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Polish leaders praise bid 50 years ago to rebuild Warsaw's Royal Castle

16.09.2021 22:00
Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday said it “defies belief” that Warsaw’s landmark Royal Castle was “a sea of rubble” 50 years ago and hailed those who helped reconstruct the historical building from the ruins of World War II, the state PAP news agency reported. 
Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks during a ceremony at the Royal Castle in Warsaw on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.
Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks during a ceremony at the Royal Castle in Warsaw on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.Photo: Grzegorz Jakubowski/KPRP

After various delays, the postwar restoration of the castle began on September 17, 1971, and on Thursday, Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki attended a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of that day.

The president expressed his gratitude to those who “take care of the castle on a daily basis,” adding it looked “beautiful,” a far cry from the “sea of rubble that lay here half a century ago.”

He noted the Royal Castle was razed by Poland's Nazi German occupiers, and after the war, “the whole nation pressured the communist authorities into rebuilding it, and collected funds for the purpose.”

During an earlier part of the ceremony, Duda handed out state decorations to those who played an important role in the reconstruction effort, as well as in the subsequent upkeep of the historical building.

Morawiecki, meanwhile, noted that the castle was once “the home of Polish kings" and the place where Poland's historic constitution of May 3, 1791 was enacted.

“It is a symbolic place, Poland in a nutshell,” Morawiecki said.

He added that hopefully Warsaw’s Saxon Palace, "another casualty of World War II," will also be rebuilt, “linking the prewar years with the new, free, independent and powerful Poland.”

Although the first plans for the reconstruction of the Royal Castle were drawn up during the war, the project got off to a false start after 1945, amid competing visions of the reborn building and more emphasis given to the restoration of Warsaw’s Old Town, the PAP news agency reported.

It was only in 1971 that Poland’s then-communist authorities finally launched the reconstruction. The resurrected Royal Castle opened to the public in 1984, after becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980.

The anniversary celebrations began in January and run until 2024.


Source: PAP, prezydent.pl