On the occasion of the anniversary numerous cultural, artistic and recreational events take place in Warsaw over the course of the current year. You can find the detailed programme of the celebrations here.
Maria Skłodowska-Curie (1867-1934) – most famous woman scientist and two-time winner of the Nobel Prize, was born in Warsaw. She was the first female professor in the history of the Sorbonne and the French government decorated her with the Legion of Honour and is the only person not born in France, who is buried in the Paris Panthéon.
She received her first Nobel Prize in physics in 1903 together with her husband Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel, and the second one alone, eight years later, in chemistry. Nobel laureates are also her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie (a physicist and chemist like her mother) and both her sons-in-law, Frédéric Joliot-Curie and Henri Labouisse. Henri Labouisse, the husband of her younger daughter Eva and head of UNICEF, received the Nobel Peace Prize. There is no other such family of Nobel Prize winners!
The life of Maria Skłodowska-Curie was closely connected with Warsaw and Paris. Her youth she spent in the Polish capital. From her studies at the Sorbonne until the end of her life she lived in France, but visited Warsaw often and there are many places in this city, which are reminiscent of her. The most important of them are the museum in the house where she was born and the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Institute of Oncology.
Maria Skłodowska-Curie Museum – the birth place of the scientist (Muzeum Marii Skłodowskiej-Curie)
ul. Freta 16, tel. 22 831 80 92
Due to renovation exposition temporarily moved to address 5 Freta street. The museum is to reopen in newly restored interiors in November 2017 – on the scholar’s 150th birthday anniversary.
It is the only biographical museum of Maria Skłodowska-Curie worldwide. The most affecting elements in the exhibition are the authentic personal items, such as her clothes, which betray her slight figure, her spectacle case, her inkwell, the little elephant given to her by Herbert Hoover, the President of the United States, or the leather bag, in which the Polish Women’s Alliance of America gave Skłodowska the money for opening the Radium Institute (now the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Institute of Oncology) in Poland.
A separate part of the exhibition presents replicas of the laboratory equipment and containers, which Maria and Pierre used (the originals are kept in the Curie Institute in Paris), and a model of their laboratory. The museum also collects mementoes of the family of the scientist. Maria Skłodowska-Curie’s entire life is recorded in photographs, many of which have not only documentary, but also artistic value.
Church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary (Kościół Nawiedzenia Najświętszej Marii Panny)
ul. Przyrynek 2
This is where Maria was baptized and where she came every day as a little girl with her mother. As we know from her diary notes, she remembered the ‘mystic semi-darkness’ inside the church and its tower overlooking the bank of the Vistula. Maria Skłodowska-Curie kept diaries all her life, thanks to which we are familiar with many of her thoughts and events in her personal life.
According to tradition, the Church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary was built in the 15th century in the place of a former pagan temple. It is one of the oldest churches in Warsaw.
Since 1999, stained glass windows representing scenes in the life of the Mother of God embellish the church. Near the temple, you can find a monument unveiled on the 80th anniversary of the Nobel Prize winner’s death, and a panorama terrace offering a view of the Vistula and right-bank Warsaw.
Church of St. Jack (Kościół św. Jacka)
ul. Freta 10
In this church, Maria received her first communion, however, as an adult she abandoned religion. The steps leading into this baroque church in the Old Town are rather high, because the floor is above street level. During the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, it housed a field hospital. Wall plaques commemorate Warsaw Uprising insurgents who died when the Nazis bombed the building.
section on Kościelna Street, near the Church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary
As a child, Maria liked to walk on the embankment. She came here also during her last visit in Poland. ’I went for a lonely walk to the Vistula. [...] There is a song from Kraków, which says, that the magic of the Polish waters is so great, that who has fallen in love with them once, will not forget them until death. [...] This river holds a charm for me, the essence of which I cannot even grasp.’ She wrote these words two years before she died, during a visit in Warsaw on the occasion of the opening of the Radium Institute.
Today, the banks of the Vistula are a wonderful place to rest and relax. Urban beaches, numerous bars, open-air concerts and evening shows at the Multimedia Fountain Park attract city residents and tourists alike.