Staszic Palace

Staszic Palace

Infobox Historic building

caption=Staszic Palace, seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
name=Staszic Palace
architect=Antonio Corazzi

Staszic Palace ( _pl. Pałac Staszica) is a palace on Nowy Świat Street 72, Warsaw, Poland. Today it is the seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences.



The history of the Staszic Palace dates to 1620, when King of Poland Zygmunt III Vasa ordered the construction of a small Eastern Orthodox chapel, as a proper place of burial for the former tsar Vasili IV of Russia and his brother, Dmitry Shuisky, who died in Polish captivity after having been captured several years earlier during the Polish-Muscovite War (1605-1618).

As the population was mostly Catholic, Protestant or Jewish, there was little need for an Orthodox chapel and in 1668 another Polish king, Jan Kazimierz Waza, transferred the chapel to the Dominican Order, who would be caretakers of the building until 1808.

19th century

In 1818 the building was purchased by Stanisław Staszic, a leader of the Polish Enlightenment, who ordered its renovation. The architect in charge was Antonio Corazzi, who designed the palace in a neoclassical style. After the renovation (1820-1823), Staszic transferred the building to the Society of Friends of Science, the first Polish scientific organization. On May 11, 1830, another landmark was added to the palace, as Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz unveiled before it a monument to Nicolaus Copernicus sculpted by Bertel Thorvaldsen. A replica of this sculpture of Copernicus was recast in bronze installed in 1973 on Chicago's lakefront along Solidarity Drive in the city's Museum Campus [Graf, John, "Chicago's Parks" Arcadia Publishing, 2000, p. 13-14., ISBN 0-7385-0716-4.] .

After the November 1830 Uprising, the Society was delegalized by the Russian government, which had controlled Warsaw for most of the time since the final partitions of Poland in 1795. For the next 26 years, the palace was used by the directory of a lottery.

In 1857-62 the palace was home to a Medical-Surgical Academy, the first institution of higher learning re-established in the Russian partition (all institutions of higher learning having been banned following the 1830 Uprising); but the Academy was soon closed after yet another failed insurrection, the January 1863 Uprising.

Until the end of World War I, the building housed a "gymnasium". From 1890 it was also home to an Orthodox church. In 1892-93 the palace was renovated by the Russian authorities; in line with the ongoing Russification of Warsaw, architect Mikhail Pokrowski transformed the palace into a Russo-Byzantine-style building.

20th century

After Poland regained independence in 1918, in 1924-26 the palace was restored to its previous neoclassical style by architect Marian Lalewicz. In the Interbellum it hosted several organizations: the Warsaw Scientific Society, Mianowski's Bank, the National Meteorological Institute, the French Institute and the Archeological Museum of Warsaw.

The palace was damaged during the 1939 siege of Warsaw and nearly razed during the Warsaw Uprising (1944). In 1946-50 it was rebuilt in its original neoclassical form.

Today it is the seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences.


*Polish|Pałac Staszica|14 December 2006
*pl icon [ Gallery of photos and a history]

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