Warsaw meridian

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Coordinates: 52°14′37.9″N 21°00′32.76″E / 52.243861°N 21.0091000°E / 52.243861; 21.0091000

Warsaw meridian
Description plate of the Warsaw meridian

The Warsaw meridian (Polish: południk warszawski) is a meridian line running through Warsaw. The local mean time at the meridian was known as Warsaw Mean Time. It corresponds to an offset from UTC of +01:24.

In 1880, a small column marking the meridian was erected at the Theatre Square in Warsaw. It is marked as being located at 52°14’40”N 21°00’42”E (in accordance with the coordinate system used at that time).

History[edit]

In 1880, in the square in front of the Jabłonowski Palace (then the city hall), a stone pillar was erected surrounded by an iron railing with a sign indicating the geographical location and the height above sea level and the Vistula. The Warsaw meridian passes through the top of the pillar and top of the clock tower of the Jabłonowski Palace, which served as point measurements.

Coordinate values of the meridian which are engraved on a plate on the sidewalk, differ from the current ones. The column also contains information in Russian. The plate on the sidewalk appeared much later in 1965. Changes and lack of dates on some of the plates may lead to some confusion.

Only four years after the appearance of the column in Warsaw, Greenwich Mean Time effectively became the international standard for time calculation around the world based on the Prime meridian at Greenwich in London. Previously only local time was used, the setting of noon based on the length of the shadow from a gnomon (on a sundial).

The Meridian features in the film Pingwin (Penguin) (1965) starring Zbigniew Cybulski.