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In the VIIth century at the crossroads of trade routes from the south to the north (from Italy through Czech to the Baltic Sea) and later from the east (from the Black Sea) to the west, a settlement called nowadays Wrocław was founded on the Tumski island. In the middle of IX century it was one of the most important cities that belonged to Ślężanie tribe, in the end of the IXth century it was a part of great Moravian state. After its collapse in 907 it belonged to Czech.
In 990, after the war, in which Mieszko I, the prince of Polan was supported by the German soldiers, the Silesia with the capitol – Wrocław, was under the reign of Gniezno. Wrocław belonged to Polish state which by Mieszko I and in the document of Dagome iudex was called ”Gniezno state”. The XI century was very rapid growth of the settlement that was a very important capital of Silesia region. The settlement was divided into 3 parts: settlement in the place of today’s św. Marcin street and the suburb of todays Cathedral. The Cathedral Island (‘Tumski Island’) was surrounded by the Odra River from the north that channel (was buried during the destruction of the city walls at the beginning of XIX century) was next to the today’s Bema Square and Mieszko I street. The remaining of the channel is a pond in the Botanical Garden. To the east the Tumski Island ended just behind the Cathedral and the channel of the Odra was in the place of today’s column of Christ the King of the universe.
In writing documents Wrocław appeared for the first time in a very famous chronicle by Thietmar from Merserburg in which he mentioned the Congress in Gniezno in 1000.
Ostrow Tumski (‘Cathedral Island’) is the oldest historic district in Wroclaw. It was built in the area of commercial water’s crossings where the Odra river created smaller and larger islands called “ostrowy”. The great churches, located there as it was a bishop seat in the past, are the main tourist attraction in Ostrow Tumski. The most important building is the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, which beginning date back the year 1244 and that has been extending for centuries. It is famous for its beautiful baroque chapels. The interesting details of Ostrow Tumski:
- it gave a refuge for criminals for 306 years –on its area the city court couldn’t chase them. Everyone who broke the law could find the asylum on the island.
- it has got one of the most beautiful night illuminations in the whole city. The buildings that are located in the area of Ostrow Tumski are lit by gas lanterns.
- it had special law that imposed a duty on all lay persons coming to the island, including the royal family, to remove the caps before entering Tumski Bridge where there was located a landmark of the state of church.
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