The lively city of Wrocław in the southwest of Poland has been taken over by dwarfs! What once started as a political movement has grown into a dwarf tradition.
What are all of those little dwarf statues around the city of Wrocław?
Throughout the entire Wrocław Old Town and Market Square, you will find numerous dwarf sculptures lurking and hiding around every corner. The dwarfs are filled with personality and deviousness as they hang from door frames, swing from light posts and tuck themselves into every nook and cranny of the city.
What do the dwarfs of Wrocław represent?
Charming as they are, the sculptures began as a recognition of the Orange Alternative, an anti-Soviet resistance movement, which helped bring the end of Poland’s communist regime in the 1980s. The Orange Alternative peacefully protested the government's censorship of free speech and public meetings during the time of martial law in Poland from 1981-1983. They defaced communist propaganda and covered it with surrealist inspired street art, which included these little dwarfs.
The movement ended with a gathering of 10,000 protesters on June 1, 1988 in downtown Wrocław. The protesters wore orange cone-shaped dwarf hats and chanted “Freedom for the dwarfs!”.
When did the first dwarf sculpture in Wrocław appear?
The first dwarf sculpture appeared in 2001 to commemorate the movement. These dwarfs are quirky and take many forms including firemen running to a fire, thieves stealing chocolate from a sweet shop, one with a giant belly outside of a pizza restaurant, one with a map outside of the visitors center, and even a 19 piece dwarf symphony outside of the city’s concert hall!
How many dwarf sculptures are there in Wrocław?
No one knows exactly how many dwarfs are hidden around the city, but it is thought that there are more than 600 spread around. Each dwarf sculpture has a detailed backstory and unique characteristics. More dwarf statues are being added all the time by the city and local businesses.
Visit Wrocław, Poland
Dwarf searching is a great activity for children and adults alike when visiting. You will find map at local shops that can help you track down each dwarf throughout the city.
Learn more fun facts about Wroclaw!
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