So as I eluded in my previous post, I did indeed stay on here in Warsaw but even during this extended stay I still couldn’t find the time to get to know the real history of the city. If you can’t see the irony in this, let me help: Regular viewers will know that first and foremost I always get out and about to learn as much about a city as possible – or until my tiny brain has been overloaded which admittedly doesn’t take very long. So of all the many cities I’ve visited that could tell a tale or two, this would be at the very top and yet I’ve learnt almost nothing about it.
I’ll admit to being a little annoyed at myself by such an omission- especially as Warsaw’s history includes it being one of the most heavily destroyed cities in all of Poland during WW2 – as was Gdynia (part of Tri-city near Gdansk). Both cities were reported to have in excess of 85% destruction! Therefore pretty much every building I found myself looking at was of post-war construction. Even the ugly buildings which will fool you into thinking they are super-old are only 60-70 years in the making and built during the communist times.
Thankfully this is a capital city I would definitely come back to and so I’ll just have to park my self-annoyance and come back here on a history vengeance mission.
One thing I did learn though was in relation to a painting from Bernardo Bellotto depicting amongst other things, the notable Church of The Holy Cross. This painting was created in the 1700s!
Now see it here today in front of another Polish statue of Nicolaus Copernicus:
But that’s almost impossible considering the damage to Warsaw in WW2. Surely no building can remain that well preserved under such devastation.
Indeed, and so you’re looking at a reconstruction, not the original! The post-war workers restored it and even made slight improvements based on the workings of Bellotto. Amazing.
So why should you come for a weekend (or longer) to Warsaw?
Well normally I could rely on my pictures to help promote a location but not this time for reasons explained above. In saying that I did get a some images in during an occasional wander but for more complete reasons as to why you should get on out here, I will bullet point these later on.
First up, the tallest building in all of Poland – The Palace of Culture and Science:
And some big buildings with a subtle inclusion of something that old employees @Essential should pick up on…
So again, why should you come for a weekend (or longer) to Warsaw?
Well, there’s really a lot to see and do here, including:
- Spending time in the old-town which itself is UNESCO registered.
- Visit the various attractions and museum of Fryderyk Chopin.
- Go and see the Warsaw Uprising museum. I made it to the outside of the grounds to take some photos.
- Catch a lift to the 30th floor of the tallest building in Poland – The Palace of Culture and Science. Shown earlier.
- The residence of the last King of Poland. This palace apparently stands on a man-made island surrounded by a lake.
- Judaica. Trace the story of Warsaw’s Jewish community which were reported to exist as a mighty 30% prior to WW2.
- Copernicus Science Centre. I actually went to the planetarium which is a separate building to the science centre. I watched a Sun, Earth and Moon 3D movie but it was mainly aimed at kids although I still learnt a couple of things, lol.
- Multimedia Fountain Park. A short event on Friday and Saturday nights where different shapes and colours are made from a water fountain.
- Beach. Yes, there really is a ‘beach’ in Warsaw. There are little bars down here and private areas to hire sun loungers. One thing to note though is that I didn’t see anyone in the Vistula river so that might be worth looking up in advance.
- Last but not least, the chill factor and of course, coffee houses + food and drink. Look! Finally some proper local cuisine in the form of mixed flavoured Polish Dumplins and a baked potato pancake of some kind with pieces of meat and a stew-like sauce. Oh, and a large not-so-Polish mug of Sangria!
Any you know what? They say Krakow is even more fantastic as a city to visit! This, then, I cannot wait for. If, and it’s a big if, Krakow has the same positive effect on me that Gdansk and Warsaw have had, then this really would make Poland one of my very favourite destinations as it would rare to find three locations in a short space of time to be able to rave about. Time will tell.
I will now leave this glorious city heading in the direction of another large town in Poland but one you’re unlikely to have heard of.