The Former City Prison
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The Former city prison

The former city prison, situated in Więzienna street, was probably built in the second half of the 14th century. Up until that point all offenders, regardless of their origin, were kept in the dungeon of the tower of the town hall. After the construction of the city prison only people from higher social classes were kept in the town hall dungeon, while the city prison housed all the other criminals.

The city prison was originally built as a two-storey tower on a square plan, which reflected to the tradition of the castle towers with dungeons on the first floors. From the early 16th century the building was gradually extended to form a closed quadrangle with an inner courtyard. The prison took on its present shape in the 1680’s.

The former main prison rooms were located in the basement of the north wing. Criminals from the lower social classes and those considered to be extremely dangerous were kept there. Interrogations, often accompanied by tortures, were held in the basement of the eastern part (today these rooms are occupied by a pub).

In 1733 the building could accommodate about a hundred prisoners. It is believed that Veit Stoss was among the famous people sentenced there. The sculptor, accused of forging a promissory note, allegedly spent a year there after having had a stigma branded on his cheek. According to other historical sources, the famous sculptor was actually in Wrocław on several occasions also in connection with the case, which was the cause of his conflicts with the law.

He was looking for his debtor, to whom he had lent the equivalent of two tenement houses, but after a few days he returned to Nuremberg. There the artist was sentenced to stigmatization (but not imprisonment) for forging a promissory note against his debtor in order to recover the money he had lent him.

The building ceased to operate as a prison at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. Later it housed philanthropic institutions and a pawnshop. Today it houses a department of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnology PAN, and a popular club called Pracoffnia. 


Oddział wrocławski Instytutu Archeologii i Etnologii PAN

ul. Więzienna 6, 50-118 Wrocław

tel.: 71 344-16-08, fax: 71 344-33-52

A contact form is available on the website.

How to get there:

The site is situated in the centre of Wroclaw.


Since the building is occupied by an academic institution, it is only possible to visit the corridors and the lecture halls. The lower hall, where the club called Pracoffnia is located, is open to visitors.

Fixed and regular events:


Car parking:

The nearest car park is situated right next to the site, at plac Uniwersytecki. 


Places to eat:

Since the site is situated in the centre of Wrocław, there is a wide range of eateries to choose from. The pub situated in the University building is a good place to have a drink and admire the historical interior.


Wrocław offers many accommodation services, the closest ones are:

Zaułek Hotel

ul. Garbary 11, Wrocław

tel. 71 341-00-46, fax: 71 375-29-47


Qubus Hotel Wrocław

Ul. Św. Marii Magdaleny 2, 55-103 Wrocław

tel. 71 797-98-00,

The Granary La Suite Hotel Wrocław City Centre

ul. Mennicza 24, 50-057 Wrocław

tel. 71 395-26-00

Tourist Information Office:

Centrum Informacji Turystycznej i Kulturalnej

Rynek 14, 50-107 Wrocław

Opening hours: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.

tel. 71 344-31-11

mobile 663-888-725


Dolnośląska Informacja Turystyczna

Sukiennice 12, 50-107 Wrocław

tel. 71 342-01-85


Opening hours: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.