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Facade of Lazienki Palace, Warsaw

Construction year: 1689
Designer/builder: Tylman van Gameren

Lazienki Park is one of the most beautiful part of Warsaw - one of the most favorite places for walks for Varsovians and tourists. This romantic, landscaped park includes the Palace on the Water, together with various other palaces, pavillons, an amphitheater and two orangeries.

The highlight of Lazienki Park is the Palace on the Water. It is one of the finest examples of Neo-Clasical architecture in Poland. King Stanislaw August Poniatowski converted 17th Century Pavillon into a Palace. In World War II the Nazis wanted to blow up the Palace but because of lack of time - they only set fire to it. Currently the Palace is fully restored.

The palace is built on an artificial island that divides the lake into two parts, a smaller northern lake and a larger southern one. The palace is connected to the surrounding park by two Ionic colonnaded bridges. The façades are unified by an entablature carried by giant Corinthian pilasters that link its two floors and are crowned by a balustrade that bears statues of mythologic figures. The north façade is relieved by a central pedimented portico. On the south front, a deep central recess lies behind a screen of Corinthian columns.

The Palace on the Isle, the summer residence of the last king of Poland, Stanisław August, is one of the most outstanding examples of the style of his epoch. The origins of the Palace date back to the 17th century, when the Ujazdów premises were owned by the Grand Marshall of the Crown, Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski. It was on his orders, that in the years 1683 – 1689, the architect, Tylman van Gameren, constructed a garden pavilion – a Bathhouse (in Polish - Łazienki), which was also called Hippokrene (Aganippe) from the ancient fountain that was created by the hooves of the Pegasus and was a place of gathering of the Muses and a source of poetic inspiration.

Ujazdów Castle on a hill, together with two pavilions picturesquely situated among the trees, became of interest to Stanisław August Poniatowski in 1764. Just before the election the future king bought these lands for his private residence.

Thanks to help of the architects, Dominic Merlini and Jan Christian Kamsetzer, Stanisław August turned the Bathhouse into the Palace, a summer residence of a villa -museum type. It became a place to exhibit the royal collection of paintings from the 17th and the 18th century, as well as sculptures. The Palace on the Isle also contained, hidden in the interior design, the philosophical ideas of Stanisław August and his reformist aspirations.

The Palace on the Isle contains the ideological legacy of the king, who thus presented the future generations the motives of his political decisions and the reasons behind them – the deep conviction of the necessity to save the Republic of Poland.

In the Ball Room, the king passed along, through the mythological references, values he considered the most important, that is wisdom, virtue, beauty and love of art, the values he based his rule on. Thanks to reforms initiated by the king, Poland was to enter the Golden Age of peace and prosperity.

In the Rotunda Stanisław August pondered his place in history and pointed out the Polish kings who had become the models for his rule. He also referred to the ancient traditions of the political system. He saw himself as a worthy continuator of history and tradition, as shown in the painting decorations in the Solomon Room. (Source: Warsaw-life & wikipedia)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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