The capital and largest city in Poland is situated on the Vistula River (the largest river in the country) and it has a population of about 1.7 million people. (2.6 encompassing the surrounding area)
It is extremely busy and maybe not as beautiful compared to the other major cities in Poland. This is probably because 80-90% of the city was destroyed by the end of WWII!
While some of the sites aren’t overly stunning, Warsaw does have an absolutely fascinating history that really can’t be skipped over. The repairs are still going on to this day but you can definitely find some nice areas, starting in the old town. (re-built in 1956)
This castle (above and the inside, below) was bombed on September 7, 1939 at 11:15am. Now, the Warsaw anthem plays 3 times in a row at 11:15am everyday.
- Below is the Warsaw Cathedral which was named after St. John the Baptist. It was built in 1956.
- Behind the Cathedral is the famous bell. The superstition states that if you walk around 3 times while touching the top, you can choose a lifetime of wealth or a lifetime of love. But not both!
- Maybe you’ve seen the famous mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark? Well, legend has it that this is her older sister. The two lived together in the Baltic Sea, and one went to Denmark, while the other decided to come to Poland. She is the official symbol of Warsaw and is seen as the city’s protector!
- Above are walls dividing the old and new towns of Warsaw. Much more money has been invested into the old town, but the new part ( I know, I know, it’s all new! ) has some charm as well. (as seen below)
Throughout Poland, there are a number of small restaurants called ‘Milk Bars’ which were started and funded in the 1960s by the communist government. The goal was to provide citizens with cheap local food, even in times when there were food shortages.
With the fall of communism, Milk Bars also closed shop throughout the country. However, to the delight of locals and tourists alike, in the last 10 years there has been a revival of these small scale restaurants. They are still subsidized by the government and the food is still crazy cheap!
- above is the restaurant and below is the meal I chose for only 11 Zlotys (4 cdn).
- Also, the restaurants are called ‘Milk Bars’ because most products served here were dairy based in the communist times.
- This statue, called the ‘little insurgent’, is here to symbolize the important roll that children played throughout WWII. In Warsaw, kids helped during battles by transporting notes and supplies throughout the city. The hope was that because they were small, kids could sneak through enemy lines more easily. Also, the Polish people figured that the Nazi army wouldn’t open fire on children. That wasn’t always the case.
When compared to other places in Poland, Warsaw definitely lacks the extreme charm and beauty that is frequently evident throughout the country. However, this 700 year-old city has a ton of history and it contains its own type of charm. Even though it wasn’t my favourite place in Poland, I would definitely recommend visiting Warsaw, the capital city (moved from Krakow in 1596). I think Warsaw is a city that will improve the longer you stay!
Na zdrowie! (cheers)