The nasty monument that stands outside is that of Stefan Starzyński, the mayor of Warsaw at the time of the German invasion. Extremely popular, his tenure in power saw the construction of the National Museum, the opening of 44 schools, two parks, and the beginnings of the Warsaw Metro – an undertaking interrupted by war and only resumed decades later. His finest moment came with the 1939 Siege of Warsaw. Refusing to flee the city his rousing radio bulletins became the stuff of legend, and he is credited with countless humanitarian actions. Arrested by the Gestapo after the capitulation his fate remains unknown, though it is likely he died in Dachau concentration camp. His bronze and granite likeness, the work of Andrzej Renes, was unveiled on November 10, 1993.
The officious looking building that stands opposite functions as the Presidential Office and was rebuilt between 1950 and 1954 following destruction in 1939. Originally built in 1825 to a design by Antonio Corazzi it housed the treasury, and it was here that Juliusz Słowacki worked as a pen-pushing clerk. Along with Mickiewicz and Krasiński he would go on to become one of the three bards of Polish literature, and a patriotic voice for the nation at a time of 19th century Tsarist repression. That’s his statue outside.
Finally, to the corner of pl. Bankowy and ul. Elektoralna you’ll find the former Stock Exchange. Designed by Corazzi as well it was completed in 1828 and rebuilt after WWII. Since then it has served two purposes; under communism it functioned as a museum documenting The Polish Revolution, before being turned into the Museum of the Collection of John Paul II. It’s a role it still serves to this day, housing a rich collection of works by major Western European artists including Rubens and Goya.
Flagship cinema of Gutek Film (Polish independent film distributor). Imagine a high street arthouse cinema in the UK and you get the idea: faded velour, a slightly pretentious film buff staff, flickering pictures and fabulous films. They also organise a
ul. Marszałkowska 115
Pl. Bankowy 1
Museum of John Paul II & Primate Wyszyński
Prymasa Augusta Hlonda 1
Between ul. Marszałkowska and Plac Piłsudskiego
Si Ristorante & Cocktail Bar
ul. Marszałkowska 115
There was a time when every second restaurant we had to look at in Warsaw was an Italian eatery. Those days are gone, with only the strong surviving. A long and stylish restaurant/bar with a good range of homemade and multicoloured pasta - all on display
Pl. Bankowy 4