Centennial Hall

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Quick Summary

Location
51°06'24"N
017°04'37"E
Country
 Poland
Categories
  • Historical
  • Monuments
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Description

The Centennial Hall (Polish: Hala Stulecia, [ˈxala stuˈlɛtɕa], German: Jahrhunderthalle [jaːɐ̯ˈhʊndɐthalə]), formerly named Hala Ludowa ("People's Hall"), is a historic building in Wrocław, Poland. It was constructed according to the plans of architect Max Berg in 1911–1913, when the city was part of the German Empire. Max Berg designed Centennial Hall to serve as a multifunctional structure to host "exhibitions, concerts, theatrical and opera performances, and sporting events". The hall continues to be used for sporting events, business summits, and concerts.As an early landmark of reinforced concrete architecture, the building became one of Poland's official national Historic Monuments (Pomnik historii), as designated 20 April 2005, together with the Four Domes Pavilion, the Pergola, and the Iglica. Its listing is maintained by the National Heritage Board of Poland. It was also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.

History

It was in the Silesian capital of Breslau where, on 10 March 1813, King Frederick William III of Prussia called upon the Prussian people his proclamation An Mein Volk ("To My People") to rise up against Napoleon's occupation. In this proclamation king Frederick created also the Iron Cross award, which later became the most famous German military honor and symbol. In October of that year, Napoleon was defeated at the Battle of Leipzig. The opening of the hall was part of the celebration commemorating the 100th anniversary of the battle, hence the name Jahrhunderthalle. Breslau's municipal authorities had vainly awaited state funding and ultimately had to defray the enormous costs out of their own pockets. The landscaping and buildings surrounding the hall were laid out by Hans Poelzig and were opened on 20 May 1913 in the presence of Crown Prince William of Hohenzollern. The grounds include a huge pond with fountains enclosed by a huge concrete pergola in the form of half an ellipse. Beyond this, to the north, a Japanese garden was created. The Silesian author Gerhart Hauptmann had specially prepared a play Festspiel in deutschen Reimen for the occasion, however, the mise-en-scène by Max Reinhardt was suspended by national-conservative circles for its antimilitaristic tendencies. After the memorial events, the building served as a multi-purpose recreational building, situated in the Exhibition Grounds, previously used for horse racing. It was largely spared from devastation during the Siege of Breslau in World War II. After the war, when the city (together with most of historical Silesia) had become part of the Republic of Poland according to the 1945 Potsdam Agreement, the hall was renamed Hala Ludowa ("People's Hall") by the communist authorities. In 1948, a 106 m (348 ft) high needle-like metal sculpture called Iglica was set up in front of it. The hall was extensively renovated in 1997 and in 2010. Recently the Polish translation of the original German name, Hala Stulecia, became official. Centennial Hall hosted EuroBasket 1963 and a preliminary round group of the EuroBasket 2009 tournament.Following the renovation in 2009–11, the arena can now hold 10,000 people. In October 2014, the building received a $200,000 renovation grant from the Getty Foundation, as part of the Keeping It Modern grant program that was created a month earlier by the American foundation.

Architecture

The cupola modeled on the Centennial Hall was made of reinforced concrete, and with an inner diameter of 69 m (226 ft) and height of 42 m (138 ft) it was the largest building of its kind at the time of construction. The symmetrical quatrefoil shape with a large circular central space seats 7,000 persons. The dome itself is 23 m (75 ft) high, made of steel and glass. The Jahrhunderthalle became a key reference for the development of reinforced concrete structures in the 20th century. At the centre of the structure a superior dome with lantern is situated. Looking from the inside, there is a clearly visible pattern of the Iron Cross at the top of the dome; for this reason the centre of the structure was shrouded during the Communist era in Poland.

Organs

The hall was originally provided with a Sauer pipe organ built by Walcker Orgelbau, which then, with 15,133 pipes and 200 stops, ranked as the world's largest. On 24 September 1913, Karl Straube was the first to play it, performing Max Reger's Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue, Op. 127, specially composed to celebrate the occasion. Most parts of the organ were transferred to the rebuilt Wrocław Cathedral after World War II. Additional registers: Handregistierung, Freie Kombination 1, Freie Kombination 2, Freie Kombination 3, Freie Kombination I, Freie Kombination II, Freie Kombination III, Freie Kombination IV, Freie Kombination V, Freie Kombination P, Walze (Crescendo) I – III und Pedal, Tutti mit Fernorgel, Tutti ohne Fernorgel, Fortissimo, Forte, Mezzoforte, Piano, Tutti I, Tutti II, Tutti III, Tutti IV, Tutti V, Tutti P, Forte I, Forte II, Forte III, Forte V, Forte P, Mezzoforte I, Mezzoforte II, Mezzoforte III, Mezzoforte IV, Mezzoforte V, Mezzoforte P, Piano I, Piano II, Piano III, Piano V, Piano P, Pianissimo P, Tuttikoppel, Generalkoppel, Flöten I, Flöten II, Flöten III, Prinzipale I, Prinzipale II, Prinzipale III, Gamben I, Gamben II, Gamben III, Rohrwerk, Rohrwerk I, Rohrwerk II, Rohrwerk III, Rohrwerk IV, Rohrwerk V, Rohrwerk P, Ferpedal an, Handregister ab, Handregister I ab, Handregister II ab, Handregister III ab, Handregister IV ab, Handregister V ab, Handregister P ab, Handregister Fr. K. ab, Handregister Fr. K. I ab, Handregister Fr. K. II ab, Handregister Fr. K. III ab, Handregister Fr. K. IV ab, Handregister Fr. K. V ab, Handregister Fr. K. P ab, Walze (Crescendo) ab, Rohwerke ab, Rohwerke I ab, Rohwerke II ab, Rohwerke III ab, Rohwerke IV ab, Rohwerke V ab, Rohwerke P ab, 16' ab, 16' I ab, 16' II ab, 16' III ab, 16' IV ab, 16' V ab, HD ab, HD I ab, HD II ab, Pedalkoppeln ab, I ab, P ab, P I – IV ab, Automatische Pedal – umschaltung V, Schwelltritt II, Schwelltritt III, Schwelltritt IV, Schwelltritt V.

Access

The hall lies east of the city centre, but can easily be reached by tram or bus. The hall features a Visitor Centre open from Thursday to Sunday between 10 am and 6 pm for a small entrance fee. The building and surroundings is frequently visited by tourists and locals. It lies close to other popular tourist attractions, such as the Wrocław Zoo, the Japanese Garden, and the Pergola with its Multimedia Fountain.
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