What do we associate Warsaw with? With the monument of Warsaw Siren the legend of which we know since primary school…. with the National Stadium? With the Palace of Culture and Science, which you could see in the previous episode of the Mind Gym …. Or with the Royal Castle? Surely Warsaw is associated with all those places but there is one more symbol inscribed in the landscape of our capital city which should be known about. It was already controversial at the project stage, survived historical turmoil and even communist authorities were afraid to fight with it. Today it attracts hundreds of tourists who want to take a picture with it in the background. What do we talk about? Obviously Sigmund Column The statue of King Sigismund III Vasa was put on a twenty-two metre Corinthian column exactly on November 24, 1644 but this date is not the only reason we make this episode. Have you ever thought about the reason of this kind of monument being in the centre of the Old Town? Is it a tribute to the king from his grateful subjects for moving the capital city to Warsaw? The story of this monument is a bit less romantic. Wladyslaw IV Vasa, who wanted to strengthen kings power and to glorify Vasa Dynasty, initiated the creation of Vasa Forum, which is a kind of communication route with the monuments of the kings from the Vasa Dynasty It was a controversial situation because this monument was at that time the only column in Europe showing a layperson. The papal Nuncio did not like it very much because traditionally this kind of exaltation was reserved for the Mother of God, Christ and the saint. However, the king convinced the Nuncio to stop blocking the building by giving him comfortable conditions for meditation and a special diet in jail. Thanks to this the Church stopped resisting, with Vatican approval the image of king clad in armour, coronation cloak, holding a sword in his right hand and a cross in his left could be put in the centre of Warsaw You can think that Sigmund Column is a symbol of pride and this impression is strengthened by one of Latin signs placed on the western side of the column which means “Sigismund III from the power of free election the King of Poland, from the heritage title, succession and law the King of Sweden, with the love of peace and in glory the first of the kings, in war and victory unrelenting anyone, he took captive Moscow’s leaders, conquered the capital and the lands of Moscow, routed troops, regained Smoleńsk, in Chocim he broke the power of Turkey, ruled for forty-four years, the forty-fourth king in line , equal in glory to all or grabbed it all”. This description is full of pride of the king’s achievements, and the pride is well deserved because this ruler, among others, conquered Moscow and formally was the king of Sweden which could protect the column from destruction, when a few years after its placement the Swedes were trying to get hold of Warsaw during the Swedish Deluge. Originally the column was situated a bit different because in was crowning the gate which was open to the Old Town. For years the surroundings of the monument has been changing too and a few through renovations of the column have been conducted. Despite the fact that this symbol of royalty survived the Swedish Deluge, northern war and historical turmoil, it was destroyed during Warsaw Uprising – in the night from 1st to 2nd September 1944 hit with a bullet from German tank gun. The statue of the king fell to the ground in a way that it did not get severely damaged. A piece of left forearm with the cross and the sabre was broken off. Sigmund Column was rebuilt after the war and the unveiling took place on the day of the opening of the East-West route on July 22nd 1949. And a few more curiosities. There is a legend, that the Russian Czar Peter the Great liked the monument very much and monarch August III promised to sent it to Petersburg but it was not possible because of some technical reasons. During the transport of only the core of the Column worked 300 people, which was a huge logistic project. You can judge it yourself because two first cores of the Column are still displayed by the Royal Castle from the side of the East-West route The monument, moved 6 metres north-east and turned a bit according to its original placement, can be seen today. There is a superstition concerning king’s sabre, according to which the fact of dropping it by the king to the ground heralded misery and the fall of the city. Let us finish here – encouraging you to visit the Old Town of Warsaw. Support our channel and leave a sub, share the film with friends and follow us on our social media. See you in the next episode.