Sometimes (well, most of the time) it’s the smallest of things that please me. In this case, little iron gnomes, or dwarves as they are otherwise known.
It started when I was reading in the Ibis hotel room. I suddenly glanced up and noticed a little door in the side of the wardrobe – Not a fairy door as I first exclaimed, but a dwarf or gnome door!! My travel companion was a bit taken aback by my squeals of excitement as I tried to stop jumping up and down to tell him what I’d seen and why this was important!!
That evening, out taking photos at sunset, the joy at finding the gnomes began! The official number was 163 for a time but officials admit that they’ve lost count of the cheeky chaps and there are claims of over 400 iron gnomes in the city now. I only found a tiny fraction of them but felt so delighted every time I spotted another one as I strolled the streets.
Why gnomes? I learned from the Daily Telegraph that it all stems from the communist era when the Orange Party, an anti-Soviet resistance movement, adopted the dwarf as their symbol, peacefully protesting the censorship of free speech by defacing communist propaganda with street art in the form of humorous little gnomes.
But it wasn’t until the early 2000’s that the iron gnomes came about. The city decided to commemorate its past and the first gnome was placed at the spot where the Orange Party used to meet. The rest, as they say, is history, the gnomes having spread en-mass across the city both little and large!
When writing this post and doing a bit more research on why and how many I discovered this map which lists the locations of the gnomes with photos.
There’s only 1 thing for it, I need another trip to Wroclaw to see them all!