Monday, October 9, 2017

Warsaw!

Warsaw!  Warsaw is so very fantastic!!!  In 2009 we spent a week in Krakow and loved it as much as any city we had ever visited.  Now with Warsaw rivaling Krakow's sites, I will say that Poland has become one of our favorite countries!  A country that now requires us to visit and explore even more!  If you get the chance, go to Poland!

Poland suffered greatly under the Nazi's and Soviets.  Hitler ordered Warsaw to be bombed to the ground so that it would be only a spot on the map.  The damage was horrible.  Throughout Warsaw, there are pictures of what Warsaw looked like after the war.  The Polish people rebuilt the rubble brick by brick, restoring the city, modernizing, and planning.  Warsaw reminded us of Berlin in the early 90's with all the cranes.  One word, fantastic!, describes this city!

Between the magnificent Old Town, the beautiful New Town, a modern and vibrant city center, and their energetic, HARD WORKING, and kind people, Warsaw is truly a gem.  Both Rich and I have no idea how Polish jokes developed, considering how much respect we developed for the Polish people and the incredible and meticulous rebuilding of the Old Town as well as the modern city we experienced on this trip.


The old town at night was just incredible, with everything lit up beautifully!
Main Square at night

old town wall at night

Another view of the old town square at night.  There are restaurants everywhere!

Castle square in the morning light.  On the right is the royal palace-
the clock tower was under scaffolding, unfortunately

King Sigismund's column.  He holds a sword and cross


the spires of the old town church's with the wall

King Sigismund

tribute to the child soldiers of the "Polish Uprising"

Gate into the city




another view of the Castle Square

Main square- mermaid fountain.
The mermaid is the symbol of Warsaw.  Legend has it that merchants captured the mermaid.  A fisherman released her, and she promised to watch over Warsaw.

The old town was flattened rubble- the people rebuilt it brick by brick. 
It is known as the newest old town on the planet

Building decorations are everywhere


Typical church in Warsaw- they are all decorated so beautifully!
Warsaw old town from atop the church bell tower:




Rich's yoga pose atop the bell tower


The Soviet Union gave Poland a gift of this building.  Across the street is a very cool mall, including a Hard Rock Cafe!

The atrium of the mall






Very large mermaid statue on the river front. 





The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Located in a giant square, the Polish flag at one end, a Cross with a line of lights leading to the Tomb.  The Tomb is located in ruins, has an eternal flame, and is guarded by two soldiers.  Very moving, very impressive!






Statue to Marie Curie, one of the scientists who discovered radium


fantastic building decorations!






The museum of the Polish Uprising ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Uprising_Museum).  Huge museum that documents the stru ggle of the Polish people as they defended themselves from Nazi occupation.  Their militia was huge!  400,000 foot soldiers.  The allies didn't recognize them as an army, so didn't officially work with them to fight the Nazi's.  This museum documents the home made grenades, uniforms, weapons, public support, living conditions of these brave people!











Nazi knife- the words "Blood and Honor" are inscribed.  We photo'd this because the Charlottsville white supremecists chanted this slogan:-(



In some areas of Warsaw, Soviet architecture and decorative building relief's are available for viewing:



The Vistula River has several very cool bridges, and an incredibly well developed walk way, with sand "beaches and beach chairs", restaurants and bars, sitting areas, bike paths, fountains, and views of the castle.  Possibly one of the best developed river walk ways we have seen.








PW is the symbol of the Polish Uprising, a people's underground militia that hid in the forests and fought the Nazi's.
The Royal Palace from the river:


The Museum of Jewish History in Poland (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/POLIN_Museum_of_the_History_of_Polish_Jews).  This is truly an incredible museum documenting Jewish history in the country of Poland.  At a time when Jews were being expelled, Poland welcomed them.



Monument to the Holocaust

The Museum itself- the entry is like a giant gash in the side of the building



The entry is holographic forests, where the Jews hid prior to being welcomed to Poland.  It has many historical sayings scrolling across







One interesting thing you can do in the museum- create a coin with your name and a Jewish blessing.  The Jews minted their own money in Poland.  This is my name in Hebrew and a blessing for safety.  Sadly, they don't print out.


The Memorial to the Polish Uprising.  This is an enormous monument, very expressive!






Everywhere in Warsaw, great views and statuary



The University Library is fantastic!  It is the greenest building in Poland, with a park on top, with gardens, trees, a park, bridges to walk over the sky lights!





interior atrium- enty

We watched sunset from the top

view of the city from atop the library garden


library interior atrium- really fantastic! leading to the student study area


balloon seller- castle square
Royal Palace: we thought we would spend maybe an hour going thru the Palace!  Boy, were we surprised by the sheer size and beauty of this Palace!  It is one of the best we have ever seen.  There is a film about the people deciding to rebuild it, and they donated their time to rebuild brick by brick!  They continue to buy period pieces to fully refurnish this palace!  Craftsmen donated time to paint, sew, make the decorative bas-relief on the ceilings, repaint frescoes, etc.  Truly a labor of love the People of Poland can and should be proud of!

photo of the palace after world war 2


One of the tapestry's

gathering room


frescoe on the ceiling







throne

detail of the throne







final scene of the castle square before we left:-(