Warsaw is a magnificent city, especially the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Old Town. Totally rebuilt after World War II, Warsaw has a special ambience around its core, which is proudly guarded by the Warsaw Mermaid, a symbol of the city. Across on the other side of the Vistula River you get another type of view looking back over the Old Town. From here you will be in awe of how unusual the panorama of this city really is. With its Old Town Market Place and its red roofs, cafés and restaurants this city comes alive for its unique historical charm that blends with its new modernism. Warsaw has become one of the most rapidly developing cities in all of Europe, surprising you with its different sides everywhere you look.
When in Warsaw a walk along the Royal Route is a must. The route links the former residences of the Polish rulers and then goes down to the Vistula River where you can see the city’s most modern boulevards stretching between the Multimedia Fountain Park and the Copernicus Science Centre. Make sure not to miss seeing the Barbican and St. John’s Cathedral, as well as exploring the picturesque winding streets that this city has to offer. Between the 16th–18th Centuries, the Royal Castle, which was originally the royal residence currently houses a museum. Today, the Royal Castle has been completely restored and refurnished with repossessed furniture and works of art.
The Palace of Science and Culture was originally a gift from the Soviet people to the Polish nation, offered by Joseph Stalin. It was constructed in 1955 and is the city’s highest and most recognisable building, which can be seen from almost every part of the capital. The Palace, known as the “Wedding Cake” has most of the city’s residents divided. There are those who really dislike it and those who have learnt to live with it, whichever it may be it now houses a cinema, multiple museums, theatres, universities and coffee houses. If you want an amazing view, then the 30th floor terrace offers a city wide panorama.
Wilanów Palace Museum along with its Park offers one of the best examples of Polish Baroque architecture. Once the summer residence of King Jan III Sobieski, it has now been turned into a museum housing a collection of both European and East Asian art. The Park that surrounds the Palace resembles a stunning French style garden.
Łazienki Królewskie Park and Palace Complex incorporates a Lake with a Palace on the water, Botanical Gardens and an Amphitheatre. Here you can enjoy Chopin performances during the summer months when the city comes to life with open-air concerts. The park spans 76 hectares in the city centre and is a great place to relax. Speaking of music, the Fryderyk Chopin Museum offers a real delight for those who are fans of his music. The museum houses collections of his works, personal memorabilia and mini exhibits amongst its 15 rooms.
Muranów was built right after the war from the rubble of the completely decimated Jewish Ghetto. Today it is part memorial and part housing estate to the past. A walk around the area will give you the feel for the city’s history. The Museum of the History of Polish Jews POLIN is another area to visit while in Warsaw. It has an interactive exhibition showing the journey over a thousand years from the first Jewish settlers in Poland right up until today. It also allows you to enjoy traditional Jewish cuisine in the restaurant as well as participate in numerous events organised by the institution.
The Museum of Warsaw is located in the Old Town on the Market Place. It encompasses 11 modernised tenement houses, which feature the core exhibition ‘The Things of Warsaw‘ as well as temporary exhibitions, a cinema, workshops and special tours. It is a great starting point for those who want to learn more about the city’s turbulent past.
For those of you who are fine art aficionados the National Museum is where you will find both Polish and European art from the medieval ages right up to the present day. Home to several galleries it houses some of the best art works from around the country including paintings by Jan Matejko and Józef Chełmoński. Warsaw is definitely a city of surprises!
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