9/24/10

Warsaw's Royal Route


Our quest for Warsaw's Old Town led us to follow a part of the so-called Royal Route. In old times, Polish kings built palaces in Warsaw that were connected by a series of roads. Today, this route is a popular way for visitors to stroll and in the process take in a bit of Warsaw's long history.



We start off on Krakowskie PrzedmieĊ›cie, one such historic road that's part of the Royal Route.  It has seen many improvements through the years but the old charm do remain. One walks here without ever forgetting that this street leading to Old Town saw a lot of intense fighting during World War II.


Our eyes gaze up at the monument of Copernicus, the Polish astronomer who helped propel modern astronomy. It stands in front of Staszic Palace which currently houses the Polish Academy of Sciences. The monument, just like the building behind it, was damaged during WWII and attempts by the Nazi Germans to completely destroy it was fortunately unsuccessful.


Just a few steps away is the Church of the Holy Cross, a Baroque masterpiece that, as seen in the same angle as the photo above, was painted in 1778 by Bernardo Bellotto. Sunday mass was ongoing as we went inside, celebrated in Polish of course. One of the church pillars on the left side contain the heart of Poland's pride, the composer Fryderyk Chopin (the rest of his remains is buried in France where he died).


The University of Warsaw, established in 1816, is one of Europe's leading academic centers. With about 17,000 students enrolled every year,  this is Poland's largest university. During WWII, the sprawling campus was turned into military barracks and education was banned, spawning underground schools that became known as the "Secret University of Warsaw".


Anyone who listens to classical music will undoubtedly have heard of Fryderyk Chopin, the Polish virtuouso pianist. Right across from the gate of the University of Warsaw where Chopin studied for three years, he and his parents lived in this annex of the Kazimierzowski Palace. The family salon where Chopin used to play his early compositions is now a museum open to the public.


A fine example of rococo architecture, the Church of St. Joseph of the Visitationists was built in 1761. It was here that a teenage Chopin used to play the organ church during services for school children.



Still reeling from that fatal plane crash that killed the President and First Lady of Poland earlier in April this year, Poles gather in front of the Presidential Palace offering prayers, flowers and candles. It was also in April that the Icelandic volcano erupted, causing a disruption of air travel for foreign dignitaries wanting to attend the state funeral.


A little further on, the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and of St. Joseph,  or in short, the Carmelite Church, is an eye-catching neoclassical beauty that has been around since 1761. What makes it unique are its twin belfries shaped like censers. The church thankfully survived WWII with minimal damage.


Our stroll along the Royal Route almost ends as we caught a glimpse of the burgher's houses up on the Old Town part of Warsaw. This is one area that saw a lot of damage during WWII. But as they say, this one triumphantly rose like a phoenix from the ashes. We'll see.

16 comments:

  1. i'm truly impressed by the sights you featured here in warsaw. i love old towns and try to seek out the old towns in a new place i visit.

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  2. this gave me the interest of reading more about warsaw.

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  3. seems like every corner is picturesque!
    such an eye-candy place, dennis.
    would love to visit warsaw one day. *dreamy*

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  4. i've never heard of Warsaw. I should read more. And I didn't know that the President & the 1st Lady of Poland got killed this year. Hmmm..I need to watch TV!
    Thanks for sharing, dame ko natutu2nan sa site mu. :)

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  5. Photo Cache,
    It's amazing how Old Towns are preserved all over Europe. I wish I could see them all!

    Dong,
    Warsaw deserve a visit even if it's not as popular as Krakow (which I didn't get to see).

    Docgelo,
    There's plenty more Doc in my next entry.

    Pinaysolobackpacker,
    Nagulat naman ako na di mo alam na may Warsaw. Grabe ang damage dito after WWII, pangalawa ang Maynila.

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  6. year 1816- long past year.

    ganda ng photo sa hulihan, proportion yung capture... love it!

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  7. Very interesting. The only other place that I have heard of a Royal Route was Prague, in the Czech Republic. There is a path that leads from the middle of the old town to the top of the hill that has the castle, and apparently, they call that the Royal Route too, because like you said, that's the route that the nobility took to reach the castle.

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  8. it's hard to believe that even after the devastation of WW II, Warsaw is able to preserve these beautiful buildings. such gorgeous architecture! thanks for showing us around.

    P.S. swerte nga at walang nadapa.:p thanks for the visit.

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  9. wow amazed by last picture!!!! omg...but well pretty looks like the old town in prague :) and the presidential palace reminds me of white house! because i saw many protest/events in front of it :) lol

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  10. Great pictures... I don't remember a lot of Warsaw... but at that time I was still a student... more interested in girls than architecture :-0
    In fact... the only thing I remember of Warsaw is a beautiful girl I met in my boarding house ;-)
    I guess... that is what happens when you get old...you tend to forget so many things...and you only remember the highlights ;-)

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  11. Pamatayhomesick,
    that last photo was just a glimpse of Old Town. More to come.

    Linguist,
    Oh yes you're right, there's a Royal Route in Prague. Most likely, in other European cities too.

    Luna Miranda,
    It truly is incredible seeing how Warsaw got back on its feet after that war.

    Fufu,
    I know what you mean. The predominant feature usually with Europe's Old Towns, at least those I've seen, are the churches. Plenty of them.

    Sidney,
    LOL on remembering only the highlights when you get old! A very memorable part of your restless youth, I see. I just hope you don't have a long lost son there. Hahaha!

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  12. sir, maiba ako, anong lens to? super vivid. galing ng shots.

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  13. living in a postcard!
    bakit parang super linis ng place, wala man lang spot na pangit?
    unfair! hehe

    royal route = royal indeed.

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  14. @Z,
    anglinis kumuha ng shot. parang babae yung photographer. ;)

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  15. Z,
    I only use two lenses: Nikkor 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 & Nikkor 35mm f/1.8

    Chyng,
    LOL! pinatawa mo naman ako. pero teka, di lang naman babae ang kumukuha ng 'malinis' na shot ah.
    Yung Royal Route naman, sadyang malinis kasi pinupuntahan ng mga turista kaya halos wala kang makitang dumi.

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  16. Not too many churches with twin belfries. I liked your idea of taking shots with the angle like that of the fourth and second to the last photo. The mention of their Presidential Palace will warm a soft spot in any reader. :(

    The Old Town part looks full of colors. Looking forward to the next post.

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