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Warsaw, Poland, June 2018

+ The place


+ My feelings and historical part

Warsaw is known as the Phoenix City for having been reborn from the ashes. At the time of the debacle, Adolf Hitler ordered to completely shave the city: 84% of its buildings were destroyed. The reconstruction was made as a huge puzzle, and for some, the old photos and engravings were used as a model.
This city is amazing and amazing. Amazing because I did not have the feeling of oppression as in big cities. It is very aerated city with many parks that make the joy of the Polish weekends. You can walk for miles without seeing a lot of cars. Amazing because of its destruction and reconstruction, monuments are old style but seems out of the ground only for a few decades.
The only negative point I would give is the lack of information in English both in transport and in front of some buildings.
Historical part
The full official name of the city is Warsaw Capital City. The city is cited from the fourteenth century under the names of Warseuiensis (1321) and Varschewia (1342), then Warschouia (1482), to later become Warszowa and finally Warszawa, the current Polish name of Warsaw. This name means “owned by Warsz”. It is likely an aristocrat of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries who owned a village located on the current site of the district of Mariensztat. The popular etymology attributes the name of the city to two legendary characters named Wars and Sawa: Wars is a fisherman living on the Vistula River and Sawa a mermaid he fell in love with. It is this mermaid (in Polish: “syrenka” which is represented on the arms of the city.
The first fortified buildings built on the site where today Warsaw is located were those of Bródno (9th and 10th centuries) and Jazdów (12th and 13th centuries). After the attack and destruction of Jazdów, a similar new settlement was created on the site of a small fishing village called Warszowa. Around 1300, Boleslas II of Mazovia, Prince of Płock, established the present city of Warsaw. In the early fourteenth century, it became one of the seats of the Dukes of Mazovia, then the capital of Mazovia in 1413. At that time, the economy of the city was based on crafts and trade.
Following the extinction of the ducal line, the Duchy of Mazovia became part of the Polish crown in 1526. In 1573, the city gave its name to the Confederation of Warsaw, officially establishing freedom of religion in the Republic of Two Nations. Stanislaus II, the last independent king of the Republic of the Two Nations, remodeled the interior of the royal palace, and made the city an important center in the artistic and cultural field, which earned Warsaw the nickname of “Eastern Paris”. It was incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia to become the capital of the province of South Prussia and then liberated by Napoleon’s army in 1806. Warsaw became the capital of the new Duchy of Warsaw the following year.
During the First World War, troops of the German Empire failed to take Warsaw during the battle of the Vistula from September-October 1914, but they managed a year later following the defeat of the Russian army in the Battle of Warsaw from August-September 1915. In March 1918, the newly-founded Soviet Socialist Federal Republic of Russia abandoned Poland to Germany by signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which put an end to German-Russian hostilities. The German revolution of 1918-1919 precipitated the end of the war. On November 11, 1918, when the new German government signed the Armistice with France and England in the clearing of the Armistice, the Polish Regency Council transmitted full powers to Piłsudski, marshal, highly charismatic character who appeared as the providential man of resurrected Poland. Warsaw again became capital the same day with the establishment of the second republic of Poland immediately proclaimed by Piłsudski.
During the Second World War Central Poland, which included Warsaw, came under the control of the “General Government of Poland”. established in Krakow and administered by the Reichsleiter Hans Frank. All higher education institutions were closed and the Jewish population of Warsaw – several hundred thousand, about 30% of the city’s population – parked in the Warsaw ghetto19. In July 1942 the Nazis launched the Great Action. Jews from the ghetto are gathered on Umschlagplatz, Stawki Street, and deported to the Treblinka extermination camp. When the order came to annihilate the ghetto definitively as part of the “Final Solution” in April 1943, the Jewish fighters launched the Warsaw ghetto uprising. Despite the low firepower and numerical inferiority, the ghetto held for nearly a month. At the end of the fighting, almost all the survivors were massacred, only a few managed to escape or hide. The Jewish population, which was the largest in Europe before 1939, was completely decimated by the Nazis. Today, many tourists, especially those from the diaspora, visit the Powązki graveyard, the Umschlagplatz monument and the Jewish cemetery in Warsaw.
The reconstruction of the Old Town began immediately, and the first phase of the work was completed in 1953. Two years later, the cathedral and several churches were completed. The decision to rebuild the royal palace was not made until 1971 and the last works lasted until 1988. If the old city was completely rebuilt identically, as many public buildings, palaces, mansions and churches, restored or rebuilt in their original form, some of the 19th-century buildings preserved in the aftermath of the war in a state that might have allowed reconstruction to be considered were nevertheless destroyed in the 1950s and 1960s (such as the Palace of Leopold Kronenberg, for example).


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   • Special: Gathers images out of the monuments with some mural frescoes.