The Centennial Hall (Jahrhunderthalle) is one of the thirteen sites in Poland registered on the UNESCO Heritage List. It’s located in Wroclaw, the city in south western Poland. The history of the Centennial Hall starts at the beginning of 20th century when Wroclaw was the German city of Breslau. It was built between 1911 and 1913 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the German victory over Napoleon at Leipzig. Situated in the exhibitions grounds that was previous horse racing area, it occupies 295 000 m3. Designed by Max Berg, the famous urban architect of Wroclaw it was erected in 20 months only which was a record-breaking speed. He was selected from among 43 designers and he managed to built the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world. Its dome has an inner diameter of 65 m and is 20 m larger than the Roman Pantheon. It also weights 50% less. The Centennial Hall in Wroclaw is often compared to Hagia Sophia Church in Constantinople (today Istanbul). There is an excellent acoustics that was improved by covering the walls with the layer of concrete mixed with wood and cork. The hall provides standing room for 10 000 people.
In 1945 Wroclaw became part of Poland and the name of the Hall was changed into People’s Hall but it was inscribed into the UNESCO list under its original name as Hala Stulecia (Centennial Hall). It is a multi-purpose recreational building hosting such events as exhibitions, concerts and sporting events. With 3 000 seats it was also used as Europe’s biggest cinema. If you expect to see a beautiful construction you will be probably slightly disappointed. It’s a huge grey building which in fact looks the most impressive from bird’s eye view. But first of all it’s an innovative work of modern engineering and architecture. It’s also one of the most famous building in Wroclaw and together with nearby artificial pond is a popular strolling destination for local people.