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Łazienki Park
Chopin monument
Type Municipal
Location Warsaw
Size 76 ha[1]
Opened 1918[2][3]
Status Open all year

The Baths Park, or Royal Baths (Polish: Park Łazienkowski, or Łazienki Królewskie) is the largest park in Warsaw, Poland, occupying 76 hectares of the city center. The park-and-palace complex lies in Warsaw's Downtown (Śródmieście), on Ujazdów Avenue (Aleje Ujazdowskie) on the "Royal Route" linking the Royal Castle with Wilanów, to the south. North of the Baths Park (Park Łazienkowski), on the other side of Agrykola Street, stands Ujazdów Castle.



Łazienki Park was designed in the 17th century by Tylman van Gameren, in the baroque style, for Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski. It took the name Łazienki ("Baths") from a bathing pavilion that was located there.

In 1764 the gardens were acquired by Stanisław August Poniatowski, after his election that year as King of Poland.

The development of the classical-style gardens became a major project for King Stanisław August. The park-and-palace complex was designed by Domenico Merlini, Johann Christian Kammsetzer and landscape gardener Jan Chrystian Schuch. Its principal buildings stand at or near the Łazienki Lake and Łazienki River. Stanisław August's palace is situated on the lake and hence is known as the "Palace on the Water."

Most of the buildings in the park burned during and after the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, amid fighting between German and Polish forces. The structures nevertheless were relatively well-preserved, compared to those in the Old Town; here the Germans had drilled holes in the palace walls for placement of explosive charges, but had not gotten around to detonating them.

Reconstruction of the park and palaces was completed within a few years after World War II.

Structures in the Park


Palace on the Water

The Palace on the Water (Polish: Pałac na Wodzie), also called the Łazienki Palace (Pałac Łazienkowski) and the Palace on the Island (Pałac na Wyspie), was built in the 17th century by Tylman van Gameren for Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski. Between 1772 and 1793 it was remodeled by Domenico Merlini for King Stanisław August Poniatowski, who made it his residence.

The original bathhouse was built in a Chinese style. The building, now a beautiful medley of architectural styles, was then graced with reliefs and painted Dutch tiles.

Rear (north face).
Palace on the Water. Front (south face).

The palace's furniture and paintings belong to the Classicist style. The building is dominated by an attika supported by columns, and featuring statues of mythological figures.

The palace stands on an artificial island on Łazienki Lake, and is connected to the rest of the park by two arcaded bridges. The long Łazienki Lake is divided by the palace into two parts, a smaller northern lake and a larger southern one.

The palace's ground floor includes a "Bacchus room," royal baths, a ballroom, a portrait gallery, a Solomon Room, a rotunda with figures of Polish kings, a lower picture gallery which contains minor works by Rubens and Rembrandt, and a chapel. Also on the ground floor is a dining room in which the famous "Thursday dinners" took place, to which Stanisław August Poniatowski invited leading artists, writers and politicians.

The first floor contains the royal apartments, an upper picture gallery, a balcony room, the king's study, the royal bedchambers, a cloakroom, and an officer's room. The Palace on the Water was burned after the 1944 Warsaw Uprising by the Germans, who had prepared to blow it up but never got around to doing so. It was rebuilt after World War II.

Roman theater

Amphitheater seats in Roman theater
Stage of Roman theater

The Roman-inspired Amphitheater was built on the bank of the Łazienki lake, separated by a narrow strait from its stage. The amphitheater was built in 1790-93 by Jan Chrystian Kamsetzer.[4] Its attic is embellished with sixteen statues representing famous poets of antiquity.

The stage, sited on an island, was modeled after ancient Herculaneum and embellished with decorations that imitate ruins in the Roman Forum.[5] Performances are still staged here. The amphitheater and its stage provide a perfect setting on a summer evening, despite occasional noise from swans, ducks and peacocks.[6]

White House

Little White House

The Little White House (Biały Domek) is a garden villa build in 1774-76 by Domenico Merlini. It housed Stanisław August Poniatowski's mistress and, for a time, Louis XVIII,[7] who lived here in 1801-05 during his exile from France.[8]

Myślewicki Palace

Myślewicki Palace

Named for the village of Myślewice, the little palace (in Polish, called Pałac Myślewicki) was built by King Stanisław August Poniatowski in 1775–79 to an early-classicist design by Domenico Merlini.

The palace's main, three-story body features a central entry niche and is flanked by quarter-circle wings. The facade is adorned by an enormous shell with sculptures of Zephyr and Flora by Giacomo Monaldi. The gently recurved rooflines reflect then-popular Chinese designs.

Initially the palace housed royal courtiers; later it was taken over by Prince Józef Poniatowski, whose initials appear in a cartouche over the entrance.

The palace survived World War II. On 15 September 1958, the first talks were held here between the ambassadors of the Chinese People's Republic and the United States of America—the first attempt to establish contact between the two countries.

Old Orangery

Old Orangery

Old Orangery erected in 1786-88 on the plan of the rectangular horseshoe, with the southern façade of the core structure broken up by pilasters and arcaded great windows, houses the magnificent interior.[5] The building contains a well-preserved wooden theatre (one of the few in Europe to retain its original eighteenth-century decor), with room for over two hundered people, royal boxes not included. The auditorium, consisting of stalls and surrounding balconies, is richly decorated with paintings. Walls between the balconies, divided by twin pilasters, are adorned with female statues holding chandeliers.[5] To complete the classical pose, pieces from King Stanisław's extensive collection fill the long galleries behind the auditorium.[6]

New Orangery

New Orangery

The building was built by Adam Adolf Loewe and Józef Orłowski in 1860.[9] Neo-classicist with eclectic elements, it was designed to shelter the collection of orange trees.

Temple of Diana

Temple of Diana

In 1822, Jakub Kubicki erected a classicist temple to the goddess Diana. Also called the "Temple of the Sibyl," it stands adjacent to the northwest part of the southern Łazienki lake. The wooden building is massive and decorated inside with murals of flower and fruit motifs.

Egyptian temple

An Egyptian temple was also built in 1822 by Jakub Kubicki, at the southwest shore of the southern Łazienki Lake. It was placed next to the fortress built by Stanisław Lubomirski, which protected Warsaw south of that point. In 1771 a bridge was built to it. During the Warsaw Uprising, only the northern part of the temple survived; the southern part has never been rebuilt.

Water tower

The Water Tower is a neoclassical structure, built in 1777–78 and 1822 by Jan Christian Kamsetzer and Chrystian Piotr Aigner.[10] It was modeled after Caecilia Metella's mausoleum on the Appian Way in Rome[11] and currently serves as a museum of jewelry.

Buildings near the Park


The Belweder Palace was erected about 1660 and was remodeled in the first half of the 18th century in the Baroque style. It was acquired by King Stanisław August Poniatowski, who used it as a porcelain-manufacturing plant.

From 1818 it was the residence of the ruler of Congress Poland, Grand Duke Constantine, and it was remodeled in 1819–22 in Neoclassical style by Jakub Kubicki. As a child, Fryderyk Chopin would be invited to the Belweder to be a playmate to the Grand Duke's son and to soothe the Grand Duke's nerves with his piano playing. When officer cadets barracked on the Royal Baths grounds opened the November 1831 Uprising with an attempted capture of the Grand Duke, it was from the Belweder Palace that he fled to safety.

Officer cadets' barracks, Royal Baths Park

After the re-establishment of Poland's independence, in 1918–22 the Belweder served as quarters to Józef Piłsudski, and in 1922-26 as the presidential residence of Gabriel Narutowicz and Stanisław Wojciechowski. During Piłsudski's May 1926 Coup d'État, Wojciechowski fled the Belweder for Wilanów, to the south.

From 1989 to July 1994, the Belweder Palace was the official residence of Poland's president. It now houses a museum dedicated to Józef Piłsudski.

Ujazdów Castle

The current building was constructed in 1975 after a 1944 fire during the Warsaw Uprising destroyed the previous stone construction, but castles have existed on the spot since around the 13th century. In 1624, construction began on a stone castle under order of King Sigismund III Vasa, with remodeling by subsequent owners Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirskiand Stanisław August Poniatowski, the latter of whom donated the proper to the Polish Army in 1784. Since 1981, it has been the home of the Center for Contemporary Art.


Warsaw University Astronomical Observatory

Within the gardens stands the Astronomical Observatory founded by the second rector of Warsaw University, astronomer Franciszek Armiński (1789–1848).[12] The classicist façade dates to 1824 and was designed by royal architects Chrystian Piotr Aigner and Michał Kado.

Chopin monument

The park is also home to a monument to Fryderyk Chopin, which has become one of Warsaw's iconic images. Cast by Wacław Szymanowski in 1908, the statue was originally to have been erected in 1910, on the centennial of Chopin's birth, but was delayed first by controversy about the design and then by the outbreak of World War I. It was finally placed in the park in 1926. The stylized willow over Chopin's seated figure echoes a pianist's hand and fingers.

On 31 May 1940 the monument was blown up by the Nazis, one of the first monuments in Warsaw to be destroyed. According to local legend, the next day a handwritten sign was found at the site which read: "I don’t know who destroyed me, but I know why: so that I won’t play the funeral march for your leader." The original mold for the statue, which had survived the war, made it possible to cast a replica, which was placed at the original site in 1958. A 1:1-scale replica of Szymanowski's statue stands at Warsaw's sister city, Hamamatsu, Japan.

Each Sunday during the summer, in Warsaw, outdoor piano recitals of Chopin's works are held at the Chopin monument.


  1. ^ (Polish) "Park". Muzeum Łazienki Królewskie. Retrieved 2008-02-09.  
  2. ^ (Polish) "Kalendarium". Muzeum Łazienki Królewskie.,pl/. Retrieved 2008-02-09.  
  3. ^ (Polish) "Łazienki Królewskie". Encyklopedia Warszawy. Retrieved 2008-02-09.  
  4. ^ (English) "Royal Łazienki Park-Palace Complex". eGuide / Treasures of Warsaw on-line. Retrieved 2009-02-09.  
  5. ^ a b c (English) "History". Retrieved 2009-02-09.  
  6. ^ a b (English) Poland. Rough Guides. 2002. ISBN 18-58288-49-5.,M1.  
  7. ^ (English) "Lazienki Palace". Retrieved 2008-02-16.  
  8. ^ (Polish) "Biały Dom". Retrieved 2008-02-16.  
  9. ^ (Polish) "Nowa Pomarańczarnia". ePrzewodnik / Perełki Warszawy on-line. 9 March 2005. Retrieved 2009-03-09.  
  10. ^ (English) "LAZIENKI KROLEWSKIE (ROYAL BATHS) MUSEUM". Retrieved 2009-03-09.  
  11. ^ (Polish) "Wodozbiór". ePrzewodnik / Perełki Warszawy on-line. Retrieved 2009-03-09.  
  12. ^ (English) "Lazienki Palace". Retrieved 2009-03-09.  

See also

External links


Historic images

By Vogel (1800s)

Garden features

Coordinates: 52°12′46″N 21°01′58″E / 52.21278°N 21.03278°E / 52.21278; 21.03278


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