"There is no freedom without dwarves". The story of Wrocław’s dwarfs

Since the beginning of the 21st century in Wrocław began to appear dwarfs figurines made of bronze. Figurine of a dwarf is the symbol of the Orange Alternative. It was the most picturesque element of Polish opposition to communism. The main purpose of Orange Alternative was to offer an alternative way of opposition against the authoritarian regime by means of a peaceful protest that used absurd and nonsensical elements. The first actions of the Orange Alternative consisted of painting dwarf graffiti on spots created by the police's covering up anti-regime slogans on walls of the Polish cities. They created often surrealistic slogans such as "There is no freedom without dwarves". 

Orange Alternative organized happenings in several Polish cities. The culmination point in the movement's history was the action organized on International Children’s Day (1st June 1988), known as the "Revolution of Dwarves", during which more than 10 thousand people marched through the center of Wrocław wearing orange dwarf hats. Their role was to laugh at absurdities and pompousness of system and provoke independent thinking.

In 2001, to commemorate the Orange Alternative, the first figurine of a dwarf (Papa Krasnal) was officially placed on Świdnicka Street in Wrocław, where the group’s happenings used to take place. Next 5 figures of the dwarfs, were placed in different parts of the city, predominantly in the Old Town. Since that time, the number of figures has continued growing. Today there are over 300 dwarfs spread all over the city and outside the Wrocław. In Wrocław’s city centre these merry dwarfs are simply ubiquitous - dotting doorways, alleyways and street corners; constantly underfoot but only seen by the observant.

Over the time Wrocław’s dwarfs have become a great tourist attraction. Tourists who would like to combine sight-seeing in Wrocław with dwarf-tracking are offered special brochures with a map and mobile application software for smartphones. There is a special website dedicated to Wrocław’s dwarfs – www.krasnale.pl – where you can find their history, photos and downloadable maps of their various locations.

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  1. Oh these are so cool, love the first one!!

  2. What great little figurines, that's great.

  3. I imagine it would be a lot of fun to walk through the city and discover them. Thank you for linking in with "Through My Lens"

    Mersad Donko Photography

  4. Such interesting post! :) Thanks for sharing this!

  5. What a great movement. Art will come out with basic truth no matter what the government tries to do. The dwarfs are great. Thank you for this excellent post. Looks like the dwarfs have won the revolution.

  6. It's quite a clever way to have an opposing opinion. I'm glad you shared this bit of history with us.

  7. I am fascinated by dwarves since childhood; and these statues are so fun.

  8. I had no idea about all this. What fascinating history. I just love these funny dwarves.

  9. Very interesting! Now I want to visit Wroclaw :)
    Thanks for sharing!

  10. These Dwarf figurines are awesome. As an avid Motorcyclist I was tempted to choose the Biker Dwarf but I think my favourite of all is the Dwarf behind bars with the ball & chain around his ankle.

  11. How fun!! :) These are the cutest!

  12. I'm pinning this for my trio to Poland in the summer. I'll have to make sure Wroclaw is on my itinerary! #wanderfulwednesday

  13. Wow lovely figurines.... I sure would love to have them in my own garden.... I like dwarfs ;-)

    Have a nice ABC-Wednesday / _ Week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc=w=team)
    (want to take a preview at the new url starting round 21 ? http://abcwednesday.wordpress.com)

  14. I love the whimsical tone of this post.


  15. Love each and every dwarf sculpture and what a wonderful way to 'protest' ~ think the USA could use the dwarves at the moment ~ thanks,

    Wishing you a Happy and Peaceful week ~ ^_^

  16. A wonderful way to express an opinion (a protest?). I think your dwarves are fabulous.

  17. They're great! Maybe the US needs an Orange alternative!

  18. Note to Roger,,,Donald Trup is Orange isn't he ?

    I would love to follow that trail,I used to have
    a Garden Gnome called Tommy Murray, amost ugly little
    chap...My EX bought him for me!
    Great post,
    Best wishes,
    ABCW team.

  19. This is so cool! Definitely would love to get that map of Wroclaw and find all these dwarves.. thanks for sharing

  20. Oh now i realized what dwarves are for! Thanks so much for the information.

  21. Oh I love this! I didn't know about these dwarves and I love finds like this when I visit a new city, I'll def be keeping my eyes open for them if I visit here! #Citytripping

  22. Fascinating! I've never seen a sculpture of dwarfs kissing -- ha ha! What an interesting post.

  23. What a cool story!! Plus all of those dwarves are so unique! Love this! #citytripping

  24. These are so quirky, very fun but I love the story behind them. What a wonderful piece of resistance. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  25. Fascinating - I'd really love to see these, I'd not heard of them before. What a great back-story and I love the fact they've brought something to the city's tourism too, I'm all for that! #citytripping

  26. Great to read about the story behind the dwarf figurines. Thanks for sharing #CityTripping


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