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There are countless reasons to fall in love with Warsaw

Warsaw in the footsteps of Maria Skłodowska-Curie


Ogród SaskiSaski Garden
The park covers the area between the Królewska, Marszałkowska and Senatorska Streets and Piłsudski Square

In the 19th century on Saski Square, next to the Saski Palace, stood an obelisk. It was erected by order of  the Tsar in honour of the Polish generals, who refused to take part in the anti-tsarist November uprising. According to a patriotic ritual among young intellectuals, one had to stand in front of the obelisk, take aim and then spit on the inscription ‘To the Poles who were faithful to their monarch‘ (‘Polakom wiernym swojemu monarsze‘). As Ewa Curie writes in her mother’s biography, ‘whoever forgot to do  this when walking through the park, had to go back and fulfil the ritual.‘ Maria Skłodowska, of course, also obliged.
The Saski Garden is one of the prettiest and oldest parks in Warsaw, with many different architectural elements. The water reservoir in the shape of a rotunda is a copy of the temple of Vesta in Tivoli near Rome. 21 baroque sandstone sculptures  line the central avenue and at its end are a fountain and a sundial. In the Saski Garden stood once the Saski Palace. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was erected under its arcades in 1925. And this fragment of the arcades with the tomb are the only remains of the palace, which was destroyed in 1944. The tomb holds urns with earth collected from all the battlefields of the 20th century, on which Poles died a heroic death. The changing of the guard of honour takes place every day at 12 p.m.


Królewska Street, corner of Marszałkowska

In the years 1874-1918, there was a school for girls owned by Jadwiga Sikorska on the side of the Saski Garden, which Maria Skłodowska attended. The lessons were officially held in Russian, but in secret took place in Polish. There was also a double  timetable – a legal one and an illegal one with Polish history, Polish language and geography. Whenever the Russian school authorities unexpectedly visited the school, the Polish books were hidden in a flash and on these occasions it was always Maria Skłodowska, as the top student and the one who spoke Russian best, who was asked to answer the questions. She felt humiliated by this and it was always very stressful for her.


Pałac JabłonowskichJabłonowski Palace (former City Hall)
ul. Senatorska 14/16

From 1819 until 1939, this palace was the City Hall of Warsaw. This is also where, in 1925, Maria Skłodowska-Curie received the Diploma of Honorary Citizen of Warsaw. During the same ceremony a foundation charter was read in preparation for the opening of the Radium Institute in the capital and in the evening, a banquet was held in the City Hall in honour of the scientist. While Maria was never to return to Poland permanently, she visited the country frequently, referring to Warsaw as “my dear little Warsaw”.
In September 1939 from this place Stefan Starzyński as President of Warsaw led the civilian defence of the city. 
The reconstructed building now houses financial institutions. During the archaeological works preceding the reconstruction, the basements were uncovered. The original foundations of the tower, under a glass cover, are a touching souvenir of the original palace.


Pałac MniszchówMniszech Palace
ul. Senatorska 34

The palace was built in the years 1714-1730 by the Grand Marshal of the Crown Józef W. Mniszech. In 1806, performance rooms designed by E.T.A. Hoffmann were opened in the building.
In 1829, the palace became the seat of the Merchants’s Union (Resursa Kupiecka), which let the rooms for concerts, meetings, balls etc. In one of them a banquet was held in honour of Maria Skłodowska-Curie in 1913, after a lecture given by her in the Museum of Industry and Agriculture. Burnt during the World War II, the palace was afterwards rebuilt in the neoclassical style and now houses the Belgian Embassy.


Uniwersytet WarszawskiWarsaw University (Uniwersytet Warszawski)
ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28
www.uw.edu.pl

It is one of the largest and most important Polish universities. It was established in 1816 but it exists in its present form since 1915. It comprises several historical buildings.
In 1919, the Ministry of Public Affairs (Ministerstwo Wyznań Publicznych) proposed to Maria Skłodowska-Curie to take over the Chair of Experimental Physics. The scientist did not accept this offer, but participated in the inauguration of the academic year 1921/1922, and in 1925, she met with the University Senate and gave a lecture on the main directions of the contemporary research on radioactivity and also visited the Institute of Physics. On this occasion, the Warsaw University awarded her the title of Honorary Professor of the Faculty of Philosophy. The newspaper 'Kurier Warszawski' reported on the crowds of people who tried to get into the lecture theatre and on how enthusiastically Curie’s lecture was received.


Pałac StaszicaStaszic Palace
ul. Nowy Świat 72
www.tnw.waw.pl

During the interwar period, the palace housed the Warsaw Scientifc Society, of which Skłodowska was an Honorary Member, as well as the French Institute. During her stay in Warsaw in 1925, she delivered a lecture here on the functioning of the Radium Institute in Paris. Her experience in the Parisian institute confirmed her conviction, that the institute in Warsaw should hold the rank of a central national institution combining medical and scientific activities. 
Staszic Palace was built in the 1820’s as the seat of the Royal Society of the Friends of Science and was founded by Stanisław Staszic. Stanisław Staszic was one of the most eminent minds of the Polish Enlightenment. In 1830, the playwright and poet Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz unveiled the Nicolaus Copernicus statue in front of the palace.
The building now houses institutes of the Polish Academy of Science as well as the seat of the Warsaw Scientific Society, which was re-established in 1981. In 1997, one of the rooms in the Palace was named after Maria Skłodowska-Curie.

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