[CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT ★★]
WROCLAW IS 2016 EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE
(P1) Combining a long Polish and German HERITAGE, Poland’s western city of Wroclaw becomes one of the European Capitals of Culture in 2016.
(P2) Formerly known as Breslau and part of Germany before the end of World War II, Wroclaw will share the honor with the city of San Sebastian on Spain’s northern coast.
(P3) Poland’s fourth largest city with a population of 630,000, Wroclaw is an industrial centre and university town.
(P5) The central European MELTING POT was part of the Kingdom of Poland, Bohemia, Hungary, the Austrian Empire, Prussia, and Germany at different times over the centuries.
(P6) The city’s honor comes at a time of difficult relations between Poland and Germany.
(P7) But in Wroclaw there is no ILL WILL, according to longtime resident Amanda Rozanska: “We don’t have a problem with Germans.”
(P8) The culture capital celebrations begin this weekend, with dancers and musicians TAKING TO THE STREETS.
(P9) “I believe this may be the most important year in the post-war history of Wroclaw,” says Mayor Rafal Dutkiewicz on the city’s website about the many cultural events planned over the next 12 months.
(P10) “We want Wroclaw to be important on the map of Europe and the world.”
(P11) One way to look at the city’s history is to read about daily life in pre-war Breslau, depicted in detail by local writer Marek Krajewski in his detective novel series featuring policeman Eberhard Mock, which has been translated into 18 languages including German.
(P12) Soviet bombing destroyed 70 percent of the city in 1945 and most of the German residents left after the war ended.
(P13) Wroclaw was mainly repopulated by Poles from the city of Lwow — which became Ukraine’s Lviv after the war — and also attracted Jews and Greek immigrants.
(P14) In the 1980s, Wroclaw was an active location of the Solidarity TRADE UNION that worked for a peaceful end to communism in Poland in 1989.
(P15) Then came the “Flood of the Century” in July 1997, an event that united Wroclaw residents.
(P16) “Everyone came out to carry SANDBAGS to block the water,” said Grzegorz Roman, an advisor at the mayor’s office.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Many cities in Europe, like Wroclaw/Breslau and Lwow/Lviv, have been parts of different countries at different times. Have the BORDERS of your country changed much, or have they remained the same?
- How does your city celebrate culture? Are there any regular events or festivals?
- Have there ever been any natural disasters such as floods in your city?
- Do you enjoy reading HISTORICAL NOVELS to learn about the past?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Melting pot
- Ill will
- Take to the streets
- Trade union
- Historical novel