This month, the 1569 Act of the Union of Lublin was inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register. It is deposited in Warsaw – there is no other city with more documents recognized as world heritage!
It is usually forgotten that there are two UNESCO heritage registers. The better known is the list of landmarks (World Heritage Sites). But there is also a list of documentary heritage, called Memory of the World. On the latter, Poland can boast as many as 17 valuable items, which gives our country a leading position, outranked only by Germany and Great Britain. Nine of them are deposited in one city only – Warsaw.
Should it be surprising? When you think about it, in recent generations Poland and its capital city has been the epicenter of some of the most dramatic events in mankind`s history. When you come to Warsaw, it`s important to realize that you`re visiting a city that was history`s playground like no other in Europe. We are more than happy to share these powerful stories on our guided Warsaw tours in English:
The UNESCO-enlisted documents deposited in Warsaw:
Archive of Warsaw Reconstruction Office - a collection of documents depicting the destruction of the city in the period of World War II (1939-1945) and its post-war reconstruction. The reconstruction of Warsaw, a city doomed to disappear and suffering programmed destruction for ideological and political reasons in times of Nazi occupation, was an outstanding achievement by Polish architects, conservators, artists and workers. It became a precedent that affected decisions on similar actions undertaken in a lot of countries until today.
Codex Suprasliensis (The Supraśl Codex) - submitted by Poland, Russia and Slovenia. It`s an early 11th or even late 10th century collection of Christian Orthodox reading material. The codex is one of the most valuable artifacts of the Old Church Slavonic language, and a major source for research on how Slavonic languages evolved in the early Middle Ages.
Documents of Polish radio intelligence from the period of the Battle of Warsaw in 1920 - a record of one of the decisive battles in the world history. Defeating the Bolshevik army foiled the Russian conquest of Poland and states who newly regained their independence after World War I, compromising communist victory in Europe.
Jürgen Stroop’s Report - official recording of the German suppression of the Warsaw ghetto uprising in the spring of 1943 and liquidation of the largest residential area for Jews in occupied Europe. In this report, the Holocaust is presented from the point of view of the oppressor.
National Education Commission Archives - documents created in the years 1773-1794 by institution which was the first “Ministry of Education” in the world. The Commission carried out a general reform of the education system that was unique in Europe and the contemporary world, following a uniform, complete curriculum and organisational concept which was introduced consistently throughout the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Peace treaties (Turkish: ahdnames) concluded from the mid-15th century to late-18th century between the Kingdom (or Republic) of Poland and the Ottoman Empire – the documents testify to centuries of direct contacts by neighbours with differing traditions and religions. The contents are exceptional for the history and culture of the late Middle Ages and early modernity. The peace treaties (ahdnames) between the two states are an example of mutual tolerance and universal values in international relations.
The Act of the Union of Lublin document – the union established, by means of negotiations and free agreement, the most democratic and multicultural country in early modern age - the Commonwealth of two equal states: the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Union of Lublin significantly strengthened the civic, republican and democratic attitudes in political practice and thought of its time.
The Confederation of Warsaw of 1573 - the first legislation in European history that guaranteed religious tolerance and introduced the rule of peaceful co-existence for all denominations. It was implemented in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the state which had been inhabited for generations by communities from different ethnic backgrounds (Poles, Lithuanians, Russians, Germans, Georgians and Jews) and of different denominations. Religious life in late 16th century Commonwealth, situated between Moscow, Turkey and Western Europe torn by religious conflicts, was of an exceptional character.
The Masterpieces of Fryderyk Chopin - the largest part of composer`s production which has been conserved in Warsaw by the Fryderyk Chopin Society and the National Library.
Warsaw Ghetto Archive (Emmanuel Ringelblum Archive) - a collection of approx. 30,000 pages retrieved from the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto: government documents, materials concerning the ghetto resistance, testimonies of the fate of Jewish communities during the Holocaust, literature, works of art and private correspondence collected by victims of the Holocaust in order to pass on information about the Holocaust to future generations. This collection is absolutely unique, both in terms of its origin and its historic value, as the most direct testimony of Holocaust in the world.
Currently we are running five guided tours of Warsaw in English: