A good point to start a Warsaw city trip is the beginning of the so-called Royal Route Warsaw (Trakt Krowlewski).
This is the second monument devoted to Warsaw's mermaid (Pomnik Syreny), a mythical half-woman half-fish, believed to protect the city. The mermaid appears in Warsaw's crest since the 14th century. Erected in 1939, Ludwika Nitsch designed this monument.
The renowned poet Krystyna Krahelska modeled for the mermaid. She also composed the march sung by the Polish Resistance during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.
Krahelska died during the uprising. The mermaid figure was originally designed to be 20 meters (62 ft) high, made of glass, and placed on a pillar in the bed of the River Vistula.
It was later decided to cast the mermaid in bronze at 2 meters (6 ft) high, and erect the monument on Wybrzeze Kosciuszkowsie, along with the banks of the Vistula. Warsaw's other mermaid is in Warsaw Old Town.
|Address||Wybrzeze Kosciuszkowskie, Warsaw, Poland|
Ostrogski Palace Warsaw - Frederic Chopin Museum
Palac Gninskich-Ostrogkich - Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina
The Ostrogski Palace is from about 1681, built as a pavilion to a grander, but never completed project by Tylman van Gameren. The pavilion emerged close to the river Vistula, on a raised terrace above a cellar.
According to legend, a Golden Duck inhabited this cellar, which stood guard over a treasure trove. The palace was often refurbished but is now a postwar re-creation of its late 18th-century form.
In 1859 the palace became the home of the Warsaw Conservatoire. It then became the headquarters of the International Frederic Chopin Society after the Second World War and a Chopin Museum has since been established within the palace.
It includes portraits, letters and manuscripts, and the grand piano on which Chopin composed during the last two years of his life. The palace has a concert hall, where the society organizes performances of Chopin's music.
|Address||Okolnik 1, Warsaw|
|Telephone||+48 22 441 62 51|
Czapski Palace Warsaw
The Czapski Palace has a fascinating heritage, having been owned by several of the most distinguished Polish families, and variously re-styled by outstanding architects.
The former owners of the palace include Radziwill, Radzijowski, Sieniawski, and Czartoryski families, who commissioned a host of architects, such as Tylman van Gameren, Augustyn Locci and Kacper Bazanka.
|Address||Krakowskie Przedmiescie 5, Warsaw|
Tyszkiewicz - Potocki Palace Warsaw
Dating from the 1760s, this late Baroque palace is one of Warsaw's most imposing buildings. It was built for August Alexander Czartoryski and his wife Maria Zofia on the site of a former 17th-century house owned by the influential Denhoff family.
August Czartoryski's daughter Izabella inherited the palace, who was the wife of Stanislaw Lubomirski.
She employed the prestigious architects Szymon Bogumil Zug and Jan Chrystian Kamsetzer to redo the interiors in an extravagant way. Izabela Lubomirska was a renowned society figure, not only as of the wife of the Grand Marshal but also as a patron of the arts.
Moreover, being something of a grande dame, she was actively involved in political life and intrigues during the reign of King Stanislaw August Poniatowski.
|Address||Krakowskie Przedmiescie 32, Warsaw|
The present site of Warsaw University was originally occupied by a summer palace, which belonged to the Waza dynasty in the 17th century. This building, the Kazimierzowski Palace, was the Knights School from 1765.
In 1816 it became part of Warsaw University. Rebuilt in the Neo-Classical style, the palace now houses the rector's offices. The university's other Neo-Classical buildings include two annexes: Porektorski and Poseminraryny.
They are from 1814-1816, by a design by Jakub Kubicki. The Main School building (Szkola Glowna), designed by Antonio Corazzi, is from 1841. Meanwhile, Michal Kado designed the main auditorium and the former Fine Arts Academy in 1818-1822.
Following the 1863 January Uprising, the University came under the control of the Russian authorities. A new library appeared in 1894, designed by Stefan Szyller and Antoni Jablonski.
When Poland regained independence in 1918, the University acquired a new auditorium building, called the Auditorium Maximum. Warsaw University is now Poland's largest academic institution and has expanded into buildings around the city.
|Address||Krakowskie Przedmiescie 26/28, Warsaw|
Kossakowski Palace Warsaw
The Kossakowski Palace was originally built at the end of the 18th century for Izaak Ollier, a wealthy merchant, but the present Italian Renaissance style dates from 1849 - 1851, when the new owner, Wladyslaw Puslowski, commissioned the renowned architect Henryk Marconi to renovate and re-style the building. The palace was later acquired by Count Kossakowski.
He established it as one of the city's most fashionable venues, where the intellectual élite attended glamorous balls and a literary salon every Friday. Guests could also admire the count's art collection.
This was one of the finest private collections in Poland, including works by many foreign artists. In 1892 the palace's belvedere became a studio by the painter Wladyslaw Podkowinski, who painted some outstanding views of Nowy Swiat.
|Address||Nowy Swiat 19, Warsaw|
Konstanti Zamoyski Palace Warsaw
Set in a magnificent landscaped park, this palace is from 1878-1879. Leandro Marconi designed it, he came from a family of distinguished architects. He created Baroque interiors while ensuring the palace was comfortable as a private house.
Its facade is an example of the then fashionable 'French Costume" way (inspired by the Renaissance style of Henry IV and Louis XIII). The Zamoyski family lived here until World War II.
One of the many distinguished guests was, in 1923, the French World War I hero, Marshal Ferdinand Foch. The palace was then taken over by the state for the Society of Polish Architects. Since 1965 the left-wing has housed Foksal Gallery, a modern art collection.
|Address||Foksal 2, Warsaw|
Prazmowski House Warsaw
The Prazmowski House is from the 17th century and built for Dr. Pastorius, the Royal Physician. It is now considered one of Warsaw's most beautiful buildings, but, throughout its history, frequent changes of ownership have led to real changes in style.
The existing Rococo style of the house dates from 1754. Jacub Fontana designed the refurbishment on behalf of the Leszczynski family, whose monogram features on the grill above the main entrance.
When it was again restored, after World War II devastation, the house was given to the Polish Literary Society.
It was a frequent place for lively meetings, which decided the faith of many Polish writers, if not the entire canon of Polish literature. A bohemian atmosphere can still be enjoyed in the building's café.
|Address||Krakowskie Przedmiescie 87, Warsaw|
St Anna's Church Warsaw
Kosciol sw. Anny
Anna, the widow of Duke Boleslaw III, founded the imposing Gothic Church of St Anna. It's from the late 15th century, built together with a Bernardine monastery. The church extended between 1518 and 1533 but then destroyed during the Swedish invasion of 1655.
Following this turbulent period, St Anna's was refurbished in a Baroque style. Jozef Szymon Bellotti designed this, he preserved the original Gothic presbytery and façade. Yet, the facade was later redesigned in a Neo-Classical style in the 8th century, by Chrystian Piotr Aigner and Stanislaw Kostka Potocki.
The free-standing bell tower is another Neo-Classical feature, dating from the 1820s.
In 1864 St Anna's became (and remains) the University Church. Additionally, the side chapel of St Ladyslaw of Gielniow contains relics of this saint, who is also a patron saint of Warsaw.
The church has magnificent interiors, with several Rococo altars and frescoes by Walenty Zebrowski. Although the vaulted nave was destroyed during World War II, the Zebrowksi frescoes were restored.
St Anna's is the most popular choice for wedding ceremonies among Warsaw's students. This is partly due to superstition, as it's said that any marriage celebrated at St Anna's will be a happy one.
Behind St Anna's is an attractive Neo-Classical colonnade, called Odwach. This colonnade is the city's best site for second-hand booksellers and is an interesting place to browse.
|Address||Krakowskie Przedmiescie 68, Warsaw|
Namiestnikowski Palace Warsaw
The Neo-Classical style of the Namiestnikowski Palace dates from Chrystian Aigner's refurbishment, in 1818-1819. Aigner re-styled an existing palace built during the mid-17th century.
The palace's history is turbulent, belonging to several important families, including the Koniecpolskis and Lubomirskis. From 1685 the Radziwill family owned the palace, which sold it in 1818 to the Russian government of Poland.
The palace became the official house of the Tsar's governors of Warsaw. A flamboyant resident in the 19th century was the prima ballerina Mrs. Zajaczek.
She maintained a staggering beauty into old age and scandalized society with her romances. The rumor was that her vitality stemmed from a strict regimen: bathing in icy water, sleeping in unheated rooms, and eating cold food.
After World War II, the palace became the Council of Ministers' Office and was the setting for important political events. The Warsaw Pact was signed here in 1955, as was a treaty in 1970 to promote relations with Germany.
The round-table negotiations between the government and opposition groups were also held here in 1989. Since 1994 the palace has been the official house of Poland's president.
|Address||Krakowskie Przedmiescie 46/48, Warsaw, Poland|
Bristol Hotel Warsaw
The Bristol Hotel was originally one of Europe's grandest hotels, although the choice of architect provoked a scandal. A competition was held and prizes duly awarded. But the prize-winning design was then abandoned in favor of a scheme by one of the judges, Wladyslaw Marconi.
He was an outstanding architect, and despite the resulting furor, Marconi's Neo-Renaissance plans met with widespread approval.
The building consortium, which included Ignacy Paderewski among its members, also commissioned Otto Wagner the Younger to design the Secessionist interiors.
The Bristol was quickly established as a society venue, hosting parties and receptions that were the most stylish in Warsaw. It was also used to celebrate special occasions. These included Marie Sklodowska-Curie's Nobel Prize and the triumphs of the renowned operetta singer Lucyna Messal.
During the 1930s, the painter Wojciech Kossak kept a studio on the 5th floor. He offered his paintings as payment. They can still be seen in one of the hotel's restaurants. After World War II, the hotel continued to receive notable guests but fell into some disrepair. Following huge refurbishment, the hotel reopened in 1992, having regained all its former style and prestige.
|Address||Krakowskie Przedmiescie 42/44, Warsaw, Poland|
Adam Mickiewicz Monument Warsaw
Warsaw's monument to the country's greatest Romantic poet is from 1898, his 100th birthday. As this took place during the Russian occupation of Poland, it's considered a great achievement by the Founding Committee.
Michał Radziwiłł and Nobel-prize winning author Henryk Sienkiewicz chaired the committee. Cyprian Godebski designed the statue, while the plinth is by Józef Pius Dziekonski and Wladyslav Marconi.
The monument occupies a square, cleared in the mid-19th century. Only the Baroque statue of the Madonna of Passau remains from the original square.
Completed in 1683 by Józef Szymon Bellotti, King Jan III Sobieski commissioned the statue. It's gratitude to God for victory over the Turks at Vienna, and for saving his family from the plague.
|Address||Krakowskie Przedmiescie, Warsaw, Poland|