Warsaw is a city of citizens of the world, Nobel Prize winners, heroes of freedom and famous Poles renowned internationally. Famous Poles who have lived here are Frederick Chopin, a world-renowned composer and outstanding pianist, and Maria Skłodowska-Curie, the most famous Polish woman and two-time Nobel Prize winner (the only woman in the world who has done so).
It is a phoenix city which actually died and ceased to exist. It has an exceptional and unprecedented history. Plagued by wars and destruction, Warsaw has never had it easy. In 1944, 85% of the city lay in ruins and its residents had been turn out. The scale of destruction was so great that whether or not the city was worth rebuilding at all was under consideration. However, less than 10 years later, Warsaw was reborn like a phoenix from the ashes.
It is a city of tourist attractions. Warsaw's Old Town has been placed on UNESCO's list of world heritage sites. The Royal Route is the most symbolic street in Warsaw. The Royal Łazienki Park and the royal residence in Wilanów are not just examples of outstanding architecture, but are also unique parks and gardens in Europe. The Palace of Culture and Science is not only a monument but also a symbol of the capital. Warsaw’s monuments are treasures of knowledge about Poland. Praga, the district on the east-side of the Vistula River that was not destroyed during World War II, has beautiful 19th century municipal and industrial architecture and is also a centre for artistic life. Attractions also include the private palaces and residences built by wealthy Varsovians. What’s more, there is also a huge amount of greenery in the very heart of the city. Very few cities can claim that ¼ of their square area is taken up by parks and green space.
It is a city of social-political transitions, which changed the course of history in this part of Europe. Poland was the first country in which the communist system fell and Warsaw was always at the centre of events. Warsaw is where the end of the division of Europe and the fall of the Iron Curtain began. It was here in the Namiestnikowski Palace, during the round table talks, that Lech Walesa - the legendary leader of the Solidarność movement and a Nobel Prize winner - negotiated the conditions for constitutional change in Poland with the Communist authorities. Later, he worked to build a free Poland from the very same palace. The democratic changes of 1989 were also a success of John Paul II, the extraordinary Polish Pope who supported the leadership of Solidarność. In 1979, he proclaimed the following message in Warsaw: "Let your spirit descend and renew the face of the land, this land!”. 10 years later he was a guest at Polish parliament in a democratic country.
It is a city of contrasts, where modernity comes face to face with the past, from which the country has not yet fully recovered. In 1989 it was still part of the Warsaw Pact, but since 1999 it has been a member of NATO, and in 2004 it became a capital of a Member State of the European Union, and in 2012, a host city to the UEFA European Football Championships. Here you can find remnants of the Communist era and architecture of Socialist Realism alongside historic churches and modern architecture. Since Warsaw is the biggest building site in Europe with sky scrapers designed by top international architects such as Daniel Liebeskind, Helmut Jahn, and Norman Foster.
It is a multi-national melting pot of cultures and a city of religious tolerance. Located on a trade route between the East and West of Europe, Warsaw has always attracted merchants, missionaries and artists. Over the centuries, Germans, Italians, French, Russians, Jews, Tartars, and Armenians have settled here, living side by side and doing business together. Warsaw has never witnessed religious wars.
A city of business, politics and careers, the biggest city in Poland, the seat of government and a centre for economics, science and culture. There are new trends set here and people arrive from afar to study, work and follow their career. It is a Mecca for immigrants from all over Poland with the natives of Warsaw in the minority. That is also part of the charm of Warsaw.
A city of museums, cultural events and scientific exploration. Here you can find the biggest and oldest collections as well as the most modern interactive museums in Europe. For visitors who are thirsty for knowledge and those who prefer a rest to traditional sightseeing, the ideal place to visit is the Copernicus Science Centre. It is the most modern institution in Europe where visitors can gain their own experience and perform their own scientific experiments. Warsaw is also home to the most prestigious exhibitions and cultural events such as International Chopin concerts, the International Festival of Modern Music, the Mozart Festival, the Jazz Jamboree, 'Jazz in the Old Town', the International Festival of Street Art, the Festival of Jewish Culture 'Singer's Warsaw', the Night of the Museums, and the Warsaw Film Festival. Event Calendar
A pulsating city life with entertainment on a European level. Here you will find theatres, operas, and ballets in one building, as well as musicals and shows in Yiddish, but also an area with clubs, pubs and live music, nightlife and cosy coffee shops and bistros.
A shopping heaven. Shop six days a week in one of the biggest and most modern shopping centres in Europe, as well as in elegant boutiques and galleries.
A culinary adventure, a real heaven for connoisseurs of both meat and vegetarian dishes. In Warsaw you can find rarities such as pork chop a la Warsaw, potato dumplings, pierogi, tripe soup, as well as desserts like wuzetka chocolate cake, pączki doughnut holes, zygmuntówka pastry, hot chocolate as well as Polish specialities such as żurek soup, borscht soup, krupnik soup, bigos cabbage stew and potato pancakes. And of course, to help your indigestion there is a glass of locally made vodka - a specialty of both Warsaw and Poland. Read more about food and drink in Warsaw.