The protection of urban landscape consists of, on the one hand, the preservation of elements containing historical values and, on the other hand, of making it possible to introduce indispensable changes into the city landscape. A suitable and well-balanced development entails steady progress and improvement of the essential features of a town, which assumed shape in the course of centuries. In certain transformation periods, however, ostensibly positive changes of the character of historical city centres basically disturbed their harmonious growth and today compel us to seek a way of returning to the previous stage. These quests were served by a study containing conservation directives for the eastern part of the Old Town - the region of the New Market - commissioned by the Office for the Development of Wroclaw. The New Market area, one of the three most important squares in the mediaeval location plan, was established at the end of the thirteenth century (first records come from 1266). During the Middle Ages and in modern times the square fulfilled trade functions - it was the site of stalls belonging to herring merchants and traders dealing in wooden articles. The commercial functions of the square were also connected with the names of its rows of houses, such as the 'Pomeranian Side', as well as the fountain of Neptune, placed in its centre in 1724. The characteristic feature of the New Market was the great individuality of its buildings, emphasized by the names granted to them and associated with various emblems (two of which – the figures of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist - have survived in museum collections). A considerable transformation of the architecture in the New Market region took place in the seventeenth century and the early eighteenth century. The fire of 1628 became the reason why the square, known from later iconography, became full of predominantly Baroque gable town houses. At the end of the nineteenth century the rows of houses displayed typical tenement housing and department stores, albeit preserving the original division into lots. The most conspicuous pre-1945 change was the erection in 1914-1918 of a Neo-Baroque building - the offices of the Presidium of the Province of Silesia - in the place of several narrow town houses in the southern row. Wartime damage incurred in the spring of 1945 was sufficiently grave for not rebuilding the whole Square until 1961 when the western, northern and eastern rows of houses were designed as long, multistairwell buildings, with the eastern and western rows outfitted with trade facilities on the ground floors. The authors of the article regard this development as extensive and not adapted both to historical (the absence of divisions into lots and differentiated forms of the buildings) and contemporary conditions (insufficient intensity, the lack of a suitable tradeservices area, monotonous form). The surface of the square, whose one-third is a parking lot, also requires a thorough change.
dr, historyk sztuki, pracuje w Instytucie Historii Sztuki Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego. Interesuje się sztuką XVIII, XIX i XX wieku, historycznymi uwarunkowaniami planowania przestrzennego oraz renowacją zabytków. Pełnomocnik rektora Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego do spraw obiektów zabytkowych, członek Rady Muzealnej przy Muzeum Architektury we Wrocławiu, członek Wojewódzkiej Rady Ochrony Zabytków przy Dolnośląskim Wojewódzkim Konserwatorze Zabytków we Wrocławiu.
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