Wroclaw: A hub of Polish culture

Some may think that as Wroclaw was German for many years it may have affected the Polish culture of the City. Well, not really. At various times it has been part of the Kingdom of Poland, Bohemia, the Austrian Empire, Prussia, and Germany; it has been part of Poland since 1945, as a result of border changes after World War II. A small German minority remains in the city and the Polish population was dramatically increased by the resettlement of Poles during postwar population transfers as well as during the forced deportations from Polish lands annexed by the Soviet Union in the east region.

Wroclaw is a perfect example of the diversity of cultures Poland has experienced in the past. For instance, Wroclaw has a unique square “Dzielnica Czterech Świątyń” (Borough of Four Temples) where a Synagogue, a Lutheran Church, a Roman Catholic church and an Eastern Orthodox church stand near each other; these religions cohabitate in total harmony. There are very few places in the world where this can be witnessed.

Wrocław is also a unique European city of mixed heritage, with architecture influenced by Bohemian, Austrian and Prussian traditions.

This harmony felt around the city is probably in a big part thanks to Polish culture. It may seem a bit peculiar at first, however of what I have seen there are many lovely aspects. Poles in general are very polite, thoughtful and friendly people. One of the first times I took the Tram I was astonished when a man my age got up to leave me his seat. At the time I just thought it was a nice exception but then another held the door open for me and then I saw everyone get up when an old lady walked in. It is amazing how Polish are very united. One will not leave another behind. It is very badly thought of when one doesn’t get up to leave a seat for the elderly or when a man doesn’t try his best to be a gentleman. Another experience (and I have only been here four weeks) was when getting off the Tram one evening a man was lying on the platform. He seemed perfectly happy having an afternoon nap in the sun so we didn’t worry about it until this woman started shouting at us in Polish from the other side of the Tram stop. Speaking a very small amount of Polish we didn’t understand a word of what she was telling us. We thought we had done something wrong when actually she was just asking us to check if the man was ok. Everyone feels concerned and worries about the wellbeing of one another.

All in all my Polish experience in Wroclaw until now has been very pleasant. I feel very safe living here and was very pleasantly surprised with the City and its people with their relaxed way of life.

Polly Hodgkins

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