Warsaw, Poland Cityscape

By | August 11, 2021

The city, which was largely destroyed in the Second World War, was rebuilt after 1945, and the reconstructed historic buildings in the old town were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The royal palace, a former Gothic castle (13th / 14th century) of the princes of Mazovia, was rebuilt several times (as the residence of the Polish kings) (1569 by F. Parr and Giovanni Battista Quadro [† 1590/91]; 1740–47 by G. Chiaveri, J. C. Knöffel, last 1774–86 for Stanislaus II. August by D. Merlini; 1819–21 classicalist restoration). After being destroyed in 1939/44, it was restored from 1971 onwards. The baroque column of Sigismund III, erected in 1643/44, stands on the palace square . Wasa (Sigismund’s Column).

The old town has city walls from the 14th / 15th centuries. Century (barbican 16th century). On the rectangular market square (Rynek Starego Miasta) there are patrician houses (15th / 16th century, later rebuilt and reconstructed after 1945) with partially preserved Gothic and Baroque fragments. A row of houses was connected to one another during the reconstruction and houses the historical museum of the city. Opposite is the Sankt-Johannes-Kirche (cathedral since 1798), a Gothic hall (14th / 15th centuries; neo-Gothic reformed 1836–40; rebuilt after 1945), as well as the Jesuit church (1609–26) and the originally Gothic one, Baroque St. Martin’s Church (18th century), both with modern interiors.

In the New Town, founded in 1408, the Baroque Church of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (1688–92) and the monastery building (1683–88) on the market square are noteworthy, as is the late Gothic St. Mary’s Church (15th / 16th century), Franciscan monastery with baroque church (1680– 96; double tower facade 1744), Dominican monastery (1639–50; church 1614–38, with bell tower from 1753), Pauline monastery (1707–13) and Heilig-Geist-Kirche (1707–17) with altar painting by M. Willmann.

In today’s center (“Mittelstadt”) there are many monasteries and aristocratic palaces that were once founded in front of the city. Baroque monastery of the Piarists (1678–84) with church (facade 1st half of 18th century), Capuchin Church (1683–92), Saint Anne’s Church (originally late Gothic, expanded 1518–33 and 1660–67; bell tower 1575; 1821 classicistic redesigned), Holy Cross Church (1679–96; double tower facade 1725–37), in which the heart of F. Chopin is buried, the central building of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (1777–81), an important example of classicism in Warsaw (reconstruction 1950).

The numerous palaces include, among others. the Krasiński Palace (1677–82; today the National Library), located in a large public park since 1766, with sculptures on the exterior by A. Schlüter and interior decoration (by D. Merlini, among others), an important baroque monument in Poland, according to payhelpcenter, the Radziwiłł Palace (today the seat of the President; built in the 17th century, rebuilt 1738–40 and 1818–19), the Pacpalais (originally Baroque, rebuilt 1824–26), the Primate Palace (originally 1593, rebuilt in the 17th century, today’s classicist appearance 18th century) and some Buildings of today’s university.

South of the Mittelstadt lie Łazienki Castle (originally the bathhouse), expanded as a royal summer residence 1766–95, with parks and buildings (Theater on the Island 1790/91, White House 1774–76, Theater in the Old Orangery 1784–88, Belvedere Palace between 1730 and 1750, rebuilt 1818–22), and the Ujazdowskipalais, the second royal residence (17th century, enlarged 1766–71 and 1784; today center for contemporary art). The summer residence of King John III is located on the southern outskirts in Wilanów . Sobieski. The castle (today a department of the National Museum, including a gallery of Polish portraits from the 16th to 19th centuries and the poster museum located in the former riding school), built in 1677–96, 1701–1855 and later expanded and rebuilt, is of a great baroque style – and landscaped gardens surround; Not far is the classicist villa complex Natolin (1780–82; rebuilt in 1808) with a landscape park.

After the various suburban settlements were amalgamated in the 18th century, the city began to develop uniformly; new streets were laid out (e.g. east-west axis), other important buildings and parks were built (classicist houses on Nowy Świat Street, “Great Theater”, etc.). The period of historicism was followed by buildings influenced by Art Nouveau (Jakobskirche, 1909; Bank Landau, 1904-06) or with neoclassical elements (Genossenschaftsbank, 1917). After the Second World War, a. the 231 m high monumental Palace of Culture and Sciences (PKiN; 1952–55) based on a design by Lev Rudnev (* 1885, † 1956) in the Stalinist »confectioner’s style«, a gift from the Soviet Union to Poland.

In terms of urban planning, the modern design of the Defiladeplatz (Plac Defilad, 1962–67) and the numerous residential complexes in the outskirts of the city are exemplary; The architecture of the central station (1972–75) is also remarkable. The discussion about redesigning the city center (plans mainly by Czesław Bieliecki) was accelerated on the occasion of Warsaw’s 400th anniversary in 1996. The “Blue Tower” had already been built in 1991, and the “Warsaw Trade Tower” was completed in 1999; In the years that followed, more high-rise buildings were built (including 2006 “Rondo 1-B”, planned by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill). 2001–03 built N. Foster the Metropolitan office and commercial center near the National Theater. The renunciation of classic formulas of dignity characterizes the new building of the German embassy (2009, architect: Holger Kleine). The latest example of modern architecture is the residential high-rise Złota 44 by D. Libeskind, which was completed in 2016.

In the Warsaw-Mokotów district, the neo-classical Palais Królikarnia (1772–86), the Ksawer Palais (1840) and the Palais Sielce with an English landscape park are listed as historical monuments.

The new national stadium with a capacity of 58,500 was built in the Praga district in 2012 for the European Football Championship.

Warsaw, Poland Cityscape