Park life: Warsaw’s 200-year-old Pole Mokotowskie to get sparkling new 39.6mln makeover
A silent witness to over 200 years of history, one of Warsaw’s largest public parks is bracing itself for a sparkling new makeover.
Costing 39.6 million PLN, the capital’s 72 hectare Pole Mokotowskie park will see the removal of the concrete area around the park’s largest lake and its re-wilding as well as the installation of a completely new water system brimming with wild plants and animal life.
The centre of the park will also get a natural biocenotic garden which will abound in wild spaces and diverse plants.
Karolina Nawrocin, vice-director of the Warsaw city department for green spaces said: “One of Warsaw’s biggest parks will become even more green.
Realising this investment we wanted to take care of biological diversity and create a picturesque place for recreation full of greenery and water elements.
“Next year the rich number of trees in the park will be increased by 55 young trees, we will also plant a 1000 species of shrubs, climbers and bulb plants.
“We will also create beautiful plantations and meadows for pollinating insects.”
Starting its life in the 19th century as a military training ground covering 200 hectares, by the 1840s it had morphed into a horse racing track which held the country’s first ever public horse race.
Just over 60 years later, the park became used as an airfield and in 1909 the first air shows on Polish territory were held. A year later, a makeshift airport was established on the site for military, sports and passenger planes.
The Mokotowskie airport was used during airplane races of the Challenge 1934 competition as well as few hot air balloon competitions of the Gordon Bennett Cup.
Officially incorporated into the city in 1916, by the second half of the 20th century Pole Mokotowskie cemented its place as a public park where in 1934, Marshal Józef Piłsudzki opened his last military parade and a year later became the site for his main funeral ceremony.
The scene of bitter fighting and clandestine meetings during World War II, between 1945-46 the occupying communists built a group of Finish houses as a gift where journalist Ryszard Kapuściński was born and lived until 1955.
In 1973, however, the authorities decided to demolish over 200 of them leaving just two.
Speaking about the new renovation of the park, Justyna Glusman, coordination director for sustainable development and green spaces for the city of Warsaw said: “I’m happy that the modernisation of Pole Mokotowskie is entering into the realisation phase.
“The park will see the creation of new spaces which are rich in diverse greenery and an attractive place to spend time…This is the first phase of the park’s modernisation, encompassed by EU funds.”
She added: “The changes are a response to the needs of residents which were outlined by the public consultation.”
The city hall has also confirmed the building of an open air gym and automatic toilets and the renovation of the remaining Finnish houses.
The first phase of modernisation works, which begins this month, is expected to be completed by the last quarter of 2022.