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Warsaw – the capital of Poland. This amazing city is full of contrasts and surprises.
Warsaw covers an area of 517.24 square kilometers (199.96 square miles)
It has a population of 1.7 million
8,3 million tourists visited Warsaw in 2014 (2,8 million were foreign tourists)
54 youth hostels
35 900 beds
56 theaters and musical establishments
25 tram lines
251 bus lines
4 lines of SKM (Urban Rapid Rail)
2 metro lines
446 km of bike trails
Warsaw is a city with the enchanted soul in locations that don’t exist anymore, and the ambiance produced by fantastic combination of modern urban development and historical architecture.
Character – the most renowned virtue of Warsaw, bestowed on it by its citizens. Same people, who in the past lifted this city up from the ruins, today are making their dreams come true, by pursuing their professional and personal success.
It’s impossible to be bored in Warsaw! Discover the medieval cellars of the Old Town, take part in laser shows at the Multimedia Fountain Park and view photos in three dimensions with the help of a historic photoplasticon. Check out the list of attractions for sports enthusiasts, nature lovers as well as the young explorers.
40 hectares, 12,000 animals belonging to 500 species – come and spend the whole day surrounded by nature. Visit the bears, see the feeding of seals and hippos, look at the giraffes and observe the chimpanzees. Also, go to the terrarium and aquarium, see different species of birds and tropical fish. It’s a great place to relax for the whole family.
The zoo suffered greatly during the war – after the German invasion of Poland, it was bombed, and animals were killed, eaten or deported to the Reich. The director of the zoo, Jan Żabiński, became a hero. During World War II, he and his family hid people who needed help in their home, mainly Jews who had escaped from the ghetto.
Located at the foot of the Old Town, from May to the end of September it is a place to cool down for residents and tourists. Go there on a hot day or drop by in the evening at the weekend to watch a spectacular show of light, sound and water. On the water screen with fog scattered over the water you can watch an animated story about the history of Warsaw and its legends. It is accompanied by laser lights and several-metre-high columns of water rising to the rhythm of music, lit by colourful floodlights. To admire the spectacle, it is best to sit on the grassy slope.
The shows take place every Friday and Saturday in May, June and July at 9.30 pm, in August at 9pm, and in September at 8.30 pm.
In winter, streams of light do the dancing instead of water – at the weekends the main fountain changes into a multicolour animated sculpture, and shows are accompanied by Christmas music.
Young children can enjoy the nearby water playground, where on hot summer days they can splash in water gushing directly from the ground.
The park was created for the 125th anniversary of the city’s waterworks, a reminder of this is a bench standing by which is William Heerlein Lindley, the designer of the sewerage network in Warsaw opened in 1886.
The mermaid has been on the city’s coat of arms for a very long time, but she did not always look the same as she does today. The oldest image comes from a city seal from the end of the 14th century. Then it took the form of a man with wings, a tail and two paws. In old pictures you will see that he had a belly covered with scales. Later, he became a woman with membranous wings and fins instead of legs. Then she looked more like a dragon than a shapely half woman, half a fish! She became the beautiful girl with a fish tail in the 18th century. Today, she is painted on a red background, and she holds a sword and a shield in her hand.
How many Warsaw mermaids there are no one knows. The Old Town is teeming with them. They are on buildings, in coats of arms, on lamp posts, stained glass windows and signboards. They decorate communal buildings, including the former tram plant on Przyokopowa street, which currently houses the Warsaw Rising Museum, on Poniatowski Bridge, Hala Gwardii and at Królikarnia.
Look around carefully, because the Mermaid can be found in many places in Warsaw.
The most modern and largest of its kind in Poland, as well as one of the symbols of Warsaw, built for the European Football Championship in 2012. It is located on the site of the historic Tenth Anniversary Stadium, which from the mid-fifties hosted the most important sporting events in Poland: international football matches, Polish football cup finals, the Warsaw Derby, the Peace Race, as well as huge propaganda rallies. After the collapse of the Polish People’s Republic in 1989, around the top of the stadium and later on the surrounding land, the gigantic Jarmark Europa market operated.
In winter, three ice rinks, a curling track and an iceberg that you can ride down are all available. You can also try your skills at the largest skatepark in Warsaw. A viewing point is open all year from which you can see the magnificent panorama of the city. At night, the stadium shimmers in white and red, the colours of the Polish flag.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Stadium is closed for visitors until further notice!
They are several hundred years and are the best-preserved fragments of the Old Town. They survived World War II and today they invite you to their cool interiors. Get to know the extraordinary history of the historical heart of Warsaw in the Heritage Interpretation Centre. You will see an exhibition about the enormity of wartime destruction and you will learn how the Warsaw Old Town was rebuilt. Take a look at the basement of the Warsaw Museum or the cellars of the Old Town Cultural Centre and check out what is happening at the Capital Centre for Cultural Education. The cellars are a good place to get out of the heat, or to escape the cold.
The photoplasticon was a popular device at the turn of the 19th and 20th century that allowed viewers to see changing three-dimensional photographs. The Warsaw Photoplasticon is unique. It is the only one in Poland and one of the few active devices of this type in the world. It opened at the beginning of the 20th century and operated for a whole century with only short intervals. During the occupation in World War II, it was also a secret meeting place for the Polish underground. After the end of the war, when more than 80% of the city’s capital lay in ruins, it fuelled the hope of reconstruction by presenting colourful pictures of pre-war Warsaw.
After the war, in the 1940s and 1950s, it enjoyed great popularity thanks to the presentation of photos from the West, showing cities travelling to which was impossible. The shows were accompanied by jazz music played from privately imported record, which made Photoplasticon a favourite meeting place for groups frowned upon by the socialist authorities.
Now, when you look at photos of pre-war Warsaw, you can listen to former hits played on a turntable.
Relatively small, located near the popular Royal Łazienki Park, the garden is a wonderful refuge for those seeking contact with the beauty of nature, a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city or from hot weather. Sit on a bench under one of the majestic, old trees or discover the richness of thousands of plant species from Poland and many exotic countries. While strolling along the charming alleys, you will see medicinal plants, ornamental plants and vines as well as plants from various environments.
In the depths of the garden you will come across a small brick chapel that was built on the base of a temple that was planned to be built there in thanksgiving for the adoption of the first European Constitution of 3 May 1791.
The oldest and best-known Catholic cemetery in Warsaw, founded in 1790, designed by Dominik Merlini – the court architect of King Stanisław August Poniatowski. Since its establishment, a million people have been buried there, including many well-known and distinguished Poles. You will come across the graves of many eminent writers, artists, scholars, politicians, doctors, entrepreneurs and social activists. It was with them in mind that in the inter-war years the Avenue of the Deserved was created.
Alongside Powązki there is the Military Cemetery, known as the resting place of Warsaw insurgents, as well as the cemeteries of other religions, of which the Jewish and the two Protestant were cemeteries for Warsaw’s townspeople.
Crossing the threshold of this impressive 14th-century building, you enter one of the most important Polish temples. The cathedral has witnessed many historical events, such as the coronation of King Stanisław August Poniatowski in 1764, and royal weddings and funerals. Of particular importance was the swearing of the first constitution in Europe on 3 May 1791.
During the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, the cathedral was a battleground, and after the battle it was blown up. 90% of the building was destroyed. After World War II, the original form of the temple was reconstructed, restoring the Gothic facade.
In the crypt you will see the tombs of Mazovian dukes, Warsaw archbishops, the last king of Poland Stanisław August Poniatowski, the first Polish president Gabriel Narutowicz, writer and Nobel Prize winner Henryk Sienkiewicz, and musician and statesman Ignacy Jan Paderewski. From July to September, the International Organ Festival takes place in here.
Walking along the Royal Route you can’t miss it. The monumental baroque church dominates Krakowskie Przedmieście with its two high towers, and the sculpture of Christ carrying the cross standing in front of the entrance is one of the most recognisable sights in Warsaw. Before you go inside, look at the hand raised toward the sky and imagine what meaning this gesture could have for Varsovians along with the inscription “Sursum Corda” (lift up your hearts) when Poland was partitioned or under occupation.
On the walls inside you will see plaques commemorating ceremonial services, patriotic demonstrations and funerals of eminent Polish writers, priests and political activists that have taken place there. Passing the beautiful sculptures and paintings, remember that in the past, aristocrats, kings and presidents have all prayed in this place. In 1683, King Jan III Sobieski prayed there before the victorious expedition to Vienna, and on 3 May 1792, ceremonies took place on the anniversary of the adoption of the first European Constitution. Enjoy the huge main altar decorated with gold, see the side chapels and find the place where the heart of the outstanding Polish composer Fryderyk Chopin rests. Every year, on the anniversary of his death, the entire church resounds with the sounds of Mozart’s Requiem. If you want to learn more about the history of this extraordinary temple, go down to the crypt, where you’ll find here the tombs of many people associated with it.
Two tracks, three grandstands, a tunnel connecting the paddock with the stables and a breeding section, as well as several hundred horses living their permanently, all in rich green surroundings. Thrilling races and a unique atmosphere attract not only crowds of locals, but also tourists from other parts of Poland and from abroad.
Races take place from April to November, but if you want to experience real thrills, go to one of the most important races like the Derby on the first Sunday of July, Arabian Day or the Great Warsaw Race in the autumn, which dates back to the 19th century. The results of this last race often determine the winner of the prestigious title of the Horse of the Year at the end of the season. Are you excited already? Join the crowds looking at the horses being presented in the paddock, write down the number of the one you fancy, then have a flutter. The most important races are accompanied by competitions for the best period costume or the most beautiful hat. Remember that there is a dress code in the grandstand. Try to stand out with your own outfit, but remember that the competition is as fierce as the on the track. And take your binoculars with you.
Since its opening in 2010, the stadium has become a firm feature of the city’s landscape. This is where the most successful football team in Poland, Legia Warsaw, plays its home games. The club was founded during World War I on the eastern Polish borderlands.
Go to a match and join the multitude of loyal fans. Experience unforgettable thrills while sitting in the stands or in exclusive corporate boxes. During important matches, you can see spectacular displays prepared by the most faithful fans.
Or maybe you want to get an inside view of the stadium? If so, take one of three sightseeing tours. Visit the famous Żyleta north stand, occupied by the most die-hard supporters, take a look inside the dressing room, sit on the bench, and even go out on the pitch.
At the end, visit the free club museum and the fan shop and pick up a club souvenir.
For almost 100 years, this power plant supplied energy to the city. Now it attracts all those who enjoy good food, shopping and body care. If you are on the Vistula boulevards near the Copernicus Science Centre, make sure to visit.
In buildings that formerly housed the boiler and engine rooms are several spacious, atmospheric bars and over a dozen restaurants serving delicacies from around the world, as well as many fashionable shops.
If relaxation is your goal, visit the top floor of the building, where 10 beauty salons offer a few hundred different cosmetic treatments to pamper you.
During your visit to the Elektrownia, pay attention to the skilfully renovated elements of its architecture: brick walls, 30-metre chimneys, the (now glass) elevator shaft, which was once used to transport coal, and the enormous steel construction that supports the attic. In an industrial ambience, you will see worn switchboards and authentic insulators used as elements of lamps. Careful observers may also notice traces of World War II.
The power plant pulses with life today – courtyards between its buildings host film screenings, “Light, Water, Sound” fountain shows, yoga classes and other events. A farmer’s market is also organised a few times a week, where visitors can buy fresh products directly from producers.
The night is still young and you feel like going out in the city? A whole array of places awaits you, such as the popular clubs at Plac Zbawiciela or the hot bars and clubs by the Vistula, where the nightlife gets going in the summertime. If you want to party, check out the party zone on Parkingowa, Nowogrodzka and Mazowiecka Streets. If you want to see the city’s skyline from a top floor, no problem. There are clubs with such panoramic views.