October 25, 2017

3178 POLAND (Mazovia) - Warsaw

3178 Warsaw: 1. View of the Castle Square;
2. Łazienki Park - Palace on the Isle (south façade);
3. Wilanów Palace; 4. Dmowski Roundabout

The legend attributes the Warsaw name to a fisherman Wars and his wife Sawa, a mermaid who lived in the Vistula River and who Wars fell in love with. Nice legend, but actually Warsz was a 12th/13th century nobleman who owned a village located at the site of today's Mariensztat neighbourhood. Unlike other old cities of Poland, as Krakow or Poznan, Warsaw is a relatively young city, which really became important in 1596, when King Sigismund III Vasa moved the court from Kraków to Warsaw.

So the capital of Mazovia became the capital of the Polish Crown, and of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, primarly due to its central location between the Commonwealth's capitals of Kraków and Vilnius. This location was the city's luck, but, given the troubled history of Poland, it has also brought it a lot of misfortune, being pillaged and burned several times. It remained the capital of the Commonwealth until 1795, when it was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia in the third and final partition of Poland; it subsequently became the capital of the province of South Prussia.

Liberated by Napoleon's army in 1806, Warsaw was made the capital of the newly created Duchy of Warsaw, until 1815, when Poland practically passed under Russian rule. It flourished in the late 19th century, such as the Russian Empire Census of 1897 recorded 626,000 people living in Warsaw, making it the third-largest city of the Empire after St. Petersburg and Moscow. Between 1918 and 1939 it was the capital of the Second Polish Republic. The largest catastrophe suffered by the city was also the latest, during the WWII.

Germans planned destruction of the Polish capital before the start of war. After the Warsaw Uprising, monuments and government buildings were blown up by Burning and Destruction Detachments, under express orders of Hitler. By January 1945, about 85% of the buildings had been destroyed: 10% as a result of the September 1939 campaign and other combat, 15% during the earlier Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (1943), 25% during the Warsaw Uprising, and 35% due to systematic German actions after the Uprising.

After the war, under a Communist regime set up by the conquering Soviets, large prefabricated housing projects were erected to address the housing shortage, along with other typical buildings of an Eastern Bloc city. On the other hand, many of the historic streets, buildings, and churches were restored to their original form, and in 1980 the Historic Centre of Warsaw was inscribed onto UNESCO's World Heritage List as "an exceptional example of the comprehensive reconstruction of a city that had been deliberately and totally destroyed."

In other posts, I have detailed some parts or important buildings of the city as follows:
Warsaw between 1767 and 1779 in the paintings of Canaletto
Historic Centre of Warsaw (UNESCO WHS)
Church of the Holy Spirit
Belweder Palace
Presidential Palace
Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw

About the stamps
The stamps are part of the series Flowers and Fruits. about which I wrote here. 

Warsaw - Wikipedia

Sender: Marius Vasilescu
Sent from Warsaw (Masovia / Poland), on 06.07.2017
Photo: Cristian Pama

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