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The Warsaw Voice » Destination Warsaw » November 25, 2011
Destination Warsaw
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Saxon Park’s Golden Glory
November 25, 2011   
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Warsaw is famous for its green lungs. With 82 parks in the city, it is one of a few European capitals to have so many parks, green squares and lush gardens. While Łazienki Park (Royal Baths) together with the Palace on the Water is most famous and biggest with some 76 hectares, the Saxon Gardens, built in the late 17th century in the city center, are just as royal and historic, though only 20 percent the size of Łazienki.

While originally built in the baroque French style of the Park of Versailles, the Saxon Park was opened to the public in 1727, some 64 years before the Versailles opened its doors, making it one of the oldest publicly accessible parks in the world. In the 19th century, the park was turned into a romantic English-style landscape park, then destroyed by the Germans during World War II and partly reconstructed after the war. However, unlike the Palace on the Water in Łazienki Park, the Saxon Palace, which adjoined the Saxon Park and was destroyed during WW II, was never rebuilt. Today, all that is left is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which was established within the colonnade in 1925, a topped arcade that joined the palace’s two symmetric wings. The Saxon Palace is historic for several things, but particularly because Frederic Chopin with his family lived there in 1810 and that in this building the German Enigma encoding machine was first broken by the Poles in December 1932.

An elegant 19th-century fountain is a centerpiece of the Saxon Gardens and today has a new illumination system that draws the attention of evening passers-by. The horizontal marble sundial, close to the fountain, dates back to 1863. The gardens are adorned with 21 baroque sandstone sculptures of mythical figures—gods and goddesses of the seasons, sciences, arts and abstract concepts such as justice. The statues made before 1745 are part of a rich collection of 70 sculptures, 43 of which were removed to St. Petersburg by the Russians after the capture of Warsaw in 1794.

Located south of the Old Town, the magnificent Saxon Park features shady tree-lined avenues; there are over 100 tree species, some of which are 250 years old. The park also includes a willow tree-lined ornamental lake, and a playground, making it a wonderful respite for families, strolls and a romantic meeting place for lovers. Take a leisurely stroll among the groomed flower beds and tree-lined avenues. Warsaw is magnificent in autumn, and the Saxon Park has a special golden charm then.

Jolanta Wolska
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