Saxon Palace

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The Saxon Palace (Polish: pałac Saski w Warszawie) was one of the most distinctive buildings in prewar Warsaw, Poland. It was destroyed by German armed forces in World War II and not rebuilt as of 2020. There are however discussions regarding reconstruction of the building.


Up to World War I

The Saxon Palace had been preceded by a dwór belonging to Tobiasz Morsztyn. After 1661 his brother and heir Jan Andrzej Morsztyn had replaced the dwór with a baroque palace (Pałac Morsztynów, "the Morsztyn Palace") with four towers. In 1713 the Morsztyn Palace was purchased by the first of Poland's two Saxon kings, Augustus II (reigned in Poland 1697–1706 and 1709–33), who began enlarging it. In 1748 the palace's rebuilding was completed by his son, King Augustus III. In the early 19th century, the Saxon Palace housed the Warsaw Lyceum in which Frédéric Chopin's father Nicolas Chopin taught French, living with his family on the palace grounds. The Palace was remodelled in 1842.


After World War I, the Saxon Palace was the seat of the Polish General Staff. In 1925, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was established within the colonnade-topped arcade that joined the Palace's two symmetric wings. The Palace continued to be sandwiched between the Saxon Garden, to its rear, and the Saxon Square in front (which would be renamed Piłsudski Square after the Marshal's death in 1935). In this building, the German Enigma machine cipher was first broken in December 1932 and then read for several years before the General Staff Cipher Bureau German section's 1937 move to new, specially designed quarters near Pyry in the Kabaty Woods south of Warsaw. During World War II, after the German suppression of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, the Saxon Palace was blown up by the Germans as part of their planned destruction of Warsaw. Only parts of the central arcade remained, housing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which escaped destruction.

Since World War II

There are plans to reconstruct the Saxon Palace. The palace cellars were excavated in 2006, uncovering some 20,000 objects. The palace's reconstruction was formerly scheduled for completion by 2010. The reconstructed building was planned to house Warsaw's city hall, but due to Warsaw's budget problems caused by the recent global financial crisis, and subsequent cuts, the reconstruction has been on hold. On 11 November 2018, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Poland's post-World War I independence, President Andrzej Duda reaffirmed the intent to rebuild the palace.
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