Lazienki Palace, Warsaw, Poland
While walking in the largest park of Warsaw - the Lazienki park one can stumble upon a number of interesting buildings. It is not surprising, that the park is strictly protected and works exclusively as a museum complex. The park includes several palaces, a temple dedicated to the goddess Diana, a greenhouse, a Roman theater, a monument to the famous composer Chopin, as well as real peacocks walking freely under the trees. Despite the beauty of all the above-mentioned monuments, the most noteworthy building in the park is, without any doubt, the Lazienki Palace (Pałac Łazienkowski), also known as the "Palace on the Water." The palace was built on an artificial island and, if you look at it from a distance, it looks like standing directly on the water. The white classical palace, standing on the water and surrounded by trees, is so impressive that makes you go back to the 18th century noble Europe.
In the second half of the 17th century on the place of contemporary building of Lazienki palace was standing a baroque style bathing pavilion, built for Marshal Stanislaw Lubomirski. This is why the building and the park got the name Lazienki - the word «Łazienka» in Polish means bath. In the center of the pavilion, desined by Tylman van Gameren, was situated a circular room with a fountain in the center. From 1772 to 1793, according to the plan of the renowned architect Domenico Merlini, the building was remodeled into a summer residence for the last Polish king Stanislaw August Poniatowski. Merlini retained the central hall of the pavilion and decided to build the palace around it.
The history of the palace’s construction is rather sad. Stanislaw Poniatowski did not live before the palace was completed. In 1795 he moved to St. Petersburg, where he was forced to abdicate Rzeczpospolita, and a few years later he died in Russia. To the last day of his life Poniatowski was concerned about the construction of the Lazienki palace. After his death, the palace has never served as a residence. Sometimes official meetings were served here, but mostly it has served as a museum.
Lazienki Palace is built in the style of early classicism. The southern facade of the building has wide steps, leading down to the water. Northern facade of the building has a portico with four columns. The exterior of white classic palace is quite modest, but its interior is striking with its beauty and rich decorations. The last King of Poland gathered here a rich collection of paintings by famous artists. In the 19th century some of the interior’s decorations were transferred to Russia. The work of Russians was continued by Germans, who during the Second World War, plundered and destroyed the interior of the palace. Among the stolen artifacts there were paintings of Rembrandt and Rubens. In the postwar years a thorough restoration of the palace take place, and despite all the hardships, today this beautiful gift of the last Polish king to his people still stands proudly in the heart of Poland.
By Anna Pambukhchyan, www.building.am