Piłsudski Square (Polish: plac marsz. Józefa Piłsudskiego), previously Victory Square (plac Zwycięstwa, 1946-1990) and Saxon Square (Plac Saski, 1814–1928), is the largest square of Poland's capital, located in the Warsaw city centre. The Square is named for Marshal Józef Piłsudski who was instrumental in the restoration of Polish statehood after World War I.
Current and previous namesEdit
Over the centuries, the square has been named successively as the Saxon Square (Plac Saski) after Poland's Saxon kings with the Saxon Palace standing adjacent to the square, but destroyed in World War II; then the Piłsudski Square (after Józef Piłsudski) during Second Polish Republic; then briefly, the Adolf Hitler Platz during Germany's World War II occupation of Warsaw; and, after 1946, the Victory Square (Polish: plac Zwycięstwa) in honor of Poland's and her allies' victory in World War II. At present, it is again called Piłsudski Square.
The Square has been the scene of many historic events over the centuries. Important guests of Warsaw and Poland have been officially welcomed there. The Military parades were held at the Square since the 19th century partitions. From the 1890s to the 1920s, the orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral stood there. As most of the other orthodox churches in Warsaw it was demolished in mid-1920s by the Polish authorities less than 15 years after its construction, and in 1928 the square was renamed after Józef Piłsudski.
It was on the Piłsudski Square (then still Victory Square) in 1979 that Pope John Paul II addressed a large gathering of his countrymen at an open-air Holy Mass during his first visit to Poland soon after his 1978 elevation to the papacy. In April 2005, his death was mourned there also. Pope Benedict XVI celebrated an open-air Mass on the Square on 26 May 2006, during his first pastoral visit to Poland. The square is now a location of some luxury shops, such as Italian Valentino and others.