Rijn, Albrecht Altdorfer, Parmigianino, Vespasiano Strada oder Lucas van Leyden.
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City guide Włocławek and Kujawy
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