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“The flood of the millennium” in Wrocław. The city during the flood and today, 25 years later – photos

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Everyone expected a large wave, but no one expected that water would flood such a part of the city – recalled one of the residents of Wrocław many years later. The culmination wave to the capital of Lower Silesia arrived on July 12, 1997. Great water flooded one third of Wrocław. See what the city looked like 25 years ago and what the same places look like today.

On July 12, exactly 25 years ago, the culminating wave reached the capital of Lower Silesia. And although – unlike other cities – Wrocław had time to prepare, the big water surprised me anyway.

Also read: The roar of the water, the scream of people, then silence. It was going to be a warm summer

The flood alarm was announced here July 9. The next On the day, the mayor of the city, Bogdan Zdrojewski, appealed to residents to gather drinking water, candles, gas cylinders in their homes and to take measures to protect the most important buildings in the city. Soon he himself went out into the streets, led the action and stacked sandbags.

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– Very early in the morning, I remember, I was sitting at the intersection of Piłsudskiego and Świdnicka Streets. Main intersection, completely flooded. Suddenly I look – the signaling works. However, this signaling after moving the drivers upstairs works despite the flood, and there is no electricity. Green, red, orange. Suddenly, I watch a young man swim in a kayak and brake at a red light – recalled Zdrojewski in 2012.

The intersection of Piłsudskiego and Świdnicka streets:

“Everyone expected a wave, but no one expected the water to flood such a part of the city. Sand dams were built and water was breaking in through the sewage system. It was an attack from the rear, which surprised everyone – said Krzysztof Romańczukiewicz, a photographer from Wrocław, many years later.

July 11 in Wrocław, no one had yet suspected the size of the coming catastrophe. In the morning, in the Kozanów estate, where the blocks are located by the flood embankment, the inhabitants do not believe that a tragedy may occur. “Er, only the meadow will flood,” they said carelessly. But there was a crowd of anxious people on the dyke anyway. The Księże estate was flooded in just a few dozen minutes Little.

On the night of July 11-12 on the embankments in Biskupin and Sępolno, crowds of people were waiting with their flashlights for the great water. In the Kozanów estate, in the morning the water reached the very edge of the embankment. He did not let go, but the river came from Ignuta Street. Around 12.50, Dokerska Street, located in the basin by the embankments, began to flood. It was fast. An hour later, only car roofs were sticking out of the water. The bus loop turned into a vast lake. People swam in pontoons and canoes between the posts of the stops. At 2.30 p.m., the residents of the blocks of flats evacuated to the upper floors, because the water sometimes reached the height of the first floor.


Great water also made itself felt in other parts of Wrocław. The sand bridge, washed away by water, has been closed. The collections of the Archdiocese Museum, the National Museum and the Ossoliński Library were evacuated to the upper floors. Before 3 p.m., almost all eastern settlements were already flooded, and the capital of Lower Silesia resembled a besieged city.

Through a megaphone, the police called for help in strengthening the embankments, and hundreds of people watched the foaming Odra River at the height of the Pomorskie, Uniwersytet and Piaskowy bridges. If the river overflowed here, it would endanger the Old City. At 9 p.m. the water almost reached the Main Railway Station, the entire Traugutta Street was flooded, and Dworcowa Street, the embankment on Gwarna Street was built.

July 13 a two-meter layer of sacks stopped the inflow of water to Krzyki in Wrocław. Hundreds of people packed sand into bags. The housing estates Zacisze and Zalesie are flooded. The Social Square and the Legionów Square are flooded.

Grunwaldzki Bridge and Plac Społeczny:

July 14 at Słowiańska Street, the water reached the first floor. – She wrecked the hospital Ministry of Interior and Administration, heat and power plant. The railway viaduct was flooded under the roof, and it is over three meters long, described Mirosław Zuzański, a resident of Wrocław, who traveled the city with a camera during the flood. In his photos you can see, among others flooded Nadodrze and the local railway station.

Nadodrze Railway Station – entrance to the platforms:

Trzebnicka Street, hospital of the Ministry of Interior and Administration:

The zoo was in a difficult situation. – The promontory that has the zoo on it may have been washed away. People banded to save him. They tied sandbags, threw benches, fences into the water – said Zuzański. Garden workers evacuated some of the animals to the higher enclosures. The most dangerous ones were secured so that they could not harm anyone. The zoo was saved. One zebra died. The animal – scared off by an incoming helicopter – ran into the fence.

Read more: Rats ran, people wade, prisoners were dragged into a helicopter. See unpublished recordings

Stanisław Wyspiański Coast and Zwierzyniecki Bridge:

July 15 the water in Wrocław slowly began to decline, although in many parts of the city it persisted for a few more days. The situation is normalizing. Public transport is being restored.

The “flood of the millennium” flooded one third of the capital of Lower Silesia: it damaged almost 44 kilometers of roads and over 20 bridges, and destroyed over two thousand apartments. Four people died in Wrocław alone.

Lviv Eaglets Square and Świebodzki Railway Station:

Main photo source: Bogdan Zdrojewski, TVN24 Wrocław / Daniel Rudnicki

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