Plac Konstytucji

© Michael Hardenfelt, 2012

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Marszalkowska Street

Marszalkowska Street starts at the Plac Bankowy and runs parallel with the Royal Route (Krakowskie Przedmiescie, Nowy Swiat, Ujazdowskie). After the Plac Konstytucji it narrows substantially, before ending at Plac Unii Lubelskij.

Marszalkowska Street is interesting for several reasons. The street was devastated during WWII, and after the war the street was reconstructed as a socialist prestige project. Most of the street was thus reconstructed in a so-called Socialist Realism style, where monumental buildings show the omnipotence of society. The style is best expressed around Plac Konstytucji, which appears in the picture above. 

This street is undoubtedly a part of Warsaw's centre, but appears to be much more "real" than the streets around the Old Town. This is a place where people work, with less tourists and most passer-bys stick to a rapid, big city gait.

But real life starts in the side streets, and I'm also going to deal with them in this chapter. Especially the parallel streets ul. Poznanska and ul. Mokotowska, where the style of the shops and bars bear evidence of a growing avant-garde culture. The streets crossing these such as ul. Hoza or ul. Wilcza also have a special atmosphere. Around Plac Konstytucji and Plac Zbawiciela the Marszalkowska is characterized by the nearby Technical University and its enormous army of students demanding cheap food and action. 

The first part of Marszalkowska - running from plac Bankowy till Aleja Jerozolimskie - is mentioned in Around Warsaw page 3, and this part of the road is closer connected to the outskirts of the Old Town. This chapter therefore starts at Aleje Jerozolimskie, right next to the Palace of Culture, the Central Station and the Metro Centrum with a lot of busy people on their way to their daily chores.

 

 

Marszałkowska Street

Click on the icon to see the video (4 minutes)

The corner of Marszalkowska Street and Jerusalem Avenue. New skyscrapers are being built all the time. 

A huge sign second by second displays the amount of public debts. At the moment when I took the photo it amounted to 838 billion 190 million zloty. That is well below 60% of GDP, and that indicates that the Polish economy is rather strong - as one of the few in the the EU.

A look down Marszalkowska Street. A broad boulevard with solid buildings, shops, bars and loads of pavement space.

Click on the picture to see an enlarged version!

 

 

 

Left: The Warsaw City Court, City Section. Among frequent dwellers often referred to as the judgement factory.

 

Right: Klatka bar - a new cellar-pub for gays, lesbians and kinky people, standing slightly back from the actual Marszalkowska Street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left: Neo-gothic building from 1898. The Italian Cultural Institute operates from here.

Poznanska Street

 

The Warsaw Pub Crawl route:

Poznanska Street is a narrow street with older apartment blocks. It runs parallel with Marszzalkowska - on the right hand side if you come from the Palace of Culture.

Poznanska has always been well known for its avant-garde nightlife, but during the last couple of years the amount of new bars and restaurants has exploded. The atmosphere is turning quite Mediterranean, with people wandering from one bar to the next through the evening.  

Also you will find a lot of elegant pre-war buildings, some of them in a better condition than others.

 

Left: Chef's School with conjoined restaurant. Here you can have an excellent, hot meal every day at lunchtime for next to nothing.

 

 

 

Right: Lazy Brute at the corner - cafe and bar for those who like to look and be looked at. A stone's throw further the Kwadrat-bar.

 

 

In front of Lazy Brute: Ganesh Indian restaurant and further back Jazzarium Cafe. In front of the restaurant you may notice one of the many public water pumps providing water from the under ground.

 

 

 

Another few steps, right in front of Restaurant Tel-Aviv we find Beirut Humus Bar, Bar Tektura and Tortilla Factory.

Mokotowska Street

 

 

Mokotowska Street runs parallel with Marszalkowska - on the left hand side if you come from the Palace of Culture.

This is where you should place your shop if you wish to cater to an exclusive clientele.

On the left we see the beginning of Mokotowska Street by Plac Trzech Krzyzy. At the right: One of the many restaurants in the area. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loads of cars, activity, shops. Pre-war buildings mixed with modern architecture, which is adapted to the distinctive character of the street.

This is where you find some of the most expensive square metres in Warsaw.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try something new-old! The shop on the left specialises in flax - traditional Northern European textiles.

Right: A shop window in one of the many boutiques.

 

 

 

 

 

The town houses lie side by side with each other. A yellow banner across the balcony usually means that the flat is up for sale or rent.

Hoza Street

   

 

 

Hoza Street is a side street to  Marszalkowska Street, Poznanska and Mokotowska.

Left: A large shop with everything from Italy; cheese, wine, olive oil and pasta. Watch the credit card!

Right: Bicycle repair: Who says that a bicycle repair shop must be at ground level. A bicycle repairer has placed a sign with his phone number on his balcony on the first floor.

 

 

Left: An unpretentious grocery shop.

Right: A lot of old trades are slowly becoming extinct, but you will be able to find them in Warsaw. This is a bookbinder's shop.

Wilcza Street

 

 

 

 

Wilcza Street is a side street to  Marszalkowska Street, Poznanska and Mokotowska.

Warsaw atmosphere. Narrow streets in between the boulevards, parked cars and loads of shops.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right: Maybe something to buy for a skilled craftsman? Positioned next to a newly renovated apartment building.

Right: It may be difficult to find, but this is a really nice bar. If you have the courage to try to open all the closed doors, then you could get a lot of exciting experiences.

Plac Konstytucji

 

Plac Konstytucji (Constitution Square) was established after WWII as a part of the newly renovated prestigious boulevard - Marszalkowska. The Polish parliament and a number of important state institutions are situated 5-10 minutes walk from the Square.  The name was originally attributed to the new communist Constitution from  1952, but few people remember this, so the name may as well pay tribute to the Constitution from 1997.

 

 

Left: Colonnades with shops and flower ladies. The high ceilings make you feel the omnipotence of architecture. 

Right: U Szwejka - A popular meeting place for beer drinking and traditional Polish food. In the evening there is often a several metres long queue in order to get inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Socialist Realism - admired and detested, but has now been accepted as one of the coherent architectonical expressions of Warsaw. 

Even the street lighting becomes almost sacred as it strives for the sky.

The Square is being used for big public events like concerts, New Years Eve and demonstrations.

 

Marszalkowska Street

 

 

 

 

 

The straight and strong working people have been immortalized in the fronts of the buildings and on the roofs. Communist Poland was (rightly) proud of the reconstruction of Poland - and it took care no one would forget who carried out the effort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The colonnades continue to Plac Zbawiciela - here and there someone has succeeded to open a few restaurants.

Plac Zbawiciela

 

 

 

The Warsaw pub crawl circle:

The Methodists have been teaching English here for a generation. Besides from the preaching premises the Square hosts a pharmacy, a catholic church, a sewing machine repair shop and 12 unique bars and restaurants. 

 

 

 

 

 

Left: A combination of a French bakery and a bistro has within a very short time become one of the hottest places in Warsaw.

 

Right: The slogan of the bistro "chleb i wino" (bread and wine) invoke established and traditional catholic values. Next door the club Plan B has chosen to adapt the slogan to no less established Polish values: "Wodka i piwo" (vodka and beer).

 

 

 

 

 

Zbawiciela Church (The Saviour's Church) has given its name to the square, so obviously it should be listed among the points of interest on the Square. Besides from this it is a beautiful church (more special from the outside than from the inside). It also distinguishes itself by a limited use of the church bells.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

In front of the church we find a stretch with Bastylia (pancakes, beer, champagne and lesbians), a flower woman, Izumi Sushi (sushi), Karma (coffee, actors and theatre spectators) and a huge, extremely cheap Chinese restaurant on three levels. 

 

 

 

Marszalkowska Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marszalkowska Street becomes narrower after Plac Zbawiciela, but the architectonical concept is the same all the way to Plac Unii Lubelskiej.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left: The Luna cinema - two huge halls, it is known for a specific repertoire and a nice atmosphere. Filmgoers from all over Warsaw frequently meet in the bar at the bottom of the cinema. 

Right: The chocolate specialist "Amor" (I suppose it means "love" in some language or another).

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