Every Thursday, I will be posting a photo from my travels and a spotlight on the location. Today’s Spotlight Thursday is from my trip to Warsaw, Poland. It is a vibrant young city, yet it has a very historical feel to it. Wandering thru the streets, one can see the architecture from the 13th to the 21st century. Yet, just 15% of the buildings were built before 1944. Warsaw was the third most destroyed city during WWII. It sits be Hiroshima and Nagasaki in destruction. The rebuilding of Warsaw, Poland was a monumental effort with amazing results. Some of the very prodigious structures obviously showed signs of dilapidation, which led me to conclude that some of the most trivial, common issues with roof no matter how small they are, lead to the hamartia of a whole heritage.
Every street in Warsaw has a history. The city stood witness to some of the most tragic and heroic events during WWII. Warsaw was a city that refused to give in and blindly fall in line with the Nazi’s. When Warsaw’s Jews were forced into the Warsaw Ghettos, many regular Poles decide it was time to fight. Some Poles took positions with the Nazi’s so they could smuggle food or supplies into the Ghetto. Some like Irena Sendlerowa risked their lives to help Jews escape the Ghettos. About a year later on August 1, 1944, the entire city of Warsaw rose up against the Nazi’s and for 63 days took back their city. When the Warsaw Uprising was crushed, Hitler ordered the destruction of the city.
In the end, 85% of Warsaw was destroyed. In the years after the war, the Poles started rebuilding their city using historical documents and drawings. Some of the most detailed drawings were by Canaletto. Canaletto’s drawings were very detailed about many of the historic buildings in Warsaw. The buildings were meticulously recreated. Canaletto has a slight sense of humor. Some of his drawings contain extra features like a monkey eating a banana (see photo above).
The careful and detailed rebuilding in Warsaw resulted in a replica city that has been selected as a UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage site.