Warsaw is a modern metropolis located in central Poland. Due to its location it’s a convenient point for visiting the other parts of the country. This is the biggest Polish city and it houses the Sejm (parliament) and other political and government bodies. Since the 16th century when King Sigismund III moved the court from Krakow to Warsaw it also has been the capital of Poland.
Warsaw is said to bear some resemblance to the mythical Phoenix. Having been completely destroyed several times in its history, the city managed to lift itself from the ashes. Drama of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 was incomparable with anything else. As a punishment for the Uprising, Warsaw was systematically demolished by Germans. Roughly 85% of the city was destroyed and laid in ruins. Only 64 of its 987 historic buildings were undamaged by the Nazis. At the end of the war the city was almost uninhabited. Warsaw was rebuilt from the ground with an effort of many Poles in just a few years. In 1980 the entire complex of the Old Town was inscribed on the UNESCO list as “an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century”. Not only Nazi occupation had an influence on the history and architecture of Warsaw but also the Soviet era. You will find there many examples of grey Socialist Realism and the most striking is the Palace of Culture and Science, Stalin’s gift. It’s the highest building in Warsaw, visible from most parts of the city. If you ever get lost there you need simply walk toward the Palace of Culture.
Since 1989 Warsaw has been developing at a breathtaking pace. Nowadays it belongs to one of the “tallest” cities in Europe and next skyscrapers rise up rapidly.
Warsaw is also the city of contrasts. This is where ultra modern skyscrapers stand side-by-side with baroque churches and old communist blocks of flats.
Warsaw is divided naturally by the Vistula River. Most of the tourist sites are located on the left bank. On the opposite site of the river you will find Praga district which not destroyed during the Second World War is a truly authentic place but at the same time poor and rather dangerous. Still undiscovered it is a place of great potential.
Warsaw bustles with energy and life. Numerous events and festivals such as Jazz Jamboree, Warsaw Autumn, Warsaw Film Festival, International Street Art Festival or Singer’s Festival are organized here. According to the Lonely Planet, Warsaw is one of the top ten metropolitan cities in the world which travelers have to visit in 2009.