The provincial conservator of monuments informed about the case on social media. The court imposed a fine of two thousand zlotys on the graffiti artist who had painted the Poniatowski bridge and nine thousand zlotys on behalf of the National Fund for the Protection of Monuments.
“The Warsaw-Śródmieście District Court has just imposed a penalty for applying graffiti on the eastern abutment of the wall, at the pedestrian crossing of the Poniatowski Bridge. The defendant is to pay a fine of PLN 2,000 and an additional PLN 9,030 to the National Fund for the Protection of Monuments,” wrote the conservator.
He emphasized that monuments are not for destruction and they deserve respect. He also informed that the Poniatowski Bridge has been in the register of monuments since the 1960s.
The bridge has been blown up twice
The bridge was built at the beginning of the 19th century, according to the design of engineers Mieczysław Marszewski, Bronisław Plebiński and Wacław Paszkowski. The author of the architectural setting of the bridge and viaduct was Stefan Szyller. The towers at the entrance to the bridge were to perform defensive functions; were created at the request of the Russian military authorities.
The bridge route together with the access roads, not counting the protective embankments, was 3542 meters long, including a 506-meter long bridge and a 700-meter-long viaduct over Powiśle, which is an extension of Aleje Jerozolimskie. The bridge with eight steel spans supported on stone pillars was opened to traffic on June 8, 1913, while the ceremonial opening of the entire route, together with the viaduct, took place at the beginning of January 1914. It was chronologically the fourth permanent bridge, but the inhabitants called it the Third Bridge, because the two bridges at the Citadel (road from 1875 and railway from 1908) they treated as one.
On August 5, 1915, the Russian army retreating from Warsaw blew up the upper parts of the two pillars of the crossing. A temporary wooden platform, reinforced with a steel structure, erected in their place by the Germans, burned down for unknown reasons shortly after the construction was completed in 1916. Until the end of the occupation, the Germans did not make a second attempt to rebuild the bridge. This caused overloading of the rebuilt Kierbedź bridge.
In 1915, after the withdrawal of the Russians from Warsaw, the bridge was given its current name. The bridge was rebuilt in 1921–1927. In 1925, one carriageway was opened for traffic, and in 1927, a bridge across the entire width was put into use.
During the German occupation, the bridge was given the German name Neue Brücke. It was blown up by the Germans on September 13, 1944 at 12.15 because of the emergency joining the advancing Soviet and Polish troops with the insurgents. Four steel spans of the bridge with a total length of 274 meters and one reinforced concrete span of the viaduct with a length of 19 meters were destroyed. The pillars of the bridge were also damaged.
After the war it was rebuilt
The bridge was rebuilt according to the design of Stanisław Hempel. On December 4, 1945, there was a construction disaster there. Seven arches of the third span collapsed into the water, as a result of which a 21-year-old fitter was killed and nine people were injured. The bridge was opened on July 22, 1946. This made it possible to launch the first post-war tram connection across the Vistula River.
Until the Śląsko-Dąbrowski bridge was put into use in 1949, the Poniatowski bridge provided the only tram connection between the left-bank part of the city and Praga.
After the reconstruction, the bridge lost some elements of its former character. The decorative balustrade was replaced with a simple steel fence. A few stone benches that stood on the pillars of the bridge were not rebuilt either. The construction of the spans themselves is also different. The remains of the original benches lie in the Vistula stream to this day and can be seen at low water levels.
Main photo source: ZDM