The Old Town Promenade, known locally as Promenada Staromiejska, is a tree-lined walkway surrounding Wrocław’s old town moat.
The greenbelt was created during the early 19th Century after the city’s fortification walls were destroyed. Each part of the walking avenue is full of character, but the most important aspect of the promenade is how it threads a myriad number of Wrocław’s historical and cultural destinations together.
For instance, the park connects the former defense structures, Ceglarski Bastion and Hill Partisan, which offer unrivaled views of the Odra River and Cathedral Island, as well as the Old Town District, respectively.
Rising above Most Skargi is a stunning white and yellow crescent-shaped outdoor arcade, which dates from a 19th Century redevelopment and was created for public recreational use. Interestingly enough, during World War II, the underground bunkers of Hill Partisan were used as hidden Nazi Headquarters. After the war, the catacombs accommodated a museum, and a couple decades later, it housed a few bars. Today, unfortunately, some of the area along this part of the promenade is neglected without care, littered with bottles, and spoiled by nonsensical graffiti.
While visiting the park you can easily access John Paul II Square, The Academy of Music, The Puppet Theater and Opera, The Museum of Architecture, The Academy of Fine Arts, The Racławice Panorama, and The National Museum. Near Galeria Dominikanska is Oławska Gateway, which is no normal subterranean pedestrian passage. A relic of the 13th Century gateway to the city, it contains the original fortification walls, a cannon, and a miniature model of the Oławska gates and towers.
While meandering throughout the trails of this extensive park, it is interesting to consider how well the paths blend into the surrounding environment whether adjacent to a modern mall, a historical theater, a lively road, or a calm river tributary. Daily activities here include walking, running, biking, meeting, socializing, picnicking, and fishing, among others. Towards the northeast part of the promenade, as it merges into Park Słowackiego, the boulevards become lined with up to three, or even four, rows of large trees, while statues and memorials of all different types scattered about commemorate the city’s vibrant past.
While the expansive park finds its strength in joining numerous destinations, its lack of events, the odd dirty spot, and crumbling structures cannot be overlooked. As one of the most visited pedestrian trails and parks in the city, Promenada Staromiejska is nonetheless rife with cultural, architectural, and historical heritage.