– the island of natural forest
These are remnants of fertile deciduous forests with
oak (Quercus sp.), lime (Tilia cordata), maple (Acer),
hornbeam (Carpinus) and also riparian forest with ash (Fraxinus)
and elm (Ulmus). The undergrowth is very divers too and is
represented by anemones (Anemone), buttercup (Ranunculus),
hazel (Corylus avellana), hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna),
elder (Sambucus nigra), spindle-tree (Euonymus) and
others. This enclave of the natural forest is an important wildlife
refuge as well. According to long-term research there are 85 bird
species (65 breeding species), 10 reptile and amphibians species and
mammals. The biggest one that lives there is a deer (c.a. 6-8 pieces).
Besides the animated nature also the unanimated one is very interesting.
This is the edge of the moraine plateau from Pleistocene glaciation. It
is 15 – 20 m hight above Vistula River (the highest point is up to 37 m
– in the Old Town). The relief of the plateau and the escarpment is
diversified by gorges small river valleys (Vistula tributaries) and
springs. Except the key ecological role this area is numbered
among crucial elements of Warsaw cultural heritage. The monastery of
Cameldolite was erected there in 17th century. The church and
set of monks’ houses (eremy) have been retained until present time.
Actually there is a Catholic University, which development is in
progress. Thanks to that a huge campus is being built there.
the Heart of Warsaw Fortification System
The Citadel was erected in 1832 and was treated as
the heart of the Warsaw Fortress built by the Russia Tsar Army in the
second half of 19th and the very beginning of the 20th
century. Poland had been partitioned then into three parts depending on
Russia, Prussia and Austro-Hungary powers. Two rings fortress consisted
of more then 30 forts. The natural environment had been used for their
construction like Warsaw Escarpment, small rivers – the Vistula
tributaries and their valleys, ground depression and wet ground. The
first ring was located outside of previous Warsaw, and the second one in
the inner city. Besides these elements, the fortress had well
developed the road pattern, the embankment system and the pattern
of open spaces kept free from any kind of development. The areas located
next to the fortress had also limited possibility of development. Thanks
to those strict rules established at that time a vast Warsaw landscape
had been kept from any investments. The Warsaw Fortification system had
belonged to army after regaining independence, and as military areas
most of the forts were closed for public use.
– for ecology or social importance?
Four types of green areas have been designed in the
Garden of the New Library by Irena Bajerska (2002). They differ
in composition and localization. Three of them have been placed on the
lower level. The first type creates a linking zone between the library
building and the second part of the garden – represented by wide green
open space arranged as the space for native vegetation. The third one,
the narrow strip of land, encloses the garden.
The fourth part is located on the upper level on the
roof of the library building. It has been divided into five smaller
gardens that differ in moods, colours, patterns and smells. As the
result the golden, silver, carmine, blue and green gardens have been
designed. They have been linked by foot-bridges, pergolas and
The Vistula River
banks are very diversed - from the almost
natural one, through developed but nowadays abandoned, to regulated one.
The first type of the mentioned banks stretches mostly on the right
(east) side of the Vistula river. The native vegetation dominates there
with: willow (Salix) and poplar (Populus). This area is
flooded almost each year. Thanks to this natural process it plays very
important functions: hydrological (self-purification) and ecological
(wildlife refuge e.g. for beavers, herons etc).
The example of the previously developed waterfront -
the Praga Harbour - is located on the right side of the river. A clear
system of docks and high quaysides have been retained there, as well as
the 19th century tenement houses, a small factory, and a less
accessible wet overgrown. This place has been the point of interest of
the investors since the early 90s (Warsaw Past, Present and Future
Left (west) side of Vistula river is an example of
the waterfront designing, where the connection between Warsaw and
Vistula does not exist, apart from bridges and the new promenade linking
the library building and the river’s bank (still under construction).
Small part of this waterfront has been used as a place for summer pubs
for last few years.
The problem how to develop the Vistula river banks
has been under debate for years, and still it is not solve.
– natural reserve versus swimming pool
The biggest oxbow lake in Warsaw (15 ha). Wrongly
built drainage system in the late 70s nearby the lake caused the
disconnection of the hydrological system based on streams, canals and
another lakes in this part of Warsaw.
residential district – the proposal for the 21st
Wilanów District, southern Warsaw, on the left side
if the Vistula river, between Vistula bed and Wilanówka River (Vistula’s
tributary), on the vast area classified as air ventilation wedge.
An example of the new neighbourhood, which is
developed on the post-agrarian areas. Each of the separate settlements
reflects precisely the previous structure of the arable land, because
the pieces of land were usually bought by the developer directly from
Wilanów Park –
history, beauty and nature
District, southern Warsaw, on the left side if Vistula river, eleven
kilometres from the city centre.
The Wilanów Palace and Garden were constructed in the
17th century as a royal summer residence. Its development
took number of years and depended on the owners. Garden’s layout was
altered several times through that period. Started from Italian-French
garden with fountains, sculptures and grottoes, at the back of the
palace, and in front of it with a bipartite courtyard (Cydzik,
Fijałkowski 1975). One century later the garden was redeveloped and
extended into a late-Baroque one, and the previous royal granger was
transformed into Romantic English-Chinese park. Next alterations were
made in 19th century when the area of the garden was extended
far from the Wilanów Lake, and Morysin – an extensive English park was
established. A lot of Romantic sculptures had been added then. Next
buildings had been erected as well, like neo-Gothic gallery (one
of the first Polish public museum), Italian neo-Renaissance riding
school and coach house (Cydzik, Fijałkowski 1975). At the beginning of
the 20th century there were taken conservation and moderation
works. But the WWII brought the palace devastation and almost total
damage of the garden. After the war it became a commonwealth and was
taken over by the National Museum. The Polish Government passed
far-reaching resolution on the reconstruction of the Wilanów
palace-garden layouts in 1954. That document made the realization of
these tasks possible. The garden restoration could be managed thanks to
the preserved old plans and paintings, which precisely described the
late Baroque appearance of the garden, like the parterre flower-bed, the
rows of pyramidal yews and fountain basins etc. (Cydzik, Fijałkowski
1975). The existing spatial elements of the extended parts of the garden
(south and north) helped to retained their Romantic character. Morysin,
previous English park, which had presented very important ecological
values (the remnant of the riverside forests typical for the Vistula
river), became a natural reserve in 1996.