Staszic Palace

Staszic Palace
Pałac Staszica (Polish)

Staszic Palace, seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences
General information
Architectural style Neoclassical
Town or city Warsaw
Country Poland
Construction started 1820
Completed 1823
Demolished 1944
Design and construction
Architect Antonio Corazzi

Staszic Palace (Polish: Pałac Staszica, IPA: [ˈpawat͡s staˈʂit͡sa]) is an edifice at ulica Nowy Świat 72, Warsaw, Poland. It is the seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences.



The history of the Staszic Palace dates to 1620, when King Zygmunt III Vasa ordered the construction of a small Eastern Orthodox chapel, as a proper place of burial for the former Tsar Vasili IV of Russia and his brother, Dmitry Shuisky, who had died in Polish custody after having been captured several years earlier during the Polish-Muscovite War of 1605-18.

As the population was mostly Catholic, Protestant or Jewish, there was little need for an Orthodox chapel, and in 1668 another Polish king, Jan Kazimierz Waza, transferred the chapel to the Dominican Order, who would be caretakers of the building until 1808.

19th century

Copernicus holding armillary sphere, before the Staszic Palace

In 1818 the building was purchased by Stanisław Staszic, a leader of the Polish Enlightenment, who ordered its renovation. The architect in charge was Antonio Corazzi, who designed the palace in a neoclassical style. After the renovation (1820–23), Staszic transferred the building to the Society of Friends of Science, the first Polish scientific organization.

On 11 May 1830 a landmark was added to the palace, as Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz unveiled before it a monument to Nicolaus Copernicus sculpted by Bertel Thorvaldsen.[1]

After the November 1830 Uprising, the Society was delegalized by the Russian government, which had controlled Warsaw for most of the time since the final partitions of Poland in 1795. For the next 26 years, the palace was used by the directory of a lottery.

Staszic Palace in Russo-Byzantine style (1892–1924)

In 1857–62 the palace was home to a Medical-Surgical Academy, the first institution of higher learning re-established in the Russian partition (all institutions of higher learning having been banned following the 1830 Uprising); but the Academy was soon closed after yet another failed insurrection, the January 1863 Uprising.

Until the end of World War I, the building housed a gymnasium. From 1890 it was also home to an Orthodox church. In 1892–93 the palace was renovated by the Russian authorities; in line with the ongoing Russification of Warsaw, architect Mikhail Pokrovsky transformed the palace into a Russo-Byzantine style building.

20th century

After Poland regained independence in 1918, in 1924–26 the palace was restored to its previous neoclassical style by architect Marian Lalewicz. In the Interbellum it hosted several scientific and scholarly organizations: the Warsaw Scientific Society, the Mianowski Fund, the National Meteorological Institute, the French Institute, and the Archeological Museum of Warsaw.

The palace was damaged during the 1939 siege of Warsaw and nearly razed during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. In 1946–50 it was rebuilt in its original neoclassical form. Today it is the seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences.


  1. A bronze replica of the sculpture was installed in 1973, on the 500th anniversary of Copernicus' birth, on Chicago's lakefront along Solidarity Drive on the city's Museum Campus. John Graf, Chicago's Parks, Arcadia Publishing, 2000, ISBN 0-7385-0716-4, pp. 13-14.

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Coordinates: 52°14′16″N 21°01′06″E / 52.23778°N 21.01833°E / 52.23778; 21.01833

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