‘Sacrum and Postindustrialism – A history of the buildings on the eastern Odra islands in Wroclaw’ is a joint project between RealCo Property Investment and Development (the investor of Maria Mill) and the Wroclaw Museum of Architecture. The book was presented at a special event on May 25, 2018 with representatives of the investor and the as well as the author Dr Maria Zwierz.

The aim of the publication was to present the centuries-long history of the the eastern Odra islands in Wrocław, including Piaskowa and Słodowa islands and the former Młyńska, Bielarska, Daliowa and Tamka islands. The inspiration to write the book was the post-industrial Maria Mill building. If it was not for that, the book would probably never have been written.

“We have owned Maria Mill since 2016, but before that it had already inspired us to take an interest in the area in which it is located. The eastern Odra islands are an extremely picturesque part of Wrocław’s landscape, and the more we read about them, the more we realised that it is worth describing how they have changed. All the more so because the history of the eastern Odra islands shown through the architectural transformations that have taken place there says a lot about the area, as well as its inhabitants,”span says Piotr Jaśkowski, RealCo board member.

The book was written by art historian Dr Maria Zwierz, currently head of the Department of Wrocław Architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries at the Museum of Architecture in Wrocław, and it presents both the development and transformation of the islands’ buildings from the Middle Ages to modern times, as well as the fate of the former inhabitants of this picturesque corner of the city. Important events, including dramatic ones such as fires and floods that affected the history buildings, are described.

The volume shows how public institutions were created in the former, secularised Augustinian monasteries, as well as how the grain and milling industry and other centres of production developed. The history new bridges and shipping on the Oder is also described. Recreation and bathing areas as well as social organisations, especially those established at the beginning of the 20th century, are shown. An example is the canteen at Staromłyńska street on Piaskowa Island.

Readers will find the "Guide to the islands” at the back of the publication useful, which contains information about properties on the islands and the fate of their former owners.

During work on the book, around 250 images were gathered, including postcards, graphics, maps, architectural designs and photographs, both from earlier and modern eras.

The 308-page hardback book is published as a bilingual Polish-English edition.

More information about the project can be found here.

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