Centennial Hall

Wroclaw, Poland | C.1913

Photo Credit: Piotr Zemlak

The Centennial Hall (Polish: Hala Stulecia) is a historic exhibition and recreation building in Wroclaw, Poland. It was constructed according to the plans of architect Max Berg in 1911-1913, when the city was part of the German Empire. Berg designed Centennial Hall to serve as a multi-functional structure to host “exhibitions, concerts, theatrical and opera performances, and sporting events.”

The opening of the hall was part of a celebration commemorating the 100th anniversary of the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig. The grounds include a huge pond with fountains enclosed by a large concrete pergola in the form of half an ellipse. Beyond this, to the north, is a Japanese garden.

After the memorial events, the building served as a multi-purpose recreational building. Luckily, it was largely spared from devastation during the Siege of Breslau. When the city became part of the Republic of Poland, the hall was renamed Hala Ludowa (“People’s Hall”) by the communist government.

The hall once had the world’s largest Sauer pipe organ built by Walcker Orgelbau, with 15,133 pipes and 200 stops. On September 24, 1913, Karl Straube was the first to play it, performing pieces specially composed to celebrate the occasion. Most parts of the organ were transferred to the rebuilt Wroclaw Cathedral after World War II.

As an early landmark of reinforced concrete architecture, the building became one of Poland’s official national Historic Monuments on April 20, 2005, together with the Four Domes Pavilion, the Pergola, and the Iglica. It was also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.

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