Saxon Gardens

Gardens in Powiśle & Northern Śródmieście

Stretching out a couple of blocks west of ul Krakowskie Przedmieście, these magnificent gardens date from the early 18th century and were the city’s first public park. Modelled on the French gardens at Versailles, the gardens are filled with chestnut trees and baroque statues (allegories of the Virtues, the Sciences and the Elements), and there’s an ornamental lake overlooked by a 19th-century water tower in the form of a circular Greek temple.

If it looks to you as though the gardens are missing a palace, you’d be right. The 18th-century Pałac Saski (Saxon Palace), which once occupied Plac Piłsudskiego (Piłsudski Sq), was, like so many other buildings, destroyed during WWII. All that survived were three arches of a colonnade, which have sheltered the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier since 1925. There are plans to rebuild Saxon Palace from scratch at fabulous expense, but so far they remain unfulfilled.