“Hands up if you want to go dwarf hunting in Wrocław?!” OK, if you enthusiastically shout this to the kids, you will probably be met with some blank expressions. But, once you tell them that you have devised an adventure trail like nothing they’ve experienced, featuring cute little dwarves, all with their own personas, which are hidden all over an old, beautiful city, well, you might just find that expression changes pretty quickly.
We are in Wrocław, in Poland, and judging by the groups of children – and adults – I’m not the only one looking for these mini statues. In fact, finding and photographing these brilliantly designed brass dwarves is now a major attraction for the city. There are 160-plus dotted all over, and many of them in the medieval Market Square, the heart of the Old Town. This is the perfect area to look for the dwarves – as the kids tick them off, staying entertained for hours, you will have the opportunity to appreciate this majestic square and some of its most popular sights.
Where to start
We had a few days of casually walking around, and didn’t come close to finding half of them, plus Gosia is from the city, so we did have a headstart. If you are new to Wrocław head to the tourist information in the Market Square and buy a map pointing out where they are (10 zloty/£2. You might find the map a little dated, as there are always new dwarves being added by businesses in the city, but it will give you a trail to follow, where you can see many of the best-loved and original examples.
What’s it all about then?
The dwarves were inspired by a Polish anti-communist movement, the Orange Alternative. Led by Waldemar Fydrych in the 1980s, the group’s purpose was to oppose the Soviet regime through peaceful means – their unique brand of humour and the absurd were their best weapons. The dwarf symbol spread through graffiti, culminating in one of the organisation’s nonsensical demonstrations where 10,000 people marched through Wrocław wearing gnome hats. As Fydrych said, can you treat a police officer seriously, when he is asking you: “Why did you participate in an illegal meeting of dwarves?”
The best dwarves in Wrocław – can you spot these?
The sleeping Dwarf
Water Keeper Dwarf
There’s a lot more than just dwarf hunting in Wroclaw. Look out for more about city’s major attractions.