"Revitalisation of the Complex of Historic Architecture of the Clinics of Medical University in Wrocław"

Project coofinanced by European Union from European Union Regional Development Fund's means within the Regional Operational Programme of Lower Silesia Voievodship for the years 2007 - 2013

A Complex of Historic Clinics of Medical University of Silesian Piasts in Wrocław

The project operating under the name "Revitalisation of the Complex of Historic Architecture of the Clinics of Medical University in Wrocław" was completed thanks to the support of the European Union funds within the Regional Operational Programme of Lower Silesia Voivodeship for the years 2007-2013.
Total value of the project amounts to PLN 12,024,981.20, whereas the European Union contribution amounted to PLN 8,417,486.84.
The project completion date: 10 June 2010 - 30 December 2012.
Five historic objects making up the university campus underwent revitalisation within the project, namely:

  • the C1 Building, the Department and Unit of Anatomical Pathology, the Department and Unit of Pathophysiology, the Unit of Genetics, 1-3 Karola Marcinkowskiego Street


  • the B4 Building, the Department and Unit of Pharmacology, 2 Jana Mikulicza Radeckiego Street


  • the B6 Building, the Department and Unit of Forensic Medicine, 4 Jana Mikulicza Radeckiego Street


  • the D5 Building, the Department and Unit of Anatomy, the Department and Unit of Histology and Embryology, 6a Tytusa Chałubińskiego Street


  • the D1 Building, the Department and Unit of Medicinal Biochemistry, the Department and Unit of Biophysics, the Department and Unit of Physiology, 8-10 Tytusa Chałubińskiego Street

Neo-Gothic facade of each of the five buildings was comprehensively renovated: losses in clinker bricks as well as in mortar were filled in, the surface of walls was protected against the effects of weather conditions, window and door frames were replaced while their historic appearance – that is the division, ornaments and colours (brown on the east, and dark green on the west side) – was preserved; furthermore, bars were put in basement windows, the gutters, flashings as well as tiles that resemble slates from100 years ago were changed, wooden roof structure underwent restoration and maintenance, whereas chimneys were rebuilt. In addition, the foundations were drained and insulated. Outdoor lighting was replaced, whereas road surface and pavements within the clinics area were repaired. The shrubs were planted; benches and stylish signs with Latin names of objects were placed. The work was conducted under the supervision of the conservator. The area surrounding the facilities was adapted for visiting by disabled persons through elimination of architectural barriers in land development.
Who would be interested in the Complex of Historic Clinics?

  • Tourists from the whole country and from abroad
  • Students of the Medical University in Wrocław
  • Academic and scientific staff from the Medical University in Wrocław and from other Polish and international universities cooperating with the Medical University
  • Institutions and organizations involved in promoting the city and the region
  • Residents of Wrocław

An outline of the history of the Medical University clinics
The complex of clinics and institutes is a unique architectural and urban construction built in the last quarter of the 19th and the first decade of the 20th century. The preserved objects have survived to this day basically unchanged. Other historical complexes of this type (mainly German clinics in Heidelberg, Bonn, Halle) which originally served as an example, were altered or ceased to exist.
The clinics were built through the efforts of prominent professors enjoying recognition around the world. Their groundbreaking discoveries and inventions in medicine and bacteriology led to close cooperation with scientists from France, England, Germany and the United States. Doctors sought to create a convenient workplace and to gather facilities of all specialities in one area, especially that as a result of progress in medical science two types of buildings were formed, namely an institute and a clinic. Finally, in 1883 a decision was taken concerning the construction. The urban complex was built in the years 1887-1909 with close cooperation between architects and scientists who had a significant impact on the project. As a result, the most modern object in the country sprang up. The buildings were noticed for original solutions regarding both the form and functions.  The concept of hospital construction was based on its functionality. Pavilion-like layout of building development made it easier to maintain the discipline with regard to hygiene. The head of surgery clinic, Professor Jan Mikulicz Radecki, had the operating room extended. Its previous appearance had been designed by Professor Hermann Fischer. As a result, in 1897 the largest and the most modern operating wing in Europe was completed and fit for use. The walls are decorated with white tiles, the corners of which were rounded to make keeping them clean easier.  In the vicinity of the wing, a modern chemical and bacteriological laboratory was established. Mikulicz required operations to be performed in sterilized gloves made of fabric, and he would pass surgical instruments with forceps, which were named after him (the so-called Mikulicz forceps). During operations even the audience had to wear sterilized masks and surgical gowns, whereas conversations were forbidden and people communicated through gestures. Mikulicz was so obsessed with cleanliness that he employed a special nurse whose job was to paint stains on the walls over in white. In turn, in the childhood diseases clinic professor Adalbert Czerny assigned the expansion of the pavilion for patients with tuberculosis. An up-to-date pavilion with six-person rooms for patients came to existence, with heated floor and additional slanted skylights above the windows which were to provide direct sunlight helping cure tuberculosis. In gynaecology and obstetrics clinic a huge operating room was built with an auditorium for 120 people, perfectly lit thanks to the glazing in the upper part.
A unique complex of university clinics is not just carefully designed set of buildings and a monument to medical progress of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. It is also a great achievement in terms of urban planning. The complex of clinics was built away from the bustle of the city, next to the river and surrounded by greenery. Such arrangement is an example of rules governing the selection of areas to build hospitals in the 19th century: on the outskirts of the town, in the area sloping southwards, protected against northern winds, in the vicinity of water in order to get a slope for sewage drainage and provide a dry ground to prevent the growth of germs, which was attributed to the low-lying swampy areas, on a large plot giving space to establish a garden serving the convalescents, away from other private buildings or tenement houses. This complex is also a great place to take a walk since it is entered into the Path of History and Traditions of Wrocław.
The complex of university clinics on the Path of History and Traditions of Wrocław
The Path of History and Traditions of Wrocław runs through the most important location city-wise: Ostrów Tumski, Piaskowa Island (Sand Island), the Ring, the Quarter of Four Denominations and also neighbouring, among others, the Szczytnicki Park, the Centennial Hall and the Zoo. Total length of the path is 7.5 km and it encompasses the finest works of architecture of the capital of Lower Silesia.
Prominent figures related to the Clinics
Jan Mikulicz Radecki (1850-1905) – surgeon, inventor of new surgical techniques that have survived to this day, as well as surgical instruments that remain useful despite the passage of time. He is called "the father of endoscopy" since he constructed a fixed endoscope. It was in Wroclaw where he improved the method of asepsis and antisepsis as well as the methods of battling against infection. He was the first in the world that introduced the use of gloves, first knitted from cotton, then rubber ones as well as surgical masks and sterilized gowns. He worked on improving general anaesthesia, and together with his assistant Mikulicz performed the first successful operations on an open chest with the vacuum.
Albert Neisser (1855-1916) – dermatologist and venereologist. W 1879 he discovered a bacteria causing gonorrhoea. The bacteria was named in his honour, that is Neisseria gonorrhoea. He was also conducting research into syphilis. He worked on developing an effective test allowing the detection of bacteria triggering the disease off. Neisser and his wife, Toni, were one of the most important  patrons of the arts in Wrocław.
Ludwik Hirszfeld (1884-1954) – doctor, bacteriologist and immunologist, founder of the Polish school of immune and a new field of science called seroanthropology. In the years 19071911 he conducted research regarding blood group inheritance, thanks to which establishing paternity is possible. He also introduced blood groups identification as 0, A, B and AB, which was adopted worldwide in 1928. Ludwik Hirszfeld also marked the Rh factor and discovered the cause of serologic incompatability.
Alois Alzheimer (1864-1915) – psychiatrist and specialist in neuropathology. He was the first one to describe the symptoms of a disease known today as the Alzheimer's disease. Together with other neurologists and psychiatrists, he introduced new rules in a mental asylum in Frankfurt, consisted in avoiding straightjackets or forced feeding. Instead, the patients were supervised in large halls, some of them could move freely around the institution, and some were even taken on trips.
Zygmunt Albert (1908-2001) – pathologist and medicine historian, author of papers mainly in the field of oncology. He conducted research work regarding the history of medicine. Albert was a witness to the massacre of Lvov professors and the members of their families perpetrated by the Nazis in 1941. Thanks to the accounts of other eye-witnesses, family members of the murdered as well as participants of exhumation of the bodies that he had gathered, many of publications thereon came out.

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  4. T. Wysocki, Budynki Starych Klinik lśnią nowymi elewacjami i dachami, [w:] Gazeta Wyborcza, 18.09.2012


  1. B. Maciejewska, Perły z klinkierowej cegły. Sława i chwała wrocławskiej medycyny, [w:] Gazeta Wyborcza, 20.09.2012 r.