Wrocław (pronounced “vrots-waf”), the fourth largest city in Poland, is used to rebuilding. For centuries – as Breslau – it was largely dominated by Germans, but this changed after the war, as thousands of displaced Poles flocked to the decimated city. The various influences are reflected in Wrocław’s architecture, with its mammoth Germanic churches, Flemish-style mansions and Baroque palaces. The latest rebuilding came after a catastrophic flood in the early 1990s, which left most of the centre underwater. Fortunately, the reconstruction that followed has left the pretty Old Town rejuvenated and without the tourist mobs of Kraków. The city has also been actively reaching out to foreign investors in both technology and finance. This, along with a lively university scene, lends Wrocław a vigorous air of economic and cultural well-being.
Wrocław’s historical centre is delineated by the former city walls, bordered by a moat and a shady park, and by the River Odra to the north, whose pretty islands are home to a handful of churches.