Around Warsaw Solidarity Avenue A short History
From the end of the 18th century to the mid-19th, Warsaw Solidarity Avenue (Aleja Solidarności) and Plac Teatralny (Theater Square) was Warsaw's commercial center. The grand Neo-Classical buildings of the area, with their impressive colonnades, are from the 1820's. These include the Grand Theater (Teatr Wielki), which is one of the largest buildings in Europe.
The area also features several large parks. The Krasinski Gardens (adjoining the magnificent Krasinski Palace) were first laid out in the late 17th century. The Saxon Gardens (Ogród Saski), in a Baroque style design are part of a town planning scheme known as the Saxon Axis. The Saxon Gardens are all that remain of the former Royal Park, which encircled the residence of the Saxon King August II Mocny in the 18th century. A 19th century colonnade originally divided the Saxon Gardens from Pilsudski Square, where official State functions are held. This is also where the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, featuring a guard of honor and an eternal flame, emerged in 1925.
Branicki Palace Warsaw Soldarity Avenue
Following almost complete destruction during World War II, the Rococo Branicki Palace (Palac Branickich) was rebuilt between 1947 and 1953, using detailed historical research and 18th-century paintings for guidance. Originally designed as the residence for the king's advisor, Jan Klemens Branicki, construction of the palace was first undertaken in 1740, by the architects Jan Zygmunt Deybel and Jakub Fontana. Branicki was a distinguished soldier, but also a connoisseur of fine art, especially from France.
He, therefore, traveled to Paris to acquire silver, furniture and even marble fireplaces for his residences. Celebrated artist advised on decorating Warsaw palace, such as the sculptor Jan Chryzostom Redler. The palace faces Podwale Street, with the extensive forecourt entered through an ornamental gateway. Equally attractive is the façade overlooking Miodowa Street, which features Rococo sculptures. However, these are not original, having been fashioned in the 1950's.
Originally a residence of the Radziwill family, the Baroque Pac Palace (Palac Paca) was designed by Tylman van Gameren, and built between 1681 and 1697. The palace was the scene of a historic event, on the night of 3 November 1771, when a rival royalist group kidnapped King Stanislaw August Poniatowski, in front of the palace gates. However, this disorganized plot soon failed, and by the following morning, the king had returned to his castle. Between 1824 and 1828 the architect Henryk Marconi completely redesigned the palace, on behalf of the new owner, Ludwik Pac.
The interiors featured Gothic, Renaissance, Greek and Moorish styles, while the façade was refashioned in a Palladian manner. The impressive semi-circular gateway, which opens on Miodowa Street, was modeled on a triumphal arch. The gateway's Neo-Classical reliefs depict the Roman Counsel Fleminius, granting freedom to the Greek cities. This was the work of Ludwik Kaufmann, a pupil of the celebrated sculptor Antonio Canova. The building now houses the Ministry of Health.
Krasinski Palace Warsaw Solidarity Avenue
The Baroque Krasinski Palace (Palac Krasinskich) is one of the most beautiful buildings in Warsaw. Constructed between 1687 and 1700, Tylman van Gameren designed it for the mayor of Warsaw, Jan Dobrogost Krasinski. A triangular pediment features ornamental reliefs, depicting the heroic deeds of the legendary Roman patrician, Marcus Valerius (known as Corvinus), an ancestor of Jan Dobrogost Krasinski. The reliefs are the work of Andreas Schluter, an outstandingly gifted sculptor and architect who later designed the Arsenal and Royal Castle in Berlin.
The Krasinski residence was originally furnished with great opulence. It included a gallery featuring the works of Rembrandt, Rubens, Durer and Correggio. Until 1765 the Krasinski family owned the palace. Thereafter it housed the royal treasury, followed by various legal departments throughout the 19th century. Rebuilt after World War II, the Krasinski Palace now houses an antique prints and manuscripts collection from the National Library (Biblioteka Narodowa).
Przebendowski-Radziwill Palace Warsaw
One of Warsaw's most beautiful palaces on Warsaw Solidarity Avenue, it's from 1728 and built for Jan Jerzy Przebendowski, who was the treasurer of King August II. The design, by Jan Zygmunt Deybel, features mansard roofs (with slopes on both sides and both ends), as well as a bow front. From 1760, the Spanish envoy, Count Pedro Aranda, occupied the palace for two years. A fierce opponent of the Spanish Inquisition, he founded the Spanish Masonic Lodge and instigated the banishment of Jesuits from Spain.
During his spell in Poland, the count also held magnificent parties. The palace's quiet site in a narrow shopping street changed after the East-West tunnel emerged in 1948-1949. That resulted in the palace being surrounded by a major traffic artery. After the war the palace became the Lenin Museum, Since 1990 it has housed the Independence Museum (Muzeum Niepodleglosci) with a collection of documents relating Poland's history from the 18th century partition to the present day.
Vodka Museum Warsaw
The first Polish Vodka Museum at the Theater Palace Square in Warsaw comprises the world’s largest collection of exhibits related to vodka history - the national alcohol of the Poles and the world’s most popular spirit.
Many museums dedicated to local spirits operate in many countries, which include one form of preserving a cultural heritage of particular nations. Poland is the country of vodka, has been produced in the country for ages and forms a relevant element of the national history, tradition and culture.
The world’s unique collection of the Vodka Museum resulted from merger of Adam Łukawski’s and Piotr Popiński’s rich collections gathered for over 20 years. It’s complimented by exhibits either donated or loaned by alcohol producers, institutions, museums and private collectors from Poland and abroad. Exhibits are presented in a form of permanent and periodic exhibitions as well as during lecturers, workshops and education activities.
The Vodka Museum at the Theater Square in Warsaw is one of the most interesting museum concepts in Europe, a mandatory attraction on the tourist map of Warsaw.
Morsztyn Palace near Warsaw Solidarity Avenue
Originally completed at the end of the 17th century, later rebuilding gave the Morsztyn Palace (Palac Morsztynow) a late Baroque façade and Neo-Classical outbuildings. In the early 18th century the Voivode (Lord Lieutenant) of the Sandomierz region, Stefan Bidzinski, was the owner of the palace. He was a fearless soldier, famous for donating a vast sum to release the noblemen of Sandomierz from their Muslim captors. Subsequent owners of the palace included J. Massalski, the bishop of Vilnius, a distinguished man of letters.
But as he also was a gambler and a rake, and expropriated former Jesuit estates. He was hanged during the 1794 Kosciuszko Insurrection. On 17 and 18 April 1794, the palace (which had been the Russian ambassador's residence since 1790) was the scene of a fierce battle between Russian troops and Varsovians. Apparently, when the Russians finally run out of shot, in desperation they used coins and buttons instead.
Blue Palace Warsaw
The Blue Palace (Palac Blekitny) dates from the 17th century. King August II Mocny acquired it for his beloved daughter, Anna Orzelska. This entailed refurbishing the palace in a Rococo way, as this was Anna Orzelka's favourite architectural style. The designers were Joachim Daniel Jauch, Jan Zygmunt Deybel and Karol Fryderyk Poppelmann. Moreover, as there wasn't much time before the Christmas in question, completion of the alterations took place in a great hurry.
A total of 300 masons and craftsmen worked day and night for six weeks. Anna Orzelska later named the palace after her favourite color. In the late 18th century the palace passed into the Czartoryski family. In 1811 Zamoyskis acquired the palace. They refurbished it in a late Neo-Classical style, designed by Fryderyk Lessel. The exquisitely furnished apartments functioned to entertain royalty. From 1948 1950 the palace underwent reconstruction works.
Capuchin Church of the Transfiguration
The Baroque Capuchin Church of the Transfiguration (Kosciol Przemienienia Panskiego Kapycynow) built by Izydor Affaita between 1683 and 1692, is by a design byTylman van Gameren and Augustyn Locci and completed by Karol Ceroni. Founded by King Jan III Sobieski, in gratitude for his victory over the Turks at Vienna in 1683, the church has a modest façade modeled on the Capuchin church in Rome.
The somewhat ascetic interior also features unusual epitaphs. The king's chapel has a Rococo urn with the ashes of King August II Mocny, and a 19th-century sarcophagus containing the heart of King Jan III Sobieski. Another chapel houses an 18th-century marble urn, by Jan Redler, dedicated to Anna (born Kolowrath), wife of Henryk Brühl, a hated minister at the court of King August II Mocny. Since 1948 the church vaults have housed a nativity scene with moving figures, of particular interest to children.