Warsaw City Guide travel tourist sightseeing attractions information

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Related Pages Rail services to from Warsaw – Coach services to from Warsaw  Cities –  Gdansk Guide / Krakow Guide / Auschwitz – Birkenau

Local Pages  Warsaw Airport and Public Transport / Poland Country Profile  Nightclubs In Warsaw

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Warsaw History Overview

Warsaw’s origins date back to the settlements of Brodno & Jazdow in the 9th and 12th centuries In 1281 after the latter was destroyed in a battle a new settlement was established nearby in a fishing area called Warszowa. In 1413 it became the capital of Masovia and part of the Polish Crown in 1526. In 1596 after the unification of Poland and Lithuania it became Poland’s capital. In 1795 it was annexed to Prussia before being captured by Napoleon in 1807. In 1815, a Vienna treaty declared Warsaw as the capital of a new Constitutional Polish state but ruled by Russia. Russia often ignored the constitutional and in 1830, 1861 and 1863 Warsaw led unsuccessful uprisings against its rulers. In 1918 at the end of WW1 Poland regained its independence with Warsaw as its capital.

In 1920 the city became embroiled in Polish Bolshevik War and Battle of Warsaw was fought on the eastern edge of the city. Russia’s Red Army was defeated. When WW2 broke out on September 1st 1939 Poland was first invaded by the Nazis in the west and sixteen days later by the Soviets in the east. For six weeks Warsaw was under siege and the battleground between these two powers before falling to the Nazis. 15% of the city’s buildings were destroyed with and the city fell to the Nazis SS who herded most of the city’s Jews (about 30% of the population) into the Warsaw Ghetto. .

1943 Warsaw Uprising  – About 300,000 Jews were deported from Warsaw to their deaths at the Treblinka concentration camp in the summer of 1942 When news of their fate reached to those remaining in the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw a group of mainly young people formed ‘Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa, which translated means the Jewish Fighting Organization. Z.O.B., campaigned for Jewish people to refuse to go to board the trains to Treblinka.

In January 1943, Warsaw ghetto fighters shot at Nazis German troops rounding up more Jews deportation The troops eventually retreated. On April 19, 1943, the Warsaw ghetto uprising began after Nazis troops again tried to enter the ghetto to deport those that remained. Over seven hundred and fifty fighters fought the troops . The battle lasted until on May 16, 1943 when they were defeated. 56,000 Jews were captured 7,000 were shot instantly – the remainder were sent to the concentration camps. see also Auschwitz.

In July and August 1944 as the Red Army once again attacked the German Army in Poland the indigenous population of Warsaw tried to seize control of the city from the Nazis whilst the Red Army captured the right bank of Warsaw. The leaders of the uprising had wrongly thought that they would be aided by the advancing Red Army but the Soviet forces held back. Consequently the uprising against the Nazis failed. The Nazis then razed the city to the ground.

In January 1945 the Red Army finally crossed the River Vistula and entered the left-bank of Warsaw. 85% of the city had been destroyed including the Royal Castle and all of the Old Town with its many Baroque. buildings. The Soviet forces arrested most of the leaders of the 1944 uprising before either shooting them or deporting them to Siberia.

Warsaw Rebuilt From Rubble  During the Nazi occupation, under Hitler’s orders, about 85 percent of the city was destroyed and over 700,000 died. At the Historical Museum of the City of Warsaw (Old Town Market Square) you can see a film showing the extent of that wanton devastation.At the end of World War 2 the Polish people and friends from abroad painstakingly rebuilt the monuments churches and historic buildings destroyed in the war. They were then and still remain the heart and soul of Warsaw

Sightseeing & Attractions in Warsaw

Warsaw is a city which has suffered much hardship throughout its long and arduous history. The large Jewish community was practically obliterated by the  demonic Nazi’s during the second world war. There are many commemorations to the Jewish community in Poland with museums, Synagogues and monuments established by Jewish researchers and historians. Unfortunately Warsaw is not as enchanting as a city like Prague due to the destruction its faced  down the years but the history and legacy of World War Two draws inquisitive Tourists and Jewish sympathisers from all over the world to visit a vast number of fascinating commemorative Landmarks and Museums.

Nozyk Synagogue, 6 Twarda Street   Warsaw tel no: 48-22620-3496  – Nozyk is the only surviving pre-war Orthodox synagogue in the Polish city. Its construction was undertaken by Leonard Marconi and designed in a neo-Romanesque style. The synagogue was damaged at the start of the Second World War and by 1941 the Nazis were using it as a depot and stables. The building was restored after World War II but wasn’t properly resurrected until  1983 when it reopened to the public. It currently houses the seat of the Jewish commune and  as well as many other important Jewish organizations. Visitors can walk along the path of remembrance which stretches from Zamenhofa Street to the monument of the Ghetto hero. Open Mon-Fri 9 am till 5 pm .  11 am till 6 pm on Sunday’s. No entry fee. website n/a

The Museum of the Warsaw Uprising, Wola Grzybowska 79  Warsaw – This interesting museum chronicles the Jewish struggle to escape from the Ghetto in 1944. It is located in the Vola district of Warsaw. The museum was initially established back in 1983 but didn’t actually open its doors until July 31st 2004, this commemorated the 60th anniversary of the uprising. The museum collects and houses hundreds of artefact’s and documents related to the uprising. They have weapons and even love letters in order to give a full picture of all the  different people involved in this historic rebellion.

They have a children’s section with  activities and models as well as a look at the Nazi and communist regimes with German and communist occupied Poland. They have a heartfelt memorial wall in honour of all the victims of the Warsaw Uprising. Open Mon-Weds 8 am till 6 pm, Thurs  8 am till 8 pm and  10 am till 6 pm on weekends, closed on Tuesday’s.  From July open 10 am till 6 pm, Thurs 10 am till 8 pm and 10 am till 6 pm on weekends, closed on Tuesday’s. Entry fee is 10/ 14 zl and children under 7 go free. Entry is free to all Sunday’s. website http://www.1944.pl/

The Royal Castle, Warsaw Old Town Castle Square 4 Warsaw – The Royal castle was formerly the lavish home to Polish royalty. The King and governmental offices were based at the castle from the 16th century up until the partitions of Poland.  The castle building has been decimated on many occasions by the Swedish, Russian and German armies.  The Castle was built in a  Mannerist-early Baroque style, a style which dominated Polish architecture between 1550 and 1650. They have 25 paintings of  Bernardo Belloto. Bellotto was an 18th century Italian Landscape painter. The castle was significantly damaged by the Nazi’s in World War two but was restored in the aftermath of the war and in 1980 along with the Old Town it was named as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Opening hours Tues-Sat 10 am till 5 pm. Entry is cheap at around 5 or 6 Euro’s. website http://www.zamek-krolewski.pl/

Jewish Historical Institute Ul Tlomackie 3 Warsaw – This institute is the research centre which chronicles the history of Jews in Poland.  The institute was created in 1947. The institute highlights the atrocities Polish Jews endured during the Holocaust and  horrors of the Jewish Ghetto in general.  There are memoirs, diaries and documentation depicting the horrors of Jewish life in Poland during the Second World War.  The most valuable of the documents is the  Ringelblum archive which  was collected by Jewish group Oyneg Shabbos and contains an estimated 6,000 documents and roughly 30, 000 pieces of paper. Opening hours are  Mon-Fri 9 am till 4 pm  Thurs, Sat Sun 11 am till  6 pm. The price is 10 PLN and 5 PLN conncessionary website http://www.jewishinstitute.org.pl/pl/home/index/0.html

Polish National Museum 3 Jerusalem Avenues, Warsaw – The national Museum has a rich collection of paintings which date back to  the nineteenth century and were hidden from the Nazi’s at the start of the Second World War. They have an extensive collection of Ancient Rome, Greek and Egyptian art. The museum was established in 1916 and is the largest Museum in Poland. Famous paintings from contemporary Polish artists such as Jozef Mehoffer and European artists such as well as iconic painting, the  Virgin and Child, St. John and Angels painted by the much revered Italian Sandro Botticelli. Opening hours are daily 10 am till 7 pm but closed on Monday’s, Admission is free.  website http://www.mnw.art.pl/index.php/en/collections/

Warsaw Motor Museum Warsaw Otrebusy Ulicka Warszawska 21 – This interesting museum opened in 1995 has many notable features including a  Vintage Car owned by the Incomparable ”King” Elvis Presley. It’s located about 30 minutes train ride outside of Warsaw city centre. They possess some vintage cars, Motorcycles and Models.  some of which are incredibly rare. Car enthusiasts are known to use The Museum’s grounds as a meeting place where they hold BBQ’S and social gatherings whilst discussing their love of automobiles. Open Mon-Sat 8 am till 5 pm. and  10 am till 5pm on Sunday’s.  Admission 10/7 ZL (free for children under  five)  website http://www.muzeum-motoryzacji.com.pl/

Museum of Caricatures, Warsaw  Ulica Kozia 11 – This is a small museum opened to the public in 1978. The Museum is dedicated to Caricatures and  cartoon art. It was founded by Polish Caricaturist and Cartoonist Erik  Lipinksi.. Lipinksi encouraged many artists and their heirs to donate pieces to the museum and held various events to raise the necessary funds for the museum. There is a huge collection of drawings and cartoons depicting all types of life and situation. Opening hours are Tues-Sun 11 am till 5 pm and  11 am till 6 pm on Thursday’s. entry fee is  about 6 PLN for adults and 5 for children. website  http://muzeumkarykatury.pl/joomla/

The Old Town, Warsaw Starego miasta Warsaw  – The Old Town is the oldest district in the Polish capital. It is one of Warsaw and Poland’s most popular attractions. The centre of the Old Town is the heaving Market place where there are many shops, restaurants and cafes. The streets around the Old Town feature many examples of  medieval architecture such as St John’s Cathedral and Barbican. St Johns is a an Arch cathedral and one of Poland’s most significant landmarks.  The historic Old Town was first established back in the 13th century and  The castle square is the first thing that Visitors see as they enter the Old Town. The Mermaid Statue[ Syrenka] in the middle of Old Town square is regarded as a symbol of Polish identity. website n/a

Solidarity Avenue Warsaw Old Town If you are hoping for a peaceful and or reflective walk then look no further than Warsaw’s solidarity Avenue. Solidarity is the City’s cultural and financial centre. The avenue shows the significant change that has been made in Warsaw since the Communist leaders were overthrown. In this area  There are plenty of modern and contrasting historic buildings erected during the Communist era.website n/a

Monument of the Ghetto Hero ul Zamenhofa Corner of Anielewicza Street  Old Town, Warsaw – This charming monument pays tribute to the Warsaw uprising of 1943. It was designed by Jewish sculptor Natan Rappaport. The statue is located at the site of where some of the most brutal fighting took place.  Ironically the stone cladding on the Monument was  ordered from Sweden by  Adolf Hitler and was intended to be a victory arch for the Nazi’s.  One of the site’s most noteworthy events occurred in 1970 when German chancellor Willy Brandt fell to his knees in remorse for the unforgiveable atrocities committed by the Nazi’s on Polish soil. website n/a

The Path of Remembrance, Jewish Ghetto Warsaw – The path of Remembrance has 16 granite blocks which commemorates The tragic Victims of the Jewish Ghettos concentration camps. One of the main features along this sombre walk is the  Bunker monument which was built in honour of the rebellion co-ordinator who fought against the invading Nazi’s. This reflective and insightful walk ends with the emotional emotional Umsclagplatz Monument which is located at the site of the railway which saw so many Polish Jews transported to their untimely deaths.website n/a.

Restaurants in Warsaw

Warsaw is a very cosmopolitan city especially in its cuisine and in parts Italian restaurants are never far way. For good quality Polish food ‘Figaro’ (Zieleniecka 2) is fairly well known. Also reported to be worth a visit is ‘The Rabarbar‘ (Wierzbona 9/11) which has good French food and live Jazz bands.

‘Le Cedre’ (Solidarnosci 61) is renowned for excellent Lebanesese food. The informal‘Jasna Bar’ (Jasna 24) offers food, drink music and occasionally special events.

Crime and Personal Safety & Security In Warsaw Violent crime is rare but be aware of street crime, pick pockets and avoid walking alone late at night in badly lit streets as there have been isolated incidents of muggings in areas popular with tourists.sAs credit card fraud is on the increase do not let your cards out of sight. Some tourists are approached by criminals posing as plain cloth police officers who ask for credit card detail as proof of ID.

Thieves hang about ATM’s, and on public transport especially at main railway stations.Many thefts occur when you board or leave a train. There is also a high risk of theft on sleeper trains. Do not accept food or drinks from strangers as they may be spiked in order to rob you.At Warsaw airport unregulated taxis overcharge tourist. Regulated taxis have a phone number and crest on the door and occupied / vacant light on the cab roof.

Warsaw Tourist Board Information http://www.warsawtour.pl/index.php?olang=5
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