The gnomes of Wroclaw, Poland

This past weekend I visited the town of Wroclaw, in southern Poland, for the first time.

I’ve always been curious to visit this pretty town, and my husband and I were staying in Prague and I convinced him to take the bus up for a daytrip … a four-hour bus trip departing at 6 am. Real dedication on our part – and well worth it.

Wroclaw, Poland / Kimberly Sullivan

I’ll write more about this pretty, colorful town with its charming architecture and wonderfully walkable historic center – even better on a day of (mostly) clear blue skies and sunshine, and only a smattering of rain.

But today I want to write about a more modern addition to this historic town – the tiny gnomes that dot the city center.

Wroclaw, Poland gnomes / Kimberly Sullivan

No matter where you walk, you should keep your eyes peeled for the Wroclaw gnomes – Wrocławskie krasnale in Polish.

They are tiny, 20-30 centimeters/8-12 inches tall.

Apparently, the first gnome was an official statue, dedicated to the local Polish anti-communist movement the Orange Alternative, with the gnome as its symbol. From there on in, it was an invasion of the tiny creatures…

Wroclaw, Poland gnomes / Kimberly Sullivan

Other gnomes appeared around 2005 and have “mushroomed” over the years, there are now said to be over 600 arund the city’s center. Tourists can purchase a map to try to find them all. We looked for them organically on our day’s wanderings, and saw tons of them, although, admittedly, not all 600.

Alone or in pairs, they are to be found all around thne city. Some are “working”, some are hanging out, sleeping or lazing in the son. A few are pushing stones. One carries a heavy lock on his back, as a warning to young lovers to not hang their “love locks” on the bridge, thereby increasing the poor gnome’s backbreaking work.

Wroclaw, Poland gnomes / Kimberly Sullivan

I got a kick out of one tiny fairy – a gift from the Embassies of Iceland and Norway – who have their own traditio in believing in their woodland creatures, so fun they could bring their own folklore into the mix.

As I said, plenty more to see in addition to the gnomes, but these little statues are a fun (new) tradition, and spotting them made a fun challenge. If you have young kids in tow, they’ll be ecstatic!

Enjoy your gnome paparazzi time in Wroclaw. I know I did!

Wroclaw, Poland gnomes / Kimberly Sullivan

Leave a Comment