Warsaw Fotoplastikon

The Warsaw Fotoplastikon is a stereoscopic theatre based on the Kaiserpanorama system of rotating stereoscopic images located in Warsaw, Poland. Operating at the same location since 1905, it is the oldest stereoscopic theatre in Europe still in business at its original location. Today it is operates as a branch of the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising.

Warsaw Fotoplastikon
Plastikon-Warsaw3, 04032012
Audience at Warsaw Fotoplastikon, 2012
Address51 Jerusalem Avenue
Coordinates52°13′44″N 21°00′30″E / 52.228818°N 21.008456°E
OwnerMuseum of the Warsaw Uprising
DesignationPolish Register of Monuments
Plastikon-Warsaw8, 04032012
Entrance Sign
Plastikon-Warsaw2, 04032012
Courtyard location at the Hoserów Townhouse Apartment


The Warsaw Fotoplastikon has 24 fixed stereoscopic viewports. A visitor sits at a viewport around the circumference of the machine. Each picture, from a sequence of 48 three dimensional stereo images, appears for 15 seconds before moving on to the next. Above each viewport is a window which displays an illuminated card with a brief description of the scene below. The scenes are arranged by themes, such as a travelogue to distant lands or depictions of historic events. Recorded music related to the theme plays in the background. The Fotoplastikon uses a slightly modified version of the Kaiserpanorama peepshow system, differing in having 24 viewports instead of 25 in the Kaiserpanorama system.[1]


The Warsaw Fotoplastikon was constructed in 1901. It was first shown at a temporary location but moved to its permanent location in a small theatre at the back of an inner courtyard of Kamienica Hoserów (Hoser Townhouse Apartment Building) at 51 Jerusalem Avenue soon after the building was built in 1905. The Warsaw Fotoplastikon is a Polish adaptation of the Kaiserpanorama peepshow technology invented in the 1890s which was popular across Europe before the growth of motion picture theatres. The Fotoplastikon has been operated at the 51 Jerusalem Avenue location since it opened, owned and run by a series of families more or less continuously since 1905 making it the oldest active in situ peepshow in Europe.[2] Soon after the WW2 in 1946 it was reopened by Krempa (or Krępa) family which ran the theatre util 1973. In 1973 the new owner was Józef Chudy. After his death in 1980, the Fotoplastikon closed but was relaunched by Józef Chudy's grandson, Tomasz Chudy, in 1992. The Fotoplastikon was entered in the Polish Register of Monuments in 1987. In 2008 Chudy leased the device, along with a collection of 3,000 slides to the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising. In December 2012 the museum bought the equipment and has continued to operate it in the original location.[3] In September 2013 Fotoplastikon gained an additional room, next to its original site adjacent to the Hoserow courtyard.

Cultural Influence

The Fotoplastikon served as a popular rendezvous point for many years, valued for its entertainment as well as providing a discrete location for couples to meet. In World War II, it was used by members of the Polish underground for clandestine meetings. The Kamienica Hoserów was one of the very few central Warsaw buildings not destroyed during World War II, allowing the Fotoplastikon to survive as a refuge from the horrors of the war and the hardship of the postwar communist era. It provided one of the few ways for Warsavians to view the outside world. The owners of the Fotoplastikon would loan their steroscopic camera to Poles authorized to travel abroad and thus created new slide shows to supplement the Fotoplastikon's rare collection of original Kaiserpanorama historical travelogues. Imported jazz and pop records often served as the background music providing an opportunity for Poles to enjoy western music during the communist era.

The Fotoplastikon has served as a period location for some Polish films, among them Polish Roads and This Honor.[4] The Fotoplastikon served as an important setting in the 2013 Graphic novel The Property by Israeli author and illustrator Rutu Modan. Several special performances have been held using live musicians playing inside the Fotoplastikon to accompany the stereo images as well as special evening shows of period erotic images of scientific curiosities.[5]


  1. ^ Mark Witkowski, "The Warsaw Fotoplastikon", Mark Witkowski's Stereo (3D) Pages
  2. ^ Dorothy Januszewska, Museums in Warsaw Guide, BOSZ, Olszanica (2012), p. 11
  3. ^ "Fotoplastikon opens after renovation" Thomas Urzykowski, Warsaw Gazeta, 26 September 2013
  4. ^ "100,000 viewers in Fotoplastykonie" Warsaw Gazeta, 2013-06-09
  5. ^ Dariusz Bartoszewicz, "Photoplasticon world: erotic curiosities", Warsawa Gazeta, 2011-02-24


  • John Brykczyński, Warsaw Townhouses and their inhabitants, History Meeting House, Warsaw, pp. 8–18, "Jerozolimskie 51" [1]
  • Agnieska Skórska-Jarmusz, "Magic Barrel", Warsaw Courier, pp. 33–35, June/July 2012

External links

Coordinates: 52°13′44″N 21°00′31″E / 52.2288°N 21.0085°E

Jerusalem Avenue

Jerusalem Avenue (Polish: Aleje Jerozolimskie) is one of the principal streets of the city of Warsaw in Poland. It runs through the City Centre along the East-West axis, linking the western borough of Wola with the bridge on the Vistula River and the borough of Praga on the other side of the river.


The Kaiserpanorama (or Kaiser-Panorama) is a form of stereoscopic entertainment medium used chiefly in the 19th and early 20th centuries, a precursor to film, invented by August Fuhrmann (1844 – 1925). It was patented by the inventor ca. 1890. There would be a number of viewing stations through which people would peer through a pair of lenses showing a number of rotating stereoscopic glass slides. By 1910 he is said to have controlled exhibitions in over 250 branches across Europe, and in the central archive have up to 100,000 slides stored.

Rutu Modan

Rutu Modan (Hebrew: רותו מודן‎, born 1966) is an Israeli illustrator and comic book artist. She is co-founder of the Israeli comics group Actus Tragicus and published the critically acclaimed graphic novels Exit Wounds (2007) and The Property (2013).


Warsaw (Polish: Warszawa [varˈʂava] (listen); see also other names) is the capital and largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland and its population is officially estimated at 1.770 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.1 million residents, which makes Warsaw the 8th most-populous capital city in the European Union. The city limits cover 516.9 square kilometres (199.6 sq mi), while the metropolitan area covers 6,100.43 square kilometres (2,355.39 sq mi). Warsaw is an alpha global city, a major international tourist destination, and a significant cultural, political and economic hub. Its historical Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Once described as the 'Paris of the North', Warsaw was believed to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world until World War II. Bombed at the start of the German invasion in 1939, the city withstood a siege for which it was later awarded Poland's highest military decoration for heroism, the Virtuti Militari. Deportations of the Jewish population to concentration camps led to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943 and the destruction of the Ghetto after a month of combat. A general Warsaw Uprising between August and October 1944 led to even greater devastation and systematic razing by the Germans in advance of the Vistula–Oder Offensive. Warsaw gained the new title of Phoenix City because of its extensive history and complete reconstruction after World War II, which had left over 85% of its buildings in ruins.Warsaw is one of Europe's most dynamic metropolitan cities. In 2012 the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Warsaw as the 32nd most liveable city in the world. In 2017 the city came 4th in the "Business-friendly" category and 8th in "Human capital and life style". It was also ranked as one of the most liveable cities in Central and Eastern Europe.

The city is a significant centre of research and development, Business process outsourcing, Information technology outsourcing, as well as of the Polish media industry. The Warsaw Stock Exchange is the largest and most important in Central and Eastern Europe. Frontex, the European Union agency for external border security as well as ODIHR, one of the principal institutions of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have their headquarters in Warsaw. Together with Frankfurt, London and Paris, Warsaw is also one of the cities with the highest number of skyscrapers in the European Union.The city is the seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, University of Warsaw, the Warsaw Polytechnic, the National Museum, the Great Theatre—National Opera, the largest of its kind in the world, and the Zachęta National Gallery of Art. The picturesque Old Town of Warsaw, which represents examples of nearly every European architectural style and historical period, was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980. Other main architectural attractions include the Castle Square with the Royal Castle and the iconic King Sigismund's Column, the Wilanów Palace, the Łazienki Palace, St. John's Cathedral, Main Market Square, palaces, churches and mansions all displaying a richness of colour and detail. Warsaw is positioning itself as Central and Eastern Europe’s chic cultural capital with thriving art and club scenes and serious restaurants, with around a quarter of the city's area occupied by parks.

Warsaw Uprising Museum

The Warsaw Uprising Museum (named Warsaw Rising Museum, Polish: Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego), in the Wola district of Warsaw, Poland, is dedicated to the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. The institution of the museum was established in 1983, but no construction work took place for many years. It opened on July 31, 2004, marking the 60th anniversary of the uprising.

The museum sponsors research into the history of the uprising, and the history and possessions of the Polish Underground State. It collects and maintains hundreds of artifacts — ranging from weapons used by the insurgents to love letters — to present a full picture of the people involved. The museum's stated goals include the creation of an archive of historical information on the uprising and the recording of the stories and memories of living participants. Its director is Jan Ołdakowski, with historian Dariusz Gawin from the Polish Academy of Sciences as his deputy.The museum is a member organisation of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience.

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