In connection with the 200th Anniversary of Fryderyk Chopin’s birth, the Capital City of Warsaw has opened a new walking route, based on the multimedia trail Chopin’s Benches. The route will guide you through the historic spots in Warsaw where multimedia benches have been located. By following the route and relaxing on the benches, Warsaw residents and tourists will discover the picturesque areas of the capital connected with Fryderyk’s younger days. The sound system embedded in the benches will bring the Chopin music closer – all you have to do is to press a button and make the bench play a selected fragment, almost like a jukebox.
Each Chopin Bench has a description of the particular spot and information on its historic links to the composer. To make it understandable to foreign tourists, the information is also available in English. Each of these unusual pieces of furniture, is equipped with a specific photo code, which allows downloading from the Internet a special Chopin application, containing, e.g. an audio guide and a set of tracks with Chopin music, available on www.um.warszawa.pl/chopin2010. The idea of Chopin’s Benches was created by Towarzystwo Projektowe for commemorating Chopin’s Year 2010, which also established the Urban Information System and designed the urban furniture on Krakowskie Przedmieście.
The route along “Chopin’s Benches” supplements the audio guide issued by the City, forming together an educational walking path. All the texts included in the audio guide and displayed on Chopin’s Benches were written by Aleksandra Zgorzelska, a journalist and varsavianist. Made of polished black stone, the benches have been installed at 15 spots.
- Krasiński Square – This square used to house the National Theatre building, where in March 1830 Fryderyk Chopin presented his famous Concerto in F minor. This was also where in October 1830 he played his last farewell concert before leaving the country.
- Miodowa Street – The entire social life of the capital used to be concentrated here. The local cafes, such as Pod Kopciuszkiem, Dziurka and Honoratka - the venues of meetings for artists and young people - were visited by Chopin almost on a daily basis.
- Kozia Street – This narrow street used to be an important transport route in Chopin’s times. The U Brzezińskiej cafe was his favourite place to visit.
- The Music Conservatory – The place which now features a square over the East-West Underpass used to house the Music Conservatory where Fryderyk Chopin studied musical composition.
- Wessel Palace – This was where on November 2nd 1830 Fryderyk Chopin got on a stagecoach and set out on his trip to fame – to Vienna and further to Paris.
- Radziwiłł Palace – This was where on February 24th 1818 Fryderyk Chopin, aged 8, gave his first public performance.
- Saski Palace – The Chopin family moved here in 1810, after Fryderyk’s father had accepted a job at the famous Warsaw Lyceum, which used to occupy part of the palace’s rooms.
- Saski Garden – This was where the young Chopin entertained while he and his family resided at the Saski Palace (the former seat of the Warsaw Lyceum).
- The Visitants’ Church– In Chopin’s times Sunday masses for students of the Warsaw Lyceum used to take place here, during which Fryderyk Chopin, aged 15, used to play the organ, performing the function of the Lyceum organist.
- Kazimierzowski Palace – In 1817 the Warsaw Lyceum, and the newly-established Warsaw University, were located here. The Chopin family came to reside in the right-hand annexe (the Deputy Rector’s Building).
- Czapski Palace – The Chopin family moved here in 1827 and Fryderyk got a room in a small garret, equipped with a piano. The former residence of the Chopin family, located on the second floor, now features the Chopin Parlour – the museum of souvenirs of the great composer.
- Holy Cross Church – the place where Chopin’s heart rests.
- Zamoyski Palace – Chopin’s sister, who gathered the souvenirs of her brother, used to live here. In 1863 an attempt on the life of a Tsar’s governor was made through the palace windows, in retaliation for which all the tenants were removed from their flats and their entire property was destroyed. Among the objects thrown through the windows and burned was Chopin’s piano.
- Gniński - Ostrogski Palace – The seat of the Fryderyk Chopin Museum, next to which the Chopin Centre is located.
- The Fryderyk Chopin Monument– The most famous monument of the composer in the world is located in the Łazienkowski Park, opposite the gate in Aleje Ujazdowskie, near Belvedere.
Music at particular spots:
- Krasiński Square – MAZUREK in A minor, Op. 17 No. 4; 39”
- Miodowa Street - MAZUREK in A minor, Op.68; 34”
- Kozia Street – “HULANKA” song; 29”
- Music Conservatory – WALTZ in E-flat major, Op. 18; 39”
- Wessel Palace – GRAND POLONAISE in E-flat major, Op. 22; 35”
- Radziwiłł Palace - RONDO in C minor, Op.1; 32”
- Saski Palace - MAZUREK in B major, Op. 7 No. 1; 36”
- Saski Garden – NOCTURNE in H major, Op. 9 No. 3; 47”
- The Visitants’ Church - LARGO in E-flat major (Op. posth.); 46”
- Kazimierzowski Palace - WALTZ in E minor (Op. posth.); 45”
- Czapski Palace – WALTZ in D-flat major, Op. 64 No 1; 42”
- Holy Cross Church – MEMORIAL MARCH from SONATA in B minor, Op.35; 45”
- Zamoyski Palace – ETUDE in C minor, Op. 10 No. 12; 42”
- Gniński – Ostrogski Palace – BALLAD in F minor, Op. 52; 42”
- The Fryderyk Chopin Monument – POLONAISE in A major, Op. 40 No. 1; 39”