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Polish Parish Church of Our Lady Queen of Marymont (Warsaw, Poland)

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Historic church in Warsaw, Poland.

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      03.08.2011 13:48
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      A cracking little church with a nice atmosphere

      I don't generally take a tram out of the city early on a Sunday morning but a few weeks ago I woke up in a bad mood and felt very claustrophobic in my city flat. I decided to go to Kaskada Park which is about a 25 minute tram ride from where I live changing at Dom Towarowa (No 27 tram). It was about 9am and not many people were about. The park was empty apart from three guys sat on a bench looking at the fountain and chattering. The walk through the park was quite peaceful with the sound of distant traffic and nearby birdsong but the actual design of the park was boring - not a lot to see.

      Walking around the back of the park I noticed a young couple wheeling a pram. They looked like they knew where they were going and were on an important mission so I followed them. Good job I did because once we had come out of the tree lined entrance on to Gdansk Street I came face to face with a really pretty church raised on a hill with a baroque facade. It was painted a creamy white, slightly set back and sheltered by trees. To approach the front entrance of the church I had to walk up several steps. I don't know what it is about entering a place of worship but I always feel a bit nervous. Probably because I don't go to church. I guess I feel guilty. It doesn't mean to say that I don't believe - I do - just like to do my praying quietly when there isn't anyone around.

      This particular morning people hadn't entered the church but were congregating on benches which were placed all around the outside of the building. I have seen this before in many church courtyards and think it is a good idea. People can sit and catch up with their week's news before they go into the church. As the church was empty I had a peek inside and was impressed. It wasn't as fussy as some of the churches I have visited in Warsaw. The interior was painted white with several arches at the sides of the main aisle with lots of windows letting beams of light shine through. The altar was modern and looked like a large concrete oblong with the cross indented into the concrete. Not the pettiest of altars but effective in a simple way. The large wooden crucifix is the highlight of the church which is placed behind the altar underneath an arch. To me what stood out on this Sunday morning was the number of flower arrangements inside the church. All flowers were white with just a small splash of yellow. It was very effective to see white against white but then white isn't a pure colour - there are so many different shades of white.

      I decided to walk around the building and take some photos. It was a pleasant morning with a slight breeze but warm enough. Very close to the entrance just as you get to the top step there is a strange statue of the Virgin Mary. I say strange because at first I thought she was holding the Baby Jesus but she isn't - it is just the way the folds of her gown fall. She has her hands clasped together and is staring up into the sky. The statue has been soiled through pollution and could do with a clean. Some statues look okay with a bit of dirt embedded into the marble or plaster but not this one. Moving on past the statue there is a tall wooden cross set in a small garden of geraniums with a green bench next to the cross. I liked this cross because of its simplicity but also that it was placed underneath a tree. There was something serene about its location. At the back of the church standing in its own garden with metal railings is another statue of the Virgin Mary and Child. This is more grandiose as she is dressed in a turquoise gown edged with gold and a crown sits upon her head. The Infant Christ is not a baby as such but a much older child who looks alert and is in a sitting position within his mother's arms. The whole statue is mounted on concrete with a circle of flowers placed at the bottom of Mary's gown. A very graceful and colourful statue.

      Another interesting structure which isn't connected to the church on the hill is the belltower. Situated under trees the building looks like it is in need of a good overhaul. The painted walls of the building are showing signs of damp and decay probably because it doesn't see a lot of daylight. The tower consists of two concrete towers with a gap in the middle. The steel bell hangs from the top and sways gently in the breeze as it calls its parishioners into the house of God. Intriguing but not the most attractive belltower.

      I don't know a lot about Marymont - this little area in Zoliborz but what I do know I will tell you. Property is expensive to buy here probably because the area has a rural feel to it and when I saw the church and its congregation sitting outside I felt like I was in some Polish village rather than just outside the capital city. The name Marymont says everything - the hill that belongs to Mary. Who was this Mary? Queen Maria Kazimiera of Poland who was married to Jan III Sobieski. The story goes that King Jan III Sobieski fell in love with a manor house and farm that was situated on the same spot as the church. He bought the land for his sweetheart and named it after his gracious Queen. A palace was built for the King and Queen by the Dutch architect who worked in Poland, Tylman z Gameran. Decades passed and the palace changed hands many times. At one time the palace was transformed into a hunting villa for Augustus II (sometimes known as Augustus II the Strong) as he loved to ride his horse and hunt in the adjoining park. The chapel in the original palace was kept in working order until 1864 but by this time all the buildings were owned by the Prussian government.

      The church that I visited dates back to 1916 when the royal manor was abandoned and left in disrepair. The chapel/church was extended and rebuilt for the citizens of Marymont. Lt. Col Henrycha redesigned the church and gave it the name, Polish Church of Our Lady Queen of Marymont.

      I must have spent about thirty minutes at this church and I could see that the congregation was quite large and this was a popular church. Because of it's location set in trees and off the road I would think this is a beautiful church to enter on Palm Sunday after a parade around the church and through the streets of Marymont.

      I am glad I followed the young couple with a pram. I like the Polish Church of Our Lady Queen of Marymont very much. If you would like to visit you need to catch a 27 tram from Okopowa or take the Metro to Marymont from Centrum.

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