on June 9, 2013
Poniatowski Bridge is one of the prettiest bridges in Warsaw due to its neo-Renaissance towers, balustrades and pavilions that were erected in 1907-13. It isn’t often I walk the whole length of it as this isn’t in my part of town and I usually travel over it by tram when going to visit Skaryszewski Park or to Saska Kępa. You also pass over the bridge to get to Rondo Waszyngtona and the newly built National Stadium.Yesterday I did walk across the bridge and also up the steps of the first tower across the road from the stadium. The views of the stadium from this point are excellent and you are able to view it in its full glory.The bridge and viaduct are named after Józef Poniatowski, a Polish General who was born in Vienna. Construction started in 1903 and finished in 1913. Like everything else in Warsaw, the bridge was damaged greatly in the First and Second World Wars. Reconstruction was carried out in 1946 by S. Hempel and the bridge was widened in 1965-1966.You take your life in your hands when walking across the bridge on a Saturday afternoon when cyclists are racing on it so you have to keep to one side to let them through. The traffic is very heavy too on the road as it is a main route through from Plac Zawiszy so there are always buses and trams on the move. At one point when I was looking across to the River Vistula I felt the pavement vibrate from the noise of the traffic. The views from the right side of the bridge looking over the river are interesting; you are able to see the Cultural Palace, the back of St Anne’s Church in the Old Town and the rooftop of the Royal Palace. From where I was looking the water didn’t look inviting, it was brown and sludgy. I noticed a bar where a lot of young people hang out at the weekends and people sat on the sand at the water’s edge – yes, sand in Warsaw and it is soft and golden! Usually at the weekends families go along to the river to set up small barbecues and have picnics. You also get an excellent view of the National Stadium and of Skaryszewki Bridge which is right over on the other side of the river.I enjoyed the views but I also enjoyed looking at the towers and pavilions, also the stone seats that are placed at intervals on the bridge. I suppose in the 19th century people would sit on these and admire the views. I am not so sure the experience would be a peaceful one now with the noise from the hustle and bustle of the traffic. The towers have coloured glass in the windows and are in very good condition. There is a little graffiti but not too much. There are steps leading down into each tower, the roofs are arched and there are small, narrow windows at the top of the structure. Lamps hang from the ceiling so the towers must be lit at night. Stefan Szyller was the designer of the towers, a Polish architect who studied historical forms and was influenced by Renaissance and Baroque movements.A walk from the National Stadium to Charles de Gaulle Roundabout takes about 15 minutes. Here, there is a tram stop where various trams will take you to different destinations including Centrum, Plac Zawiszy and Wola. Three Crosses Square is a short walk from here as is Nowy Świat and the Stare Miasto so the bridge is well placed in the city.
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009