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The Warsaw Voice » Other » April 7, 2010
MAZOVIA
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Pułaski's Home Town
April 7, 2010 By M.M.    
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The town of Warka in Grójec county, 50 kilometers south of Warsaw, is famous for its brewing traditions, but it is also the birthplace of Kazimierz Pułaski, the 18th century Polish military commander and a hero of the battle for American independence. A museum named after Pułaski is located in Warka.
By the start of the 16th century Warka had already become a well-known center of trade and crafts. The name of the town is probably a reference to the beer that was brewed locally and that was known in Mazovia and beyond in the Middle Ages. Warka made history as the site of a victorious battle that commander Stefan Czarniecki fought in 1656 against Swedish troops during the Swedish invasion on Poland. Today, Warka has a population of just under 12,000 and is an important center for the food industry, while the local brewery cultivates a centuries-old tradition.
The heart of the town is a square market with a Classicist town hall from the early 19th century. The main historic sites of Warka include the parish church of St. Nicholas built in the 17th century in a picturesque location on a riverside embankment.
A series of modifications caused the original style of the church's external features to be lost, but inside the church preserves late-Renaissance furnishings. The other historic church in Warka is the Baroque, Franciscan church of Our Lady of the Scapular, built in 1652-1746. The most arresting pieces inside the church include Baroque altars and a Rococo pulpit. The crypt houses the tombs of Mazovian dukes Trojden and Ziemowit III.
The Winiary quarter in the eastern part of Warka is the site of a palace from the late 17th century, designed by Agostino Locci. The palace is surrounded by a scenic park ideal for walks. It was in the palace that Kazimierz Pułaski was born March 4, 1747. Pułaski, a commander of the Bar Confederation, went on to become a key figure in the American fight for independence. An impressive statue of Pułaski stands in front of the palace, while inside the palace houses a museum with keepsakes of Pułaski and other Poles who fought on the other side of the Atlantic. The museum houses temporary exhibitions on the second floor of the palace and also organizes concerts and lectures.
On the first Sunday in July, the museum and the W.A.R.K.A association join forces to hold a picnic called "Vivat Pułaski," during which a colorful parade takes place through the streets of Warka, modeled on American festivities. The parade is led Pułaski himself, accompanied by his company. One of the aims of the parade is to promote American culture and the attractions include a big band, vintage American cars and children dressed in colorful outfits. Visitors take part in numerous competitions and quizzes and in the evening enjoy themselves at a country music concert.
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