One man wanted to go on vacation to sunny Sydney in Australia, but instead bought a ticket to snowy Sydney in Canada.
On the right bank of the Vistula lies the Warsaw district of Prague, the name of which fully coincides with the name of the capital of the Czech Republic. Warsaw Prague got its name from a village that was located on this site in the 15th century. The village arose on a wasteland formed by forest fires. The Polish word prażyć means ‘to warm, to burn’, hence the name. So if you are asked in Warsaw if you want to visit Prague, do not forget to specify which one. It is unlikely that you will be delighted when you find out that you packed your suitcase in vain …
Wlochy is another Warsaw region that evokes associations with distant wanderings. In Polish, Włochy means ‘Italy’, but although the area is located in the south of the capital, the Apennine Peninsula is still far from here. If you buy a ticket to Warsaw Wlochy station, do not rush to take an Italian dictionary with you – this is not “little Italy” for you! Like Prague, the Wlochy area was once a village bought by Jan Wloch (Italian) in the 15th century. Scientists are still struggling with the origin of his mysterious nickname, but nevertheless it was this name that gave the name to the modern Warsaw district.
Mur in Polish means ‘city wall, fence’, so one might assume that this word gave rise to the name of the Warsaw region Muranov. Surely someone will think that the city walls used to rise here, while someone will remember the walls of the Warsaw ghetto, which separated it from the rest of the city during the Nazi occupation during the Second World War … In fact, the name of the Muranov district with walls does not exist. not connected. It goes back to the name of the palace (alas, not preserved), which was built for himself on these lands by the royal architect Shimon Jozef Belotti (Simone Giuseppe Belotti) in the 17th century. The Italian Belotti fulfilled the orders of King Jan III Sobieski, and named his palace Murano after the island near Venice, where he was from.
Despite its name (Nové Miasto means ‘New Town’), the area adjacent to Muranov is not new at all. Going here for a walk, don’t expect to see a modern business district or residential quarters with Bauhaus mansions. There was a suburb of Warsaw in those days when the capital was limited to the present Old Town. In 1408, this suburban area received the status of a city and the name New Town, since it was newer than Warsaw itself, which by that time had been a city for almost a century. In today’s Nowe Miasto district, which formally became part of Warsaw only in 1791, you can admire the old buildings rebuilt after the Second World War.
The name of this Warsaw region, located to the west of the center, is closely related to the word wolność – ‘will, freedom’. Someone might say that the whole point is in the “free elections” that took place here from 1576 to 1764, during which the Polish nobility – the gentry – elected the Polish kings. But this is not entirely true. The name Volya goes back to even more ancient times, namely to the second half of the XIII century. Then there was a village called Veka Wola Varshavska (Bolshaya Varshavska Wola): Large – because it was the largest of the surrounding settlements, and Wola – because it was exempted from duties. Thus, the name of the district refers to the long-standing taxation system, and not the procedure for electing a monarch …
In Polish, brudno means dirty. This word is pronounced in the same way as the name of the Warsaw region of Brudno, located on the right bank of the Vistula, north of the already mentioned Prague. Because of this phonetic similarity, many believe that a long time ago this area was … let’s say, dirty. It can be assumed that factories or workshops existed here that produced waste, for example, raw hut. Fortunately, this is not at all the case. The name of the area was given by a ford (in Polish bród) across the Vistula, which was located nearby.
The name of this right-bank area translates as ‘Saxon bumps’. But don’t jump to conclusions. There are no swamps around Saska Kempa, and there is no German-speaking community either. Once upon a time there were indeed islands on the Vistula, but over time the river changed its course, and the island merged with the “mainland”. It was called Saxon because at the beginning of the 18th century, the Polish king Augustus III of the Saxon Wettin dynasty rented this area and organized festivities here. If we talk about confusing place names, then Saska Kempa is downright champion here: French Street (Francuska) turns into Paris (Paryska), crosses the United States Alley (Aleja Stanów Zjednoczonych), from where it is already a stone’s throw to the Egyptian (Egipska) or Athenian (Ateńska).