• Krakowskie Przedmieście 87/89, 00-079 Warszawa

History

The House of Literature is located in one of the most spectacular places in Warsaw, at Castle Square, opposite the Royal Castle, in two buildings in the Rococo and Neo-Classical styles. It is managed by the Foundation of the House of Literature and Houses of Creative Work. The first building is the Joachim
Pastorius House (also called the Prażmowski, Leszczyński and Rautenstrauch House) at two addresses: Krakowskie Przedmieście 87/89 and Senatorska Street 3 (the building has entrances from both streets).01-1920035_824415520918343_1581496063_n The other building is the Ignacy Nowicki House (also called the Aleksander John House) at the address Senatorska Street 1. This building can be entered (on the ground level) from every of the three sides : of Senatorska Street, Krakowskie Przedmieście and Castle Square.
Both historic buildings in the Rococo and Neo-Classical styles are joined into a single house. In the John House, at the end of Krakowskie Przedmieście, there is an elevator leading to Śląsko-Dąbrowski Bridge ( WZ Route) from which the building is very well seen. Its windows offer the view of the square up to its Praga District bank. The Prażmowski House was erected in 1660 for Joachim Pastorius, the royal physician, while the John House closing the western part of Krakowskie Przedmieście was built in 1654 for Adamecki, the musician. Both buildings were many times rebuilt and refurbished, and the decor of their facades was changed.

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During World War II, and important event took place in front of the Prażmowski House at Senatorska Street 3. On August 12, 1943 the special forces of Home Army won over a hundred million Polish zlotys from Nazi troops escorting the money. The action is now commemorated by a plaque. The two historic buildings, totally devastated during the Warsaw Uprising, were reconstructed in 1949 according to the design of Włodzimierz Wapiński and Kazimierz Thor, the architects. The facades were recreated as they were in 1768 and featured in the Canaletto painting which served as a model for reconstruction. The function of the John House ground level was transformed from housing into an entrance to the elevator linking Castle Square with the WZ Route. Both houses were rebuilt in a
traditional technology; the walls were made of ceramic bricks coated with traditional lime, cement and sand plaster. Stucco architectural and bas-relief details on facades were also recreated with the use of traditional methods and materials. Additionally, the facades were decorated with elements made of
Szydłowiec sandstone: sculptures, balconies and plinths. Both buildings, now the home of the House of Literature, are unique works of architecture of very
special historic value. They are situated in the area listed as the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage, within the historic City of Warsaw declared by President of the Polish Republic a monument of history. The houses are a unique example of faithful reconstruction made after the devastation of World War II, using the remaining fragments of walls. This was the world’s first reconstruction of a historic part of a city carried out on such a massive scale.
Since the reconstruction in the years 1948-1949 when the Prażmowski House was joined with the John House to form together the House of Literature, they have been the home of literary societies. From the very beginning in 1949 the House of Literature has been the seat of the most recognised literary organisation – the Polish Literary Society. Today it houses the seats of the Polish PEN Club, the Polish Writers’ Association (The National Board and its Warsaw branch) and the Polish Literary Society (The National Board and its Warsaw branch) as well the Society of European Culture SEC, Library Of Polish Writers’ Donation (a branch of the National Library), Institute of Polish Literature Documentation and Studies (a branch of the Adam Mickiewicz Museum of Literature which prepares, using the archives, critical editions of the 20th century writers, including Józef Czapski, Konstanty Jeleński or Jan Józef Lipski). The Library of Polish Writers’ Donation has in its collection of about 70 000 volumes, a comprehensive collection of literary magazines, unique book publications, and complete archives of press cuts (the only one in Poland) with reviews, interviews with writers, reports on literary meetings and materials documenting the literary life in Poland.

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The House of Literature contains a hall decorated in the art deco style, the only one in the capital city of Warsaw and unique in all the country. It has been – and still is – the scene of many significant events in the post-war Polish literary life. Apart from the literary ones, other cultural events have been
organised here. The hall, with its audiovisual facilities, enables to organise conferences, educational and other meetings and events.

A studio literary theatre named SCENA Theatre, which started its activity in 2016, is a new cultural initiative enriching the House of Literature’s cultural offer. An actors’ theatre, focused on the word, it refers to the great literature and has in its repertoire small-scale spectacles, medleys of poetry and of
poetry and music. This new proposal, with all the attention drawn on the text and the actor, is to fulfil the gap resulting from the lack of stage on which authentic and ambitious small-scale spectacles could be presented.

The ground level and the basement of the House of Literature is the place of the “Literatka” restaurant and cafe. Its menu includes old Polish cuisine dishes, excellent wines and desserts. The restaurant can also be the venue for special occasion events and banquets. The history of the House of Literature online (click)

  1.  Old Warsaw
  2.  Virtual Warsaw

 

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