Embassy in Warsaw

All practical information on our Embassy in Warsaw.

The Mniszech Palace

Information about Mniszech Palace in Warsaw.

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History of the Mniszech Palace


The earliest reference dates back to 1620, when a wooden mansion was built for the King’s cupbearer Zygmunt Kazanowski at the current location. In 1692 the Voivode of Kalisz Feliks Aleksander Lipski acquired the grounds and decided to erect a brick-built baroque palace next to the wooden construction. It is this brick building that would later become the “Mniszech Palace”.

The palace got its name when in 1714 it became the property of Józef Wandalin Mniszech, Grand Marshal of the Crown. Half a century later, in 1788 while the property of Michał Jerzy Wandalin Mniszech, the Mniszech Palace was the location of a historic event: the very first hot-air balloon flight in Poland started in the palace gardens – a project from scholar and writer Jan Potocki, who would later on become the owner of the Mniszech Palace.

At the end of the 18th century, the Mniszech Palace was damaged by a devastating fire and the Potocki family sold the building to a Prussian officer Friedrich Wilhelm Mosqua and his wife in 1805. They hired architect Fryderyk Albert Lessel to renovate and modify the building, and the palace transitioned from a baroque style into neoclassicism. It is at this moment that the impressive columns and front were added.

During the 19th and 20th centuries the Mniszech Palace had a succession of different owners and functions. Following the arrival of the Napoleonic troops in 1806, it became a hospital. In 1809 it housed the Ingermran mechanic marionettes theatre, then a French theatre in 1821. From 1829 to 1940 the palace was used by the 'Société des Marchands', an association of entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, merchants and artists. In ownership of the Order of Malta in 1940, it again became a hospital. In 1944, the German occupation forces burned the palace down until only ruins were left.

Before the Second World War, the Kingdom of Belgium had an embassy on Aleje Ujazdowskie. This building was destroyed during the war and the Belgian state was looking for options for its new Embassy.

A rumor has is that the Polish authorities approached art-loving Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, wife of King Albert I, during one of her visits to the Warsaw Chopin piano competition, with the suggestion of the reconstruction of the Mniszech Palace. Poland had earlier expressed its appreciation for the late King Albert I by organizing in 1919 an honorary celebration -- in the Grand Hall of the Mniszech Palace -- and by naming a Warsaw street after him in 1934. Sensitive to this subject, Queen Elisabeth would have spoken about it to the Belgian authorities.

The suggestion was taken up. In 1959 Etienne Davignon signed the check on behalf of the Belgian government which acquired the plot with the ruins for reconstruction and use as an Embassy. Belgium decided to restore the palace to its former glory; basing the reconstruction on the neoclassical plans from the 19th century. After three years of work In 1962, the new Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium opened its doors in the reconstructed Mniszech Palace.
 

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First sketches of the Mniszech Palace

First sketches of the Palace.

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Image of the painting Mniszech Palace in Warsaw by Bernardo Bellotto

Bernardo Bellotto, Mniszech Palace in Warsaw, 1779, oil on canvas, in the collection of Royal Castle in Warsaw.

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Collage of black and white photographs of the Mniszech Palace in 1919

Mniszech Palace in 1919.

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Collage of two black and white photographs and a letter about the Mniszech Palace
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Photo of the dining hall of the Mniszech Palace
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Photo of a hall of the Mniszech Palace
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Photo of a staircase in the Mniszech Palace
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Photo of a tapestry in the Mniszech Palace
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Photo of a chandelier in the Mniszech Palace


Publication The Mniszech Palace. Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium”


In June 2022, the book “Pałac Mniszchów. Ambasada Królestwa Belgii / The Mniszech Palace. Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium” was presented to the public. 

Almost 60 years after the Palace was rebuilt and handed over to the Belgian Embassy, we invited a group of experts to let them shed light on the most interesting, and sometimes completely unknown, facts of the past. The artistic photography project "Marrow" challenges the conventional perception of the Palace and lays bare its inner soul.

We invite you to join us on this journey!

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Book 2022