Wroclaw’s Dwarfs

Here is one great way to “trail.” When your spouse has a business trip, grab a bag and go along! The hotel is free, and the train tickets are cheap, so why not?

Last weekend, a business trip took us to Wroclaw. So, of course, we had to go dwarf-hunting!

Wroclaw’s dwarfs (or gnomes, as we might call them) originated in the 1980s as an absurdist political statement by an anti-communist group called the Orange Alternative. Basically, whenever the police covered up political graffiti, the movement’s members would spray-paint a dwarf on the spot. It was their calling card. When the Commies got upset about a bunch of gnomes and spray-painted over them, it just made them look foolish. It was brilliant in a very European sort of way.

The movement spread to other cities in Poland, but remained primarily identified with Wroclaw. In 2001, a bronze dwarf was erected by the city to commemorate the Orange Alternative movement. Others soon followed, and now there are about 300 dwarfs scattered throughout the city representing everything from professions to political movements. There is a even a website with profiles and a map of their locations.

The dwarves are a major tourist attraction—and super cute!

Wroclovek, or Wroclaw Lover, guards the entrance to the tiny Dwarf Museum.
Wroclovek, or Wroclaw Lover, guards the entrance to the tiny Dwarf Museum on the main market square.

Poster at the Dwarf gift shop featuring Wroclovek.
Poster at the dwarf gift shop featuring Wroclovek.
Pożarki or firemen dwarves.
Pożarki or firemen dwarves.
krasnali-3
Klucknik, the key-maker.
Three disabled dwarves in front of the Town Hall.
Three disabled dwarves (deaf, blind, and wheelchair-bound) in front of the Town Hall.
Wypłatnik withdraws his money from the dwarf branch of a bank!
Wypłatnik withdraws his money from the dwarf branch of a bank!
 Słupniki Solne or pole dwarf, in the Salt Square.
Słupniki Solne or pole dwarf, in the Salt Square.
I couldn't find a name for this one, but he's chilling in his recliner and watching the news on TV.
I couldn’t find a name for this one, but he’s chilling in his recliner and watching the news on TV in the Salt Square.
Two dwarves at a cash machine with an abacus. Not sure what is going on here.
Two dwarves working on a cash register with an abacus. Not sure what is going on here.
And another dwarf inside!
And another dwarf inside!
Kowal, the blacksmith with attitude.
Kowal, the blacksmith dwarf with attitude.
Pierognik! The pierogi loving dwarf. Unfortunately, someone has stolen his fork.
Pierognik! The pierogi loving dwarf. Unfortunately, someone has stolen his fork ):
16th century sculptures in a church look a bit dwarfish to me. What do you think>
These 16th century sculptures in a Wroclaw church look a bit dwarfish to me. What do you think?
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3 comments

  1. What a cool quest to do while taking in the town! Just so you know, I still like the undercover dwarfs you had a photo of better, even though the quality Wroclaw’s offerings were much higher standard. Did you end up getting a free dwarf with a gift shop purchase?

    Like

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