Wroclaw, Poland, the capital of the Dolnoslaskie province. The city was formerly called Breslau. It is on the Oder River, about 180 miles (290 km) southwest of Warsaw, in Upper Silesia, a region rich in coal and other minerals. Wroclaw is a river port, a railway center, and a major industrial city. It is also a trading center for the surrounding agricultural area. Processed foods, textiles, machinery, and railway cars are produced in the city. Wroclaw has a university established in 1811.
A settlement was made here in 1000 A.D. It was part of Poland until 1163, when it became the capital of an independent duchy. The Mongols destroyed the city in 1241. German settlers largely rebuilt it. In 1335 King John of Bohemia purchased the city, and in 1526 it passed with the rest of Bohemia to the Hapsburgs of Austria. Frederick the Great made it part of Prussia in 1741.
In World War II, the city endured an 84-day siege by Soviet forces, from February to May, 1945. This left most of the city in ruins. Wroclaw has since been rebuilt, and among its restored buildings are the cathedral of St. John the Baptist (built in the 12th–15th centuries) and the Gothic city hall (14th–16th centuries). Under the Potsdam Pact of 1945, the city was taken from Germany and became part of Poland.
In 1997 the Oder flooded sections of the city, forcing the evacuation of 17,000 residents. The historic city center was spared damage by a public sandbagging effort.
Population: 641, 974.