The on-line transmission from the flight2017-10-17 16:14:03
In the past, the centre of the town was determined not by the old town square but by the Royal Castle. Since those times its location has changed many times. Where is it today?
Mathematically the centre of the town can be determined as the weighted means of the surface. The question is, what criterion to take to determine its borders: administrative area or social one?
Doubtless, a predominant feature of the Warsaw space is the building of the palace of Culture and Science. In terms of both cubature and size as well as location. Its location is such that it is visible along the axis of most approach routes. It seems that most roads lead up to it.
For the inhabitants of Warsaw the town centre is also at the intersection of two popular arteries: Marszałkowska street and Jerozolimskie Avenue – the main axes intersecting the town from north to south and from west to east like in the Roman castrum. Close, by, shifted a little, is another centre in the form of a stone pillar and signpost at the same time. From this site the distances to other towns and European capitals are calculated.
The centre of Warsaw is also my home and the home of each of us, regardless of whether it is in Grochow or Rakowiec. This sociological element of space is not only a determinant of location in relation to which distance to work or school is calculated, but also a site that is very important from the emotional point of view. Of course there are far more Centres of Warsaw determined emotionally or professionally and, this being characteristic, their location changes in time. Some disappear, others appear in new sites. Sometimes the centre can be determined by the location of sites, that... we don’t like.
Is the centre at the place where the heart of the town beats? If this were so, it would be in the Old Town square at the foot of the statue of the Warsaw Mermaid.
When we fly over Warsaw, we pass by dozens, hundreds of centres – each area has its own centre. It is a good reference point. The balloon floating above the city can also be seen as a reference point for Warsaw, a centre moving in space and time.
Yet another centre of Warsaw is indicated by the cross on the cupola of the Evangelic church in Małachowski square, which in former times dominated over the city. Its location was arbitrarily assumed by surveyors as point zero of the local system of coordinates for Warsaw, to which all geodesic and cartographic measurements were referred to. The display-boards of maps and plans of Warsaw were inscribed with letters referring to the directions of the world and with the numerals for consecutive rows and columns. A site on the chart designated N4O2 indicated an area considerably to the north of the parallel and somewhat east of the meridian that intersected at the top of the cupola of the Evangelical church.
What is important: the city centre never exists on its own, it is always contextualized by suburbia. Suburbia define the city centre.
2017 is the year we celebrate 500 years of the Reformation movement. The centre of the celebrations is the Holy Trinity Church, which is yet another central place in the history of civilisation.
The Chalice: The lecures on Varsavianistyka and a choir in the Lutheran church on Małachowski place.
Aerialphoto (2004): The Warsaw system of geodesic coordinates describes space relative to the cross on top of the cupola of the Evangelical church in the centre of the photo.