Fotoplastikon - Warsaw
It's quite an experience to view photos in the most traditional and old-fashioned way. The most recent exhibit, 'Warsaw 100 years ago', is strongly recommended.
Fotoplastikon is Best For
Directions to Fotoplastikon
A fotoplastikon? What is it? Well a fotoplastikon is a large wooden drum-like contraption where, through viewing holes, three-dimensional pictures are produced using a special dual-lens camera that creates the fascinating illusion of reality.
Back in the days when the camera, the cinema, the television, not to mention the Internet didn't exist, the fotoplastikon provided entertainment that allowed people to see amazing images from around the world. Before the days of cheap air travel and super fast trains, the majority of people would sadly never visit foreign countries in their lives but the fotoplastikon could magically take them there.
This German invention was first unleashed onto the public in the second half of the 19th century and wooed audiences around Europe with at that time breathtaking 3D images from far away parts of the globe. At one time their popularity was so great that there were around 250 of these dream inducers in Europe.
Warsaw got its first fotoplastikon in 1901 and this particular one is located at 51 Al. Jerozolimskich is believed to have remained in the same location from its origins way back in 1905. During war time in Warsaw, it served as a secret contact point for the Polish resistance and after the war helped to raise deflated spirits by showing images of a bright and peaceful future. During the period of communist oppression the fotoplastikon also created a gap in the Iron Curtain where people could see what was happening in other parts of the world and it served as a meeting place for intellectuals and academics.
Nowadays it serves as the brewer of nostalgia as images of pre-war Warsaw can be viewed as well as that of other global landmarks. Each show lasts 20 minutes and costs as little as 4 PLN / 2PLN, Tuesday - Friday 10:00-.18:00. Free entry on Sundays.