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Tom 6 (2015): Pamięć a przestrzeń

City space and invention of history

  • Paweł Czajkowski
13 września 2016


City space and the invention of history

After the system change in 1989, Wrocław faced the situation of “renegotiation” and reconstruction of collective identity, which was connected with the necessity of discovering the city history and rewriting and inventing it. This in turn was connected with the reconstruction of meaning inscribed in the city space. The Four Temples District, part of the Old Town, is an example of how history can become a starting point for the construction of a new meaning by inventing new symbols of the city space. The District is also a good example of how city elites meaning either city authorities or associations are engaged in constructing collective memory, and constructing ideological forms that are extrapolated either from the present image of the city or from its history. Ideas such as tolerance, dialog, multiculturalism, reconciliation, that are inscribed in the symbolic and material space, fitted well into ideological trends and became the emblems of the District and the city. The phenomenon of the District became attractive due to its ideological aspects and the City Council very quickly got involved in the “reconstruction” of a place symbolizing the “multicultural” profile of the city and its affiliations with tolerance. The District is not an emanation of Wrocław’s history; it is de facto a symbolic project “invented” recently as a contemporary projection of history.