Barbican is a part of defensive walls of Warsaw. It was built in 1548 and is easy to see while walking from the Old Town to the New Town. The building was built according to the project of a Venetian Giovanni Battista.
Barbican along with the adjacent Łazienkowska Gate and the Gunpowder Tower constituted the so-called Zakroczymska Gate. The barbican performed the defensive function only once – during the Swedish invasion. In the 18th century, the Barbican was partly pulled down and then its part was included in newly built tenements. Right before the World War II, one managed to reconstruct the western part of the Barbican bridge. The project was supervised by the architect Jan Zachwatowicz. During the World War II, the barbican was destroyed; its reconstruction lasted from 1952 till 1954. The works were supervised by Wacław Padlewski; the old seventeenth century drawings were used for the purpose and the bricks from tenements pulled down in Nysa and Wrocław were used for construction.
The Seym and the Senate
The Seym and the Senate – the buildings of the Seym and the Senate are one of the most characteristic places in the country. It is here where the key decisions are taken in the country. The buildings of the Parliament are situated in the area of streets Wiejska, Górnośląska and Maszyńskiego; they were built in the place of the former the Alexandrian-Mariinsky Education Institute for Maidens in the years 1925 -1928. During the World War II, the buildings of the parliament were destroyed. After the war, they were reconstructed. The reconstruction of the oval building, being a symbol of the Seym today, lasted nine months. It was here where in 1947, the first after war session of the Seym on 22nd July 1952 was held, during which the Constitution of the Polish People’s Republic was enacted. The project of the new Seym complex was commissioned to the architect Bohdan Pniewski. The new complex of buildings fits perfectly into the old park. It covers the area extending up to the Warsaw escarpment.
The Palace on the Island
The Palace on the island – other name of this building is the Palace on the Water or the Lazienki Palace. The palace was built in the years 1680 – 1690, according to the project of Dominic Merlini and Jan Chrystian Kamsetzer. The palace is located on an artificial island that is surrounded by water of a lake. It is connected with the land by two bridges topped with classicistic columns. There is also the Theatre on the Island at the lake and before the construction of the palace (it was in 1767) the formal garden was created. During the rule of Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski, the building served as a royal summer residence. It was here that the famous Thursday dinners were held. After the death of the king, the palace was inherited by the Prince Jozef Poniatowski;
later served as an imperial residence and during the World War II was occupied by Nazis. The reconstruction of the palace lasted since 1945 till 1960 and was supervised by Jan Dąbrowski. One managed to reconstruct the rich inside of the building, which was destroyed during the wars. The Palace on the Island was incorporated as a branch into the National Museum and since1995 it has been an independent institution.
The Fryderyk Chopin Museum
The Fryderyk Chopin Museum was founded by the Fryderyk Chopin Society in 1954. The museum is located in the Ostrogski Castle, Okólnik street 11. The mission of this institution is to cultivate the memory of the great composer and to make available the knowledge on his life and artistic works to a wide audience. The museum aims at collecting and passing on the best quality knowledge and artistic experience, of which individual choice will depend on a viewer. In addition, the museum was a central institution during the celebration of the Chopin Year (2010). Since March 2010, there has been opened a new exhibition, which includes also a newly established Centre.
The Kraków Suburb
The Kraków Suburb is one of most important and most representative streets of the capital city of the length of about 1100 m. The street is a part of the Royal Route, which leads from the Royal Castle to the Royal Baths Park in Warsaw. The name Kraków Suburb is derived from the name of the old route Zakroczym-Czersk, directing to South to Jazdow, Czersk and then to Cracow. There are many monuments at the Kraków Suburb among them: the Basilica of St. Cross, the Palace of Czapski and Krasiński (the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw), the Potocki Palace, the Wessel Palace, the Kazimierz Palace, the Uruski-Czetwertynski Palace, the Tyszkiewicz and Potocki Palace, the Bristol Hotel, the Presidential Palace, the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Josef , the Kazanowski Palace, the Church of the Holy Anna as well as many tenement, monuments and other important places.
The Zachęta National Gallery of Art is one of the most important art galleries in the capital city. Its purpose is to present and promote modern art. Individual and collective exhibitions of artists from Poland and other countries are organized there. One can also see so-called problem exhibitions very often there. The building, which houses the gallery, was built at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, according to the project of the architect Stefan Szyller. Till 1939, it was the seat of the Society for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts; after the war in the years 1945 – 1989, there was the Central Office of Artistic Exhibitions, and then The Zachęta National Gallery of Art. Since 2003, the gallery has been having the status of the national cultural and has the name The Zachęta National Gallery of Art. The permanent collection of Zachęta includes works of the modern Polish art in the fields of painting, sculpture, photography, installations and film. However, it is not presented in the permanent form. The exhibitions in Zacheta have only temporary character. There are also a library, a documentation department as well as Artistic Bookshop operating in Zacheta.
The Marshal Józef Piłsudski Square
The Marshal Józef Piłsudski Square is the most representative square of the capital city, located in the very centre of Warsaw, in the North City Centre, between the Saxon Garden and the Molière, Królewska and Ossolińskich streets. The history of this place dates back to the period of the late 18th century, when the Saxon Palace courtyard became widely available. After the November Uprising, the square was destroyed; during renovation works a characteristic colonnade was built in the square. Over the next centuries, the square changed its names; it was one by one: the Saxon Square, the Piłsudski Square, during the World War II Adolf – Hitler – Platz, then Victory Square. It was only in 1990 that it was named after the Marshal Józef Piłsudski again. Currently, there are the following buildings in the square: the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier along with the colonnade of the former Saxon Palace, Saxon Garden, Metropolitan, Europejski Hotel, Victoria Hotel, the plate and the cross commemorating the Holy Mass said by the pope John Paul II here on the 2nd June 1979, as well as the monument of the Marshal Józef Piłsudski set in the pretty unfortunate place.
The Grand Theatre in Warsaw
The Grand Theatre in Warsaw is located at the Theatre Square in Warsaw and its other name is the National Opera. The building of the theatre was built according to the project of the architect Antonio Corazzi in the years 1825 – 1833. During the World War II, the building was completely destroyed by the Nazis, who arranged a place of mass murders of the civilian population in it during the Warsaw Uprising. After the war, the theatre was rebuilt like other buildings. The reconstruction was supervised by the architect Bohdan Pniewski. The ceremonial opening of the new building of the theatre took place on the 19th November 1965. Currently, the Grant Theatre is one of the most important places of the Polish culture in the country. It is famous for the largest opera stage in the world, in which the Milan’s La Scale could be easily fitted. There are a Theatre Museum and two of three stages in the halls of the theatre. The Grand Theatre has its main stage with the audience for 1841 places in the Moniuszko Hall and a small stage, where performances for children most often take place, with the audience for over 200 places in the Miller Hall. Not only spectacles but also commemorations of historical events important for the country as well as various commercial events are organized in the theatre.
The Saxon Garden
The Saxon Garden was founded by Augustus II the Strong at the turn of XVII and XVIII centuries and is the oldest park in Poland. This beautiful green area is a preserved element of the Baroque Saxon Axis. Since 1727, Saxon Garden (such a name is also correct) has been available for visitors. Currently, the park has an area of over 15 ha and its main elements are: the Great Fountain constructed by Marconi in 1855, the water collector in the shape of a rotunda, the Blue Palace, the Sundial, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as well as 21 baroque sculptures and a few monuments including the monument to Maria Konopnicka and Józef Piłsudski. This place is one of the most characteristic objects of the capital city. It is visited willingly not only by residents of Warsaw, but also by tourists and numerous class trips.
The Copernicus Science Centre
The Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw is a science centre founded in 2005, which aims at promoting the modern scientific communication. Visitors can get to know science laws by self-experimentation on interactive exhibitions. The centre is a common institution, established and financed by the capital city of Warsaw, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Ministry of National Education. The first part of the building was completed in November 2010; the completion of the second module of the building is planned for 2011. In the years 2007-2008, the Copernicus Science Centre was rewarded twice with the award “the Science Populariser”, granted by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the bulletin “Science in Poland” belonging to the Polish Press Agency. The Copernicus Science Centre along with the Polish Radio have been also a co-organizer of the Scientific Picnic since 2008. In 2011, the Copernicus Science Centre will be an organiser of ECSITE conferences (European Network of Science Centres and Museums) – one of the greatest events in the environment of science centres and museums in the world.
The Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw – the Royal Castle in Warsaw in the city centre, in Ujazdów by the Royal Route. The Seat of the Modern Art Centre. It is below the escarpment, to the east from the castle that there is the Agricola Park and the Piaseczyński Channel stretching out in the direction of the Vistula river. Both the Ujazdowski Park as well as the Piaseczyński Channel are a part of a broader urban complex: the Stanislavian Axis