Wrocław is the largest city in western Poland. It lies on the banks of the River Oder in the Silesian Lowlands of Central Europe, roughly 350 kilometres (220 mi) from the Baltic Sea to the north and 40 kilometres (25 mi) from the Sudeten Mountains to the south. The population of Wrocław in 2016 was 637,683, making it the fourth-largest city in Poland and the main city of Wrocław agglomeration.
Wrocław is the historical capital of Silesia and Lower Silesia. Today, it is the capital of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship. The history of the city dates back a thousand years, and its extensive heritage combines almost all religions and cultures of Europe. At various times, it has been part of Poland, Bohemia, Prussia or Germany. It became part of Poland in 1945, as a result of the border changes after the Second World War.
A thriving multicultural centre, Wrocław is home to a growing student community and acts as the financial, cultural and commercial hub of western Poland, hosting a wide variety of music and theatrical events. Wrocław is a university city with a student population of over 130,000, making it one of the most youthful cities in the country. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the historical University of Wrocław produced nine Nobel Prize winners and is renowned for its high quality of teaching. It is also the seat of Wrocław Opera, National Puppet Theatre, Karol Lipiński Academy of Music and the National Forum of Music. The Centennial Hall in Wrocław was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006 and is maintained by the National Heritage Board of Poland as a unique example of Expressionist architecture.
Wrocław is classified as a Gamma- global city by GaWC, with the ranking of a very high living standard and quality of life. It was among top cities in the world in the ranking of the consulting company Mercer — "Best City to Live" in 2015, and as the only Polish city in this ranking, it has been recognized as a growing business center.
The city hosted the Eucharistic Congress in 1997 and the Euro 2012 football championships. In 2016, the city was a European Capital of Culture and the World Book Capital. Also in this year, Wrocław hosted the Theatre Olympics, World Bridge Games and the European Film Awards. In 2017, the city is the host of the IFLA Annual Conference and the World Games.