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The Warsaw Voice » Destination Warsaw » December 19, 2013
Destination Warsaw
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Avenue of Palaces
December 19, 2013   
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Ujazdowskie Avenue is one of the most elegant and prestigious streets in Warsaw. It is lined with many historical palaces and villas and is Warsaw’s embassy and government district, including the offices of the prime minister. The avenue is part of what is known as the Royal Route, which stretches between the Old Town and Wilanów Palace and takes in the Botanical Gardens, Royal Łazienki Park and the Belvedere Palace—where Poland’s presidents used to reside—along the way.

In the 18th and 19th centuries Ujazdowskie Avenue was home to many elegant residences owned by aristocrats and industrialists. A number of these residences were transformed into foreign embassies after Poland regained independence in 1918. During World War II, many of them were occupied by the Germans and consequently survived the war—including the 1944 Warsaw Uprising when most other buildings in the city center were destroyed.

Ujazdowskie Avenue was officially listed as a national historical monument in 1994, under President Lech Wałęsa. In 2009, the avenue underwent a thorough renovation, with the planting of new trees and redevelopment of the sidewalks, bus bays and bike paths along the route.

One of the most attractive palaces on Ujazdowskie Avenue is the Sobański Palace. Originally a renaissance villa built in 1853 it was turned into a palace in 1876 by its new owner Emila Sobańska, wife of Count Feliks Sobański.

After WW II the Sobański Palace was used to house various communist organizations, such as the National Unity Front. After Poland shook off communism in 1989, it became the headquarters of the Civic Committee and later the Lech Wałęsa Institute. In the latter part of the 1990s, the palace was bought and restored by Wejchert Investments. The restoration project won an award for Best Public Building in Warsaw in 1998, followed by the Life in Architecture Competition Award in 1999, and an award from the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage in 2000 for best modernization of a historical complex. The palace contains a restaurant, brasserie, bar, wine cellar, six private meeting rooms, and a garden with a patio.

Since 2000, the Sobański Palace has been the headquarters of the Polish Business Round Table Club, a business organization established in 1997 that aims to help consolidate the business community and promote the country’s economic growth.

Since 2009, the Sobański Palace has been home to the award-winning and Michelin Guide-recommended Amber Room restaurant.

Jolanta Wolska
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