11th November is Armistice day in the UK but for poles it’s even more poignant as it marks the anniversary of Polish Independence after 123 years of partition by Russia, Austria and Prussia. On that day in 1918 general Józef Pilsudski took control of the new independent Poland (until WW2 began in 1945).
In Poland it’s a national holiday so most people get the day off and Warsaw (of course) as well as cities around Poland celebrate with army marches and processions and wreaths are laid in honour of those who gave their lives for the polish freedom.
In Warsaw (and actually in other cities too), most of the celebrations take place around the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Pilsudski Square by Saski Gardens (between old town and central Warsaw). The march procession takes place form the Tomb, through the Krakowskie Przedmiescie (Krakow street) and towards the Army Museum.
Map of Saski Gardens & Tomb of the Unknown Soldier:
The tomb is actually all that remains of the Saxon palace that stood there until it was completely demolished in the Warsaw Uprising on 1944. When you go there you’ll see the massive empty square around the columns of the tomb where the palace once stood.
The tomb is guarded night and day by soldiers who stand guard there and you’ll also notice a fire in there which burns 24hrs a day. If you stay there long enough you can see the guards marching around the monument (we went at midnight and they were still there).
See our video of the guards marching: