On an early, sunny summer morning, I walked to the southern entrance of Saxon Garden. Like so many other parts of the city badly affected by the Second World War, and greatly diminished in size, I was still curious what it would look like. After all, it was initially designed based on the great example of the 17th century: the gardens of Versailles. It had once been part of the Saxon Axis, running through the city of Warsaw and connecting the suburbs in the west with the Vistula River in the east, and had been much larger than what is left of it now. Part of the Axis was the Saxon Palace on the eastern side of the park, but like so many other parts of the city, this was also destroyed by the Germans after the Warsaw uprising in 1944.
Crossing a street took me to the southwestern entrance, and from here, it mostly looked like a nice city park and a good escape from the traffic. But while walking to the other side of Saxon Garden, I already started to develop a liking, if only because I found the park well kept. When I turned a corner, I found myself on a large, empty space: this is where the Saxon Palace once stood. The demolition of it has been almost perfect: the only remains are a few arches close to the entrance of the park where I found two soldiers hiding their eyes behind their cap against the low sun. They were guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; between the walls and under the arches of what must have been an elegant palace, I saw slabs of marble with the names of battles in which soldiers have fought for Poland. Behind the monument, a big fountain surrounded by colourful and well-tended flower beds - walking there, I entered Saxon Garden again.
The computer-managed fountain is a popular meeting place for couples in the city, but it was too early for that now. Behind it, a small square on which I found rococo sandstone statues representing sciences, arts and seasons. From here, I saw a pond, and when I reached it, saw a different face of Saxon Garden: willows around a small, tranquil lake, reflecting the surrounding trees and a white water tower modeled after the Vesta temple in Tivoli. When I reached the water tower, I noticed that it had unfortunately seen too much slogan-spraying on its exterior. Below, I walked past three men in a deep sleep, walked around the rest of the park where I saw a monument for those many Poles who perished in World War II, for Maria Konopnicka, a 19th century local poet and writer, until I reached the avenue where workmen were meticulously tending to the flowers and grass. Saxon Garden had been able to keep me inside for several hours: it had managed to capture my attention, and if the weather would not have deteriorated, it would have been tempting to stay longer.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Saxon Garden (Poland). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Saxon Garden. Read more about this site.