Courtyard Shrines Throughout Warsaw

There are hundreds of courtyard shrines with Virgin Mary throughout Warsaw, especially in the Praga Północ district. Most were created in 1943 by the Catholic residents of the buildings during several months of daily civilian executions by the Nazis.

The occupying Nazis intended to frighten Varsovians to remain in their homes, and the Polish resistance not to execute German officers. Finally, the SS and Police Leader Franz Kutschera was held responsible for the terrorism and deaths of 5000 people. He was assassinated by the Polish underground while driving to work.

Nowadays these shrines is a common icon, especially of the Praga Północ district. Try to sneak through the gates of Praga to look closer. You can find them on streets: Ząbkowska, Targowa, Brzeska, Wileńska and Stalowa. Each one is different, some of them have small, fenced gardens that older residents take care of. They also light candles and embellish them with plastic flowers and other kitch but charming decorations. One of my favorite ideas here is an aureole above Virgin Mary`s head, made of tiny light bulbs.

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