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Figure 1: Digital map of Warsaw in 1929, before the destruction in 1939.

Warsaw has a long histroy of ups and downs. The city’s history goes back to the 13th Century when the dukes of Mozavia settled in the Royal Castle. Since 1413 Warsaw has been a seat of power. With it’s long history it’s crucial to concentrate on the pre-war period when the city  flourished with beautiful boulevards and architecture. Looking at the map itself the city has an evident grid like design with main street Boulevards running through it. The carefully designed streets and areas of the city represent the powerful influences of other European cities at the time. According to (Korcelli & Weclawowicz, 1985) Warsaw saw an influence of peasants migrationg to the city in 1864 which increased the population and the city experienced vast expansion visible in figure 1.

 

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Figure 2: One of many examples of brilliant architecture in the city of Warsaw, the image represents Marszalowska boulevard.

Figure 2 is an example of boulevards in the old city. The street is perfectly aligned with trees and shops. This is where people of a well off background spent their days walking the city visiting shops and cafe’s. It is important to notice the architecture and the careful design, all of the buildings are relatively the same size and show different architectural influences which makes this boulevard a quite outstanding place. Warsaw lost more than 85% of the city due to bombings by Luftwaffe and the Soviet airforce between 1939-1944. Boulevards as the Marszalkowska suffered mass destruction and in 1945 the city had to start and rebuilt everything from the very beginning (Ikle,1951).

 

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An image of the Old Town Market Square, Warsaw in January 1945. Mass devastation to the city by German forces.

According to UNESCO, Polish diplomats created a Warsaw Reconstruction Office in 1945-51. Their job was to reconstruct the Old Town, concentrating on structures built in the 14th-18th Century. The rebuilding of the Old Town continued until the mid-1960s. The entire process was completed with the reconstruction of the Royal Castle which was finished and opened to the public in 1984.

 

Bibiography:

  • Ikle, F.C. (1951). The Effect Of War Destruction Upon The Ecology Of Cities.
    Bureau of Applied Social Research Columbia University, Oxford University Press, Vol. 29, No. 4,pp. 383-391.
  • Korcelli, P. Weclawowicz, G. (1985)  Dynamics of Metropolitan Processes and Policies in the Warsaw Agglomeration. Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization, Polish Academy of Sciences,Warsaw. Scandinavian Housing and Planning Reaserch 2: pp.161-166.
  • UNESCO, United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (2011) Historic Centre of Warsaw.

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