Exhibition of The Century

Today, it is hard to imagine the momentum of the inauguration of the Exhibition Areas, including the Centennial Hall and the Four Domes Pavilion, the Centennial Exhibition. Yes, we know that the exhibition presented the history and cultural heritage of the Silesian lands. In fact, however, it was a manifestation of the power of the whole of Prussia, on the hundredth anniversary of the defeat of Napoleon’s army, i.e. the French army. The German-French borderland has been on fire for centuries, hence probably the desire to mark the acquired advantage so clearly. German people were very eager to show the gesture of victory.

The Exhibition was essentially divided into two parts – visitors could admire the memorabilia of the Napoleonic wars period – civil and military – and, with appreciation for the bowler hat, admire German technical thought. The reality of life from a century ago was painted with attention to detail. Let us remember that the leap between 1813 and 1913 was a milestone, the industrial revolution took place in this century and the world radically changed then. There was electricity, steam machine, railway, automobile, trams, zeppelins… In short – modernisation in speed.

“The success of the Historical Exhibition is largely due to the fact that the strength of its expression was shaped by both the artist and the architect (…). The fact that the sections were created in such an interesting and engaging way, skilfully intertwining large rooms and small offices, resulted in the penetration of the former and the intimate character of the latter. This had brought a fascinating effect, and the individual sectors of the exhibition gained their musical rhythm through a varied architectural form, thus elevating the importance of the Historical Exhibition beyond the framework of an ordinary presentation – all this is thanks to Poelzig”, wrote enthusiastic Max Berg in a letter to the Lord Mayor of Breslau. Unfortunately, we already know that the city authorities did not share his admiration, condemning the designer of the Four Domes Pavilion to anonymity (well, not a century old) and, as a result, to emigration to Berlin.