Welcome to the second episode of Travel & Tourism, a weekly article where we take you to various nice places on our planet and give plenty of useful advice and tips for your future journeys!
This week, we are travelling to Poland to visit its beautiful capital, Warsaw.
Geography & History
This huge city with an area of 517 square km* and a population of over 1.5 million* stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland. Warsaw is a very popular international tourist destination and an important cultural, political and economic hub. The historic Old Town holds the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
First settlements found on the site of today's Warsaw come from somewhere between the 9th and 10th centuries. The modern-day city of Warsaw has been established around the year 1300. During the Second World War, Warsaw, just like most of Poland, came under the rule of the Nazi colonial administration. A few months before WWII ended, precisely on 17 January 1945, Soviet and Polish troops liberated the city's suburbs from the German occupation.
* = Excluding the metropolitan area.
"But Toby, the history and geography is nice to know, but why should I visit the city, what are the nicest places to see there?" Well, don't worry, I've got you covered! Here are the top sights you can find in Warsaw!
1. Łazienki Królewskie (Royal Baths Park)
With an area of 76 hectares, this is the largest park in the city. It was originally designed in the 17th century as a baths park for nobleman Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski, but in the 18th century, it was transformed by Poland's monarch Stanislaus II Augustus into a setting for palaces, villas and monuments, such as the Frédéric Chopin monument. You can also find animals in the park, for example, peacocks.
The Chopin Monument (left), Palace on the Isle (right)
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
2. The Old Town (Stare Miasto, Starówka)
This is the oldest part of Warsaw, it is over 800 years old. One of the most interesting sights in the Old Town is the Royal Castle (Zamek Królewski), which is located at Castle Square. Throughout the centuries, it served as the official residence of Polish monarchs. This palace also played a significant role in Poland's history, as the Constitution of 3 May 1791 (first of its type in Europe) was drafted here. The Old Town holds the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Royal Castle (left), Old Town Market Square (right)
Credit: viator.com, Wikimedia Commons
3. POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
"The POLIN Museum is the first and only museum dedicated to restoring the memory of the civilisation created by Polish Jews in the course of a millennium. The museum engages with the present and opens out to the future. As an educational and cultural institution, the museum is dedicated to stimulating dialogue in the spirit of mutual understanding and respect." - TripAdvisor
I think this is a place well worth a visit, even if you are not a history enthusiast. You will pay no more than 30 PLN for an adult ticket and a tour takes about 2 hours.
The POLIN Museum building | Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Getting around in Warsaw
The city offers various modes of public transport - buses, trams and the metro. They go pretty much everywhere and they are very cheap, so they are definitely the most efficient ways to get around in Warsaw.
Have you ever been to warsaw? Share your experience in the comment section!