How did the Dwarfs appear on the Wrocław market square?
Dwarfs are a symbol of the city of Wrocław, tourists visiting the city are competing in ideas for a picture with the dwarf. Every more well-known place in Wroclaw is trying to have its own Dwarf. But how did it all start?
It all began in the 1980s. It was then that the first gnomes appeared in the capital of Lower Silesia. Wroclaw residents on the walls of tenements began to paint an orange image reminiscent of a dwarf. With hat and flower in hand. Today we would call it graffiti, but then there was something more. It was the response of a movement called the orange alternative to the extremes of everyday life introduced by the Communist authorities. The dwarf was supposed to symbolize a cheerful, mocking approach to the absurd regulations introduced by the rulers, so the Wroclaw dwarfs also had their share in the fall of communism.
The political system changed and the gnomes stayed in Wrocław for good. The form in which they are presented has changed a little, but they could undoubtedly be a showcase of the city.
The first dwarf monument in Wroclaw was erected in 2001. It was “Papa Dwarf”. The figurine was funded by the Agora company and its purpose was to commemorate the Orange Alternative. Other figurines were erected in 2005. There were five of them: Pracz Odrzański, Szermierz, Rzeźnik, as well as Syzyfki. Their author was Tomasz Moczek. The purpose of erecting subsequent figurines was to increase the tourist attractiveness of places important for Wroclaw, and so it all began.
Dwarfs have become a tourist attraction. Private enterprises, places of culture and restaurants wanting to be visited more often by tourists began to build their own gnomes. Currently there are almost 400 and their number is still growing.
Dwarfs are no longer just a showcase of Wrocław, it’s probably a sign of the times and the effect of globalization. Dwarfs appear in other towns in Lower Silesia. Moving is much simpler, and tourists from abroad wanting to see as much as possible also visit other places in Lower Silesia. So why not, tourism is developing.
An example of such a dwarf from outside of Wrocław can be a figure on Ślęża mountain. Will the gnomes soon be the hallmark of Lower Silesia? And maybe they will conquer all of Poland?