Share |

Mike's Adventure to Poland - 2002

Part 4: Old Town

Remember when I mentioned that Warsaw looked a lot like Cleveland?  There is a good reason for this.  The entire city had to be rebuilt after World War II.

Warsaw took a lot of damage during its years of occupation by the Nazis.  However, in August 1944, the Polish resistance rose up and attacked the Nazis, while the Soviets were on the eastern side of the river Wisla.  After 63 days and 200,000 dead Poles, the Nazis retook Warsaw, while during that time, the Soviets did not assist the Polish resistance.  Following the uprising, Hitler ordered that Warsaw be leveled street by street, beginning with the buildings that Poles considered most important.  As a result, any building of any cultural or historical value was systematically leveled by dynamite by the retreating Nazis.

Yet, after the war, the Poles rebuilt the important buildings around Warsaw just as they were prior to their destruction.  Old Town Warsaw is an example of this.

Old Town Warsaw
Old Town Warsaw.  Sigismund's Column and the Town Square are at left, the Royal Palace is at right.

Sigismund Column
The first thing that greets you at Old Town is a column dedicated to honor King Sigismund III Waza, who moved the Polish capital from Krakow to Warsaw.

Warsaw royal palace
The Royal Palace (prior to the arrival of the Christmas tree).

Warsaw Royal Palace
The Royal Palace (Zamek Krolewski) at Christmas.

Warsaw Old Town Square
The Old Town Square.

Warsaw town square
Another view of the Old Town Square (from the opposite corner).

Moor's Head building
One of the famous buildings in the town square called "Moor's Head."

Mermaid Fountain
The Mermaid Fountain in the town square.  The mermaid is the symbol of Warsaw.  The fountain isn't like what you might expect...

Mermaid Fountain with Water
Every minute the statue gurgles and a wave of water flows out from the base of it...  Joe called it the "sucking chest wound sounding statue."

Warsaw Barbican
The Barbican, built in 1548 as a gate to defend the city square from invaders.

Continue on to Part 5: Warsaw Ghetto