Warsaw train station proves it’s on the right track after being given cultural heritage status
Warsaw’s Central Railway Station has been included in the Polish Registry of Objects of Cultural Heritage, celebrating one of the capital city’s most recognizable landmarks.
The iconic building, loved by some and hated by others, services 15 million passengers per year.
Professor Jakub Lewicki, who leads the Masovian Office for Preservation of Objects of Cultural Heritage (Mazowiecki Konserwator Zabytków), told tvnwarszawa.pl: “I thought architecturally, it was the most interesting railway station in Poland and from the moment I took my office I was aiming to enter the station into the registry.”
The entire building was included in the list, as one of almost 77 thousand structures in Poland.
“We managed to convince the user, PKP (Polish State Railways) to the necessity of protecting the building,” Lewicki added.
In practice, the new status means no construction or renovation works can be carried out without the permission of the Preservation Office. The institution will ensure that none of the integral historic parts of the structure are damaged or changed in the process.
The railway station was inaugurated in 1975, after three years of construction. At the beginning, only 23 workers and two excavator were involved, but the crew quickly grew to 2,000 builders and even soldiers, to make the December 5th deadline.
Apart from the infrastructural needs, it was a flagship socialist project of that time. The Communist Party leader Edward Gierek had the ambition of welcoming Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet Secretary General at the most modern train station in Europe.
The final plans of the building were the seventh version of the concept, created by Arseniusz Romanowicz.
To reach Western standards and showcase their innovative approach, the structure included numerous automatic devices such as doors and stairs imported from western countries and even the United States.
The Station could boast the first and the only vending machine in Poland for almost a decade.
The area of the Central Railway Station is approx. 90,000 square meters. The characteristic three-level structure resembling a canopy hasn’t changed since the seventies.
The 20-meters high main hall leads to four underground platforms, each 400 meters long. The restaurant and shopping section was included from the start, equipped with French furniture.
The entire construction went through a major facelift before the 2012 European Football Championships, making it brighter and easier to navigate –especially when it comes to the maze of underground passageways.
In January this year, the Central Station received a new patron. Stanisław Moniuszko, the father of Polish National Opera was chosen by PKP and the Society of Moniuszko Music Lovers.
Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Gliński said during the naming ceremony on January 5th: “This way, Warsaw will be a unique capital in the world, where the two largest communication ports - Okęcie Chopin Airport and Moniuszko Central Railway Station - will be named after our great composers.”
This Thursday, the station will host another official occasion – this time its own inclusion in the Heritage Registry, with Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Gliński, deputy Culture Minister Magdalena Gawin, deputy Infrastructure Minister Andrzej Bittel and PKP S.A. chairman Krzysztof Mamiński present.