Enjoying Villa Nova

 

Sometimes making photos may be pure fun as it was for me on a late Summer afternoon in Villa Nova (Warsaw, July 2017)


Villa Nova or in Polish Wilanow is one of Warsaw quarters, originally a village where John III Sobieski (the one who commandeered the battle of Vienna >>>) build his summer residence. The palace with an extensive park, rebuilt and reconstructed after the war struggles is still the very centre of this part of the city.  It is told to be a nobility house, an Italian garden villa and a French palace in the style of Louis XIV all in one.


Index of posts on Poland >>>

The Chopin afternoon in Warsaw

While traveling or simple spending time somewhere, it is sometimes those simple things often unexpected at all that make the difference.

Totally unplanned, while in Warsaw (Poland) heading to one of the royal palaces midst the city centre I found myself getting of an express bus as other people did. Just so. As a courtesy for an elderly lady the driver opened the doors at a stop not in his itinerary. Ultimately, I  did not reach the royal palace. As I got out, I heard it, the piano music all around. No idea how I made it, but I have simply forgotten that if on a Summer Sunday in Warsaw and in the city centre, this is the must-be place. For the next hour or so I found myself lying on a grass and listening to a piano concert. Simply catching the momentum.

The music was by Frederic Chopin (1810-1849), the most distinctive Polish composer and artist ever. He is famous for his solo piano concerts. The music is one of the kind.

JMA_Chopin_Warsaw_03

Frederic Chopin statue in Warsaw Lazienki park.


If I had to make a list of must-do things, while in Poland, going to a Chopin piano concert would be on it. The easiest way to do so is indeed in Summer in Warsaw, as each Sunday there are two open air concerts in the Lazienki park open for everybody. You come in, sit down wherever you want, and listen to music. Continue reading

Warsaw Old Town

Warsaw,  since late XVI century the capital of Poland belongs to the top 10 metropolitan areas in Europe. Unlike most of historical cities in Europe, Warsaw was almost fully destroyed (around eighty five percent of the city) during the World War II. Most of the historical city we can admire today had to be literally reconstructed from scratch. The reconstruction was limited only to the oldest city areas. Much of the buildings were not reconstructed at all.


Shortly on the historical context: The Nazi German forces leveled the city to the ground to state an example and punish the city for 1944 Warsaw Uprising launched by the Polish underground army. Its outbreak ended after two months with a severe defeat. Although the Warsaw Uprising arises some controversies today, the underground army soldiers have a special and very honorable status in Warsaw and in the whole country. Many of those, who were not killed during the fights were after the end of the WWII haunted and tortured by the communist secret police. Each year, on the 1st of August at 17.00 (the outbreak anniversary) the city literally stops for a couple of minutes. You will hear the sirens and see people holding torches. The main gathering takes place on streets around the main metro station. The Warsaw Uprising Museum belongs to the must see list of many national and international tourist.


The Warsaw historical city consists of the Old Town and the New Town as well as the Royal Route. The New Town is parts of the historical city that are located beyond the Barbakan (the gate in the defensive wall) opposite the the Royal Route. On the photo below you can see the panorama of both cities. The whole area is relatively small as you can imagine comparing it with the national stadium that may be seen at the other bank of the Vistula river.

JMA_Warsaw_001

The panorama of the Warsaw Old Town and the New Town. Two highest buildings in front are the Warsaw cathedral and the tower of the royal castle. Like all buildings in this area they had to be reconstructed from scratch after the WWII struggles. The Warsaw cathedral is a relatively simple building so do not plan much time for sightseeing inside. The royal castle is however worthwhile, as the last king of Poland was a true art lover >>> Continue reading