Warsaw is largest city in Poland with a population
of 1.7 million. It is also the capital of the country. The city
became the actual capital in 1596, when after a fire in the Wawel
Castle in Krakow, King Sigismund III moved his residence here, while
the capital's status of the city was confirmed only in the
Constitution of 1791. The Vistula River flows through the city,
dividing the city approximately equally.
The main symbol of
Warsaw is certainly considered the Warsaw Mermaid. Her image can be
found on the arms of the city. A monument in the style of urban
sculpture was erected at the Market Square to a folklore creature.
The coat of arms of Warsaw is a red French shield, a ribbon with the
motto, a royal crown on the upper border of the shield and a Silver
Cross of the Order of Military Merit (Virtuti Militari) at the
shield tongue. The flag of Warsaw consists of two equal horizontal
stripes of red and yellow. The canvas should be executed in the
proportion of 5: 8.
The New Town of Warsaw is really not that
new. It is a term that developed in the medieval period to
describe part of Warsaw neighborhoods situated outside of
the historic medieval nucleus. Over time the description
stuck to describe part of the city that started to take
shape in the beginning of the 15th century along a road that
lead from Old Warsaw to Zakroczym.
Raczynski Palace (Warsaw)
Location: ul. Dluga 7
Tel. 022 635 4532
Bus: 116, 175, 178, 180, 195, 222
Raczynski Palace is one of the most beautiful
buildings in Warsaw. It was constructed in 1786 by the royal
architect Jan Chrystian Kamsetzer for a rich and influential
Raczynski family. Kazimierz Raczynski who became the first
owner of Raczynski Palace held a high office in the royal
court. During his political career many of his countrymen
suspected him of being a traitor of a Polish independence.
In fact some historians suggested that the massive ballroom
in Raczynski Palace was covered by allegorical paintings
representing Justice on purpose. Kazimierz Raczynski
allegedly tried to clear his name in the eyes of his people.
Today however we know that he in fact was a Russian agent
that received 750 coins a year.
After Poland lost its independence and became
part of the Russian Empire Raczynski Palace was abandoned by
its owners. Neo- Classical yellow and white building served
as a seat of the Government Justice Commission. After Poland
got its independence after World War I and Russian
Revolution of 1917 Raczynski Palace was turned into
building reserved for Ministry of Justice. During World War
II Raczynski Palace became the site of some of the most
horrific executions carried out in Warsaw. Bullet holes in
the building's exterior are marks of the massive execution
that was carried out on 24 January 1944. German soldiers
rounded up 50 local residents and executed them by a firing
squad. All killed Poles were innocent, but their deaths was
supposed to inflict fear in civilians and undermine
underground movement in Polish capital and its surrounding
lands. All these attempts failed. During Warsaw Uprising the
same year Polish resistance started a mass scale battle
against the Germans. Raczynski Palace was turned into a make
shift hospital. On 13 August about 80 people were killed by
a tank- trap explosion and on September 2 Nazi SS troops
swept through Raczynski Palace shooting wounded civilians
and resistance fighters.
Tel. 022- 629 52 71
Open: Tue- Sun
Closed: some public holidays
The City Center
Palace of Culture and Science
Plac Defilad 1
Tel. 022- 656 62 01
Viewing terrace Open: daily
Middle Ages It has been documented that from
the 10th century on the territory of modern Warsaw there were
several settlements, among which Bródno (that is, “ford”,
“crossing”), Jazdów and Kamion reached the greatest power. Despite
this, the first wooden buildings in Warsaw were built by the
Mazovans in the 12th century, and the stone ones, already for
defense purposes from the Teutonic Order, were built in the 14th
New time At the beginning of the XV — XVI
centuries, Warsaw was the capital of the Principality of Mazovia, in
1596-1795 the residence of Polish kings and Grand Dukes of
Lithuania, in 1791-1795 the capital of the Polish-Lithuanian
Commonwealth, in 1807-13 the Warsaw Duchy (actually under the French
protectorate), from 1815 to 1915 - the kingdom of Poland (in the
possession of the Russian Empire). From 1918 to 1939, Warsaw was the
capital of the Republic of Poland, and from 1952 to 1989, the
capital of the Polish People’s Republic.
occupation of 1939-1944 during World War II, the administrative
center of the Governor General was located in Krakow.
World War II, central Poland, in particular Warsaw, was ruled by the
General Province, the Nazi colonial administration. All higher
education institutions were closed and the entire Jewish population
of Warsaw - several hundred thousand, approximately 30% of the
city's population - was sent to the Warsaw Ghetto. April 19, 1943
received a decree to destroy the ghetto (it was part of Hitler's
"final decision"). Jews began an uprising that lasted almost a
month. When the struggle was over, almost all the survivors were
destroyed, only a few were able to escape or hide.
1944, the Red Army entered deeply into Polish territory, pursuing
the Germans in the Warsaw direction. The exiled Polish government,
which was in London, ordered the underground Army of the Craiova
(AK) to liberate Warsaw from the Nazis just before the arrival of
the Red Army. And on August 1, 1944, when the 2nd Panzer Army did
not conduct active offensive operations and gained a foothold on the
achieved frontiers, the Craiova Army launched the Warsaw Uprising
(1944), which lasted 63 days, but, in the end, ended with surrender.
Rebel prisoners were escorted to German prison camps, and
civilians were deported. Hitler, neglecting the agreed terms of
surrender, ordered the city to be completely destroyed, libraries
and museums removed to Germany or burned. About 85% of the city was
destroyed, in particular, historical places: Stare Miasto and the
Warsaw was liberated on January 17, 1945 by
Soviet troops as a result of the Wisla-Oder operation (see also
Poland in World War II).
Latest time After the 2nd World
War, the city was rebuilt. However, only the most ancient part of
the city, namely the Old Town, the New Town and the Royal Route, as
well as some valuable monuments and architectural objects were
restored in historical, although not always in their original form.
So, for example, in the Old Town, carefully restored facades hide
apartments that are modern in terms of the post-war period and have
completely different layouts and equipment than their historical
predecessors until 1939.