15 January 2018

History: Italian inspiration

Associated mainly as a workers` district today, Muranow has more noble roots that it seems. They reach Murano island near Venetia, famous worldwide from its glassworks. It was also a place where Giuseppe Belotti, the royal architect of Polish kings – Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki and Jan III Sobieski. Belotti, whose works in Warsaw include Holy Cross church at Krakowskie Przedmieście and the project of Wilanow palace, in 1686 designed and built for himself a palace in the area close to present Muranowska street and Monument of Dead and Murdered in the East. Driven by sentimental emotions, he called it Murano as a reminder of his family background.

The buliding was “entre cour de jardin” style, which means “between the courtyard and the garden” (the same idea accompanied the planners of Warsaw Bruehl palace). It had a horseshoe court,three floors and its shape  resembled typical Polish mansion-house. The area where Murano palace was built looked at that time as a typical countryside and was one of Warsaw suburbs, on the way to Bielany. It was divided into several “jurydyki” – private settlements with their own administration, spilled among green fields, islands, fish ponds and streams.  Especially attractive were the areas next to the road full of springs, used to provide Warsaw with water. The first municipal water transport system consisted of wooden crates, backing up water, called “naliwki” or “nalewki” and wells (“rząpie) where  water was taken from. Soon the river changed its name to “Nalewka”. People started to use it also as the name of the road running along from Długa to Świętojerska street.

Belotti palace in 1761 was taken over by Jakub Fontana, and a decade later – by I.M. Słomiński. It survived till 1900, but at the turn of XIX and XX century was more like a memory of glamour from the past. It was slowly turning into a ruin. Contrasted with surrounding wooden tenement houses, which grew around Muranowski square, and finally stepped aside, as it was teared down to make room for new houses in the rapidly growing so-called Northern District of Warsaw (another name of Muranów), with most citizens of Jewish origin.