The Wroclaw Dwarf Army is a very small army, in every sense of the word. Scattered amongst the intricate streets and the stunningly beautiful central cathedral of this B.E.A.utiful city, this teenie tiny army lurk in plain sight, just waiting to be discovered.
… Ok so it’s not quite Troll hunting on a Hollywood scale, but if you’re lucky enough to visit this amazing city, pronounced ‘Vrozlov’ I’m told, you’ll do well to miss some of the Wroclaw Dwarf Army.
A few friends I’ve met through blogging visited Wroclaw recently on a press trip, and their updates reminded me of my time in the city. When I mentioned the Wroclaw dwarfs on twitter I think people thought I was a little loopy, but honestly they’re there, you just have to look hard enough.
I actually wrote this article a few months ago and pitched it to a few other blogs as a guest post but sadly there were no takers. Ah well, here it is on my site, enjoy!
For mythological creatures the wroclaw dwarfs (also sometimes referred to as gnomes) are an attractive bunch, sporting potbellies, pointy shoes, epic facial hair and classic hats. Whilst some cosy up in a nice warm bed and snooze, others fish and cycle. Trying to find the whole gang is now considered one of the ‘must-do’ activities for any tourists visiting the city and best of all its FREE! Sod the grand, beautiful, architecturally brilliant cathedral that sits smack bang in the middle of the city, casting a great shadow over all that surrounds it, I’m off to find me some dwarfs!
The history between modern day Wroclaw and the little Krasnal or Krasnoludek (a mix of Russian and Polish which means something along the lines of ‘small red person/human like creature’) began roughly in the 1980’s when the gnome became the symbol of the ‘Orange Alternative’ movement. The Orange Alternative were a underground group led by Waldemar ‘Major’ Fydrych. Major Fydrych and his follows seemed a somewhat strange yet peaceful group. During Communism, the militia were quick to paint over any anti-establishment graffiti, but the Orange Alternative were just as quick to paint over that same surface again, and can you guess what they painted? … Yup, dwarves. From the 1980’s onwards, Wroclaw has become synonyms with dwarves and they’re now loved by both locals and tourists alike. Local business have now even taking to sponsoring the loveable little red men.
If you want to know more about the Wroclaw dwarfs, their history and even where you can find them when you visit Wroclaw, there is a whole website dedicated to the little scamps. Check out http://www.krasnale.pl/ for all the latest dwarf related sightings, locations, news and gossip. There’s even a dwarf of the week feature, brilliant!
When I visited Wroclaw with a few mates in 2010 we took it upon ourselves to hunt down as many of the dwarf army as possible. Camera in hand, we combed the old town, checking every little nook and cranny in the hope for tracking down just one more dwarf to add to our collection. Despite not being 100% sober throughout our search, we did a pretty good job and found roughly 30 of the old town dwarves. Little did we know there were over 100 more hiding throughout the rest of Wroclaw. Another time perhaps.