Once you arrive in Warsaw and step out of the train station, the first thing that catches your eye is the Palace of Culture and Science. This gift of Stalin to the Polish people has become an icon, despite the fact that it was built under harsh conditions for the Polish people. It has a cinema, museums, offices, businesses, and the Kongresowa Room, which hosts concerts and it was there where Chamba performed when in Warsaw. Around the building, during the 2012 Eurocup, they installed something called the Fan Zone. It was a complex with screens and games and food stalls, where you could watch the games.
Also known by the name of St. Sigismund Square (Rynek Starego Miasta) it was begun in the XIII century and finished in the XIV. The facades combine elements of Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic and it's the most famous square in Warsaw where fairs were installed. In the center of the square there's a statue of a mermaid - the emblem of Warsaw. What we see today is a reconstruction of the original that was destroyed in World War II. There are also many tourist establishments, especially, cafes and restaurants.
This park as close to the "old city", Warsaw, also known as "Little Prague" and acts as a sign that the parks in Poland today are an important part of their "communities". In the middle of the oldest part of the capital, where they cause considerable hardship and inconvenience own old quarters of large capital, here we find a huge park, right next to a street with lots of traffic. Away from that traffic and that avenue, you can enjoy peace and quiet, unbecoming of the great capitals. What leafy park makes anti-noise barrier, the air of course, more fresh and clean; There are some animals that live in the wild way, such as squirrels or ducks that roam around the huge park with no fences or barriers to their mobility.
The Palace on the Water is one of the most beautiful places in the city, surrounded by a large garden and lake. It's on an artificial island in the park's lake and has two bridges that connect it to the mainland. To enter you must wear fabric shoes because the wooden floor is original. On the ground floor are the Bacchus living room, the royal baths, the ballroom, the room of portraits, the hall of Solomon, a picture gallery, the palace chapel and dining room. Upstairs are the royal apartments, another gallery of paintings, the balcony room, the king's room, the royal apartments, the wardrobe and the officers room. The games of mirrors and reflections of the Palace on the lake are very nice.
The most used mode of transport in Poland to go from one city to another is train, not because they are fast, but because the roads are not good, and there's only a quick route across the country. One can go from one city to another in an adventure, crossing the country, which can take anywhere from 6 hours to 18! It all depends on your luck with the connections. It is best that you look on the web beforehand, and listed there are all train schedules and prices. I spent from 12 midnight to 3 am waiting for a train in a station with a couple of banks, no doors, very few people. But with a couple of guards. The train was full and. It is better reserve a direct train. In the carriages are compartments for 8, 4 versus 4 which are quite comfortable, light, curtains, etc. Not very contemporary, but they have a charm and if they are not too full and the journey is long, they are comfortable to sleep. A tip to go by train in Poland ... Lots of patience! Grab a book, food and drink, open conversation with your companions, because the journey will be anything but short. So take the opportunity to relax and enjoy the scenic beauty Polish small towns, rivers and lakes, slowly.
The neighborhood of Praga is the least known and least visited neighborhood in Warsaw. It's located across the river and bridges you take to get there are enormous, so it's more than a short walk. Going there at night is not recommended, but during the day it's the most trendy neighborhood in the city, with art galleries, craft shops, trendy stuff, young Polish designers have workshops there. It has a very old Orthodox church. It's not suitable for those ve are only visiting Warsaw once. There are a lot of famous monuments in the neighborhood of Prague, these musicians are found in one of the most important places in the neighborhood. There is a flower shop just behind and is very close to the Church of St. Michel. The musicians give much play to take photographs of the monuments that are around. It is located on the street Jagiellońska 15.
The Nazis regarded the establishment of ghettos as a provisional measure to control/segregate Jews. Warsaw ghetto was the largest ghetto in Poland, where about 450,000 Jews were crammed into 1.3 square miles. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, when German troops began the second mass deportation to the concentration and death camps during World War II. It occurred between April 19 and May 6, 1943 and was led by Mordechai Anielewicz, a member of the Jewish youth movement Hashomer Hatzair, and was finally crushed by SS troops under the command of Jürgen Stroop. This monument is in the heart of the Ghetto, it reminds us of past heroes and there's a path that follows the Ghetto's perimeter. There's also a photo exhibition.
The Royal Castle in Warsaw, Zamek Krolewski, was constructed by the dukes of Mazovia and expanded when King Sigismund III Vasa moved the capital to Warsaw. It used to be the residence of Polish kings from the early 17th to the late 18th century. It was home to the parliament and today it is a museum with tapestries, period furniture, and porcelain collections as well as other arts. A big part of it was reconstructed between the years 1971 and 1984, when the Nazis destroyed it, and the castle remained damaged. There is an exhibition of pictures inside. The Royal Castle in Warsaw was the official residence of Polish kings. It is in the Castle Square, at the entrance to the Warsaw Old Town. Staff offices of the king and the administrative offices of the Royal Court of Poland were there from the 16th century until the Partitions of Poland. In its long history the Royal Castle was repeatedly devastated and plundered by Swedish, German and Russian. The imposing outside, constructed of brick is 90 m long and faces the Plaza del Castillo. At each end of the facade there is a square tower with a bulb needle. Sigismund Tower is in the heart of the main facade,surrounded on both sides by the castle. According to theories this huge tower was inspired by the towers of Smolensk.
Easter in Poland is very intense, even more than Christmas. People prepare their homes to meet with families, there are days of recollection and family and personal encounter. Churches that are usually full are even more so and the queues are very long to confess. Spend Easter in Warsaw and see baskets being prepared with foods such as bread, eggs and sausage and go to church on Easter Sunday for you and the food for next year to be blessed by the priest. The city is full of families, parents and children with their baskets on Church Road. A very nice tradition.
The barbican was erected in 1540 and is one of the few remnants of the complex network of historic fortifications that once surrounded Warsaw. In World War II, notably during the siege of Warsaw (1939) and the Warsaw Uprising (1944), the barbican was largely destroyed, like most of the old city. It was rebuilt 1952-1954 on the basis of seventeenth century engravings. The bricks used in its reconstruction were from demolished historic buildings from the cities of Nysa and Wroclaw, most of the barbican was rebuilt, with the exception of 2 exterior doors and the oldest tower on the side of the old town. It's now a popular tourist attraction.
At the end of the Krakowskie Przedmiescie is Plac Zamkowy (or Castle Square) the entrance to the Stare Miasto (or historic center of Warsaw). You can see the old Royal Castle, part of the wall and the Warsaw stadium across the river Vistula. As in Krakowskie Predmiescie and Nowy Swiat the buildings are low rise and neoclassical. You can view the Unesco World Heritage historic center memorial plaque inscription from 1981. A highlight of the square is the original statue of Sigismund III, ve became King of Poland, the capital became Warsaw to the detriment of Krakow. In the square you can see theater performances that attract much public attention.
Behind the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are the Saxon Gardens, the oldest public gardens in Warsaw, with an area of 15.5 hectares. Created 1713-1733 during the reign of Augustus II the Strong and in 1727 the gardens became the first public park in Poland. Besides flowers and fountains, there are 21 baroque statues. Very bucolic!
The Polish Super Bowl isn't as famous or important as the American one or anything, but now they have a much-touted, beautiful stadium. I had the chance to go to the final this year. It was the Gdynia Seahawks versus the Warsaw Eagles and it was held at the National Stadium, although it was kind of empty and didn't make a great impression on me, but I enjoyed the stage inside and a friend of mine explained the rules of football to me because I didn't really have any idea about it. The most expensive ticket was about € 10, so I think it was an interesting show! For those interested in the sport, it's held every year and you're sure to enjoy it a lot, but it's not the NFL! Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office.
Cemeteries in Poland wear fire and lights for Halloween, there aren't the usual flowers when going to visit the dead, instead there are graves with candles of different colors and shapes. The previous week the supermarkets are full of them. It's best to approach a cemetery on Halloween (or the next afternoon-evening) - it's spectacular and magical, everywhere has small colored lights that dance with the wind and seem to talk to each other. Paradoxically, they give life to the cemetery.
I was in Sachsenhausen, near Berlin, it's a small field and in pretty good shape compared to Treblinka. Last November I was in Auschwitz and it certainly is no comparison to Sachsenhausen, it's much larger andimpressive. Definitely a place to never forget what happened there. This August I will go to Munich and plan to visit Dachau, 20 km north of Munich. Dachau was the first Nazi concentration camp and I think it's worth a visit. I would visit Treblinka, but it's difficult as I live in Barcelona and would have to do a pre-trip to Varsovia.
The Insurrección Museum is one of the most important in the city (visiting Warsaw and not going to this museum is like going to Paris and not visiting the Louvre!). It's a historical symbol, on September 1, 1939 the Nazis invaded Poland, on August 1, 1944 Warsaw rose against the Nazis, there were 63 days of fighting, the Nazis with tanks and planes and the Poles through the channels of the city. The uprising failed and the Nazis destroyed more than 80% of the city, there were tens of thousands of casualties and Warsaw was a plot of rubble. All this can be seen in the museum, you can even walk through a few channels that insurrection used, the boy scouts also participated by post and the museum has special rooms dedicated to them. For those ve were killed and deported it's very hard, but very interesting, educational and very interactive. You can visit on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 8:00-18:00, Thursday 8:00-20:00 and Saturday and Sunday 10:00 -18:00. On Sundays, admission is free and on the other days the price it's 14 pln (about 3.5 €).
Chopin was born in 1810 on a country farm near Warsaw, to a Polish mother and French father. He died on October 17, 1849 in Paris aged 39 and his funeral was held in the church of Santa Magdalena de Paris on the 30th, during the interment (at Père-Lachaise Cemetery) the Funeral March from his Sonata Op 35 was played. Just before he died he asked that his heart be separated from his body and returned to his beloved homeland. It was deposited in the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw, under a pillar with the biblical inscription "Where your treasure is, there is your heart''. As a curiosity, Polish authorities have rejected requests from scientists eager to conduct DNA testing of Chopin's heart.
Near Nowy Swiat, Warsaw houses an interactive museum for known musician Fryderyk Chopin of the 19th century. The inside of the palace was destroyed during WWII and rebuilt according to the original project. It is possible to know the life and work of the Polish musician which is very entertaining. Do not miss the concert hall on the -1 floor where you can listen to music of Chopin and see a montage of photographs of Poland. It is advisable to book the visit ahead of time since the input is limited. The price is 22PLN (7-8 €) Children under 7 are admitted free of charge. Open from 12 am to 8 pm. On Tuesday entrance is free of charge.