Warsaw is surrounded by the flat plains of Mazovia, which are varied by extensive forests and the river Vistula, the only European river which still follows its natural, unregulated course. There are several historic towns and attractions which offer a leisurely day trip from Warsaw. These include the ruined medieval castle in Czersk, Jablonna Palace , which is set in a beautiful park and Zelazowa Wola , the manor house where the famous composer Frederic Chopin was born. More day trips from Warsaw ? Continue reading.
Day trips from Warsaw : Zelazowa Wola (Żelazowej Woli)
Poland's most renowned composer, Frederic Chopin, was born in this manor house on 1 March 1810. At that time the house was a thatched cottage, occupied by Chopin's parents, Mikolaj and Justyna. The house opened as a museum in 1931, administrated by the Chopin Society in Warsaw. The society rebuilt the house, furnishing it in the original 19th-century way. They assembled a collection of memorabilia associated with the composer to form the museum's exhibits. The surrounding park was planted with a range of trees and shrubs, donated by various Polish regions.
During World War II the Nazis looted many artefacts. They also banned performances of Chopin's music, and even destroyed portraits of the composer. Following refurbishment, the house was reopened to the public in 1949, on the 100th anniversary of the composer's death.
Nieborow Palace near Warsaw
Designed in a Baroque style by Tylman van Gameren, Nieborow was built between 1690 and 1696, and set in a symmetrical garden. The palace was commissioned by the archbishop of Gniezno, Michal Radziejowski, who was a generous patron of the arts. Around 1766 Prince Michal Oginski has the pediment decorated in a Rococo style. It featured a dancing figure of Bacchus, crowned with a laurel wreath and holding a bunch of grapes. Oginski is famous for establishing the canal system which connected the Black Sea with the Baltic Sea via a network of rivers.
Between 1771 and 1945 Nieborow belonged to the aristocratic Radziwill family. Their magnificent furnishings and collection of art can be seen throughout the palace. The collection includes Antoine Pesne's portrait of Anna Orzelska, the daughter of August II Mocny who was renowned for her beauty.
Czersk near Warsaw
The village of Czersk was originally the capital of the Mazovian region. In 1413 Czersk was succeeded by Warsaw as the Mazovian capital, when the route of the River Vistula (Wisla) apparently turned away from Czersk.
The village includes the ruins of the medieval castle of the Mazovian duke's, reached via a Gothic bridge spanning a moat. The ruins still standing date from the 14th-16th centuries, including three towers enlarged in he 16th century. In the 13th century, Prince Konrad Mazowiecki, who brought the Teutonic Knights to Poland in 1226, imprisoned the infant Prince Boleslaw Wstydliwy (future Prince of Krakow) and Prince Henryk Brodaty, the Prince of Wroclaw, in the south tower.
Day trips from Warsaw : Lowicz
The small town of Lowicz dates from the 13th century, and was originally the centre of the oldest Polish castellanies (counties). For several centuries Lowicz was the residence of the archbishops of Gniezno, who were also the primates of Poland. Their legacy comprises several ecclesiastical buildings. The most outstanding among these is the medieval Collegiate Church, which was reconstructed in the 17th century. The church has magnificent works of art and tombs. A notable tomb is that of Jakub Uchanski, the primate of Poland who died in 1581. It is in a chapel rebuilt in 1782-1783 in an early Neo-Classical style. It is worth visiting Lowicz on the feast of Corpus Christi (which is in either late May or early June) to see the ceremonial procession in which many of the women wear traditional folk costume.
By the market square is a series of buildings, including a former monastery and the Seminary for Missionaries, which houses the Lowicz Regional Museum. The museum has a collection of folk art, and in its vaults of the former chapel is a collection of Baroque art and murals by Michelangelo Palloni. Lowicz is located 50 miles (81 km) West of Warsaw.
When the Neo-Classical Natolin Palace (Palac w Natolinie) was built in 1780-1782, Natolin was several kilometers outside Warsaw's southern boundary. Today, however, urban housing estates encroach on the palace surroundings. Natolin's architect, Szymon Bogumil Zug, was recommended to its owners by Prince August Czartoryski and his daughter Izabela Lubomirska, who owned the neighboring palace and estate of Wilanow.
Natolin Palace has several notable features, including ornate wall and ceiling paintings by Vincenzo Brenna, an Italian architect and painter. The palace was much modified in 1808 by Chrystian Piotr Aigner, who added the distinctive dome and an unusual summer drawing-room, which opens onto the garden. The palace is set in a landscaped park, which extends along an escarpment. The park has a great many buildings and decorative features, among them a bridge, a Doric temple, an aqueduct and a Moorish gateway.
Pultusk (Pułtusk) its setting on the River Narew is one of the loveliest to be found in Mazovia. Its Old Town occupies a large island, and features an ornate town hall with a brick tower, and one of the largest market squares (rynek) in Europe. At the northern end of the market square is the Gothic-Renaissance Collegiate Church of the Virgin Mary. The main nave's arched vaulting is the work of one of Venice's greatest architects, Giovanni Battista.
On the opposite side of the market square is the castle. Originally Gothic, the castle was subsequently destroyed and rebuilt several times. Following its reconstruction during the 1980s, the castle is now home to the Polish Expatriates House (Dom Polonii). The house is manly used by Polish émigrés, but is open to everyone. It provides elegant rooms for overnight accommodation. One of the best day trips from Warsaw.
The focal point of Plock (Płock) is its cathedral hill, where most of the historic sites located. Plock has been the seat of the Mozavian bishops since 1075, and for a few hundred years after 1138 it was also the residence of the Mazovian and Plock princes. The city's principal attraction is the Mazovian Museum (Muzeum Mazowieckie), which has the finest collection of Secessionist artefacts in Poland.
These include several rooms furnished exactly as they would have looked during the Secessionist era. Giovanni Cini and Bernardino Zanobi de Gianotis built the Renaissance cathedral in the 16th century, on the site of an earlier Romanesque church. The cathedral was later refurbished by the Venetian architect Giovanni Battista. The richly decorated interiors contain several Renaissance and Baroque tombs. Close to the cathedral is the Diocesan Museum of Plock (Muzeum Diecezjalne), which has a range of religious exhibits.