Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Five closed hectares in central Warsaw

I thought I knew Powiśle well; I'd worked there for five years, travelled through W-wa Powiśle station, walked many walks up and down the Vistula escarpment... and yet only yesterday did I discover a secret, walled-off zone right in the heart of the city - all five hectares of it.

Below: A footpath in the park on the Skwer Bohdana Wodiczko, under a lamp, ends in a gate, shut tight. What's beyond?

The park lies on the escarpment; a high brick wall runs up and along the ridge. Here and there, one can stretch up and peek over the wall. And here's a special vantage point... clamber up and... Let's take a look, shall we?

Looks like some kind of cloisters... On the horizon you can see the national stadium (right) and the Most Świętokrzyski. Below: further along the wall, further along the escarpment ridge, there's some railings, through which I can get a shot of what's within. Trees in leaf, blossom abounds. A lovely walled garden, hectares of the stuff, closed off from the outside world.

Well, I just had to check. This is the convent of the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul (Zakład Sióstr Miłosierdzia św. Wincentego à Paulo w Warszawie) The order is also known as the Szarytki. Well I never!

Here it is on Google Earth; to the left we have Nowy Świat, the right, the Vistula, at the lower edge Al. Jerozolimskie, along the top runs ul. Tamka. And in the middle, the convent. Click to enlarge.

Now, before we start accusing the nuns of hogging prime land in the heart of the city, I did some googling and discovered that they had plans to turn this closed object into an old folks' home. A very worthy use for such splendid land! However, the Szarytki did not reckon with the heritage buildings inspectorate, which didn't give them planning permission. And so, closed off behind walls, unvisited by tourists, unloved by Varsovians, the convent remains a mystery.

This time last year:
Progress by the ponds

This time five years ago:
Kaczyński's ignorance, deceit or folly? 

This time six years ago:
The British electrical plug and socket reigns supreme

This time seven years ago:
Easter, and the end of Lent

This time eight years ago:
That Icelandic volcano (anyone remember what it was called?)

This time nine years ago:
Views of Historic Toruń

This time ten years ago:
One swallow does not a summer make


Anonymous said...

I think it is great that such place, 'closed off behind walls, unvisited by tourists, unloved by Varsovians' exists. May it stay like this for many years.

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Anonymous

"Grass triumphs, and I must say, I'm rather glad."

[The last line of Sir John Betjeman's televisual poem, Metro-land, 1973]

A walled-off sanctuary in such a location, containing orchards and vegetable plots, inaccessible to visitors, does add to the city's sustainability.

An Lukasz said...

znana afera kilka lat temu .Były plany zabudowy tego zabytkowego ogrodu pod pozorem budowy hospicjum i rozbudowy budynków klasztornych.