Friday, 30 September 2011

Across the alley from Jerusalem

Warsaw's main east-west thoroughfare is (or rather are, as it is a plural noun), Aleje Jerozolimskie, which runs from Pruszków (a western exurb of Warsaw) into town, passing the central station (Dworzec Centralny), the Palace of Culture and the National Museum, before seamlessly turning into Al. 3 Maja at ul. Smolna and which then becomes Most Poniatowskiego bridge. Below: tram-metro interchange at Al. Jerozolimskie by Centrum Metro station. To the left, the Universal building, an early Warsaw high-rise office development. This view is looking east, towards the Vistula.

Below: looking west towards the Marriott hotel in the distance from the junction with ul. Krucza. A splendidly sunny day to round off a warm (nay, hot!) September - an antidote to a dismally rainy July and August.

Below: approaching Rondo Dmowskiego, the central point of Warsaw, where Al. Jerozolimskie cross ul. Marszałkowska, the main north-south thoroughfare. The low early-autumn sun creates a dramatic light

Below: Most Poniatowskiego on Al. 3 Maja, near the eastern end of Al. Jerozolimskie. My favourite Warsaw bridge, architecturally speaking.

A note on Polish road-naming. Most roads or streets are simply 'ulica' (pronounced "ooLEETsuh" [with a short 'oo' as in 'look'], abbreviated to 'ul.'). The word ulica means street, although there's no need to translate it into English (any more than one needs to translate strasse from German into English or rue from French into English as 'Road').

Plac (abbreviated to Pl*.) in Polish is 'square' (as in the French place or German Platz). There's also skwer (as in the English 'square'), though these are rare in Warsaw. Roundabouts are rondo (neither skwer nor rondo are abbreviated).

So Aleje - from the French and German Allee. We have Aleje (plural) and Aleja (singular). So - Aleje Jerozolimskie, but Aleja Stanów Zjednoczonych (both are abbreviated to Al.*). Allee in English is 'avenue' - but then so is avenue. Aleje Jerozolimskie in English is exactly that. Rue St. Michel doesn't need to be translated, nor does Bahnhoffstrasse. So hey, Mr Translator, no Jerusalem Avenue, please!

My first ever blog post on 30 September.

* Although ul. is always with an lower case 'u', Al. and Pl. begin with upper case letters. Why? That's just the way it is.

4 comments:

Kolin said...

Thank you for encouraging people to NOT translate street names. There's no good reason to do it:

'I'll meet you on Three Crosses Square.'

This one kills me every time:

'We were walking on New World.'

Great to know what the street name translates to, useless when it comes to trying to find someone or something!!

sportif said...

Michał,
nie ma skrzyżowania Aleje Jerozolimskie/Puławska. Zamiast Puławskiej jest Marszałkowska. Puławska zaczyna się od Placu Unii Lubelskiej.

Kolin said...

Hm, I had no idea it was called Rondo Dmowskiego. I've even asked a few people and nobody seemed to know. I've always just called it 'Rotunda.' Yup, this is one of the reasons I read W-wa Jeziorki!

Michael Dembinski said...

Sportif - many thanks, duly corrected. I've made this mistake before, locating a cobbler's shop on Puławska when of course, being north of Pl. Unii Lubelskiej, it is on Marszałkowska.