congress / places

Ostrów Tumski

Ostrów Tumski (Cathedral Island, Ger. Dominsel, at present – the oldest district of Wrocław) came into existence at a site of convenient river routes of transport; between the estuary of the Oława River in the south and the Ślęza and the Widawa rivers in the north, the Oder River branched into numerous streams and formed several islands of different sizes (the so called "ostrovy").

Archaeological research has proven that the earliest parts of the area to be inhabited were located between the Church of St. Martin and the Church of the Holy Cross. In 11th century, the first wooden church of St. Martin allegedly served as prince's chapel. It was surrounded by defensive outer curtains. The Oder River provided it with natural protection while at the same time it served as a transport route and provided the inhabitants with everyday supplies. At that time, Ostrów Tumski had approximately 1,500 inhabitants.

Serving as the residence of the first of the Piast dynasty rulers, the Ostrów Tumski complex was most likely built in the 10th century. Wood-based and surrounded by soil and wooden shafts, the construction was not, at least originally, based on stone The first stone-based premises were those of the St. Martin's chapel. It is believed to have been erected in the early 11th century and belonged to the abbey of Ołbina. The Eastern part of the island was already the property of the bishop of Wrocław. At the beginning of the 11th century the first cathedral was raised in Ostrów replacing a small church.