The capital of Poland is Warsaw (Warszawa), a metropolis of two million inhabitants in rapid expansion, after centuries of turbulent history, you are reaffirming the international stage as one of the most vital centers of Europe. Built at the turn of the river Vistula around the tenth century, the city has led the Polish entry into the European Community in 2004, when it began a period of strong economic development still in progress. The boom was also recorded in the arts and cultural life of the Polish capital, second only to Krakow for the number of museums, art galleries and monuments. Here, however, is where the fashions and trends are born, where he lives the cultural heart of the country, thanks to renowned universities at the base of the lively and varied nightlife.
Although close to the center have been found artifacts dating back to Neolithic times, historians agree that Warsaw was born around the tenth century, when on the banks of the Vistula rose some small villages. At the beginning of the fifteenth century, the original nucleus, or Warszowa Warszewa already called, he added a new fortified town near the top of the escarpment, where I Janusz the Elder transferred the capital of the Duchy of Masovia. In 1569 Warsaw became the permanent seat of the Polish Parliament, but the rapid growth of new capital was interrupted by the Swedes between 1655 and 1657. After a grueling contest between Prussia and the empires of Austria and Russia , Warsaw was forced to live the horrors of two world wars, followed by the advent of the communist regime. To this period belong the reconstruction of the historic center and the construction of large-scale buildings inspired by the dictates of Socialist Realism, with the consequent suppression of all independent artistic expression. Out of the era of communism, Warsaw has been very specific in wanting to join the European Community, its image permanently separating from the Eastern bloc in Europe.
Despite the inevitable difficulties of the transition to capitalism, the city has been able to seize the opportunity given by the European Union. The old town, literally razed in 1944 and rebuilt by the Soviets with artificial perfection, is back to being friendly and will only enchant you with its thin atmosphere and quiet, at odds with the frenzy that characterized the periphery. The attractions are many and all of great value. In 1980 the whole area was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage, because of size and accuracy, is unique in the history of urban-scale restoration. Usually a visit to the historic center of Warsaw is called with the name of “Royal Route”
Plac Zamkowy is the “Castle Square”, a triangular clearing reconsidered the early nineteenth century by Jakub Kubici. Here stand the outlines of Kolumna Zygmunta III Waza (Column of Sigismund III Vasa), built in 1644 and 22 meters high, but most of the Zamek Krolewski, the Royal Castle. Blown up by the Germans in 1944, the castle was rebuilt between 1971 and 1984, re-using as much as possible the historical materials recovered. Inside are exposed a myriad of valuable pieces, like the eighteenth-century paintings by Canaletto depicting views of Warsaw, but the most interesting environments are the chapel which houses the heart of the patriot Tadeusz Koscuiszko and the throne room.
Connected to the castle by Swietojanska ulica, the Katedra Sw Jana Chrzciciela (Cathedral of St. John the Baptist) was also destroyed in 1944 and later rebuilt in Gothic style English. On one of the exterior walls are hung with the tracks of a Goliath, a German tank used during World War II, to remember the brutality of the cathedral and the city were covered. Inside are several works of German artist Veit Stoss (1438-1533), author of the magnificent altar of the basilica of Santa Maria in Krakow. In the crypt of the cathedral rest the King Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski and other prominent figures in Polish history as the writer Henryk Sienkiewicz and presidents Gabriel Narutowicz and Ignacy Jan Paderewski.
Beside the cathedral stands Kosciol Jezuitow (Jesuit Church), dedicated to Our Lady of Grace patron of Warsaw. At his side stands the tallest tower of Stare Miasto (Old Town), while nearby opens Starego Miasta Rynek, the market square. On the esplanade overlooking the Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Warszawy (Historical Museum of the City of Warsaw), illustrating the history of the capital by early post-conflict reconstruction. Other museums worth visiting are: Marie Curie Museum, dedicated to the most illustrious daughter of Warsaw, but could improve greatly in terms allestitivo, the Museum of Modern Art, housed in a beautiful eighteenth-century manor, the National Museum, which boasts a splendid collection of European and international level and Pawiak Prison Museum, located in the basement of a former Tsarist jail and focused on the horrors of World War II.
Also downtown are two other things to be missed: the Lazienki Park and Palace and the Palace of Culture and Science. I first identify the largest green space in Warsaw, extended over an area of 80 acres at the center of which stands the Palace on the water, residence of the last king of Poland, Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski (1732-1798). The Palace of Culture and Science, however, is the tallest building in the city, reaching 231 meters. His story is rather unique. The idea was to build it to Stalin, who wanted to make a sort of gift from the Soviet people in Warsaw, oddly enough, Stalin wanted the building looked like the Empire State Building in New York, which tends to be inspired by the palace. To build it were used more than 40 million bricks, justified only by a number of which is composed of 3,288 rooms. Very beautiful is the view from the terrace to the thirtieth floor.
In an attempt to reach and surpass the eternal rival in cultural Krakow, the city has a rich and varied calendar of events. It begins in the spring, at Easter, with Ludwig van Beethoven Festival, attended by musicians from around the country that celebrate the Master with a series of outdoor concerts and performances. The April 19th is the day marking the beginning of the Jewish ghetto uprising in 1943, while with the arrival of the summer concert season begins the great figures in which like Chopin and Mozart never fail. In July there is the international festival of street artists, followed on 1 August by another historical event of great importance: the anniversary of the uprising dell’Armia Krajova (home of the Army), Warsaw 1944. Between October and November, respectively, take place the International Film Festival in Warsaw and the Warsaw Piano Festival, a week of concerts arranged for piano in the picturesque setting of the Royal Castle.
Most visitors are concentrated in the period from June to late August, when temperatures are generally between 18 and 26 degrees. At night can cool even in midsummer, while the maximum afternoon occasionally exceed 30 degrees especially between July and August. This season, it often rains and sudden storms occur. In the winter, it’s cold: temperatures are almost always below freezing and can drop to -10/-15 degrees between January and February. The best months to visit Warsaw are May, June and September, characterized by mild weather, fewer tourists and prices slightly lower than in summer.
This is the Okecie airport in Warsaw, also known as Frederic Chopin, located about twenty minutes’ drive south-west of the city, most of low cost airlines landing at Terminal Etudia, just a few minutes walk from the main one. Warsaw has three railway stations: the Zachodnia, to the west, Centralna (in center) and Wschodnia, to the east. The middle one is better served by both national and international trains, but the others are a large number of connections every day. From the parking lot near the Zachodnia leave almost all buses across the border, while others have as a reference area in front of the Palace of Culture and Science in plac Defilad.
Originally posted 2012-08-18 20:11:41.