1902 Encyclopedia > Warsaw

Warsaw




WARSAW, a government of Russian Poland, occupies a narrow strip of land to the left of the lower Bug and of the Vistula from its junction with the Bug to the Prussian frontier, and is bounded by the Polish govern-ments of Plock and Eomza on the N., Siedlce on the E., and Radom, Piotrkow, and Kalisz on the S. It has an area of 5623 square miles and in 1885 the population was 971,730, of whom 384,000 were then reckoned as living in the capital. It occupies the great plain of central Poland and Mazovia, and is low and flat, with only a few hills in the south, and along the course of the Vistula in the north-west, where the terraces on the left bank descend by steep slopes to the river. Terrible inundations often devastate the region adjacent to the confluence of the Vistula with the Narew and Bug, and marshes cover the low-lying grounds. The soil, which consists chiefly either of boulder clay, lacustrine clays, or sandy fluviatile deposits, is not particularly fertile. The Vistula traverses the government from south-east to north-west, and is joined by the Narew and Bug from the right, and by the Bzura from the left. It is an important channel of communication (see POLAND, vol. xix. p. 307).
The population consists of Poles and Mazurs (Roman Catholics, 76 per cent), Jews (15 per cent.), and Germans (9 per cent.). The Great and Little Russians number only a few thousands, and the former are gathered chiefly in the towns.
Of the 3,256,800 acres registered, nearly two-thirds of which are arable land, 1,197,000 acres belong to the peasantry (70,724 house-holds), 257,000 to the crown, and the remainder to 4526 small and 1190 large proprietors; 118,000 acres are under forests. In the west the Germans are rapidly colonizing the country, and it was reckoned in 1885 that no less than 373,000 acres, i.e., nearly one-eighth of the territory, and a still larger proportion of the arable land, belonged to 4260 foreigners, chiefly Germans. Agriculture is the prevailing occupation, and reaches great perfection on some estates. Beet is extensively grown. Cattle-breeding is also of importance.
Manufactures have developed rapidly of late, especially in Warsaw and its vicinity. In 1885 there were 1575 establishments, employing 35,400 operatives, with an output valued at 54,700,000 roubles. Sugar works occupied a prominent place. In 1886 nine-


teen sugar works and refineries employed 8925 operatives, and produced 6,450,000 cwts. of raw and 3,220,000 of refined sugar. Plated silver, carpets, woollen cloth, machinery, boots and shoes, spirits and beer are among the other items produced.
The government is divided into thirteen districts, the chief towns of which are WARSAW (q.v.), Blonie (1370 inhabitants), Gora Kalwaria (2630), Gostynin (8870), Grojec (3500), Kutno (13,210), £owicz (8720), Novo-Minsk (1830), Radziejewo (7680), Radzymin (4200), Skiernewice (3720), Sochaczew (5130), and Wtoclawek (20,660). Novy Dwor (4420), Neszawa (2330), Gombin (3000), and several others have municipal institutions.
WARSAW (Warszawa), capital of Poland, and chief town of the above government, is beautifully situated on the left bank of the Vistula, 395 miles to the east of Berlin, and 700 miles to south-west of St Petersburg. It stands on a terrace nearly 100 feet in height, which stretches far to the westward, and descends by steep slopes

Plan of Warsaw.
towards the river, leaving a broad beach at its base. The suburb of Praga on the right bank of the Vistula, here from 450 to 880 yards broad, is connected with Warsaw by two bridges,—the railway bridge, which passes right under the guns of the Alexandrovsk citadel to the north, and the Alexandrovsk bridge in the centre of the town.
With its population of nearly 450,000, its beautiful river, its ample communications and its commerce, its university and scientific societies, its palaces and numerous places of amusement, Warsaw is one of the most pleasant as well as one of the most animated cities of eastern Europe. In Russia it is excelled in importance by the two Russian capitals only; and doubtless it would have attained even a larger population, and a yet higher place in the world of commerce and intellect, were it not for its sad and chequered history, and the foreign domination of which the traveller is reminded at every step.
Situated in a fertile plain, on a great navigable river, below its junction with the Pilica and Weprz, which water southern Poland, and above its junction with the Narew and Bug, which water a wide region in the east, it became in mediaeval times the chief entrepot for the trade of those fertile and populous valleys with western Europe. Its position in the territory of Mazovia, which was neither Polish nor Lithuanian, and, so to say, remained neutral between the two rival powers which constituted the united kingdom, it became the capital of both, to the detriment of the purely Polish Cracow and the Lithuanian Vilna. And now, connected as it is by six trunk lines with Vienna, south-western Russia, Moscow, St Peters-burg, Dantzic, and Berlin (via Bromberg), it has become one of the most important commercial cities of eastern Europe. The south-western railway connects it with Lodz, the Manchester of Poland, as also with the rich coal fields of Kielce, which supply its steadily growing manu-factures with coal and iron, so that Warsaw and its neigh-bourhood have become a centre for all kinds of manufac-tures, greatly aided in their development by the high technical training and general superiority of the engineers of the Polish capital, as well as by the skill, taste, and in-telligence of its artisans. The periodical wholesale depor-tations of Warsaw artisans, who never failed to take an active part in the Polish insurrections, especially in 1794, 1831, and 1863, considerably checked, but could not wholly stop the industrial progress of the town; but the lines of customhouses which surround Poland, and thus limit the Warsaw market, as also the Russian rule, which militates against the progress of Polish science, technology, and art, are so many obstacles to the development of its natural resources. The population of Warsaw has nevertheless grown rapidly of late, having risen from 161,008 in 1860, and 276,000 in 1872, to 436,570 in 1887; of these more than 25,000 are Germans, and one-third are Jews (43,000 in 1860, and 117,300 in 1879). The Russian garrison amounts to nearly 20,000 men.
The streets of Warsaw are very animated, and are adorned with many fine buildings—partly due to the old Polish nobility's love of display (there are more than 160 palaces, 60 of which have been confiscated by the Russian Government), partly churches and cathedrals (179 Catholic, 6 Greek, and 2 Lutheran, several synagogues, 14 monasteries, and 4 nunneries), and partly public buildings,—schools, hospitals, scientific societies,—erected at great expense by the municipality or by private bodies. Fine public gardens and several monuments further em-bellish the city. The present university, founded as the " Glawnaja Szkola," in 1816, but closed in 1832, was again opened in 1864 ; it has a remarkable library of more than 350,000 volumes, rich natural history collections, a fine botanic garden, and an observatory well known for its astronomical work. There are 75 professors and nearly 1000 students. The teaching is in Russian, and mostly by Russians, and the close intercourse which used to exist between the university and the educated classes of Poland is becoming a thing of the past. The rich university library, one of the largest in the world, was confiscated in 1794, and transferred to St Petersburg, where it became the nucleus of the present imperial public library; and, after the insurrection of 1831, it was again ransacked for the same purpose. The medical school, which enjoys high repute in the scientific world, still retains the right of teaching in Polish, and has about 220 students. The same privilege is enjoyed by the school of arts, the academy of agriculture and forestry, and the conservatory of music, all of which are high-class institutions. There are, besides, six classical gymnasia, two " real" schools, and numerous elementary schools. The museum of the society of fine arts is rich in examples of ancient and modern art. The association of the friends of science and the historical and agricultural societies of Warsaw were once well known, but all were closed after the insurrections, and now they live but a precarious life, the scientific works which continue to be produced in Poland being partly published at Cracow.
The great theatre for Polish drama and the ballet is a fine building which really includes two theatres under the same roof ; but the pride of Warsaw is its theatre in the Lazienki gardens, which were laid out in an old bed of

the Vistula by Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski, and have beautiful shady alleys, artificial ponds, an elegant little palace with ceilings painted by Bacciarelli, several impe-rial villas, and a monument to Sobieski. An artificial ruin on an island makes an open-air theatre, the stage of which is separated from the auditorium by a channel of water, and the decorations of which blend with the parks and the palace behind. Two other public gardens, with alleys of old chestnut trees, are situated in the centre of the city. One of these, the Saski Ogrod, or Saxon garden (17 acres), which has a summer theatre and excellent fountains, and is richly adorned with statues and flowers, is one of the most beautiful in Europe; it is the resort of the Warsaw aristocracy. The Krasinski garden, now some-what less frequented, and many other smaller squares and gardens in the theatres of which Polish and German companies give their summer representations, contribute very much to the enlivenment of the streets of Warsaw; while the variety of smart national costumes still worn by the Polish peasantry gives colour and brightness to the crowds which throng them.
Warsaw is semicircular in plan, the diameter, nearly 5 miles in length, lying along the Vistula. The central point of the life of the place is the castle (Zamek Krolewski) on Sigismund Square. It was built by the dukes of Mazovia, enlarged by Sigismund III. (whose memorial stands opposite) and Ladislaus IV., and em-bellished by Stanislaus Augustus. At present it is inhabited by the "governor-general of the provinces on the Vistula," and its pictures and other art treasures have been removed to St Peters-burg. Four main thoroughfares radiate from it: one, the Krakow-skie Przedmiescie, the best street in Warsaw, runs southward. It is continued by the Nowy Swiat and the Ujazdowska Aleja avenue, which leads to the tazienki gardens. Many fine buildings are found in these two streets:—the church of the Bernardine convent; the house of the benevolent society; the Carmelite church, now closed, where the crown archives of Poland are still kept; the rich Radziwill palace, now inhabited by the governor-general ; the university, Saxon Square, on which Nicholas I. ordered the erection of a memorial to the Polish generals who refused to take part in the insurrection of 1831 and were therefore shot by the insurgents ; the Saxon garden behind the square ; the fine palaces of the Potockis, the Oginskis, the Uruskis, &c.; the church of the Holy Cross, erected in 1682-96, the richest in Warsaw; the palace of the Krasinskis, with library and museum; the statue of Copernicus, by Thorwaldsen, erected in 1822 by national subscrip-tion ; the house of the friends of natural history, now a gym-nasium ; the palace of the Zamojskis, now confiscated and trans-formed into a building for subalterns of the garrison ; the church of St Alexander, erected to commemorate the re-establishment of the kingdom of Poland ; and the deaf and dumb asylum. The Ujazdowska Aleja avenue, planted with lime-trees and surrounded by cafes and various places of amusement, is the Champs Elysees of Warsaw. It leads to the tazienki park, and to the Belvedere palace, now the summer residence of the governor-general, and farther west to the Mokotowski parade ground, which is surrounded on the south and west by the smoky chimneys of the manufacturing district. Another great street, the Marszatkowska, runs parallel to the Ujazdowska from the Saxon garden to this parade ground, on the south-east of which are the Russian barracks. The above-mentioned streets are crossed by another series running west and east, the chief of them being the Senatorska, which begins at Sigismund Square and contains the best shops. The palace of the archbishops of Gnesen and primates of Poland, confiscated by the Prussian Government, and now used by the ministry of education, the bank of Poland, the fine mansion-house burned in 1863 and now rebuilt as police bureau, the small Pod Blaehoi palace, now occupied by a chancery, the theatre, the old mint, the chief post-office, the beautiful Reformed church, the exchange, the school of subaltern officers, and several palaces are grouped in Senators' Street, which is joined from the north by Miodowa Street, in which are situated the fine church of the Capuchins, erected in 1683 to commemorate the victory of John Sobieski over the Turks, the palace of the archbishops of Warsaw, and the Russian cathedral.
To the west Senators' Street is continued by Electors' Street, where is the very elegant modern church of St Charles Borromeo and the Chiodna leading to the suburb of Wola, with a large field where the kings of Poland used to be elected. In Leshno Street, which branches off from Senators' Street, are the Zelazna Brama, or Iron Gate, in the market-place, the gostinyi dvor or bazaar, the arsenal, and the Wielopolski barracks. The cemeteries, the summer barracks of the troops (Powonzski lager), and the artillery barracks lie to the north-west.
To the north of Sigismund Square is the old town—Staro Miasto —the Jewish quarter, and farther north still the Alexandrovsk citadel. The old town very much recalls old Germany by its narrow streets and old buildings ; it has the church of St John at its entrance, and farther down the cathedral, which is the oldest church of Warsaw, having been built in the 13th century and restored in the 17th. The citadel, erected in 1832-35 as a punish-ment for the insurrection of 1831, is of the old type, with six forts too close to the walls of the fortress to be useful in modern warfare. The railway bridge, built in 1865 and 570 yards long, begins under the walls of the citadel and is protected on the right bank of the Vistula by the Sliwnicki tUe de pont.
The suburb of Praga, on the right bank of the Vistula, is poorly built and often flooded ; but the bloody assaults which led to its capture in 1794 by the Russians under Suwaroff, and in 1831 by Paskevitch, give it a name in history.
Industry and Trade.—Warsaw has of. late become industrially important, and now has more than 320 establishments employing nearly 20,000 workmen, and producing to the amount of nearly 40 million roubles annually. The leading industries are the produc-tion of plated silver ware, with a wide market throughout Russia, machinery and engines, chemicals, musical instruments, especi-ally pianos, carpets, boots, and shoes, largely exported, carriages, woollen cloth, leather wares, spirits, and beer. The trade of Warsaw is considerable. Nearly 14,000,000 cwts. of coal and 4,800,000 cwts. of miscellaneous goods are imported by rail from the south-west (Kielce, Lodz, and Galieia), and 3,200,000 cwts. of manufactured goods, corn, flax, &c., are exported in the same direction. Corn and flax are imported to the amount of 7,000,000 cwts. from the south-east and east, and exported to Prussia to the amount of 5,300,000 cwts. by rail and partly down the Vistula, while the total railway traffic is represented by 34,400,000 cwts. of merchandise brought in and 18,000,000 cwts. sent away. To all this must be added the traffic on the Vistula (about 3,000,000 cwts.). A great proportion of the trade is in the hands of Germans, especially of Jews.
The suburbs of Warsaw are surrounded by villas, palaces, and battlefields. Wilauow, the palace of John Sobieski, now belonging to the Potockis, was partly built by Turkish prisoners in a fine Italian style, and is now renowned for its historical portraits and pictures. It is situated to the south of Warsaw, together with many other fine villas (Morysin, Natolin, Krolikarnia, which also has a picture gallery, &c). The Marymont, an old country residence of the wife of John Sobieski, and the Kaskada, much visited by the inhabitants of Warsaw, in the north, the Saska Kempa on the right bank of the Vistula, and the castle of Jabtona down the Vistula are among others that deserve mention.
The events associated with the name of Praga have been already alluded to. Among other battlefields in the neighbourhood of Warsaw is that of Grochowo, where the Polish troops were defeated in 1831 after a gallant fight. Raszyn saw its fields covered witli blood in the war of 1809 with Austria ; at Maciejowice, 50 miles up the Vistula, Kosciuszko was wounded and taken by the Russians in 1794 ; and 20 miles down the river stands the fortress of Modlin, now Novogeorgievsk, fortified by Napoleon, taken in 1813 by the Russians, and the last stronghold of the Poles during the insurrec-tion of 1831.
History.—The history of Warsaw from the 16th century onwards is intimately connected with that of POLAND (q.v.). The precise date of the foundation of the town is not known. The banks of the Vistula between the Pilica and the Narew must have been inhabited from a very early period, and it is supposed that Conrad, duke of Mazovia, erected a castle on the present site of Warsaw as early as the 9th century. Casimir the Just is supposed to have fortified it in the 11th century, hut Warsaw is not mentioned in annals before 1224. Until 1526 it was the residence of the dukes of Mazovia, but when their dynasty was extinguished the land of the Mazurs, till then independent, was annexed to Poland. When Poland and Lithuania became united, it was chosen as the royal residence. Sigismund Augustus (Wasa) made it the real capital of Poland, and from 1572 onwards the election of the kings of Poland took place, on the field of Wola. From the 17th century possession of it was continually disputed by the Swedes, the Russians, and the Brandenburgers and the Austrians. Charles Gustavus of Sweden took it in 1655 and kept it for a year ; the Poles retook it in July 1656 but lost it again almost immediately. Augustus II. and Augustus III. did much for its embellishment, but it had much to suffer during the northern war. Charles XII. took it in 1702, but in the following year peace was made between the Swedes and Stanislaus Lezczynski, and it became free again. The disorderly rule of the Rzee Pospolita opened a large field for Russian intrigue, and in 1764 the Russians took possession of it and secured the election of Stanislaus Poniatowski, which led in 1773 to the first partition of Poland. In November 1794 the Russians took it again, after the bloody assault on Praga, but next year, in the third partition of Poland, Warsaw was given to Prussia. In November 1806 the town was occupied by the troops of Napoleon, and after

the peace of Tilsit was made the capital of the independent duchy I of "Warsaw; but the Austrians took it on April 21, 1809, and kept it till June 2, when it once more became independent, but only for a few years. The Russians finally took it on February 8, 1813, since which time they have always retained it. On November 29, 1830, Warsaw gave the signal of the great but unsuccessful insurrection which lasted nearly one year ; it was taken after great bloodshed by Paskevitch, on September 7, 1831. Deportations on a large scale, executions, and confiscation of the domains of the nobility followed, and until 1856 Warsaw remained under severe military rule. In 1862 a series of demonstrations began to be made in Warsaw in favour of the independence of Poland, and after a bloody repression a general insurrection followed in January 1863, the Russians remaining, however, masters of the situation. The Russian Government now decided to take the most stringent measures to crush the powers of the clergy, the landed nobility, and the turbulent Warsaw artisans and educated classes. Executions, banishment to the convict prisons of Siberia, and con-fiscation of estates followed. Deportation to Siberia and the interior of Russia was carried out on an unheard-of scale. Scientific societies and high schools were closed; monasteries and nunneries were emptied. Hundreds of Russian officials were called in to fill up administrative posts, the schools, and the university; the Russian language was rendered obligatory in official acts, in all legal pro-ceedings, and even, to a great extent, in trade. The very name of Poland was expunged from official writings, and, while the old institutions were abolished, the Russian tribunals and administra-tive institutions were introduced. The serfs were liberated. See POLAND.
Officially, Warsaw is now simply the chief town of the govern-ment of Warsaw, the residence of the governor-general of the pro-vinces on the Vistula and the commander of the Warsaw military district, and the see of the Roman and Greek archbishops. But it continues to be the heart of the Polish nationality. (P. A. K.)






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