Guiding 50 Cent in Warsaw…

On April 2nd – Curtis James Jackson III – iconic American rapper better known as 50 Cent arrived in Warsaw, Poland to promote his SMS AUDIO™ headphones.  Thanks to On Board Public Relations I had a pleasure to guide him in Warsaw on the second day of his visit.

He preferred to call him “Fifty” and was a very nice person. We walked in the Old Town of Warsaw and saw the panoramic view of the city from the top of the Palace of Culture and Science…

Thanks Fifty 🙂

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All photos by SMS Audio Poland & On Board Public Relations

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Winter Evening of Light in Łazienki Royal Park

On March 1, 2014 the Museum in Łazienki Royal Park has opened the event called “Gardens of Light” – an international project aimed at showcasing the world’s most spectacular historic gardens and museums. The five unique royal residences specially selected for the project are the Royal Łazienki Museum in Warsaw, Prince Pückler Park in Bad Muskau (Germany), Tsarskoye Selo Museum in Saint Petersburg (Russia), Prince Kung’s Mansion in Beijing (China) and Château de Lunéville in France.

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The main goal of the Gardens of Light is to communicate to the public the aesthetic visions of 18th and 19th century architecture and garden design with their focus on a seamless blend of nature and art and strong connections to scientific discoveries and philosophical thought of the period.

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The first event in 2014 was the Winter Evening of Light – an evening walk in the gardens, lit by lanterns. During the walk, the guests had an opportunity to admire picturesque garden illuminations.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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fot. Sabina Chyla

Festival of Light in Wilanów Palace Museum

Wilanów Palace (Polish: Pałac w Wilanowie) is a royal palace located in the Wilanów district, Warsaw.  It survived the time of Poland’s partitions and both World Wars and has preserved its authentic historical qualities, also is one of the most important monuments of  Polish culture.

The palace and park in Wilanów is not only a priceless testimony to the splendour of Poland in the past, but also a place for cultural events and concerts, including Summer Royal Concerts in the Rose Garden and the International Summer Early Music Academy. Since 2006, the palace has been a member of the international association of European Royal Residences.

fot. Sabina Chyla

fot. Sabina Chyla

Wilanów Palace was built for the Polish king John III Sobieski in the last quarter of the 17th century and later was enlarged by other owners. It represents the characteristic type of baroque suburban residence built entre cour et jardin (between the entrance court and the garden). Its architecture is original – a merger of European art with old Polish building traditions. Upon its elevations and in the palace interiors antique symbols glorify the Sobieski family, especially the military triumphs of the king.

fot. Sabina Chyla

fot. Sabina Chyla

This winter the Palace Museum hosts a special event – The Royal Festival of Light – Labyrinth of Light, and several hundred meters of spectacular illuminations of buildings – a view that waits for visitors around the palace and gardens in Wilanów.

fot. Sabina Chyla

fot. Sabina Chyla

Every day (till the end of March 2013) as soon as it gets dark, thousands of lamps are lit on the palace facade, collegiate St. Anna church, the main gate of the building and the adjacent townhall.

fot. Sabina Chyla

fot. Sabina Chyla

All photographs: courtesy of Sabina Chyla > http://websta.me/n/sabi.sabinachyla

In the garden, at the Palace Orangery, Labyrinth of Light lights up (an area of ​​800 sq. m) which is the highlight of the festival as well as the visual mapping on the facade of the palace and the church (see the film below).

1940-1944

17 September 1939

Sep. 17, 1939 - Warsaw Castle clock tower at fire

Sep. 17, 1939 – Warsaw Castle clock tower at fire

73 years ago at the beginning of WW2 and during the second week of the defending battle of Warsaw – on Sep. 17, 1939 – the Royal Castle of Warsaw was for the first time hit by a German missile….  the clock on top of the Sigismundus Tower stopped at 11.15 a.m.  The Royal Castle was not a military object, it was however the important symbol of the Polish State – once the official residence of the Polish Kings and the longest permanent seat of the Polish Parliament Houses, just before the WW2 – the official Residence of the President of the Republic of Poland.

As such it became a military target. On September 17, 1939, the Castle was shelled by German artillery. The roof and the turrets were destroyed by fire (they were partly restored by the Castle’s staff, but later deliberately removed by the Germans). The ceiling of the Ballroom collapsed, resulting in the destruction of Marcello Bacciarelli’s beautiful ceiling fresco The Creation of the World. The other rooms were slightly damaged. But immediately after the seizure of Warsaw by the Germans, their occupation troops set to demolish the castle. The more valuable objects, even including the central heating and ventilation installations, were dismantled and taken away to Germany.

On 4 October 1939 in Berlin, Adolf Hitler issued the order to blow up the Royal Castle. On 10 October 1939, special German units, under the supervision of history and art experts (Dr. Dagobert Frey, an art historian at the University of Breslau (now: Wrocław); Gustaw Barth, the director of museums in Breslau, and Dr. Joseph Mühlmann, an art historian from Vienna) started to demount floor, marbles, sculptures and stone elements such as fireplaces or moulds. The priceless artifacts were taken to Germany or stored in Kraków’s warehouses. Many of them were also seized by various Nazi dignitaries who resided in Warsaw. The Castle was totally emptied.

Disobeying German orders, and always in danger of being shot, Polish museum staff and experts in art restoration managed to save many of the works of art from the castle, as well as fragments of the stucco-work, the parquet floors, the wood panelling, etc. These were later used in after-war reconstruction. The great service done to Poland by Professor Stanisław Lorentz, in leading this campaign to save the castle’s treasures, is well known. Wermacht sappers then bored tens of thousands of holes for dynamite charges in the stripped walls.

In September 1944, during the Warsaw Uprising, the Germans blew up the Castle’s demolished walls. Leveling the Royal Castle was only a part of a larger plan – the Pabst Plan – the goal of which was to build a monumental Community Hall (ger. Volkshalle) or an equally sizable Congress Hall of NSDAP (National Socialis German Workers Party – ger. Parteivolkshalle) in the Royal Castle’s place and to replace the Zygmunt’s Column with the Germania Monument.

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A pile of rubble, surmounted by only two fragments of walls that somehow managed to survive, was all that was left of the six hundred year old edifice. On one of these fragments, almost like a symbol, part of the stucco decoration remained. This was a cartouche with the royal version of the motto of the Order of the White Eagle — “PRO FIDE, LEGE ET GREGE” (for Faith, Law, and the Nation – literally translated, the last word means a herd).

After the war the Castle has been totally reconstructed…. but this is another story……

Warsaw historic buildings – the “Polish Theatre” (Teatr Polski)

A theatre founded at the initiative of Arnold Szyfman opened in 1913. It is housed at 2 Karasia Street, a building completed in 1912 to a design by Czesław Przybylski and fitted with what was then state-of-the-art equipment (Poland’s first revolving stage). In the interwar period the Teatr Mały (Small Theatre) and Teatr Komedia (Comedy Theatre) operated as its branches. The theatre had a second venue in 1949-2001 – initially called the Teatr Kameralny, and later the Scena Kameralna (at 16 Foksal St.).

“…Warsaw desperately needed a theatre not just with a modern structure and stage equipment, but also modern artistic plans, especially in terms of production, directing, and decorative art, something completely unknown in Warsaw in those days,” wrote the theatre’s founder Arnold Szyfman. “Besides, the aim was to set up a theatre which would systematically cultivate a classic repertoire and foster audience interest in it. The general motto of the newly established theatre was: a work of art in the most perfect artistic form.” (Arnold Szyfman, “Powstanie Teatru Polskiego. Teatr Polski w Warszawie 1913-1923”)

The theatre was a private enterprise. The first general manager, in 1912-1939, was Szyfman himself, who also ran the theatre in 1945-1949 and 1955-1957. The inaugural premiere at its Warsaw headquarters took place in January 1913. It was Zygmunt Krasiński’s IRYDION directed by Arnold Szyfman, with stage design by Karol Frycz.

During World War II the theatre was taken over by the Nazis and operated as the Theater der Stadt Warschau in 1940-1944. Propaganda department of the General Government in Nazi ocupadied Poland gave the post of the director of the theatre  to Igo Sym – an Austrian-born Polish actor and collaborator with Nazi Germany. He was also the director of the Nur für Deutsche cinema, the Helgoland (former Palladium), and licensee at the Teatr Komedia. Igo Sym was killed in Warsaw by members of the Polish resistance movement on March 7, 1941.

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The theatre building was partially destroyed during Warsaw Uprising 1944, but comparing to the average rate of the city distruction the damages were not severe.