The on-line transmission from the flight

2017-10-17 16:11:38

Ujazdowski Castle was built by Zygmunt III in the place of a former stronghold of the Mazovian dukes, which had been burned during a incursion. In the middle of the 18th century, the next owner of the castle, King Stanisław August, commissioned its redesign into a monarchical residence. The reconstruction of the castle was accompanied by the extension, this time towards the west, of the existing small axis to the east.

The Stanisław axis, one of the largest spatial developments in the Warsaw of that time, was inspired by French urbanistic ideas, and has had a lasting effect on the development of southern Warsaw: until today large fragments of the original are legible in the cityscape.

The Stanisław axis cannot be seen from the ground level and we cannot imagine it when we walk around the town. This great and piteously detailed plan becomes visible only at a certain altitude, for example from a plane or a satellite, however you can discern the faint outline of the Stanislaus Constellation from the balloon level.

From the beginning of the castle’s existence, the small axis was a natural element of the landscape directed east, towards the Vistula. From the undeveloped escarpment, a wide perspective opened onto the area near the riverbank (which, with time, became a game park), and further onto a bend in the river and the southern part of Kawcza Island. In the time of August II, the Royal Canal was built along the small axis. In rebuilding the castle, the new owner, Stanisław August, extended the line of the axis in the opposite direction. The lengthening of the axis opened a new perspective on the castle from the west. Ujazdowski Castle, which to that time had been part of the landscape only from the side of the Vistula, could now be admired from the side of Wola as well. The larger axis, directed towards the west, led in the direction of the then existing rise of the future Sowiński redoubt in the region of today’s Orthodox cemetery in Wola and further to the election fields. The concept was thus to serve scenic and communication purposes. It was marked out, in the open field, by a road planted with rows of lindens. This road, initially called the ‘Royal’ road and then the ‘Wolska’ road, can still be seen today as Nowowiejska and Niemcewicz streets.

In the vicinity of the castle itself, the Królewska (Royal) road intersected the Calvary route, built by August II, with its 28 shrines leading from Plac Trzech Krzyży (Three Crosses Square) to the shrine of Christ’s tomb. The intersection became today’s Plac Na Rozdrożu (Square at the Crossroads).


The essence of the project is not the fragment of the geometric double axis (visible in the photo), but the layout of squares and the streets that radiate from them in characteristic fashion. Together they form a layout of multi-armed stars in the urban composition. The distribution of squares and radiating streets, which is perfectly visible from the aerial perspective, can be likened to a constellation. Such a comparison accords with the spirit of enlightenment rhetoric and the conventions of signs, while at the same time acting more strongly on the imagination than the kite comparison, rendering the most essential aspects of the spatial layout.

The centre of the constellation of stars is Plac Zbawiciela, located on vary visible fragment of the Stanisław axis. The points of the external structure on which the network of radiating streets is pinned are the squares of Na Rozdrożu (at the bottom of the photo), Trzech Krzyży to the right side (not visible), Politechniki (at the top of the photo), and Unii Lubelskiej to the left (not visible). The squares can be located outside the frame of the photo by extending the line of streets (seen on the photo) radiating outwards or converging.

The contemporary Plac Konstytucji (Constitution Square) has entered unexpectedly well into the structure of the star shaped square network. It has become an unusual link between two different city spaces – spaces that emerged at radically different epochs and, at first glance, would seem to have nothing in common. The social realist Plac Konstytucji was created in conjunction with Plac Defilad (Parade Square) and designed as a procession grounds, not as a scenic extension to the axis of Marszałkowska street.

The Ujazdów Castle and small Stanisław axis with the Królewski (the Royal, now Piaseczyński) Canal seen from the perspective abowe (Square at the Crossroads)

The urban concept visible in the photo could be called the ‘Stanisław constellation.’ The so-called ‘Great Stanisław Axis’ is perfectly visible – the segment from the Plac Na Rozdrożu (at the bottom of the photo) to the Warsaw Filters, which were built considerably later on the axis line.

16:11 - Fat Kate