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CULTURAL GUIDE: Wrocław 20 years later - The great water shaped us all

It is 12 July 1997. Saturday. Water breaks into the city. It takes control over Opatowice and moments later over Swojczyce, Sołtysowice and Księże Małe, breaks embankments and defences in the vicinity of Kozanów. In the morning the water appears on the streets of Różanka and Osobowice, in the afternoon it is already in the centre and the surrounding area. It floods islands, including Opatowicka, Mieszczańska and Tamka Islands. The moat turns into a river that takes over the city. In the evening the ambulance services telephone gets silent and telephone communication is seriously disrupted. Certain districts lack electricity and water. Urban transport ceases to operate. Within just a day Wrocław is flooded almost in one third.

This is the day that every one of us remembers. Yet the flood in Wrocław and Lower Silesia is not only a story of destroyed buildings, damaged bridges and flooded districts. It is primarily a story of the residents who were able to cooperate faced with a threat, often putting their lives at risk to save others. It is a story of people who voluntarily shared their belongings with others. It will not be an exaggeration to say that it is also a great story of love of the residents of Wrocław for their city.   

The 20th anniversary of the Millennium Flood is ahead of us – an event that shaped the local memory of the residents of Wrocław, became a part of Wrocław’s identity and even set the directions of development of the city.​


Today’s Wrocław is a completely different city. The flood has seriously destroyed the capital of Lower Silesia but at the same time it has become a driving force of its transformation and modernisation – also in the mental sphere, in the perception of Wrocław residents of their city. We want to refer to those days in July two decades ago, when the fear of Wroclaw mixed with the feeling of solidarity, mutual friendliness and help.

The Great Water by Ad Spectatores recalls these days, the city and its residents, who bravely defended Wrocław from the destructive force of nature. The play tells the story of ordinary people, who found themselves in an unusual situation, when the fear for the city mixed with the feeling of solidarity, kindness and support, but not without its sense of humour. It is a great story of hope and love of the residents of Wrocław towards their city. The play uses a unique but effective formula – the actors lie on the stage along with the set design, filmed from above by a camera on the ceiling. On the screen, the audience can see a silent comedy film in Chaplin's style.  

The Great Water will be presented on Słodowa Island for three summer evenings – twice each on Friday and Saturday (14-15.07, 9:30 and 10:30 p.m.) and once on Sunday (16.07, 9:30 p.m.) in three language versions – Polish, English and Ukrainian. Admission to the event is free.

Selected fragments of Wroclaw inhabitants' memories from July 1997 , can be found in summer edition of Wrocław Cultural Guide. 

The bi-monthly issue of the Wrocław Cultural Guide was published in two languages (Polish and English). The issue also includes the announcements and teasers for cultural events in Ukrainian. The magazine is free and you can get it at Barbara – ECoC Infopoint, the New Horizons Cinema, as well as cultural institutions and selected cafes, bars and beaches in the city.​

 

fot. Marcin Jędrzejczak

      Photos: Sławomir Ciróg, Marcin Jędrzejczak

 

 

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Wielka Woda fot. Marcin Jędrzejczak

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