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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » December 13, 2015
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Hydropolis: Fascinated by Water
December 13, 2015   
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A new science education center in Wrocław teaches audiences about the importance of water through a myriad of multimedia attractions.

The futuristic Hydropolis museum is based in a historic waterworks building from 1893. The building’s Neo-Gothic turrets and red-brick walls might seem somewhat old-fashioned, but Hydropolis is, in fact, a cutting-edge exhibition and educational facility. It is one of a few exhibitions around the world to highlight the role of water in life on Earth and the rise of human civilization.

Housed on over 4,000 square meters of space, the exhibition is divided into eight sections. Visitors enter through a computer-controlled waterfall that, activated by a motion sensor, parts to open the way to 64 interactive installations. Some of them are elaborate systems that immerse visitors in pictures and sound.

The tour starts with an impressive presentation on the distribution of water in space and the role water played in the formation of the Earth. Hydropolis then shows how life emerged and developed in water. Visitors can also embark on a virtual underwater expedition in a replica of the Trieste bathyscaphe that in 1960 made the first descent to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest place on the planet.

Hydropolis explores the history of hydraulic engineering, the development of Wrocław’s water supply system, and the city’s strong ties with water. All this is illustrated by contemporary and historical maps of Wrocław displayed on interactive tables. A special treat, you can also see a working replica of an ancient water clock, while a multimedia diorama shows how the Nile River shaped ancient Egypt. If you need to take a short break, you can retire to Hydropolis’s quiet zone where, lying in a futuristic deckchair bathed in dim, blue light, you will be able to spend time listening to the calming murmur of whales. Kids are welcome to play games and check out other attractions in a kids’ education corner.

Hydropolis was designed by Mieczysław Bielawski, who says the exhibition aims to highlight the fact that water is essential to life and, as such, is far more precious than gold and diamonds.

He adds that Hydropolis comprehensively explores the role of water in different states of matter as well as its role as a treasure that has to be taken great care of.

Zdzisław Olejczyk, head of Wrocław’s waterworks (MPWiK), says that, aside from its educational and environmental angles, Hydropolis is a business project. It benefits from its location near the chief tourist attractions of Wrocław, such as the local zoo, the Centennial Hall, the Ostrów Tumski island and a branch of the National Museum in Wrocław housing a monumental 19th-century painting called the Panorama of the Battle of Racławice. In addition to regular means of transportation, Hydropolis can be accessed by a cable car that starts near the Wrocław University of Technology and takes visitors across the Oder River.

For further information go to www.hydropolis.pl

Maciej Wełyczko
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