Historic Centre of Warsaw
Historic Centre Of Warsaw
Cultural Poland Europe And North America City And County Of Warsaw, Masovian Voivodship

The reconstruction of the historic centre of Warsaw, associated with events of considerable historic significance, has exercised a considerable influence, in the majority of European countries, on the evolution of doctrines of urbanization and the preservation of older districts of cities.

Following the insurrection of the inhabitants of Warsaw in August 1944, the Polish capital was annihilated in a reprisal by the Nazi occupation troops. From these ruins, between 1945 and 1966, the will of the nation brought to life again a city of which 85% had been destroyed. The reconstruction of the historic centre so that it is identical with the original symbolizes the will to ensure the survival of one of the prime settings of Polish culture and illustrates, in an exemplary fashion, the restoration techniques of the second half of the 20th century. The reconstruction of religious edifices such as the Cathedral of St John, the churches of Our Lady, St James and the Holy Trinity, and the palace, was accompanied by the integral restitution of the urban whole, with its full land allotment and its reconstruction. The example of the market place of the Old City is justifiably famous.

Warsaw Old Town was established in the 13th century. The heart of the area is the Old Town Market Square: until the end of the 18th century the square was the most important place in Warsaw;regular fairs and festivities were held here. During the Second World War the square was turned into rubble, but after many years of reconstruction it was restored to its original beauty. Surrounding streets feature old architecture such as the City Walls and the Barbican. The Cathedral of St John, completed in the 15th century, was originally a parish church and only became a cathedral in 1798. During the war it was destroyed but it has been restored to its original Gothic style. The interior of the cathedral features many works of religious art, tombs and various sculptures and paintings.

The Royal Castle is a magnificent example of the Baroque style, built in the 14th century. In 1569 King Zygmunt III Waza moved his residence there when Warsaw became the capital of Poland. Between 1598 and 1619 the king had the castle restyled as a polygon by Italian architects. In the 18th century King Augustus III converted the east wing into Baroque style, while King Stanislaw Poniatowski added sessions of the Royal Library. The Royal Castle served as both a residence for the kings as well as hosting sessions of the Sejm (Polish Parliament). It is now a museum displaying furniture, famous paintings and other great works of art. The fascinating interiors of the castle contain many original furnishings, statues, paintings and other objets d'art. Among the paintings are works by Bernardo Bellotto and Marcello Bacciarelli.

Almost every building in the Old Town, a blend of different styles from Gothic to Baroque, is old and of a unique architectural style. Among the other attractive historic structures are the many churches, the Barbican, the City Walls, Fukier House, Pelican House, Pod Blacha Palace and Salvator House.