Explore Warsaw

"The history of the Royal Castle goes back to the fourteenth century when the Great Tower was erected (see the map of the Castle – now called the Justice Court Tower). In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries during the reign of Sigismund III Vasa, the Castle underwent large-scale expansion and was transformed into a five-winged edifice with an inner courtyard. It was a royal residence, the place where parliamentary deliberations were held and the administrative and cultural centre of the country. Destroyed in the middle of the seventeenth century during the Swedish Wars, it gradually regained its former magnificence during the reign of the Saxon-Wettin dynasty. In the second half of the eigheteenth century, artists in the employ of Stanislaus Augustus (Jan Christian Kamsetzer, Marcello Bacciarelli, Domenico Merlini) reconstructed the interiors of the chambers, comprising the Great Apartment and the King's Apartment. During the period of the partitions (in the nineteenth century) the major part of the collections of the last Polish king ended up in Russia. After Poland regained its independence, some of the works of art were reinstated to their rightful place in the Castle. In September 1939 the Castle was bombed by the Germans; however museologists, under the leadership of Professor Stanisław Lorentz, managed to salvage some elements of the interiors and also some of the works of art. In September 1944 the Castle was blown up by the Germany army.In the years 1945-1970, the Communist authorities delayed making a decision on whether to rebuild the Castle. The decision to do so was taken in 1971. Funds for the rebuilding of the Castle which took until 1980 were provided thanks to the dedication of the community. In 1984 the reconstructed interiors were opened to the general public. Since 1995 work has been undertaken on the conservation of the Kubicki Arcades and the reconstruction of the gardens. Once these works are completed, and the Tin-Roofed Palace refurbished, the rebuilding of the Royal Castle complex will have been finalized." (https://www.zamek-krolewski.pl/en)

"Warsaw’s Old Town (Stare Miasto) is the historical center of Warsaw and the oldest part of town dating back to the 13th century. Situated in the middle of the Old Town is the beautiful market square with its good variety of restaurants. The largest part of the Old Town was destroyed during the Second World War and was later reconstructed. The reconstruction was so precise that one can hardly tell if the the building survived the war or if it was rebuilt. This was honored by the UNESCO who in 1980 added the Warsaw Old Town to its list of World Heritage Sites. The Old Town is also a great place for purchasing souvenirs of Warsaw, as several souvenir stores are located here. The Old Town Market Square (Rynek Starego Miasta) was established in the 13th century on a 90 x 73 meter rectangle. Nowadays you can find here restaurants and cafes which offer mainly Polish specialities. However, one also sees barrel organ players and portrait painters. In the middle of the market square there once was the Warsaw City Hall, however, it was pulled down back in 1817. Since 1855 there is a bronze sculpture (The Warsaw Mermaid) at exactly the same place, it’s the symbol of Warsaw. The four house sides of the marketplace also are still named after one of their famous inhabitants: Zakrzewski (mayor), Barss (solicitor), where you can find the Mickiewicz Literature Museum in house number 20, Kollataj (priest) and Dekert (mayor), where you now find the Historical Museum entrance in house number 42." (http://www.warsawguide.com/old-town-in-warsaw/)

"The Royal Łazienki was King Stanisław August’s summer residence, in which a classicist architecture is harmoniously blended with its natural surroundings featuring fabulous gardens. Here, one can not only rest while watching nature but also deepen one’s knowledge of the ideas of the Enlightenment by visiting such gems of the European architecture as:
The Palace on the Isle - one of the most valuable Polish historical buildings, housing the Royal Picture Gallery;
The Old Orangery, housing the Royal Sculpture Gallery with plaster copies of the most famous sculptures of the ancient world, and the Royal Theatre - one of the few original European 18th century court theatres;
The Myślewicki Palace, in which original polychromes by Jan Bogumił Plersch were preserved, including views of Rome and Venice;
The White Pavilion - the first building constructed in the Royal Łazienki by the initiative of Stanisław August - which houses the King’s Collection of Prints;" (https://www.lazienki-krolewskie.pl/en)

"When Jan Sobieski accepted the royal title in 1676 and took the throne as Jan III, the Royal Castle, austere in its appearance, situated within the densely built-up Warsaw, became the seat of his court. Unaccustomed to the conditions of city life, the landowner king wanted to create a summer residence in the countryside that would give him the opportunity to enjoy peace, contact with nature and relaxation. In 1677, through the intermediary of the Master of the Horse Marek Matczyński, the king purchased the nearby village, known since the Middle Ages as Milanów. Immediately after the purchase, the new owner gave the village the Latin name Villa Nova, which was very quickly Polonised into Wilanów, perfectly matching the previous historical name. Jan III found the purchased Wilanów estate contained a “palace barely begun in the walls”, which he decided to expand. As a result of these works, the old Polish landowner’s manor transformed into a Baroque residence – majestic and representative. After the death of King Jan III, the next owner of the estate, Elżbieta Sieniawska, influenced the shape of the property. She ordered the construction of two side wings, which gave the palace its characteristic horseshoe shape. A later significant change was the addition of the so-called Izabela Lubomirska’s Bathroom at the end of the southern wing, on a plan approximating a square. The Wilanów Palace together with the picturesque garden and park form a popular Baroque type of regular, axial structure situated between the representative honorary courtyard and the garden (the so-called entre cour et jardin). During more than 300 years of the history of the Wilanów Palace, its successive owners extended the residence and introduced changes to it in accordance with the prevailing fashions. Despite this, the palace has retained its original character, reflecting the still vivid memory of its first owner, King Jan III. The Wilanów Park forms an integral part of the Wilanów Palace and Gardens. Perfect for a pleasant walk, it is a destination of choice for Varsovians seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of the metropolis. Every year, the Park attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world." (http://www.wilanow-palac.pl/)

"The Maria Sklodowska-Curie Museum, located in Warsaw, is dedicated to the life and work of the Polish-French scientist, discoverer of polonium and radium, and the only woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize twice, once in physics and once in chemistry. Plans to build a biographical museum to chronicle Madame Curie’s achievements originated prior to the Second World War. In the 1930s, Curie’s sisters -- Helen Szalay and Bronisława Dłuska -- collected family souvenirs associated with Maria, in the form of letters, research documents and tools, personal items, furniture, newspaper articles and photos. These donated artifacts were used to open a museum honoring the scientist, located at 15 Wawelska Street, in Warsaw. This was in keeping with Curie’s expressed desire to open such a facility, which Marie called the Radium Institute, in her hometown. The museum had the open support of Professor Stanislaw Lorentz, then director of the National Museum. Tragically, all exhibits were destroyed during the Warsaw Uprising. The first Polish edition of Curie's biography, “Marie Curie” appeared in 1938, and consisted of Curie’s mother’s priceless letters, poetry and accumulated information about her daughter. The collection was especially treasured in light of the fiery loss of Curie’s original letters during the Uprising. The museum is now housed in an 18th century tenement at 16 Freta Street. The Curie family’s ties to the location go back to 1860, when the building housed a girls's boarding school, owned by Eleonore Kurhanowicz. The structure, designed by architect Szymon Bogumił Zug, was built during 1782-1787 at the behest of a well-known Warsaw banker – Maciej Łyszkiewicz. Reconstructed several times, the current structure is very much like the original. An additional story was built in the 1930s, and subsequently rebuilt following its collapse later in the decade. Photographs from the end of the 19th century, the 1930s, and from the period after the Warsaw Uprising show a gate leading into the building, an upper story that housed the boarding school, and an annex where the Skłodowski family lived and where Maria was born." (http://en.muzeum-msc.pl/)

"The Core Exhibition is a journey through 1000 years of the history of Polish Jews – from the Middle Ages until today. Visitors will find answers to questions such as: how did Jews come to Poland? How did Poland become the center of the Jewish Diaspora and the home of the largest Jewish community in the world? How did it cease to be one, and how is Jewish life being revived? The exhibition is made up of eight galleries, spread over an area of 4000 sq.m., presenting the heritage and culture of Polish Jews, which still remains a source of inspiration for Poland and for the world. The galleries portray successive phases of history, beginning with legends of arrival, the beginnings of Jewish settlement in Poland and the development of Jewish culture. We show the social, religious and political diversity of Polish Jews, highlighting dramatic events from the past, the Holocaust, and concluding with contemporary times. We present 1000 years of Polish-Jewish coexistence, speaking of cooperation, rivalry and conflicts, autonomy, integration and assimilation. While seeking to confront thorny issues, we also bring attention to bright chapters in our common history. The Core Exhibition is a narrative: visitors will be drawn into a story told by artefacts, paintings, interactive installations, reconstructions and models, video projections, sounds and words. Our focus is on life, therefore at each stage of the journey we strive to remain close to life by letting people speak – Jewish merchants, scholars or artists from a given era, rabbis, housewives, politicians, chroniclers and revolutionaries. We give the floor to those who perished and to those who survived. The Core Exhibition opened on October 28, 2014. It was developed by a team of international scholars and curators under the direction of Professor Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, and earlier by Jerzy Halbersztadt. The design was created by Event Communications, a London-based company, and by Nizio Design International from Warsaw. Thanks to these teams, the Core Exhibition employs well-tried methods as well as cutting-edge multimedia solutions. The design and creation of the Core Exhibition were financed and overseen by the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, thanks to the support of donors from all over the world." (http://www.polin.pl/en)


The Warsaw Rising Museum

"The Warsaw Rising Museum was opened on the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of fighting in Warsaw. The Museum is a tribute of Warsaw’s residents to those who fought and died for independent Poland and its free capital. The exhibition depicts fighting and everyday life during the Rising, keeping occupation terror in the background. Complexity of the international situation at the time of the Rising is portrayed, including the post-war years of the Communist regime and the fate of Insurgents in the People’s Republic of Poland (PRL). With the total area of more than 3000 m2, 800 exhibition items, approximately 1500 photographs, films and sound recordings, history of the days preceding the Rising is told. Visitors are guided through the subsequent stages of the Rising until the time when the Insurgents left Warsaw. Their further fate is also portrayed." (www.1944.pl/en)