The Centennial Hall

Globally-acknowledged Centennial Hall of Wroclaw proves that 20th-century buildings can also gain the status of a masterpiece of architecture. Erected between 1911 and 1913 according to the vision of  Max Berg, the circular building topped with an ingenious dome structure was meant to commemorate the victory of anti-French coalition over the army of Napoleon Bonaparte at the battle of Leipzig fought a hundred years before. Its original function – serving as an exhibition hall built in the middle of extensive Exhibition Grounds – is still maintained by its modern operators, currently enjoying the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site given to the Centennial Hall in 2006.

Tour Overview

Sightsee one of the world's most recognisable wonders of concrete architecture: the perfectly symmetrical Centennial Hall. Visit the vast environmentally-integrated Exhibition Grounds of Wroclaw (36,69 ha) where this 23-metre-high structure dominates the green landscape of the Oder bank with its impressive cake-like tiered layout. Enjoy the view of skeleton supporting the dome inside the painstakingly renovated structure, learn of the events Centennial Hall was part of at the Discovery Centre and take a refreshing walk next to one of the biggest fountains of Europe operating in front of it to admire the hall's spatial arrangement from the distance.

A visit to Wroclaw is full of pleasant surprises for those who have never previously considered visiting this magical city. In fact, the capital city of Lower Silesia has the status that is similar to the one of Krakow or Gdansk with regard to western Poland. Outside of the highly popular areas of Wroclaw Old Town, there is a special recreational area surrounding the 100 ha of Szczytnicki Park (one of the oldest city parks on the continent) where a number of impressive landmarks and hallmarks of Wroclaw (including Wroclaw Zoo and its Africanarium or the Japanese Garden) are located. The Centennial Hall is one of the most outstanding monuments in this part of Europe to sightsee, also forming a part of the park's area. Overall, a visit to the Centennial Hall is tantamount to experiencing the delights the best recreational area of Wroclaw provides. Throughout your 2-hour visit to the concrete marvel of Wroclaw, you will be guided around the impressive interior of one of the foremost architectural achievements of the 20th century, visiting its multimedia-filled Discovery Centre that is highly informative in terms of architectural knowledge and having a chance to sightsee WuWa estate – a complex of buildings designed for the purposes of "Wohnung und Werkaum Ausstellung" exhibition held in Wroclaw in 1929. The estate will let you see how the modernist architects imagined multi-purpose urban developments of the future a decade before WWII. Additionally, your expert guide will show you around the Four Domes Pavilion by Hans Poelzig (now housing a branch of the National Museum of Wroclaw), the Pergola of Centennial Hall and the stunning multimedia fountain of Wroclaw that operates between April and September.

The Centennial Hall was something the state of Prussia needed to remind Europeans of their important military victories of the 19th century, and so just on the brink of WWI. Its monumental structure of reinforced concrete had one aim behind it: to instill admiration in its visitors to the modern, yet history-inspired thought that was born in one of the most imperialism-oriented states of Europe. Something to boast of in front of international attendees of exhibitions that were intended to be held there. Nearly two million marks were spent to erect a massive venue (65 metres wide and 42 metres high) in the city then known as Breslau, with its capacity set to house nearly 10,000 attendees. The project of Centennial Hall was based on a pioneering design that was to make it the most monumental structure built with the use of then modern principles of reinforced-concrete architecture. The circular shape of Centennial Hall was composed of a 19 metre-high cylindrical base supporting a massive rib-structured dome of 23 metres of height. The span of dome itself was established at the impressive diameter of 65 metres. The huge organs that disappeared during WWII complemented the image of a monumental building that was meant to meet the unanimous appraisal of anyone having a chance to come across it.

This aura was exactly what dictators of all sorts seem to search for when it comes to arranging huge gatherings of their supporters – this is why not only Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels chose the Centennial Hall to have some of their speeches given there in the 1930's and 40's, but also why the communist party of Poland would hold the venue in high esteem. Currently, the renovated interiors of Centennial Hall are mainly where conferences, trade fairs, concerts and sport events (including EuroBasket 2009) are held.

Ready to discover the beauty enchanted in the concrete structure of Wroclaw Centennial Hall? Contact us to have a visit to this masterpiece of architecture arranged for you!

Tour Details

a building in a shape of a circle with 4 semicircular apses. It consists of two independent parts: a cylindrical base of the height of 19 m carrying a dome, meaning 4 great arcades (…), and a ribbed structure of the dome of the height of 23 m, placed on a ring and resting on 32 metal bearings. (…) The span of the dome amounts to 65 m. Since 2006, the Hall has been included in the UNESCO heritage list.

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