You are cordially invited to Warsaw – the capital city of Poland – a city worth seeing. Be our guest here and let yourself get carried away by the unforgettable atmosphere of this place. The only thing you need to do in order to fall under its spell is to spend here a few days here. Warsaw is an unusual city situated in the centre of Europe, on the intersection of communication routes connecting the West with the East and the North with the South of the Continent. It fascinates visitors with its history, climate and monuments. It arouses curiosity with its individuality. It intrigues with its multifaceted culture – the mutual influence of Western and Eastern Europe. It has adopted changes brought by new epochs and preserved tradition at the same time. Every day it surprises with dynamic growth, manifesting itself in the conspicuous changeability of its image.
Warsaw has been the capital of Poland for more than 400 years. Its story goes back to two siblings – Wars and Sawa (hence the Polish name: Warszawa) – who were nurtured by a mermaid. A mermaid with a sword and a shield is the symbol of the city. It has a population of nearly 2 million. It was nearly completely destroyed during World War II – firstly during the Nazi invasion (1939), then by the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (1943), and later by the Warsaw Uprising (1944). By 1945 it was 75% in ruins. The reconstruction of the city lasted until the 1970s, but some sections of the city have never regained their previous apperance.
The 1990s and the dawn of the 21st century triggered another important chapter in the city’s history. Numerous investments in the infrastructure brought a lot of new buildings and roads. It is becoming a truly charming place.
Not to be missed in Warsaw!
1. Old Town
Without doubt, this Warsaw’s top tourist area with its winding cobblestone streets, charming plazas and ornate tenement facades. Entirely rebuilt after the Warsaw Uprising, it is a symbol of Warsaw’s rise from the ruins of World War II. Walking the alleys of the Old Town do not hesitate to visit one of many cafés and restaurants. Almost every visit to the Old Town starts under the Sigismund’s Column or at the Royal Castle, two of the most popular meeting points in Warsaw.
2. Łazienki Królewskie Park-Palace Complex
Colorful and peaceful garden, with many interesting architectural monuments, is a perfect place for a walk among flowers, peacocks and friendly squirrels (take some nuts and try to feed them). The place is mostly famous for the Palace on the Island built for Poland’s last monarch King Stanislaw August Poniatowski as his summer residence where the Thursdays dinners took place.
3. Wilanów Park-Palace Complex
The palace in Wilanów called ‘Polish Versailles’ served as summer residence of King Jan III Sobieski and Augustus II. It represents European Baroque and is surrounded by imposing garden and park. Fortunately, the palace survived World War II basically intact. However, its art collections and equipment were seriously looted. It is situated 10 kilometers south from the city centre and is easily accessible by public transport.
4. Palace of Culture and Science
It is probably the most famous and recognizable building in Warsaw. The building is a representation of Socialist Realist architecture erected in 1955 as a ‘gift from the Soviet people’. The idea to demolish it is the matter of hot debate among Varsovians. However, it is still the tallest building in Poland with viewing platform on the 30th floor offering marvelous view of the city.
5. Warsaw Rising Museum
It is one of the most interesting museums in Warsaw, if not the most interesting one. The museum depicts the struggles of everyday life of people during the Warsaw Uprising and pays tribute to all those who fought and died for Poland’s independence. Opened on the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising (in 2004), the modern museum offers a number of interactive displays, videos as well as audio guides in foreign languages.
6. National Museum
Located in the inter-war peculiar building, the museum has over 800,000 exhibits of not only Polish, but also worldwide art from antiquity to present times. One wing of the building is devoted to the history of Polish military (Museum of Polish Army). Among others, you can see there the largest Polish painting “Battle of Grunwald” by Jan Matejko (426 x 987 cm) and the largest European collection of artefacts of the Nubian culture and art from the early-Christian period.
7. Copernicus Science Centre
It is not just ordinary museum, it is one of its kind. In Copernicus Science Centre you do not look at exhibits and displays, you are part of them. It is a place where you can touch science and conduct experiments like real scientists. One of the most interesting attractions is “The Sky of Copernicus” – thanks to realistic projections you can travel to space, into the depths of an ocean or inside a volcano.
8. National Stadium
Built for the European Football Championship UEFA EURO 2012™, the National Stadium in Warsaw is one of the most modern football arenas in Europe. The National Stadium is venue for not only sport events, but also for a wide range of cultural and business events, including concerts, trade fairs and even United Nations Climate Change Conference COP19/CMP9. You can visit the National Stadium choosing one of guided tours offered.
9. Multimedia Fountain Park
Opened in May 2011, Multimedia Fountain Park is a new tourist attraction located at the foot of the castle, between the Old Town and the Vistula River. Fountains are real life-savers for tourists and locals on hot summer days. In the evenings you can watch brilliant multimedia show. The ‘Water – Light – Sound’ multimedia shows take place each Friday and Saturday from May till September at 9.30 pm (May and October – 9 pm). On other weekdays, the shows do not include lasers and sound.
10. Places related to Fryderyk Chopin
Polish world-famous pianist and composer, Fryderyk Chopin, spent first 20 years of his life in Warsaw. Here he grew up, completed music education, composed many of his works, and gave first concerts. Warsaw celebrated the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth with opening of a marvelous museum which aim is to cultivate the memory of Fryderyk Chopin and to make information about his life and work available to a wide audience. Wandering around the city you will for sure pass places where he stayed or which he visited.
Useful links about Warsaw:
Inspiring blog about Warsaw
Youth map of Warsaw
Visiting the city can be excellently combined with the participation in one of numerous cultural events, for instance, unforgettable piano concerts in the open air at the Memorial to Frederic Chopin, in Łazienki Park. The generally high level of musical performances in Warsaw comes from the fact that the city receives world class artists who participate in international festivals and competitions, such as, the Frederic Chopin International Piano Competition, International Festival of Modern Music named “Warsaw’s Autumn”, “Jazz Jamboree”, or “Warsaw Summer Jazz Days”.