10 War Memorials and Monuments To See in Warsaw

Well-rested after a long day of flying and the initial exploration of the city, the newlyweds woke up refreshed and proceeded to tour the highlights of Warsaw's imperial history of warfare where they learned about all the tragedies that befell the Polish people in the 20th Century.

Chopin Monument

* Easily one of the most beautiful things seen this whole trip was the monument of Frederic Chopin at Lazienki Park. Every Sunday, a pianist performs free recitals of his compositions.

Jozef Pilsudsksi

* And right beside it is the monument dedicated to Marshall Jozef Pilsudski. This Stalin-looking gentleman was the First Marshall of Poland and was responsible for creating the Republic of Poland, after a century of being divided by the Russian, Austrian and Prussian Empires

Lazienki Park

* One more view of the Chopin Monument.  I could just sit here and reflect for days on end.

Lazienki Palace

* Lazienki Park literally means "Royal Baths Park" and this becomes evident as the palace found at the center is surrounded by water. 

Lazienki Palace Statue

* "Woman, leave me alone! I ain't got time for that."

Lazienki Palace

* Ever the literal people, Lazienki Palace translates to The Palace on the Water, and was the home of King Stanislaw II August, last King and Grand Duke of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Lazienki Palace Singers

* Charming old folk singing traditional Polish tunes on the lawn!

Lazienki Palace

* King Stanislaw II August is a controversial figure in Polish history for being the last King before Poland was divided by Russia, Austria and Prussia. He was also romantically involved with a young Russian named Catherine Alexeievna, the future Catherine the Great

Lazienki Palace

* Legend has it that the King loved to ride his Gondola around the waters of his home. It's very easy to see why.

John III Sobieski

* This majestic looking fellow is John III Sobieski, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. Famous and highly regarded around Europe, the King led the combined forces of Poland-Austria-Germania against the Ottoman Turks in the Battle of Vienna. So well known was his valour that the Ottomans named him the "Lion of Lechistan" and he was held as savior of European Christianity by the Pope. On a side note, the war against the Ottomans was credited for introducing coffee to the continent of Europe from the plantations of Turkey!

Monument to Ghetto Heroes

* A country with a dark recent past, Poland commemorates the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 with this Monument to the Ghetto Heroes.  Located in what was once the Jewish Ghetto of Warsaw, the Monument remembers the atrocities of Nazi Germany against the Jews and people of Poland. 

Monument to Ghetto Heroes

* After the Germans took away the rights of the Polish Jews and crammed their entire population of 3 million into extremely crowded ghettos, the Poles rebelled but were ultimately crushed due to their lack of supplies.

Umschlagplatz Memorial

* This immediately led to the razing of the entire Warsaw Ghetto, the execution of the revolutionaries, and the deportation of remaining Jews to the Treblinka Concentration Camp for extermination. The deportation was staged here, at the Umschlagplatz Train Station.

Warsaw Uprising Memorial

* Following the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising by the Jews, the people of Poland themselves rebelled against the Germans in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, commemorated by this Monument to the Warsaw Uprising.

Warsaw Uprising Memorial

* This failed uprising was equally tragic as it ended with 90% of Warsaw's buildings being totally razed to the ground, resulting in the systematic destruction of Warsaw by the Germans, and Warsaw being infamously named as the "most destroyed city in World War II."

Monument of Those Killed In East

* The Polish people's string of bad luck continued as after the Germans were defeated, the Soviets took over and were equally as oppressive as their German captors. Indeed while Warsaw became a major Soviet satellite state during the Cold War, its people were constantly oppressed and dissidents murdered in cold blood. The Monument to the Fallen and Murdered in the East remembers the victims of Soviet aggression.

Church with Anchor

* There is only so much tragedy that one can learn in a morning. The wife and I went to say a prayer in this small church with an anchor at the entrance.

Adam Mickiewicz Monument

* Ending our portion of the tour on Warsaw's unfortunate history, we continued on to this Monument of Adam Mickiewicz, who is considered as one of the greatest Slavic and European poets in history, and is the national poet of Poland, Lithuania and Belarus.

House of Marie Curie

* This colorful building is the home of famous Polish physicist and chemist, Marie Curie. Apart from coining the Theory of Radioactivity and discovering the elements, polonium and radium, Ms. Curie was also the first woman to ever win the Nobel Prize and was honored by being entombed among the greats in the Pantheon of Paris.

Holy Cross Church

* Our last stop was the Baroque-style Holy Cross Church in Krakowskie Przedmiescie.

Holy Cross Church Altar

* The favorite church of King Stanislaw II Augustus (of Lazienki Palace fame, see above), the Holy Cross is also the burial place of some of Poland's most renowned artists..

Chopin's Heart

* Including the heart of Frederic Chopin! While his body rests at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in France, the composer himself requested that his heart be returned to his beloved Poland.

Pope John Paul II Memorial

* We were also delighted to see a small chapel dedicated to Poland's other favorite son, the late Pope John Paul II.

Vodka Appreciation

* Of course, what is a trip to Poland without Vodka appreciation! Check out this awesome selection of vodski.


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