środa, 12 lutego 2014

Spacerkiem po Warszawie- Pałac Prezydencki, Presidential Palace

Presidential Palace at Krakowskie Przedmieście has rich history. During it's 400 years of existence it was reconstructed, changing owners and names many times. It was named the Koniecpolski, Lubomirski, and Radziwiłł Palace as well as the Palace of the Council of Ministers and the Council of State.

The Nazi dignitary  were so impressed by the Palace, that after taking Poland in 1939 they took over the residence. Paradoxically, this prevented the historical building's from destruction during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. When the war ended the Palace and the Belweder were the only two buildings standing on the left bank of Vistula.

 In 1870 the famous painting "Bitwa pod Grunwaldem" was shown publicly for the first time in the Palace's Ballroom.

1989 - Round Table discussions. The Polish Pound Table talks that took place here marked the end of communism and the beginning of free Poland.

None of the Presidential Palace's chambers is as well known as the Column Room. It is the largest and the most splendid of the entire Palace, various events that take place here are transmitted live by TV stations.

During the German occupation the Palace was turned to a casino and a hotel. After the Polish Home Army succesfully assassinated the butcher of Warsaw, SS leader, Franz Kutschera, his body was displayed in the Column Room. A wedding ceremony between deceased and his pregnant Norwegian fiancee, took place.

1997 - Constitution of the republic of Poland was signed
1999 - Poland's entry into NATO was ratified here
2003 - Rarification of Poland's entry into European Union was signed here as well

Since 1994 Palace is official seat of the President of Poland.
Lech Wałęsa, Aleksander Kwaśniewski and Lech Kaczyński have resided in the Palace. When Lech Kaczyński died tragically in a plane crash, the Palace became the memorial site where people left flowers and lit candles.
During current Bronisław Komorowski presidency, the Presidential Palace is open to various events like "Feast of Joy " for Children's Day, concerts, "May Picnic with Poland" etc.

                                                             The Banner Hall

The Blue Room is where conferences are held and foreign delegations are received.

In the time of Polish Congress in 1818, eight year old Frideric Chopin mada his debut in the Palace.

Paderewski's piano.


The newest room in the Palace for unofficial conversations.

 The Jerzy Nowosielski's room serves as a small gallery. Nowosielski is an advocate of ecumenicism, his work focuses on spirituality and the religious aspect of human life.

The Blessed Virgin Mary Chapel. It was set up in 1994 by lech Wałęsa. Blue light seeps inside through the stained glass windows made by Jerzy Owsiak (founder of Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity and also a glazier). The walls are decorated with pictures , sculptures and mosaics- gifts for the Polish presidents from visitors like Pope John Paul II, and Benedict XVI. It is a place of prayer for the presidential couple and their guests.

 Memorial Plaques: Smoleńsk 10. IV.2010 - to commemorate Lech Kaczyński and all members of the Chancellery who died in a plane crash near Smoleńsk on April 10, 2010.
A separate plaque commemorats the victims of the New York terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, with a cross made out of pieces of rubble from the World Trade Center.

During official visits the presidential couple awaits the guests in the courtyard in front of the palace's arcade. The first room visited by the most guests is the Grand Hallway on the mansion's ground floor (above).

Ten huge statues of antique gods are standing on the Attic.

The Palace's facade has always looked especially impressive at night - it is brilliantly iluminated during state holidays and grand receptions.

Statue of Prince Józef Poniatowski, a Polish hero of the Napoleonic Wars.