warsaw new townNowe Miasto (Warsaw New Town) was originally known as New Warsaw. The area began to develop at the end of the 14th century, along a thoroughfare leading from the Old Town to the village of Zakroczym, on the banks of the River Vistula. In 1408 Duke Janusz the Elder granted Nowe Miasto its own separate status. The New Town established its own council and a Town Hall in the Market Square, as well as several churches and monasteries.

From town to district

Unlike Warsaw Old Town with its barbican, the New Town was not fortified. The peak of the New Town's evolution was the end of the 18th century. However, the New Town lost its independent status in 1791. Then the city of Warsaw incorporated it in the capital of Poland. It became known as the district of Nowe Miasto. After World War II, New Town was carefully re-created, and it's now one of Warsaw's most popular (touristic) districts. A must visit during a city trip to Warsaw !

St Jacek's Church in Warsaw New Town

St Jacek Church Warsaw Poland

St Jacek Church Warsaw Poland

At the beginning of the 17th century, while the Jesuits were building a Baroque church in the Old Town, the Dominicans began to build a Gothic presbytery at St Jacek's church. The reason for choosing the Gothic style for their building may have been the order's conservative outlook. Alternatively it may have been an attempt to underline the Dominican's ancient history, even though the order was only established in Warsaw in 1603. A sudden outbreak of the plague interrupted construction of St Jacek's Church in 1625.

During this time the Dominicans would only hear confession and distribute Holy Communion through small holes which were specially made in the church doors. The church was finally completed in 1639, next to the city's largest monastery. St Jacek's has a side nave with a beautiful vaulted ceiling decorated in Lublin-style stucco work.

This nave also features the tombs of Anna Tarnowska and Katarzyna Ossolinska who were the first of the four wives of Jerzy Ossolinska, the Voivode (Lord Lieutenant) of Podlasie region. The magnificent chapel of Adam and Malgorzata Kotowski, which includes their portraits painted on a tin surface, is by a design of Tylman van Gameren, the renowned Dutch architect exalted to Poland. Inscribed tablets within the church also commemorate Polish resistance leaders of World War II.

Address Freta 10, Warsaw, Poland

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Museum in New Town Warsaw

This small museum established in the house where Marie Sklodowska_curie was born, opened in 1967 on the century of her birth. Various exhibits trace her successes and the challenges she faced. Films of Curie's life and the history of science can also be seen on request.

Address Freta 5, 00-227 Warsaw

Sapieha Palace (Palac Sapiehow)

Sapieha Palace Warsaw

Sapieha Palace Warsaw

This vast former palace originally belonged to the princely Sapieha family. It's from 1731-1746, and built for Jan Fryderyk Sapieha. He was the Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The powerful Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which united the two countries, appeared in the 16th century. By the mid-18th, it was Europe's largest empire.

The architect of the Sapieha palace, Jan Zygmunt Deybel, was also an officer in the Saxon Corps of Engineers. Designed in a Rococo style, the palace has an impressive façade which includes an ornamental triangular pediment, as well as urns, sculptures and a balcony.

Magdalena Sapieha, married to one of the later owners of the palace, was a lively character and renowned as a society beauty, which made her the toast of 18th-century Warsaw. When Stanislaw August Poniatowski was still young, he had been in love with her. The palace converted for use as an army barracks in the 19th century, and its magnificent gardens were, somewhat incongruously, used for military exercises.

The Fourth Polish Infantry regiment, which played an important and heroic role during the 1830-1831 uprising, had quarters at the palace. Having been burnt by the Nazis in 1944, the façade regained its original style. The interiors converted for use as a school.

Address Zakroczymska 6, Warsaw

St Casimir's Church in Warsaw New Town

St Casimir Church Warsaw

St Casimir Church Warsaw

The church and convent belonging to the French order of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament is from around 1688. Tylman van Gameren designed the church in a late Baroque style. The best feature is the tombstone of Princess Marie Caroline de Bouillon, the granddaughter of Jan III Sobieski.

Bishop Andrzej Zaluski set the tombstone in 1746, along with Prince Michal Kazimierz Radziwill, who was suitor of the princess. The broken shield and toppling crowns which decorate te tomb have their origin in the Sobieski coat-of-arms, but also refer to the end of the Sobieski family line.

A splendid garden that lies behind the convent has remained unchanged since the 17th century. At its edge there are terraces which descent to the flowing waters of the River Vistula.

Address rynek Nowego Miasta 2, 00-001 Warsaw, Poland

Old Gunpowder Depository in New Town Warsaw (Stara Prochownia building)

Gunpowder Building Warsaw

Gunpowder Building Warsaw

Originally this was a gatehouse by the wooden bridge that crossed the Vistula from 1575 to 1603. Erazm Cziotko of Zakroczym designed and built it, King Zygmunt August and his sister Anna financed the bridge . Destroyed in 1603 by ice floes, some of the bridge's oak columns remained submerged in the river until salvaged in the mid-19th century. The Russian field marshal Paskiewicz used them to make furniture for his palace in Belarus.

From 1646, the gatehouse was in use to store gunpowder. In 1767 it became a prison. Inmates included the 18th-century schemer Maria Dogrum, who falsely accuse the king's valet of trying to poison Duke Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski. In 1831 the prison converted into rented accommodation. Burned in World War II and rebuilt in 1961-65. The gatehouse is now headquarters for a theater company.

Warsaw Citadel and Independence Museum

Citadel Warsaw

Citadel Warsaw

The Citadel is an enormous fortress in Warsaw New Town, built by the Russians, not to defend Warsaw from outside attack, but to intimidate its inhabitants. Tsar Nicholas II ordered construction of the citadel in 1832, after the November 1830 insurrection. Based on a design by General Ivan Dehn, the citadel was built in stages and finally completed in 1887.

This entailed destroying the barracks of the former Royal Guards, as well as the Piarist monastery and the residential area of Zoliborz. The citizens of Warsaw had to bear the astronomical cost of building the citadel.

Meanwhile, Russian officials and army officers made their fortunes by investing money in this development. The brick and earth fortress, encircled by a moat and defensive brick wall, stands on a hill close to the River Vistula, and dominates the surrounding area. Four Neo-Classical gates lead to the interior, where a range of buildings include the so-called "tenth pavilion". This was a high security prison, used solely to house Polish political prisoners. Following World War II, this pavilion transferred into an exhibition venue. Currently it houses a branch of the Independence Museum, tracing Polish history since the 18th century partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Church of St Benon

Church Of Saint Benon Warsaw

Church Of Saint Benon Warsaw

King Stanislaw August Poniatowksi founded this diminutive church in 1787 on behalf of Redemptorist monks. These monks were in the care of abbot Clement Dworzak, a Moravian, directed Warsaw by Rome. He opened two orphanages, one for girls and one for boys, while also providing for the orphans' continued education.

In 1808, unfounded accusations that the monks were spying for the Austrians led the Napoleonic authorities to expel the abbot and 30 monks, and close the church. For the next 100 years it served to manufacture knives and kitchen utensils. The Redemptorists returned after the war to rebuild the church. The modern interiors also include original sculptures.

Address Piesza 1, Warsaw, Poland

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