Piłsudski Square

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Piłsudski Square. The cross in the front commemorates Pope John Paul II's celebration of Holy Mass in the square in 1979. The colonade in the background houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Piłsudski Square 1939
Piłsudski Square (then Victory Square) during Pope John Paul II visit to Warsaw; Holy Mass, 1979

Piłsudski Square (Polish: plac marsz. Józefa Piłsudskiego), previously Victory Square (plac Zwycięstwa, 1946-1990) and Saxon Square (Plac Saski, 1814–1928), is the largest city square of Poland's capital, located in the Warsaw city centre. The Square is named for Marshal Józef Piłsudski who was instrumental in the restoration of Polish statehood after World War I.[1]

Current and previous names[edit]

Over the centuries, the square has been named successively as the Saxon Square (Plac Saski) after Poland's Saxon kings with the Saxon Palace standing adjacent to the square, but destroyed in World War II; then the Piłsudski Square (after Józef Piłsudski) during Second Polish Republic; then briefly, the Adolf Hitler Platz during Germany's World War II occupation of Warsaw; and, after 1946, the Victory Square (Polish: plac Zwycięstwa) in honor of Poland's and her allies' victory in World War II. At present, it is again called Piłsudski Square.

Piłsudski Square is the site of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, erected on top of the underground foundations of the Saxon Palace, destroyed by the Nazis in World War II.


The Square has been the scene of many historic events over the centuries. Important guests of Warsaw and Poland have been officially welcomed there. The Military parades were held at the Square since the 19th century partitions. From the 1890s to the 1920s, the orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral stood there. As most of the other orthodox churches in Warsaw it was demolished in mid-1920s by the Polish authorities less than 15 years after its construction, and in 1928 the square was renamed after Józef Piłsudski.

It was on the Piłsudski Square (then still Victory Square) in 1979 that Pope John Paul II addressed a large gathering of his countrymen at an open-air Holy Mass during his first visit to Poland soon after his 1978 elevation to the papacy. In April 2005, his death was mourned there also. Pope Benedict XVI celebrated an open-air Mass on the Square on 26 May 2006, during his first pastoral visit to Poland. The square is now a location of some luxury shops, such as Italian Valentino and others.


The square is located in front of the 15–hectare Saxon Gardens extending south-west, close to the Zachęta and the Holy Trinity Church. The nearest metro station is Świętokrzyska (see Warsaw Metro).

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Strona placu Józefa Piłsudskiego. Official website. (in Polish)

Coordinates: 52°14′28.41″N 21°0′45.94″E / 52.2412250°N 21.0127611°E / 52.2412250; 21.0127611