10 reasons to love Warsaw

I was in Warsaw for a conference organised by European Venture Philanthropy Association, but I had the inspiration to stay two days longer, as to feel the touristic perfume of Warsaw.

The decision proved to be very inspired. So, if think about a journey, I thought to share with you 10 reasons why you could fall in love with Warsaw.

1. It is the city with the newest old center, which is also part of UNESCO World Heritage. The story is absolutely impressive, the city was destroyed by 85% in the Second World War and it is the only one to rebuild his history almost entirely. The disaster was so great that it was initially discussed to move the capital to another city and Warsaw would remain just a memorial of the war. The reconstruction project was more than brave, in a country devastated by war in which not only the buildings collapsed, the economy was also on the ground. Donations were made, bricks were recovered from ruins and collapsed walls, paintings of Bernardo Bellotto, former painter of the 18th Century belt, were used in the absence of city plans that were destroyed.

The historic center was rebuilt with help from volunteers and exemplary mobilization of the Poles, even though in the city of one million inhabitants, after the war, thousands more lived. It is said that in the years when they recovered the bricks from the ruins, every inhabitant of Warsaw breathed the equivalent of 4 bricks a year.

 
 
 
 
 
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Most buildings were built up until 1955, but the project continued many years later. Thus, for example, the Royal Castle in the heart of the city, although it has a history beginning in the 14th century, has only 34 years of existence. Less than some of us. 🙂

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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If you like these photos from above, I took them from the terrace of the St. Anne’s Church tower (you will find it like Widokowy Terrace, Old Town Observation Terrace or St Anne’s Bell Tower and is just across from the Royal Castle) . I like the places where you can look from the height so the 6 zlots seemed to be well spent for the 360 degree panorama. Even the 150 climbing steps were worth it.

Widokowy Terrace is in the Bell Tower, in the right

Today, The Royal Castle is a museum with collections of painting, sculpture, ceramics, watches, fabrics, or numismatics, and is free to visit every Wednesday. There is also a permanent exhibition about the reconstruction of the old town, where the entrance is always free.

And also for free you can discover the city’s stories every day through a series of Free Walking Tours . There are six thematic tours: Warsaw during the war, Jewish Warsaw, Communist Warsaw, Alternative Warsaw, Warsaw Street Art and the most popular: Historic Center – Old Town Warsaw. The English tour is every day at 10:30 and 14:00. There is no need for booking, the tourists simply go and join the group meeting at Sigismund’s column in the Royal Castle Square. Here’s their program:

 

source: freewalkingtours.com

2. The place has many stories and a distinct dignity. Warsaw has 100 churches and 100 historical monuments.
3. Warsaw is very accessible, it is listed as one of the cheapest european capitals for a city break. For example, a Uber drive from the airport to the center of Warsaw is about 7 euros, a fine meal in a restaurant will cost you around 20 euros per person, even less.
4. The historic center is small and very easy to visit in a nice walk. There is a very useful tourist information center, in December there is a Christmas market, and during summer there are many terraces. The atmosphere is very relaxed and you always feel safe. The coffee shops  and restaurants in the area are very chic and compete in ornaments and decorations.

 
 
 
 
 
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5. Warsaw is not just history, it is a vibrant, diverse city that is constantly changing. For example, the most interesting place I eaten was Hala Gwardii, which, after the war, was a garage for buses, later a gym, abandoned for a while and now it turned into a very large and stylish food market.

Hala Gwardii | photo by Adrian Grycuk

If you arrive in Warsaw in the summer, there is, apparently, an even more interesting place to eat: a former tram depot, now called the Night Market or Nocny Market. It is open only in the weekends between the end of April and the end of September after 16:00. You can see it in this video:

6. My “office” for the two days conference in Warsaw was the Warsaw University Library, which seemed to me to be a very interesting building.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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It has won numerous awards in architectural competitions for the transformation and expansion, but also for the one-hectare roof garden, one of the largest of its kind in Europe. Surely the place is more spectacular in the summer. The Library is about 15 minutes walk from the city center.

 
 
 
 
 
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7. Almost one-third of Warsaw is green space. Only Lazienski Park occupies 76 hectares. Also known as “Royal Baths”, it is on the “King’s Route” linking Wilanow Palace to the Royal Castle. It is a complex with palaces, villas, monuments and huge gardens.

 
 
 
 
 
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8. Warsaw has many museums and many of them have free entrance in one day of the week. For example, on Monday, you can go to the Poster Museum (Wilanow Palace) on Tuesday at the Museum of the Caricature or the National Museum, Wednesday at the Royal Castle, on Thursday at Polin, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, in all Lazienki Park museums and at Wilanow Palace. Sunday at the Chopin Museum.

Wilanow Palace

9. Warsaw is the town of Chopin. In summertime there are many concerts in Lazienki Park that honor the composer. The city is also the home of Marie Curie, the double-laureate genius researcher that won the Nobel Prize. She lived in France for most of her life, but the house where she was born and lived until the age of 24 is in Warsaw and it can be visited.
10. The city is a fascinating mix of medieval, communist and modern history. Despite the fact that there is now a skyscrapers district in Warsaw, the tallest building in the city and even in Poland, remains the Palace of Culture and Science, a gift of Soviet dictator Stalin to the Polish nation.

Skyscrapers district, the Palace of Culture and Science in the left side of the image | photo by Radu Rusu

Long story short, I think that Warsaw deserves a long weekend. But the second time I would choose a milder time: spring, summer or autumn. 🙂
I recommend you to read also about World’s largest corkscrew and pressing iron collection.
I invite you to follow my travels or the special places I discover on Instagram [wdi_feed id = “1”]

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