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Short overview of Warsaw

WARSZAWA - WARSAW - Capital of Poland since 1596 located in the heart of Poland in Mazowiecki region, divided in to 18 districts. The most visited Central location and full of legends districts are Old Town (in Polish > Stare miasto and Krakowskie Przedmiescie district ), Sródmiescie, Wilanów known for the grand parkland and home to the presidents, Praga the oldest district of Warsaw, since 1648, located at the eastern bank of the Vistula river, opposite Old Town.

Warsaw is modern city and has a lot to offer from the past turbulent history the cityscape is full of old character architectural icons, sculptures, monuments, amazing parklands and panoramic views over the Vistula river and present real estate developments created contemporary urban city landscapes with modern design high raised architecture, new squares, parks and monuments.

Accommodation can be easily found all around central Warsaw including well known hotel brands like Marriott, Holiday Inn, Hilton, Jan Sobieski or Novotel. The luxurious and grand Le Royal Meridien Bristol Hotel located by the Old Town, on New World Street, in the past always belonging to the elite hotels in Eastern Europe, designed by Wladyslaw Marconi and build 1899-1901, remaining as the oldest and finest example of historical architecture in Warsaw, completely restored in 1993.

One of the prominent tourist attraction is Old Town (Stare miasto, at Krakowskie Przedmiescie district), with the Gothic churches, cobblestone alleyways and baroque palaces, which was completely flattened during the World Word II and rebuilt house by house after 1944, together with the Royal Palace and Barbican, being the largest reconstruction projects ever undertaken in Europe, today listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On the Palace square visit the Royal Palace exhibition, climb up the viewing tower and see Warsaw from above, or walk through the little alleys full of little shops and gastro beer pubs to Old Town square where you can see colourful little houses, paintings by Polish artists and fresco cafes.

If you are still around the Old Town and fancy a change in scenery, head east of the river, across Slasko Dabrowski bridge to Praga district, sometimes called 'Praski district'; which has been overlooked by the tourist industry, being the oldest in Warsaw it has many historical futures which are undergoing restoration phrase of old factories, Praski architecture housing and its streets.

The first icon seen approaching Praga from the bridge is the St Florian Cathedral in its orginal Neo Gothic style build 1888-1904 and across the street is Praski Park and Warsaw ZOO.

Stop at the public bears street zoo, the most popular free public attraction, the bears are quite entertaining asking passers by for food (give only fresh apples and carrots).

Other landmarks of Praga are: Orthodox Church build in 1867 69, The Memorial of the Brotherhood of Arms, nicknamed "the four sleeping guys" (Czterech Spiacych), Wilenski Shopping Mall, walking down Targowa Street and Zobkowska corner see already restored to its original state, white mansion house dated 1918, Rózyckiego Bazaar (Bazar Rózyckiego) most famous bazaar in Poland however today it has fallen into decline and the 'Koneser' Vodka Distillery (Warszawska Wytwórnia Wódek, 'Koneser') ul. Zabkowska 27/31 Sightseeing with optional degustation is possible but need to call in advance to check tours time table.

In central Warsaw, district Sródmiescie is the tallest, building of 235m in height, known as 'The Palace of Culture and Science' (in Polish - Palac Kultury i Nauki), a gift from USSR, build between 1952 - 1955, which today houses many scholarly and cultural events including the Museum of Technology, the Polish Evolution Academy, theatre, Congress Hall, cinema and panoramic viewing terrace on the 30th floor.

It is a great place for the whole family with exhibitions, cafes and views of Warsaw, open to general public all year round till late.
Warsaw Shopping

In contrast, located next to this 1955s communist structure (picture above), is the newest, modern, contemporary and the biggest shopping complex Golden Terraces (Zlote Tarasy) with well known International brands under one roof - 'The Bubble'. This premier mixed-use development, designed by Jerde Partnership and built as a joint venture by ING Real Estate and the Warsaw district council Sródmiescie, was awarded the International Shopping Canter of the Year at the prestigious Global RLI Awards in 2007, completed and opened to public on 7 February 2007.

It's perfect location around Emilii Plater (square) and by the Central Warsaw National Rail station, International Coaches and buses main terminals, maximises the commerce experience with benefits to the retailers, tourism and general Varsovians population.

Warsaw very quickly is becoming a shopper's paradise with ample shopping Malls for residents and visitors alike, located in various districts providing healthy competition and plenty of choice as the legendary WARS & SAWA' and JUNIOR department stores, which name Wars & Sawa derived from folk etymology - the same as the city name - WARSZAWA - a fisherman Wars and his wife Sawa, located nearby on the Eastern side (from 'The Palace of Culture and Science'), a communist architectural complex built between 1962 - 1970, designed by the architect Zbigniew Karpinski and today finally modernised and managed by the DTC Real Estate in 2006, other big malls are The Blue City (2004) and Arkadia (2004), easy accessible by frequent services by public transport.

Public Transport

All forms of public transportation in Warsaw is easy to follow by the help of tourist maps and use of daily travel cards, a 24 hour pass for buses or trams (tramways - streetcar) and metro, which can be purchased at KIOSKS (picture left) outlets around the town.
Kiosks are small box shops with daily newspapers, magazines, cigarettes, novelty, toiletries, refreshments and other basic everyday items open all day, located on every street and usually by the bus or tram stops.

There are additional sightseeing tourist city transport as 30 seater Victorian Tram during the summer, July and August marked with "T" stops near the Old Town and this year, 2008 a tour of old Praga is included, every Saturday at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m, starting from Narutowicza Square and final stop near Praski Park.

A Bus sightseeing tourist route number "100" running all year round on weekends; and the "180" number bus has a regular service, following the "Royal Route" from the War Cemetery in the North, near the Old Town, thorough – Krakowskie Przedmiescie district and New World Street (Nowy Swiat ulica), Aleje Ujazdowskie – with final stop at Wilanów Palace.

Wilanów Palace is part of Polish national culture, inside hosting many exhibitions including the Polish Poster museum and near by visit the biggest, oldest and most beautiful public parkland Lazienki Park, a perfect location for family with children of any age, a gateway from the everyday busy city environment into ever lasting greenery, natural world and Palace on the water, exclusive Belvedere Restaurant with the New Orangery or lessen to the greatest Polish composer Chopin concerts hold in the summer.

Find out more about Warsaw from National Polish Tourist Office in London.

See mpworks stock travel images from Warsaw, Poland at alamy

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