Monuments and Statues (Self Guided), Warsaw

Warsaw is home to various monuments, dedicated to celebrated and great people, like Adam Mickiewicz, Prince Józef Antoni Poniatowski, Józef Piłsudski, and Nicolaus Copernicus. These great personalities did a lot for Poland and now the city monuments and statues stand to honor their contributions to the country’s development. Check out Warsaw’s famous monuments in the next self-guided tour!
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Monuments and Statues Map

Guide Name: Monuments and Statues
Guide Location: Poland » Warsaw (See other walking tours in Warsaw)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Author: leticia
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • The Mermaid
  • Jan Kiliński Monument
  • Nike (Pomnik Bohaterów Warszawy)
  • Adam Mickiewicz Monument
  • Monument to Adam Mickiewicz and Kościół Seminaryjny
  • Poniatowski Monument
  • Presidential Palace
  • Józef Piłsudski Monument
  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
  • Nicolaus Copernicus Monument
1
The Mermaid

1) The Mermaid

The Baltic Sea was home to two mermaids once upon a time. These half-women, half-fish sisters eventually got bored of their aquatic life. Their decision to come to the shore led the first sister to the Danish Straits. She settled at the Port of Copenhagen entrance. The other sister reached the port of Gdansk and then swam across the river Vistula right to the end. She finally rested on a sandy bank at the foot of Old Town in Warsaw.

When the fishermen here found that someone was letting their hard caught fishes go, they were furious and decided to punish the culprit. When they found that it was none other than the mermaid, they decided to let her stay. For their generosity, the villagers were entertained by the mermaid every evening with lilting songs.

When a rich merchant decided to make money showcasing here at a fair, he captured her and kept her in a wooden shed. A village lad heard her cries and set her free with the help of his friends. In gratitude, the mermaid promised to defend the village which later grew into the city of Warsaw.

Today, the mermaid stands in defense wielding a sword and carrying a shield. She continues to protect the city of Warsaw. Enjoy a visit to the mermaid’s statue at the Old Town.
2
Jan Kiliński Monument

2) Jan Kiliński Monument

Jan Kilinski is another monument dedicated to a 1794 Warsaw Uprising hero. This monument commemorates a humble shoemaker who fought bravely during the Uprising. As he fought hard to defend his beloved city, he was wounded twice. For several years afterwards, the shoemaker was imprisoned in St. Petersburg.

Col. Tadeusz Kociuszko nominated him for the honor of being commemorated through a monument. Stanislaw Jackowski erected the Jan Kilinski Monument in honor of this hero in the year 1936. The statue was removed from Krasinski Square by the Germans during World War II and taken to the National Gallery. Germans were retaliating for the removal of a German plaque from Copernicus’ statue.

Grey Squad resistance fighters discovered the statue following which the walls of the museum screamed with inscriptions that said People of Warsaw! I am here, Kilinski. It was in 1959, after the end of the war that the monument was finally moved to Podwale Street, its original place.

Jan Kilinski monument is certainly a must visit on your trip to Warsaw. Tourists come here to pay respects to this most unlikely hero of the Warsaw Uprising. There are many monuments in Warsaw and this one is definitely the most popular among them.
3
Nike (Pomnik Bohaterów Warszawy)

3) Nike (Pomnik Bohaterów Warszawy)

The Monument to the Heroes of Warsaw, also known as the Warsaw Nike was built to commemorate those who fought bravely during World War II to obtain freedom for the city.

Many of the heroes who fought during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising are specially remembered here. This uprising saw many minor victories for the city. People fought hard and liberated parts of Warsaw from the Nazis.

Though the uprising was defeated due to the lack of any help from outside, it is remembered for its many heroes. At this monument you can find Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory. She wields a sword and stands all of five meters tall. The statue is made of iron and stands on a sandstone pedestal. The statue looks huge and majestic and dominates the entire area.

First erected in the year 1964, the Warsaw Nike Monument became very popular in due course of time. People gather here in large numbers to pay homage to the courageous heroes. This monument is located at Theatre Square or Plac Teatralny and was renovated on a large scale in 1999.

Do not miss a visit to this unique and interesting monument located close to some of the major tourist attractions in Warsaw like the Presidential Palace, the Royal Castle and the Old Town Square.
4
Adam Mickiewicz Monument

4) Adam Mickiewicz Monument

Adam Mickiewicz Monument commemorates one of the most popular Romantic poets of Poland. This monument was unveiled on Adam Mickiewicz’s 100th birthday in 1898. The sculpture was created by Cyprian Godebski, a renowned sculptor.

It was at this monument that Poles protested the removal of ‘Dziady”, one of Mickiewicz’s works from the list of national theatre performances in March 1968. This monument is a very popular tourist spot and is located close to Skwer Hoovera where many exhibitions and concerts are held and also near the Church of the Assumption of St. Joseph and Virgin Mary.

When the Warsaw Uprising fell in 1944, the Adam Mickiewicz monument was destroyed by the Nazi Germans. Parts that remained of the destroyed monument were transported to Germany. When the war ended, head and many other parts of the original statue were found by the Polish soldiers in Hamburg.

The exact replica of the original statue was sculpted by sculptor Jan Szczepkowski. All parts of the monument, including its environs were reconstructed and restored exactly as it was originally. This version of the monument was unveiled on January 28th, 1950. It was only in the 1980s that Poland got back the remaining parts of the monument.
5
Monument to Adam Mickiewicz and Kościół Seminaryjny

5) Monument to Adam Mickiewicz and Kościół Seminaryjny

Kościół Seminaryjny is a church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and of St. Josephand which was built in 1661-1681 in baroque style designed by J. Belottiego. The founder was the King Wladyslaw IV. The church was designed for the Discalced Carmelites, who have been hold in 1639 a wooden chapel in Krakowskie Przedmiescie. The construction started in the brick church of 1643. It lasted a long time. Church consecrated only in the year 1701.
6
Poniatowski Monument

6) Poniatowski Monument

Poniatowski Monument was constructed in commemoration of a Warsaw Military commander Prince Poniatowski. He was also the French Marshall and war minister. The statue of this prince is modeled after Roman Capitol’s Caesar Marc Aurelius.

Also known as Prince Jozef, this aristocrat was brought up in Vienna and Prague. He however chose Poland as his country and displayed his patriotism towards his origins. The statue in this monument was sculpted by Bartel Thorvaldsen. It is located right in front of Palac Prezydencki, the Presidential Palace.

There was a prolonged search for a permanent site for this monument. Its display was banned through a Tsar’s special order. It was shipped to Modlin forts and from here to Ivan Paszkiewicz’s Belarussian residence. He was a trusted general of the Tsar. It was only in 1922 that the statue was returned to Poland and placed on the Royal Castle grounds.

The following year, it was moved to Saski Palace grounds. During World War II, Poniatowski’s statue was demolished by the Nazis. In the early 1950s, a copy of the statue from the Copenhagen Museum was used to make a new cast which was poured and presented to Poland by Denmark’s King. Today the monument is visited by tourists from across the world.
7
Presidential Palace

7) Presidential Palace

Home to the Polish head of state, the Presidential Palace was built in 1643 as a home for local aristocrat Crown Great Hetman Stanislaw Koniecpolski. Koniecpolski owned so much of eastern Poland that he could cross the Commonwealth and spend each night in one of his own manors. The palace was designed by architect Constantino Tencalla, who also designed Sigismund's Column in Castle Square.

It's had several refurbishments since then. The current neoclassical style has been in place since 1818. Ever since then, it has served various government functions.

The first historical events occurred even earlier, though. In 1791, the home hosted the authors of the Constitution of May 3, 1791. That constitution was the first of its kind in Europe and the second of its kind in the world. In 1818, the house became the seat of the Viceroy. The council of ministers sat here between World Wars I and II. Since the German occupiers used the house, it survived World War II intact. After the war, the Warsaw Pact between the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc countries was signed here.

Since 1994, the palace has been the seat of the President of the Republic of Poland. As this is a functioning government building, visitors are not allowed inside, and the building is heavily guarded. But you can admire the impressive neoclassical facade from Nowy Street.

You'll also notice the large equestrian statue of Prince Jozef Poniatowski, created by Danish artist Bertel Thorvaldsen. The statue is modeled after a similar one of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius from Capitoline Hill in Rome. The original statue was destroyed during the Nazi occupation of Poland, and this recreation was made in 1950. It was based on Thorvaldsen's original models, donated from the Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen.
8
Józef Piłsudski Monument

8) Józef Piłsudski Monument

Jozef Pilsudski was a supreme Polish Army commander, twice Polish Prime Minister, the first marshal and head of the Polish State. Jozef Pilsudski Monument commemorates this popular public figure. The monument was unveiled in August 1995 and designed by a famous Polish sculptor Tadeusz Lodzian.

The statue was cast in Gydnia’s Navy shipyard and for years, there was contemplation and discussions on where to place it. Originally, it was to be placed at Na Rozdrozu Square. Another proposed location was at the Lazienki Park gate. Committee that took responsibility to create the monument strongly put across their proposal to place it in Pilsudskiego Square.

Some felt that it should be moved to a Gdynia pier and place Stanislaw Ostrowski’s monument in the Square. Finally, Jozef Pilsudski Monument found a place at Belvedere in Pilsudskiego Square in front of the Tomb of the Unknown.

This interesting monument is a popular tourist spot frequented by visitors through the year. There are a total of two statues of Pilsudski in Warsaw and this is one of them. The other one is located at the Belvedere Palace.

As Pilsudski statue fondly looks down on the cars parked in front of him, Varsovians affectionately refer to him as the “father of the parking lot”.
9
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

9) Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Dedicated to the unknown soldiers who have given their lives for Poland, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw is one of many such national tombs of unknowns that were erected after World War I and the most important such monument in Poland.

The monument, located at Piłsudski Square, is the only surviving part of the Saxon Palace that occupied the spot until World War II. Since 2 November 1925, the tomb houses the unidentified body of a young soldier who fell during the Defence of Lwów. Since then, earth from numerous battlefields where Polish soldiers have fought has been added to the urns housed in the surviving pillars of the Saxon Palace.

The Tomb is constantly lit by an eternal flame and assisted by a guard post by the Representative Company of the Polish Army. It is there that most official military commemorations take place in Poland and where foreign representatives lay wreaths when visiting Poland.

The changing of the guard takes place on the hour of every hour daily and this happens 365 days a year.

Why You Should Visit:
Not huge as other tombs "of the unknown soldier", but the design is most welcoming. It sits just next to a very beautiful park with a fountain and statues, as well as just 2 mins away from the National Opera – so it does make sense to add this destination to your city walk.

Tip:
If you time it right, you can see the changing of the guard. Be mindful not to go into the immediate area, however, as it is only for the soldiers on duty and also remember they are fine with you taking pictures but don't expect an answer if you ask them.
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
Nicolaus Copernicus Monument

10) Nicolaus Copernicus Monument

Your trip to Warsaw is definitely incomplete without a visit to the most popular landmark in this city namely the Nicolaus Copernicus Monument. Situated before the Staszic Palace, this monument was designed between 1822 and 1830 by Bertel Thorvaldsen.

Nicolaus Copernicus was a famous astronomer who made a mark in his field. This bronze statue depicts him holding an armillary sphere and a compass. The creation of this monument was made possible through public donations collected under the leadership of philosopher and scientist Stanislaw Staszic.

Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, comrade in arms of Tadeusz Kosciuszko presided over the unveiling ceremony. Polish clergy was conspicuously absent from this ceremony in protest against the condemnation of his book in 1616 by the Holy Office.

Check the pedestal’s east face and you will find a Latin inscription. In 1939, after the Nazi German occupation, the Polish and Latin inscriptions were effaced and a plaque in German language was attached.

This plaque was removed by Maciej Aleksy Dawidowski in 1942 in response to which the statue of Jan Kilinski was moved by the Germans to the National Museum of Warsaw. Enjoy a visit to this monument and learn all about the popular astronomer Nicholas Copernicus.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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