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Monuments: Monuments in Warsaw

Monuments in Warsaw

Adam Mickiewicz monumentAdam Mickiewicz

5 Krakowskie Przedmiescie St. (on the Royal Route)

Patriot, poet and the man who inspired Romanticism in Poland, Mickiewicz stands out as Poland's greatest literary figure - as well as a figure of hope during a bleak age of Russian oppression. His involvement in politics saw him exiled east in 1824 by the ruling Russians, before finally heading to western Europe in 1829. A bid to return to his homeland in 1830 was thwarted at the border, and he never saw his native Poland again.

Much mystery surrounds his life; his role as a national cultural icon meaning that much of the seamier side of his life has been covered up, including his involvement in strange cults and alleged womanising. To this day, even his birthplace remains a hot source of argument. Some say Nowogródek (Lithuania), others say the nearby Zaosie. A champion of freedom, he died during a cholera outbreak in Turkey, 1855, while recruiting a Polish legion to fight the Russians in the Crimea. Originally buried in Paris, Mickiewicz's body now lies in Wawel Cathedral, Kraków.

His defining masterpiece, Pan Tadeusz, is a beautifully written epic portraying Polish society in the 19th century. His statue dominates Krakowskie Przedmieście St., and traces of bullet holes dating from II World War are still visible on the monument.

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Charles de Gaulle Charles

De Gaulle Roundabout (close to Warsaw Stock Exchange)

de Gaulle is the subject of Warsaw’s newest monument. Striding away from what was once the Commie party headquarter, the monument is a gift from the French government. A resident of Warsaw in the 1920s, de Gaulle is a bit of a hero in these parts for the role he played in The Battle of Warsaw in 1920. With Europe in turmoil following the aftermath of I World War the Red Army launched a huge military strike, aimed at enslaving the rest of Europe. The Bolsheviks expected an easy march to Paris, but the Poles has other ideas. With the Red Army just 23 km from Warsaw Marshal Piłsudski launched a deft action to split the Bolshevik forces in two and encircle them. The battle raged from August 13 - 25, 1920, with the Poles claiming a historic victory in what Woodrow Wilson went on to describe as the ‘seventh most important battle in history’. The Bolshevik forces were decimated, and Europe saved. De Gaulle fought with distinction and was awarded the highest military honour in the country, the Virtuti Militari.

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Józef PiłsudskiJózef Piłsudski

Piłsudski Sq. (in front of the Tomb of Unknown Soldier)

Marshal Piłsudski may be the man who saved Poland from the Russian invasion in 1920, but that hasn't stopped cheeky scamps referring to this statue as the 'old parking guard.' Made by Tadeusz Łodziany, it was unveiled in 1995.

 

 

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Jan Kiliński

Podwale St., (at the Old Town)

A huge monument honouring Jan Kiliński, a Warsaw cobbler who became the unlikely hero of the 1794 Kościuszko Uprising. Despite being wounded twice, Kiliński and his troop of peasants captured the Russian Ambassador's Warsaw residence; an action that ultimately led to his imprisonment in St. Petersburg. Said to embody the Polish virtues of bravery and patriotism, his statue was erected in 1936 and originally located on pl. Krasińskich. In reprisal for an attack on the Copernicus Monument, Nazi troops hid Kiliński inside the vaults of the National Museum. Within days, boy scouts had daubed the museum with the graffiti ‘People of Warsaw! I am here, Jan Kiliński.’ After the war the cobbler was returned to his rightful place, before being finally relocated to ul. Podwale in 1959.

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Warsaw Mermaid
Warsaw Mermaid

Old Town Squere

The mermaid is a symbol of Warsaw. Legend has it Prince Kazimierz got hopelessly lost while on a hunting expedition in the area that is now Warsaw. In a stroke of luck a mermaid appeared and guided the hapless prince to safety by firing burning arrows. The mermaid has remained an icon and statues of her can be found in  Old Town Square, Świętokrzyski Bridge and on  Karowa St.

 

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King Sigismund's Column, WarsawKing Sigismund's Column

Old Town

Built in honour of the man who made Warsaw the capital of Poland, the column was erected back in 1664 and stands twenty two metres high. During the war the column collapsed under bombardment and the original now lies close to the Royal Castle (and is considered lucky to touch). The figure of Sigismund survived and the new column was proudly re-erected in 1949.

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Monte Cassino Monument

52 Dluga St.

The Battle of Monte Cassino was actually a series of four intense and sometimes controversial battles that took place between January 20 and May 18, 1944, culminating at a 1,300-year-old Benedictine monastery on the top of the 1,100 metre Monte Cassino in southern Italy.

After the successful Allied landings in Italy in September 1943 a route was needed from the Allied position north of Naples to Rome, and the only way through was via the Liri Valley. Blocking the valley was a mass of German-occupied hills around the town of Cassino. Involving British, US, French, North African, New Zealand, Ghurkha and Polish troops, fierce battles raged against the Germans on a slow and brutal advance towards the monastery, whose eventual capture would give the Allied forces the access they needed to open the road to Rome. At a cost of over 25,000 lives including the deaths by heavy allied bombing on February 15th of a number of Italian civilians who were taking refuge in the monastery, the final battle ended on the morning of May 18th when a reconnaissance group of soldiers from the Polish 12th Podolian Uhlans Regiment finally reached what was by then an empty and completely devastated monastery. T

he Battle of Monte Cassino paved the way for the Allied advance on Rome, which fell on June 4th, 1944, two days before the Normandy invasion, and is one of Poland’s proudest military achievements. On May 18th, 1999, exactly 55 years after the event, an 8.5-metre monument designed by the Polish sculptor Gustaw Zemła was unveiled in a small park by just north of the Archaeological Museum. Resembling the outline of Italy with a number of eerie, battle-related elements built into it, the monument also features a pair of wings, supposedly representing Nike and the Polish Hussars.

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Nicholas Copernicus 

Krakowskie Przedmiescie St. (close to the Warsaw University)

The founder of modern astronomy, born in 1473 in Polish city Torun. A sheltered academic, he made his observations a century before the invention of the telescope and without help or guidance. His book De Revolutionibus (1530) posited that the earth rotated on its axis once a day, travelled around the sun once a year, and that man's place in the cosmos was peripheral. This may seem obvious today, but it was an utterly radical idea at the time.

Although astronomers who propagated his ideas were burnt at the stake and the Catholic church placed De Revolutionibus on its list of banned books (as late as 1835), there was no turning back progress. The modern cosmological view - that our galaxy is one of billions in a vast universe - is this man's legacy.

The statue itself was built in 1830 and has seen its fair share of adventure. During II World War the Nazi's placed a bronze plaque insinuating that the great man was - a German. In 1942, a boy scout called Alek Dawidowski, ducked the guards and removed the plaque. Boiling with fury, the Nazis removed the statue, hid it in Silesia and dynamited a few other surrounding monuments for good measure. The statue was recovered in the years following the war, while Dawidowski has entered Polish folklore as a result of his bravery.

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To those deported and murdered in the East

Intersection of Bonifraterska, Andersa and Muranowska

Dating from 1995, and designed by Maksymilian Biskupski, this monument remembers the victims of Soviet aggression and all those deported to the wastes of Siberia.

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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Piłsudski Sq.

The only surviving part of the destroyed Saxon Palace. The palace was constructed during the 17th century though the tomb was not added to the complex until 1925. Eerily, the tomb was the only part of the structure to survive being dynamited by the Nazis. The ashes of unknown soldiers from II World War have been fittingly added.

 

 

Provided by:   

 More information: http://www.inyourpocket.com/poland/city/warsaw.html


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