Piłsudski Square is an expansive square in central Warsaw, best known as the home of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was known as Adolf Hitler Platz under Nazi occupation and later as Victory Square under the Communist rule. Today, the square is named for Jozef Piłsudski, who helped lead Poland to independence in 1918. Check out the statue dedicated to the square’s namesake and pay your respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
As you wander through the sprawling square, consider the many significant events in Polish history that have taken place here over the years. In the 19th century, the space was occupied by a huge Russian Orthodox cathedral which was destroyed after Poland regained independence from Russia. Military parades have taken place here for centuries to welcome state visitors.
Look at the statue of Jozef Piłsudski, which stands guard over the square. Serving as head of the Polish state, Marshal of Poland and Polish Prime Minister at various points in his career, Piłsudski is known as one of the country’s greatest patriots and statesmen. Designed by Tadeusz Łodziany, the statue was unveiled in 1995. Notice how Piłsudski is depicted with his face bowed and both hands clasped over his sword.
Across the square is the three-arched colonnade of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The tomb was once part of Saski Palace, but the rest of the building was destroyed during World War II. Miraculously, this ceremonial tomb alone survived the destruction and today contains ashes from every 20th-century battlefield where Polish soldiers lost their lives. Watch the changing of the guard, which takes place here every hour, or the more elaborate ceremony at noon every Sunday.
Head behind the tomb to the pretty Saxon Gardens, the oldest public park in the city. Admire the lovely 19th-century fountain directly behind the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Don’t miss the park’s beautiful lake, which is overlooked by a water tower reminiscent of a Greek temple.
Find Piłsudski Square within walking distance of the Royal Way. Be sure to stop here in the evening when the square shines with beautiful illumination.