Bank Square, Warsaw

Bank Square, Warsaw

Bank Square (Plac Bankowy) in Warsaw is one of that city's principal squares. Located in Warsaw's downtown area, next to the Saxon Garden and the Warsaw Arsenal, it is also one of the city's main public transport hubs, with several bus stops, streetcar stops, and a Warsaw Metro station.

History

Created in the 19th century, under the Congress Kingdom, the square was designed to be one of the elegant areas of the country's capital. Notable buildings located there included the seat of the Ministry of Income and Treasury (a building reconstructed by Antonio Corazzi) and the seat of the Bank of Poland and Warsaw's stock exchange (also by Corazzi). The square was originally triangular-shaped.

In the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, the buildings on the square were destroyed and the square ceased to exist. After the war, city planners reconstructed only its historic western part, reconfiguring it into a rectangle.

Under the communist People's Republic of Poland, the square was renamed for Feliks Dzierżyński, Polish-born communist politician and founder of the Russian Cheka political police. In 1951 a monument to Dzierżyński was erected in the southern part of the square. The statue's subsequent toppling four decades later, in 1989, helped mark the fall of communism in Poland.

Present day

The Bank Square's present-day landmarks include the Blue Tower, a large skyscraper built on the site of the Great Synagogue that had been destroyed during the war by the Germans.

Currently the former seat of the Ministry of Treasury serves as Warsaw's city hall and the seat of the President of Warsaw. In 2001 a monument to Juliusz Słowacki, by Edward Wittig, was erected on the very spot previously occupied by the statue of Dzierżyński. Interestingly, the old pedestal was used for the new monument.

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