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Warsaw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Old Town

 

Royal Castle (Zamek Krolewski) (Warsaw)

 

 

 

 

 

Zygmunt's Column (Warsaw)

 

Saint John’s Cathedral (Warsaw)

 

 

Warsaw Medieval City Walls

Jesuit Church (Warsaw)

Church of Saint Martin  (Warsaw)

Historical Museum of Warsaw

Location: Old Town Center

Tel. 022 635 1625

Open: 11am- 6pm Tue and Thu, 10am- 3:30pm Wed and Fri

10:30am- 4:30pm Sat and Sun

www.mhw.pl

Museum of Literature

Location: Old Town Center

Tel. 022 831 4061

Open: 10am- 3pm Mon- Wed, Fri

11am- 6pm Thu, 11am- 5pm Sun

Closed: Sat and public holidays

www.muzeumliteratury.pl

 

New Town

 

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.

 

   

 

The Royal Route

 

St. Anna’s Church

Krakowskie Przedmiescie 68
Bus: 116, 122, 195, 503
Open: daily

 

National Museum

Aleje Jerozolimskie 3
Tel. 022- 622 57 81
Bus: 101, 102, 111, 117, 158
Trolley: 7, 22, 24, 25
Open: 10am- 4pm Tue- Sun
Closed: public holidays
Free: Saturday

 

Military Museum

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

 

 

 

History

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 century.

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.

During the occupation of 1939-1944 during World War II, the administrative center of the Governor General was located in Krakow.

During 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.

In July 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 Royal Castle.

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.

 

 

 

 

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