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Wrocław city (Poland)

Dolnośląskie voivodship

Last modified: 2011-05-21 by andrew weeks
Keywords: wroclaw | breslau |
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Wrocław flag

[Wrocław flag] by Antonio Martins, 21 May 1999

Wrocław: horizontal red-yellow
Pascal Vagnat, 19 May 1999

Wrocław: a retained regional seat (of Lower Silesia), located on the Odra river, a walled settlement of local Slavic people since 4th century, since 1000 the center of a bishopric, Magdeburg law privileges since 1211. The residence of the most important Silesian duchy. In Austria since 1526, and annexed by Prussia in 1741. In Poland after WW2. ca. 640,000 inhabitants.
Gwidon S. Naskrent, 6 Sept 2000

Wrocław flag with coat of arms

[Wrocław flag with Coat of Arms] by Grzegorz Skrukwa, 14 Oct 2001

Wrocław has two flags:
- plain bicolor red-yellow
- bicolor red-yellow with coat of arms
Grzegorz Skrukwa, 14 Oct 2001

Wrocław new coat of arms

[Wrocław new Coat of Arms] from this site, reported by Grzegorz Skrukwa, 14 Oct 2001

Coats of arms of Wrocław - overview:

1) Coat of arms 1530-1938, 1945-1948 and since 1990:
Quartered shield with escutcheon. It was established by Ferdinand I Habsburg, King of Bohemia, in 1530. Abolished by Nazi Germans in 1938, restored by Polish authorities of Wrocław in 1945, again abolished in 1948, and again restored in 1990.  This is official explanation of coats of arms symbolism (from Town Council Resolution, 19 June 1990):
"Crowned lion rampant represents the Kingdom of Bohemia, to which Wrocław belonged since 1336, after extinction the Wrocław offshoot of Piast dynasty. The black eagle with clover stalk is arms of Wrocław Piast dynasty, regarded also as coats of arms of Wrocław Duchy. St. John Evangelist is patron saint of town council and town hall chapel since XIV Century. Letter "W" was described in heraldic privilege document as an initial of legendary founder of town, Wratyslaw. De facto it was an initial of official Latin name of town: Wratislavia, and also an initial of Polish name of town. St. John Baptist's Head is an emblem of first patron saint of town. He appeared on Great Seal of Wrocław in XIII Century. This coats of arms, established in 1530, is inspired by four-squared coats of arms of Royal Bohemian Land Starosty (Lieutenancy) of Wrocław Duchy. Mayor of Wrocław performed office of Chancellor and Starost (Lieutenant) of Wrocław Duchy."
(Source: Maciej Lagiewski, Herb Wrocławia w architekturze miasta, Wrocław 1992)

2) Coat of armsof Wrocław under Nazi Germany 1938-1945
Traditional coat of arms reminded of Polish and Czech history of Wrocław, so Nazis abolished it in 1938 and established new "pure German" coat of arms, designed by Schweitzer-Mjoelnir. The shield was parted horizontally. On a top Silesian black eagle, made alike to Prussian eagle. On a bottom: Iron Cross (Eiserne Kreuz) on red. This coat of arms failed together with Third Reich in May 1945.

3) Coat of Arms of Wrocław 1948-1990
Designed by Polish historian Karol Maleczynski. Shield parted vertically. This coat of arms joined Silesian black eagle on gold and Polish white eagle on red. After failure of communist regime in Poland, Town Council get back to traditional coat of arms.
Grzegorz Skrukwa, 14 Oct 2001

It is interesting to note the similitude of many of the symbols within the Wrocław coat of arms to symbols found in Czech Republic. I'm not an expert in heraldry, but I recognized all but one of them appearing in Czech flags.

We can see the Bohemian Lion and the Silesian Eagle, both territories shared by Poland and Czech Republic. Almost all of Bohemia is in Czech Republic and most part of Silesia is in Poland. The "W" should refer to Wrocław, but we can find it also in a few Czech flags: Fulnek (NJ), Jilové u Prahy (PZ), Nové Strasecí (RA) and Pocátky (PE). The plate with St. John the Baptist's head also appears in some Czech flags and/or arms: Sudice (OP) and Teplice (TP). The other symbol must be St. Stanislaw (Stanislaus), proper of Poland.
Blas Delgado Ortiz, 16 Oct 2001

Wrocław old Coat of Arms

[Wrocław Coat of Arms] from this site, report by Robert Czernkowski, 6 May 1999