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History of Wroclaw Town Hall in 60 Seconds

Picture of Weronika Jurkiewicz
Updated: 24 May 2017

Located in the heart of the historic old town, Wrocław’s Old Town Hall is the most recognisable building in the city and one of the most important monuments of late Gothic secular architecture in Poland. Currently, the building houses the Museum of Bourgeois Art and one of the oldest restaurants in Europe, Piwnica Świdnicka.

Brief history

The construction of the Town Hall began in 1299, but the full completion of the building took another 250 years. The two-storey, triangular structure built on a rectangular plan with an annex of the Council Chamber, the Bench and a square tower, was the seat of the city authorities and judiciary system until the beginning of 19th century. Currently open to the public, the Old Town Hall attracts tourists with its impressive façade and well-preserved, rich interior decor.

Piwnica Świdnicka

Hidden in the building’s caverns is one of the oldest restaurants in Europe. The oldest traces of this establishment date back to 1303, while the earliest bill found by historians comes from 1332 and was for the import of barley beer from Świdnica, to which the restaurant owes its name. Over the centuries, however, Piwnica Świdnicka changed its owners and function and its current decor is not original.

Around 16th century, the restaurant started brewing its own beer called White Sheep which became popular around the country. Above the entrance to the cellar, visitors can see a relief representing a drunk men and his wife who is waiting for him with a slipper in her hand. This depiction was a warning for those who enjoyed the local beer a bit too much.

Another anecdote linked with this place involves a famous puzzle: “Where in Wrocław can a car ride over a car?” It takes its origin from a tunnel that, until this day, connects the restaurant with the brewery which was located in the house on the opposite side of the Market Square.

Piwnica Świdnicka, Ratusz 1, 11-400 Wrocław, Poland

Museum of Bourgeois Art

Apart from being able to see the antique decor or try a pint of White Sheep, visitors to the Old Town Hall can also check out the Museum of Bourgeois Art with its two permanent exhibitions: “The Gallery of Famous Wrocławites,” a collection of marble busts of famous people who lived in the city and “Masterpieces of Wroclaw Gold Smithery” which displays objects that were produced by local goldsmiths.

Old Town Hall, Rynek 50, Wrocław, Poland, +48 71 347 16 91