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WROCLAW is the capital of southwestern Poland's province of Lower Silesia. The city is located on the Oder River approximately 310 kilometers southwest of Warsaw, 200 kilometers east of Dresden, Germany, and 120 km from the Czech Republic.

Wroclaw originated in the 10th century AD at the crossroads of trade routes and was first governed by the Polish Piast kings. In the following centuries it was ruled at various times by the Germans,Bohemians, and Prussians. In 1741 Frederick II the Great of Prussia changed its name to Breslau.

During the Second World War the city was heavily damaged. Gradually the old city was restored to its beauty. Nearly all the monumental buildings were preserved. Now it is a uniquely European city in present-day Poland, with its architecture echoing that in Austria, Bohemia, or Prussia. Wroclaw's Gothic style is originally Silesian, its Baroque style owes much to court builders of Habsburg Austria (Fischer von Erlach, Ch. Tausch), and Wroclaw still has a number of buildings by eminent modernist architects, such as Hans Poelzig or Max Berg, the famous Jahrhunderthalle (Hala Ludowa) by Berg (1911-13) being the most important.

The city with its charming historical center, parks, good restaurants, hotels and friendly people (700.000 inhabitants) is a pleasant place to visit and to do business. As Poland's fourth largest city, Wroclaw is a center of industry, communications, transport, education, and the arts. The city has Poland's largest flour mills, electronics and data-processing facilities, foundries, machinery plants, textile mills, the Hutmen copper plant, and food-processing facilities. Wroclaw provides international rail connections, an airport, and river transport. Eight educational institutions are located in the city along with nine museums, several theaters and music centers, and a botanical garden and zoo.

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