The Presidential Palace -in Polish, Pa?ac Prezydencki, also known as Pa?ac Koniecpolskich, Lubomirskich,Radziwi??ów, and Pa?ac Namiestnikowski) in Warsaw, Poland, is the elegant classicist latest version of a building that has stood on the Krakowskie Przedmie?cie site since 1643. Over the years, it has been rebuilt and remodeled many times. For its first 175 years, the palace was the private property of several aristocratic families. In 1791 it hosted the authors and advocates of the Constitution of May 3, 1791.
It was in 1818 that the palace began its ongoing career as a governmental structure, when it became the seat of the Viceroy of the Polish (Congress) Kingdom under Russian occupation (Namiestnik of the Kingdom of Poland). Following Poland’s resurrection after World War I, in 1918, the building was taken over by the newly reconstituted Polish authorities and became the seat of the Council of Ministers. During World War II, it served the country’s German occupiers as a Deutsches Haus and survived intact the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. After the war, it resumed its function as seat of the Polish Council of Ministers.
An equestrian statue of Prince Józef Poniatowski stands in the courtyard. It was commissioned in 1816 and was created by sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, modelled after the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius in Rome. It was sponsored by Polish aristocracy and executed between 1826 and 1832. It was not put in place on account of the tsar’s opposition and stood in Ivan Paskevich’s manor of Gomel (Eastern Belarus) from 1842 to 1922.
After the Soviet-Polish War, the statue of Prince Józef was brought back to Warsaw. It stood before the Polish General Staff building (the Saxon Palace) and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier within the Palace. Though the statue was destroyed in World War II. It was deliberately and completely destroyed by the Germans in 1944 (blew up on December 16). The statue was reconstructed between 1948–51 and recast in 1965 from the original mold by Paul Lauritz Rasmussen (financed by Danish people).
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