Discover Warsaw’s best sights!
Warsaw, the biggest city of Poland has rich but unfortunately troubled history. Warsaw was destroyed and rebuilt many times. During II World War it was planned for destruction. The rebuilding process after war was tiresome and the city architectural style was only restored in 30%. Monuments which were restored are the biggest Warsaw attractions and today they are surrounded by new buildings which were also built with a lot of effort and work.
Warsaw and its boroughs, city centre
Today’s Warsaw is a completely different city than the pre-war Warsaw. Only some boroughs kept their pre-war features and overall style. Architectural layout of the capital was completely changed, communication lines run in different directions now. It can’t be said that they are badly planned, since Warsaw has the best communication system, when compared to other European cities. It was achieved partly by demolishing some buildings severely damaged during the war.
Warsaw is divided into 18 boroughs. Naturally some are more popular than others. Tourists visiting the capital tend to visit Śródmieście first, which is located in the central part of the city.
Attractions in the city centre
Hotel Residence St. Andrew’s Palace has very convenient location. It’s located in quiet and peaceful neighbourhood, but it’s also close to popular tourist attractions. Warsaw’s centre is filled with both historical monuments and sites, as well as walking areas, greenery and interesting modern buildings.
Below you can find list of the best attractions in the city centre:
Old Town Market
Old Town Market is probably one of the best attractions of the capital. Its specific architectural structure is a real treat for everyone who is interested in history and architecture of major European cities. Old Town Market is built on a rectangular plan. Two perpendicular to each other streets run from each corner. While walking on the Market and surrounding streets it’s worth to look closer at tenement houses from mostly XVII and XVIII century. They were repeatedly damaged and carefully reconstructed during 1949–1953.
Old Town Market is closed to traffic, which makes it even more interesting and charming place. Tenement houses were transformed and currently serve as museums and cultural centres, shops, restaurants and cafes.
The Mermaid Statue stands in the very centre of Old Town Market. It was erected during 1851–1855 while building first modern water conduit. It was made of bronzed zinc and changed locations many times, finally in 1999 the Mermaid Statue with sword and shield came back to Old Town Market. Due to vandalism the original statue, designed by Konstanty Hegel was moved to the grounds of the Museum of Warsaw and replaced by a copy.
The Museum of Warsaw
The Museum of Warsaw (former Historical Museum of Warsaw) presents exhibitions connected with the history of the city form its founding times. It’s housed in eleven tenement houses which were rebuilt after II World War. Eight of them are located on Old Town Market and other three are located on Nowomiejska street. Below the eight tenement houses there are cellars which were renovated during 2010-2012, and then opened for visitors.
The Museum of Warsaw is famous for its collections: archaeological, painting, sculpture, graphics, iconography, decorative arts, numismatics and architectural drawings. Displays aren’t the only attractions. Museum is also known for its strong publishing records and organisation of scientific conferences. Moreover, the museum houses film screenings, guided tours and competitions.
Castle Square and Sigmund’s Column
Castle Square is also located in Śródmieście borough, specifically between streets: Krakowskie Przedmieście, Senatorska, Podwale, Świętojańska. It was created during 1818-1821, and seriously damaged during II World War. It was the former official residence of Polish monarchs. Currently it’s the starting point of Royal Route and east frontage of the square is façade of the Royal Castle.
Sigmund’s Column stands on the Castle Square and was erected and constructed during 1643-1644. It’s famous Warsaw landmark and one of the oldest secular monuments in northern Europe. Sigmund’s Column was renovated a few times. During Warsaw Rising in 1944 the column was demolished. It was repaired after the war.
The Royal Castle in Warsaw
The Royal Castle currently serves as museum and place for housing important events. It was former baroque-classicist complex which served as the official residence of Polish monarchs, and from XVI century it was the seat of the I Republic of Poland.
The castle was repeatedly plundered and damaged, and during II World War completely destroyed. Surviving parts were enlisted in the register of monuments in 1965, and in 1971 the process of reconstruction started. Eight years later museum was opened and the state culture institute was created the Royal Castle in Warsaw – a Monument of National History and Culture . In 2014 the name was changed into the Royal Castle in Warsaw – Museum. The Residence of Kings and the Republic of Poland.
The Royal Castle was registered as protected World Heritage UNESCO Site.
The Grand Theatre in Warsaw
The Grand Theatre building was constructed during 1825-1833. During II World War it was destroyed and its reconstruction started in 1947. In the following years it was not only rebuild but also transformed and enlarged. The original façade from the Theatre was kept.
The Grand Theatre in Warsaw is the seat of national opera, Polish National Ballet and houses two stages and the theatre museum. It’s the biggest opera theatre in Poland, although not only operas are staged there, it’s known for organisation of national events and classical music concerts.
It’s one of the biggest and the most modern theatres in Europe.
The Royal Łazienki
The Royal Łazienki park and garden complex was created in VXIII century by Stanisław August Poniatowski and located in the city centre. It’s definitely a great idea to visit its buildings, especially the Palace on the Water, which before reconstruction served as garden pavilion bathhouse. Apart from 40 buildings in Royal Łazienki complex you can admire various sculptures (among others Fryderyk Chopin’s Monument) and four gardens: Royal. Romantic, Modernist and Chinese. Royal Łazienki covers 75 hectares of nature, a huge part is water. There are 10 gates leading to the park.
Palace of Culture and Science
The palace is considered to be a symbol of Śródmieście, although some people see it as a symbol of communism. It was originally created as “gift of the Soviet people for the Polish nation.”
Palace is located on huge Parade Square in place of tenement houses that were destroyed during II World War. It was finished in 1956 and to this day it’s the highest building in Poland. The capital city of Warsaw is its owner – the Warsaw hall is the seat of Warsaw City Council’s sessions and debates.
Palace is the centre for various companies and public institutions. There are cinemas, theatres, museums, Collegium Civitas university and it’s the seat of authorities of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Various trades and exhibitions also take place there.
In 2007 it was enlisted in the register of monuments.
Copernicus Science Centre
Copernicus Science Centre aims to promote and popularise scientific communication. It’s a relatively new institution, created in 2005 and financed by the capital city of Warsaw, Ministry of Science and Higher Education and Ministry of National Education.
The first building was opened in 2010. Copernicus Science Centre is comprised of various modern exhibitions, workshops and labs. While visiting Copernicus Science Centre you can enjoy exhibitions but also conduct experiments and take active part in workshops . Copernicus Science Centre offers science and entertainment for adults, children and teenagers.
Planetarium the Heavens of Copernicus is located in the building. There are shows of night sky and films tackling various topics from popular science. The planetarium is one of the most interesting attractions of the centre.