LearnPolishwith Us!

Start Learning!

Polish Language Blog

Exactly how many dwarves are there in Wrocław? Posted by on Aug 31, 2017 in Culture, Places to visit

All of you who visited the beautiful Polish city, Wrocław, this is not a big news. One of Wrocław’s most popular, memorable and iconic attractions is not a cathedral, not a castle or monument, but a legion of little people: Gnomes, dwarves or ‘krasnale’, to be precise.

In Wrocław’s city center these merry munchkins are simply ubiquitous – dotting doorways, alleyways and street corners; constantly underfoot but only seen by the observant. You may well overlook the first few that cross your path, but inevitably – and often literally – you will stumble upon these popular local residents. Keep your eyes peeled and you’re bound to notice the little fellas engaged in a variety of activities about town – from guarding public space to passed-out drunk. Beloved by locals and tourists alike, and the object of more photos than the towering Cathedral, these prolific pranksters have become the unlikely symbol of one of PL’s most picturesque cities.

When researching the actual number of them, I couldn’t get straight answer though. Although it is somewhere in between 163-165!

My little family visited Wrocław in 2012, and I have to say we were not able to find all of the “krasnale”, but I think we found a great amount of them! And it was especially a great entertainment for my 2.5 year old then daughter:)

I hope you enjoy few of the pictures we took with these amazing little creatures!


The first dwarf to call Wrocław home was “Papa Dwarf”, placed on Świdnicka Street in 2001. This father of the dwarves is slightly larger than the others, with a different style of construction, precedes his brethren by a few years, and carries a graver history and meaning.

Papa was placed on this main street into the city as it was here that the Orange Alternative, an anti-communist underground movement that claimed the dwarf as its symbol, used to meet in the Eighties to protest against the authoritarianism of Poland’s Soviet masters.

By adopting the imagery of the dwarf, often in graffiti over government slogans, while maintaining a non-violent stance, the group brought a lightness and hope to the struggle against communism.

You can pick up a special map from tourist information (Rynek 14) showing where to find 30 of the most centrally located gnomes, and there is even a special, dual-language (Polish and English) website dedicated to Wrocław’s gnomes – www.krasnale.pl – where you can find their history, photos and other information, including downloadable maps of their various locations. Spend an afternoon as a gnome-watcher and see how many of these mischievous miscreants you can spot as you stroll around town. Happy hunting!

Share this:
Pin it

About the Author:Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew up in Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.


Comments:

  1. Marcia:

    Very interesting article. I have just come back from a trip to Poland with the Polish Center in Chicopee. This was one of the cities we went to. I live in western Massachusetts. I’m glad your children know Polish. I wish my parents taught me.

  2. Pam Prophet:

    What a great way to see the city, young, old, and inbetween!! Your daughter is adorable and is loving this “scavenger” hunt! Thank you for sharing!


Leave a comment: