Warsaw (Polish: Warszawa) has been the capital of Poland since 1596 and has over 1.75 million inhabitants. As one of the most important transport, economic and trade centers in Central and Eastern Europe, Warsaw enjoys great political and cultural importance. There are numerous institutions, universities, theatres, museums and monuments in the city.

Located on both sides of the Vistula in the Masovian Voivodeship, Warsaw is the center of the second largest agglomeration in Poland with around 3.5 million inhabitants. The urban area is divided into 18 districts, among which Śródmieście makes up the city center and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the rebuilt Warsaw Old Town houses.

Clockwise Warsaw borders with Legionowo, Marki, Ząbki, Zielonka, Sulejówek, Halinów, Józefów, Konstancin-Jeziorna, Piaseczno, Pruszków, Piastów, Ożarów, Łomianki and Jabłonna.

Thanks to its favorable location on the trade route along the Vistula, Warsaw arose in the early Middle Ages. However, the city only gained political importance when the Mazovian dukes moved their seat to Warsaw in the 15th century. In the 16th century, thanks to its central location between Kraków and Vilnius, Warsaw rose to become the seat of parliament and power of the Polish-Lithuanian noble republic. Its heyday was the 17th and 18th centuries. Even after the partitions of Poland, the city continued to develop rapidly thanks to industrialization in the 19th century and rose to become the third largest city in the Russian Tsarist Empire. After the First World War, Warsaw became the capital of the Second Polish Republic. Warsaw was almost completely destroyed during World War II. After the war, the city was largely rebuilt true to the original and the lovingly rebuilt old town has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980.



City center district:
The Old Town - the oldest part of Warsaw within the medieval city walls with the Royal Castle
The New Town - the second oldest part of Warsaw was built around 1400 when the Old Town became too small within the city walls.
The Königsweg - the southern access axis to the old town has been built on since the Middle Ages.
The Saxon axis - the western access axis was built from 1700 in the Baroque style.
Marienstadt - the settlement of Warsaw river fishermen directly on the Vistula bank.
The bank of the Vistula - this is where the Vistula boulevards were created in the 21st century.
Ujazdów - here was the medieval nucleus of Warsaw with the settlement Jazdów, since the early modern period an area of royal gardens and palaces.
Muranów - after the German invasion of Poland, the occupiers set up the Warsaw ghetto for the Jewish population here.
The northern city center - here is the real socialist and modern architecture of Warsaw with numerous skyscrapers.
The southern city center - here are numerous government buildings, including the Parliament with the Sejm and the Senate as well as the Constitutional Court.

Downtown West district:
Żoliborz - official district north of the center with many interesting villas from the Second Polish Republic period.
Wola - the royal elections have been held here since the 16th century - hence the name, which can be translated as will. Since the transition from the 20th to the 21st century, most of the city's skyscrapers have been built here.
Ochota - Home to numerous research facilities and the Science Campus, as well as the Filtry, an architecturally interesting 19th-century water treatment plant.

Downtown East district (Praga):
Northern Praga - here on the right bank of the Vistula was the old town of Praga, which received town rights in 1648 and was incorporated into Warsaw in 1791. Here you will find, among other things, the port of Praga, the city beach with a view of Warsaw's skyline, the zoo and St. Florian's Cathedral.
Southern Praga - a very green district with numerous parks, including Warsaw's Central Park. The modern national stadium is also located here.

District North:
Bielany - the district is named after the Kraków Camedulensian monastery Bielany. He has a large share of the northern city forest.
Białołęka - the northernmost part of the city on the banks of the Vistula-Bug Canal is also one of the greenest parts of Warsaw.
Targówek - Bródno, one of Warsaw's three early medieval settlements, is located here. The Jewish Cemetery from 1780 is one of the largest and most important preserved Jewish cemeteries in Poland.

District East:
Rembertów - the district in the forest began to develop as a station on the Warsaw-Terespol railway line opened in 1866. For a long time it was mainly used for military purposes. During World War II there was a ghetto for the Jewish population of the then independent city.
Wesoła - the district that was only incorporated in 2002 is the youngest and smallest in terms of population in Warsaw. With its forests and swamps, it is already in the Mazovian Landscape Protection Park. In the 19th century, his Stara Miłosna district was a spa town on the outskirts of Warsaw.
Wawer - the green district in the southeast of Warsaw is the largest in terms of area. The name goes back to the baroque inn Wawer, which is located on the arterial road from Warsaw to the south-east in the direction of Lublin.

District South:
Mokotów - this is Warsaw's most populated district with numerous green areas.
Ursynow - has the youngest population in Warsaw. In no other part of the city is there as much construction as here.
Wilanów - this is Warsaw's most expensive district with many luxury apartments around the former Wilanów Royal Castle.

District West:
Włochy - the original garden city is today mainly of importance as the location of Warsaw Airport.
Ursus - district in the extreme west of Warsaw where the Ursus plant is located, where the strikes against the communist regime began in 1976.
Bemowo - district around the sports airfield Babice with a share of the city forest. Numerous military facilities since the 19th century.


Getting here

Warsaw is an important transport hub and intersection of the Paris/London-Berlin-Warsaw-Minsk/Kiev/Moscow and Northern Europe-Balkan routes.

By plane
By far the largest and most important airport is Warsaw Fryderyk Chopin Airport (IATA: WAW), which is close to the city centre. As the largest airport in Poland, it has been very popular for a few years. Lines S2 and S3 run from the airport to the city center (S2: "Warszawa Śródmieście", S3: "Warszawa Centralna") (every 10-20 minutes, journey time 25 minutes), alternatively bus line 175 every 20 minutes (journey time 30 minutes). (Dw. Centralny, Centrum)) for 4.40 PLN. Modlin Airport (IATA: WMI) is about 30 km to the north.

By train
Direct arrival by train from Germany (Berlin) and Austria (Vienna) is possible without any problems. The rail network is operated by the state railway PKP. It is laid out like a star with Warsaw as its centre. In the Masovian Voivodeship, local transport is organized by Koleje Mazowieckie, a company independent of PKP. There is a new line (CMK) from Warsaw to Katowice/Krakow and to Poznań (and on to the Polish-German border). The main cities are connected to Warsaw by InterCity trains. The route to Łódź is already being upgraded and that to Gdańsk is being prepared for upgrading. In Warsaw there are suburban train systems similar to the S-Bahn and a subway (Metro). Train travel in Poland is very cheap. Up to four EC trains run daily from Berlin to Warsaw and vice versa under the name BERLIN-WARSZAWA-EXPRESS. The train takes about five and a half hours between the two cities and is a convenient and inexpensive alternative to the car. There are many train stations in Warsaw. The three main ones are: the Central Railway Station (Warszawa Centralna), which is located in the city center, the Western Railway Station (Warszawa Zachodnia) and the Eastern Railway Station (Warszawa Wschodnia). Intercity and interregional trains depart from these stations. All train stations are connected to the tram and bus network.

By bicycle
The international long-distance cycle routes EuroVelo 2 (Capitals Route) and EuroVelo 11 (East Europe Route) pass through Warsaw.

From Berlin you drive via Posen on the A2 motorway.

By boat
The Vistula in Warsaw is a navigable waterway and Warsaw has a large river port (Port Praski) on the eastern bank of the Vistula. Excursion boats sail in summer in a southerly and northerly direction on the Vistula, in an easterly direction via the Zegrze reservoir up the Bug and the Narew and in a westerly direction via the Netze Canal to the Netze and Warthe.

In the street
The road network around Warsaw is very well equipped with expressways and motorways. The car is not very suitable as a means of transport within Warsaw. Although there are thoroughfares with up to five lanes, there are often traffic jams on these, with the exception of nighttime and the early hours of the morning.

By bus
Numerous bus companies offer travel from Germany and Austria to Warsaw by bus, e.g. E.g. Sinbad, Eurolines, Touring, Omnia. From Warsaw, despite growing individual traffic, the still very important public transport is served by an extensive intercity bus network.


Getting around

When it comes to public transport, Warsaw has a regional train, underground, bus and tram network, which is, however, overloaded at peak times.

The subway is the best way to get around Warsaw. There are currently two lines (M1 and M2). A third is planned. The first currently operates in a north-south direction from the southern outskirts of the city to the center and a little beyond. The second line runs west-east across the Vistula.

The tram network is quite dense.

Bus and train
For regional and suburban traffic there is, in addition to some suburban and intercity buses, the WKD (Warszawska Kolej Dojazdowa; (roughly: Warsaw suburban railway). For long-distance traffic, there is an underground central station (Warszawa Centralna), several smaller stations, a large one Bus station, an international airport (accessible by bus and suburban train from the city center), which serves as a base for the Polish airline LOT and through which one can directly reach a large number of destinations worldwide (especially in Europe and North America), a second international airport, which is mainly used by Ryanair, as well as a connection to the nationwide Polish motorway and expressway network.There are two zones for tickets: zone 1 is the city area, zone 2 is the surrounding area.

Responsible is Zarząd Transportu Miejskiego (ZTM), whose website is only available in Polish and English.

Single ticket without changing trains (zone 1, valid for 120 minutes) 4.40 PLN (approx. 1 EUR)
Single tickets with transfer option (Zone 1 and 2)
20 min PLN 3.40 (approx. EUR 0.80)
40 min 4.60 PLN (approx. 1.10 EUR)
60 min PLN 6.40 (approx. EUR 1.40)
Day ticket (24 hours, zone 1) 15 PLN (approx. 3.50 EUR)
3-day ticket 36 PLN (approx. 8 EUR)
Senior ticket (valid for 1 year, from 65, zones 1 and 2) 50 PLN (approx. 12 EUR)
Seniors over 70 ride for free
Luggage and animals are transported free of charge

By boat
Water trams and excursion boats operate on the Vistula. Piers can be found on the Vistula boulevards.

In many places you can rent bicycles. Warsaw has an excellently developed and fast network of cycle paths along the main roads. It is excellent for exploring the city. However, the pace is high for students.


Sightseeing features

Warsaw has numerous sights. Warsaw's heyday was Baroque, Rococo and Classicism, known in Warsaw as the Stanislaus style as it coincides with the reign of Stanislaus II August. Most of the monuments were destroyed in World War II and then rebuilt over decades with loving attention to detail. Reconstruction continues in the 21st century.


Castles and palaces

1 Royal Castle (Zamek Krolewski). Baroque building from the early 17th century with Gothic and Renaissance elements from the previous buildings. Rebuilt several times. Destroyed in World War II and then reconstructed true to the original.
2 Palace under the Tin Roof (Pałac Pod Blachą w Warszawie) . late baroque palace from the 17th century.
3 Presidential Palace (Pałac Prezydencki w Warszawie) wikipediacommons. Baroque palace from the 17th century rebuilt in classicism style.
4 Republic Palace (Pałac Krasińskich w Warszawie), Plac Krasińskich w Warszawie 5. High Baroque palace from the 17th century.
5 Palace on the Water (Pałac Na Wyspie) . Baroque palace from the 17th century, built in the style of classicism.
6 Wilanów Palace (Pałac w Wilanowie), ul. Stanisława Kostki Potockiego 10. High Baroque palace from the 17th century.
7 Palace of the Four Winds (Pałac Teppera-Dückerta w Warszawie) . Baroque palace from the 17th century.
8 Primate's Palace (Pałac Prymasowski w Warszawie), ul. Senatorska 13/15, 00-075 Warszawa . Renaissance palace originally from the 16th century, remodeled in a classical style.
9 Palace of the Bishops of Kraków (Pałac Biskupów Krakowskich w Warszawie). late baroque palace originally from the 16th century.
10 Ujazdów Castle (Zamek Ujazdowski). Early Baroque palace from the 16th century.
11 Branicki Palace (Pałac Branickich w Warszawie (Miodowa)), Miodowa 6, Podwale 3, 5 . late baroque palace from the 17th century.
12 Belvedere (Belweder w Warszawie). neoclassical palace from the 18th century. info edit
13 Blank Palace (Pałac Blanka) wikipediacommons. 18th century rococo palace.
14 Czapski Palace (Pałac Czapskich), ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 5, 00-068 Warsaw. Baroque palace from the 17th century.
15 Dembiński Palace (Pałac Dembińskich w Warszawie), Senatorska 12 . classicist palace from the 18th century.
16 Jabłonowski Palace (Pałac Jabłonowskich w Warszawie). late baroque palace from the 18th century.
17 Kazimierz Palace (pałac Kazimierzowski in Warszawie) . early baroque palace from the 17th century, rebuilt in the style of classicism.
18 Krasiński Palace (Pałac Krasińskich na Ursynowie), ul. Nowoursynowska 166, 02-787 Warszawa . late baroque palace from the 18th century.
19 Królikarnia Palace. classicist palace from the 18th century.
20 Lubomirski Palace (Pałac Lubomirskich w Warszawie). classicist palace from the 18th century.
21 Młodziejowski Palace (Pałac Młodziejowskich w Warszawie) . Baroque palace from the 17th century.
22 Mniszech Palace (Pałac Mniszchów w Warszawie) . Baroque palace from the 17th century.
23 Młodziejowski Palace (Pałac Młodziejowskich w Warszawie) . classicist palace from the 18th century.
24 Mostowski Palace (Pałac Mostowskich), ul. Nowolipie 2, 00-150 Warszawa . classicist palace from the 18th century.
25 Myślewicki Palace (Pałac Myślewicki w Warszawie) . classicist palace from the 18th century.
26 Ostrogski Castle (Zamek Ostrogskich in Warsaw) . Baroque palace from the 17th century.
27 Pac Palace (Pałac Paca-Radziwiłłów w Warszawie), Miodowa 15 . Baroque palace from the 17th century.
28 Leszczyński Palace (Pałac Komisji Rządowej Przychodu i Skarbu w Warszawie) . Baroque palace from the 17th century rebuilt in classicism style.
29 Potocki Palace (Pałac Potockich w Warszawie), Krakowskie Przedmieście 15. Baroque palace from the 17th century.
30 Potocki Palace in Natolin (Zespół pałacowo-parkowy w Natolinie) . Baroque palace from the 17th century.
31 Raczyński Palace (Pałac Raczyńskich w Warszawie) . Baroque palace from the 17th century rebuilt in classicism style.
32 Sapieha Palace (Pałac Sapiehów w Warszawie) . Baroque palace from the 18th century.
33 Staszic Palace (pałac Staszica) . Classicist palace from the 19th century.
34 Tyszkiewicz Palace (Pałac Tyszkiewiczów w Warszawie) . late baroque palace from the 18th century.
35 Wiśniowiecki Palace (Pałac Ministra Skarbu w Warszawie) . Classicist palace from the 19th century.



Saint John’s Cathedral - brick Gothic church from the 14th century. Destroyed in World War II and then reconstructed true to the original.
Church of the Conception of the Virgin Mary - early 15th century brick Gothic church.
Anna Church - brick Gothic church from the 15th century, rebuilt in Baroque and Classicism style.
St. Anne's Church in Wilanów - Classicist church from the 18th century.
The Alexander Church - classicist church from the early 19th century.
All Saints' Church - Neo-Renaissance church from the 19th century.
Saint Antonius - baroque church from the 17th century.
Benno church - baroque church from the 17th century.
The Holy Trinity Church - neoclassical Lutheran church from the 18th century.
The Church of the Redeemer - eclectic church from the early 20th century.
The Franciscus Church - baroque church from the 17th century.
Church of the Holy Spirit - Gothic church from the 14th century, rebuilt in the High Baroque style.
Sacred Heart Basilica - neoclassical church from the early 20th century.
The Hyacinth Church - Baroque church from the 17th century.
Jesuit Church - early baroque church from the 17th century.
The Johannes-von-Gott-Kirche - baroque church from the 17th century.
The Camaldolese Church - Baroque church from the 17th century.
Charles Church in Powązki - Classicist church from the 18th century.
Charles Church in Wola - Neo-Renaissance church from the 19th century.
Carmelite Church - Baroque church from the 17th century.
Saint Kasimir - baroque church from the 17th century.
Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary - Baroque church from the 17th century.
Church of Saint Martin - Gothic church from the 14th century, rebuilt in Rococo style.
Michael's Basilica - neo-Gothic church from the 19th century.
The Reformed Church - Neo-Gothic church from the 19th century.
The Temple of Divine Providence - 21st century postmodern church.
Church of the Transfiguration of Christ - Baroque church from the 17th century.
The Visitant Church - a baroque church from the 17th century, rebuilt in the rococo style.



The Nożyk Synagogue - the only surviving synagogue in Warsaw from before the Second World War.



Socialist realism

The architecture of socialist realism is still felt to be foreign and imposed by the Soviet Union. However, this architectural style is now accepted as part of the city's architectural history. However, what applies to the artistically and structurally more sophisticated style of the 1950s cannot apply to the prefabricated buildings of the 1970s, which were mainly built in the outskirts.

The most dominant social realist building in the city center is the 1952-1955 built Pałac Kultury i Nauki or Pałac Kultury for short (Palace of Culture and Science or Palace of Culture). It combines the confectionery style with elements of traditional Polish architecture, such as the Polish attic, but also resembles the Empire State Building in New York in terms of its cube. In addition, the Constitution Square, the MDM quarter, Marienstadt and the east wall are also considered to be characteristic architectural examples of this period. The central council building of the PVAP was also built in this style. Later buildings from the socialist era have a more international style, as can be seen, for example, in the Novotel Warszawa Centrum (formerly: Hotel Forum) designed by a Swedish architect's office, the Hotel Marriott, the Intraco I, the Intraco II (today Oxford Tower called) and other skyscrapers of the real-socialist era. The formerly largest bazaar in Europe in the 10-lecia stadium looked like a reminiscence of the early post-reunification period.


Modern architecture

Since 1989 there has been a turning point in Warsaw's monumental architecture, and more and more glass buildings have appeared. The first was the Blue Skyscraper (Blue Tower Plaza), which was completed in the early 1990s on Plac Bankowy on the site of the former main synagogue. Especially since the fall of the Wall, Warsaw has been shedding its prefab image and the Palace of Culture, which has shaped the cityscape for decades, is slowly disappearing behind modern high-rise buildings. The most interesting modern buildings first appeared along Johannes-Paul-II.-Allee and Emilia-Plater-Strasse west of the Palace of Culture. Since the mid-2010s, modern high-rise office buildings have also been built in the “City Center West” – around the Rondo Daszyńskiego traffic circle in the Warsaw district of Wola.

Individual outstanding examples of architecture can also be found outside the financial district, such as the Warsaw Trade Tower or the Metropolitan. Masterpieces of recent years are the Rondo 1-B, the Złote Tarasy (Golden Terraces), the Supreme Court building and the new University Library. In 2016, the monumental Temple of Divine Providence was consecrated in the Wilanów district, the cornerstone of which was laid in 1792. Notable new buildings also include the residential high-rise Złota 44 by Daniel Libeskind on Johannes-Paul-II-Allee, the Warsaw Spire office building and the Kopernikus Science Center on the Vistula. Reconstruction of the Saxon Castle and the Brühl Palace and erection of a monument in honor of John Paul II on Piłsudski Square are planned.


Building ensembles

Old town

Warsaw's Old Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. The most representative square of the old town is the large triangular Palace Square. Originally, its southern side was limited by the Kraków Gate, of which only a Gothic bridge remains. The east side forms the west facade of the Royal Castle (Zamek Królewski), the north-west side of the Castle Square is occupied by the facade of the old town. The Trasa W-Z tunnel has been running beneath the Schlossplatz since 1949. In the middle of the square stands the Sigismund Column (Kolumna Zygmunta), erected in 1643/44.

The current early baroque building with a 60 m high clock tower dates from 1598-1619, while the wing facing the Vistula is from the rococo period. Inside, elements of classicism dominate. The palace burned down during the bombing of Warsaw in 1939 and was blown up by the Wehrmacht in 1944. After the war, the ruins stood for decades. From 1971 to 1988, donations were used to reconstruct it true to the original.

East below the Palace Square next to the Royal Castle is the late Baroque Palace under the Tin Roof, named after the material of its roof. It was built in 1698-1701 as the city residence of the Lubomirskis. Later it served as the residence of King Stanislaus II August. The palace was burned down after the Warsaw Uprising and rebuilt in 1948–1949.

The historical and geographic center of the old town is the market square (Rynek), in the middle of which stands the sculpture of the river maiden Syrenka. Since the Middle Ages, the town hall has stood in the middle of the square, which was demolished in 1817. The marketplace was laid out in the 13th century on an area of 90 × 73 meters. It was mainly merchants and craftsmen who lived around it. Many artists later settled here. The majority of the patrician houses were rebuilt after the town fire of 1607, whereby Gothic elements could be preserved, especially in the foundations. Sgraffito paintings and polychromes on some houses were reconstructed by Jan Seweryn Sokołowski after they were destroyed in World War II. The east side, also known as the brass side, was the most devastated, so reconstruction had to be preceded by the demolition of some of the foundations. On the other hand, most of the original building structure was preserved on the north side, the Dekert side. The Historical Museum of the City of Warsaw is located in the entire row of houses. The Baryczka House and the House of the Little Negro stand out here, the Renaissance façade of which was designed by Santi Gucci. The western or Kołątaj side features a Neo-Renaissance wall clock and the House of Peace and Justice. The most famous view of the market square is from the southern (Zakrzewski) side, which is surmounted by the Jesuit Church tower. The House of the Lion and the sundial by Tadeusz Przypkowski deserve special attention. The two 18th-century fountains were restored in the 1970s.

Two side streets run from the market square in all directions. North Nowomiejska Street leads to the Barbican, a massive defensive structure on a Gothic bridge around the New Town Gate built by Jan Baptysta in the 15th century. Świętojańska Street leads southeast to Castle Square.

St. John's Cathedral is located on this street. It dates from the second half of the 15th century but was remodeled in the centuries that followed. Most recently, it was redesigned in the English neo-Gothic style, in line with the spirit of the 19th century, which destroyed its historical appearance. During the Second World War, the building was devastated down to the foundations, only the old, low bell tower was partially preserved. Since the church had to be completely reconstructed, it was decided to rebuild it in the style of Mazovian Gothic.

Right next to it is the Jesuit Church dedicated to the Mother of God, which was built in 1609-1629 in the transitional style from Mannerism to Baroque. Another attraction on Świętojańska Street is the Renaissance-style House by the Ship. Other well-preserved burgher houses, such as the house with the pigeons, the house with the statue of Christ or the Burbach patrician house, can be found on the streets Szeroki Dunaj (Wide Danube - former brook within the old town), Wąski Dunaj (Narrow Danube), Piwna Street, Brzozowa Street and Rycerska Street. St. Martin's Church, built in 1356 with a Gothic chancel and a Baroque facade, is located on Piwna Street. The picturesque Ulica Kamienne Schodki (Steinernetreppengasse) leads steeply down to the Vistula, leading to the former White Gate. The Kanonikerplatz in the east of the old town is lined with Mannerist town houses that originally belonged to the Canon Order. In the middle stands the Warsaw ore bell, cast in 1646. A particularly beautiful view of the old town is offered from the Praga Vistula bank.


New town

Location description and some churches
The new town (Nowe Miasto) adjoins the old town in the north and is also located on a bank dune on the Vistula. It was built outside the city walls in the 14th century. After being completely destroyed in World War II, the new town was rebuilt along with the old town in the early 1950s. The center is the triangular Neustadt market square. Like the old town market, it had a town hall that was demolished in 1818.

On the south side of the square is the baroque Sacrament Church of St. Casimir, built in 1688-1692 by Tylman van Gameren in honor of the victor of the Battle of Kahlenberg (1683), King Jan Sobieski. It served as a military hospital during the Warsaw Uprising. During a German Luftwaffe bombing raid, hundreds of wounded, doctors and nurses died when its dome collapsed.

The oldest church in New Town and one of the oldest in Warsaw is the late-Gothic Church of St. Mary, built at the beginning of the 15th century, whose characteristic tower dominates the panorama of the Vistula. There are also three other originally Gothic churches that were rebuilt in the Baroque period - the Franciscan, Paulaner and Dominican churches. The baroque aristocratic palace of the Sapieha magnate dynasty, the Sapieha Palace, towers over the northern part of the New Town. The streets of Ulica Freta and Ulica Mostowa are particularly beautiful. Marie Curie, winner of two Nobel prizes, was born in a house on the former in the 19th century. On the latter stands the Renaissance bridge gate leading to Warsaw's first Vistula Bridge (Most Zygmunta Augusta) from the 16th century. The 5-star Hotel Le Regina has been located in the former Mostowski Palace on Ulica Kościelna since 2004. Also worth seeing is the so-called Mokronowski Palace, which was built in 1771 by Giacomo Fontana.


Royal road or King's way

The Warsaw Royal Route (Trakt Królewski) begins at the Royal Castle and leads south for about 10 km to the Wilanów city residence of King Jan Sobieski and is one of the longest representative streets in the world. It is composed of several representative streets, Kraków Suburb, New World (Ulica Nowy Świat) and Ujazdowski Avenues (from north to south). The Royal Route runs along the Vistula and, together with the Saxon Axis running perpendicular to it, formed the main axis of Warsaw's urban development. It was already built on at the beginning of the city's history and connected the former settlement of Jazdów with the old town. After Queen Bona Sforza built a chateau on the foundations of Jazdów Castle at the beginning of the 16th century and settled there after the death of her husband King Sigismund I, permanent buildings arose along the route from Kraków Gate to Ujazdowski Castle. The Royal Route was one of the first streets in Warsaw to be paved. In contrast to the narrow old town, this part of the city was laid out spaciously and is dominated by spacious gardens and parks as well as large palaces and residential buildings. The many government and administrative buildings in former aristocratic palaces that line the Königsweg also live up to its reputation as a boulevard. Large parts are to be closed to traffic in the next few years and expanded with their numerous shops to become a promenade.


Kraków suburb

The Kraków Suburb begins at the Royal Castle and runs alongside the Presidential Palace (the President's official residence) to the Staszic Palace. In the Middle Ages, the Kraków Gate was located at the northern end of Kraków suburbs. Today the Sigismund Column stands prominently on the Schlossplatz. The first buildings in the Kraków suburbs were destroyed during the war and were not rebuilt during the construction of the east-west underpass. Today, the tower of St. Anne's Church, which offers a beautiful panorama of the city, is the northernmost building in the Kraków suburbs. The St. Anne's Church is a synthesis of Gothic, Baroque and Classicist architectural styles. It was donated in 1454 by the Masovian princess Anna Mazowiecka in honor of her namesake for the Saint Bernard order. The choir, the starry vault and the hall in the church monastery are in the Gothic style and survived later alterations. During the Renaissance it was expanded to the west and in the 17th century baroque. In 1788, Stanisław Kostka Potocki and Chrystian Piotr Aigner designed a late Baroque facade with sculptures by Jakob Monaldi and Franz Pinck. Aigner later designed the classicist colonnade in 1819-1821. During the Second World War, the church was only partially destroyed. However, as a result of the construction of the east-west tunnel, it was threatened with damage and the embankment had to be supported with reinforced concrete piles. Today, St. Anne's Church is used as a university church by the university community. The most important palaces in the Kraków suburbs include the Czapski Palace built by Tylman van Gameren in 1686, the Potocki Palace built by Józef Piola in 1693 and the Kazimierz Palace built in the 17th century.

Nowy Świat
The Nowy Świat (New World) begins at the Staszic Palace and leads through the Rondo de Gaulle to the Three Crosses Square. It is one of the most popular promenades and shopping streets in Warsaw. Here are the Kossakowski Palace, the Sanguszko Palace and the Branicki Palace. An artificial palm tree stands on the Rondo Charles'a de Gaulle'a. Here the Nowy Świat and Jerusalem avenues intersect, leading to Most Poniatowskiego. Before the First World War, the Palais Opalinski stood on the Rondo. Rudolf Świerczyński built the seat of the Bank for Regional Economics in its place between 1928 and 1931. The building is considered one of the best examples of interwar architecture in Poland. At the end of Nowy Świat, on the Three Crosses Square, stands the Aleksander Church by Chrystian Piotr Aigner.

Aleje Ujazdowskie
The Aleje Ujazdowskie begin at the Square of the Three Crosses, in the middle of which stands the Alexander Church. Wiejska Street branches off to the south-east, where the government buildings of the Sejm and Senate are located. The actual Aleje Ujazdowskie branch off directly south from the Square of the Three Crosses and soon merge into a park landscape. The most important parks in Warsaw are located on the eastern side in particular. Łazienki Park, with its main attractions, the Łazienki Palace and the Chopin Monument, as well as the Belweder Palace (Belvedere) are located on Aleje Ujazdowskie. In the vicinity there is the Ujazdowski Park, opened in 1896, with the Ujazdowski Castle, where the Center for Contemporary Art is located today.



In the 19th century, the Russian occupying power first built the citadel and then two belts of fortifications (essentially artillery forts) around Warsaw, thus expanding the city into the Warsaw Fortress, as they feared an attack by major Western European powers. The Austrians acted similarly with Kraków and Przemyśl, and Germany with Loetzen and Toruń, anticipating a Russian attack on each. During the First World War, these bastions were partially used. In addition to the citadel, some of these Warsaw forts (as well as Modlin Fortress, which was part of the Polish Triangle) have been preserved and can be visited.



The Mermaid - has several monuments in Warsaw, including on the Old Town Square by Konstanty Hegel and the Vistula Boulevards by Ludwika Nitschowa.
Zygmunt's Column - by Constantino Tencalla, Augustyn Locci and Clemente Molli
The Adam Mickiewicz Monument - by Cyprian Godebski
The Fryderyk Chopin Monument - by Wacław Szymanowski
The Nicolaus Copernicus Monument - by Bertel Thorvaldsen
The Józef Poniatowski Monument - by Bertel Thorvaldsen
The John III Sobieski Monument - by André Le Brun
The Passau picture of the Virgin Mary - by Giuseppe Simone Bellotti
The Little Insurgent Monument - by Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz
The Warsaw Uprising Monument - by Wincenty Kućma and Jacek Budyn
The NIke Monument - by Marian Konieczny
The Ghetto Memorial - by Nathan Rapaport and Leon Marek Suzin
The Enclosure Square Monument - by Hanna Szmalenberg and Władysław Klamerus
Warsaw Uprising Hill
The ghetto wall and the Anielewicz bunker

Warsaw Medieval City Walls


Streets and squares

Warsaw Royal Route - 17th-century boulevard with sections Kraków Suburb, New World and Ujazdów Avenues
The east-west connection - after the Second World War led connecting road under the Kraków suburbs.
The Jerusalemer Street - boulevard from the 19th century, original buildings only sporadically preserved.
The Marschall street - boulevard from the 19th century, original buildings only sporadically preserved.
The Old Town Market Square - medieval square in the Old Town.
The Market Square of the New Town - medieval square in the New Town.
Theater Square - classical square west of the King's Way.
Castle Square - square on the King's Way.
Three Crosses Square
The Rondo Charles de Gaulle - Square on the King's Way.
Józef Piłsudski Square - Square on the Saxon Axis.
The square behind the Iron Gate - square on the Saxon axis.
Krasiński Square - square west of the New Town.
The BankenSquare - Square west of the New Town.
Constitution Square - real socialist square on Marszałkowska Street.
Savior Square - Square on Marszałkowska Street.



The Castle Gardens - baroque park at Warsaw's Royal Castle. Destroyed in World War II, reconstructed after the war.
Agrykola Park - located by the Ujazdów Castle.
The Botanical Garden - is located by the Ujazdów Castle.
Ujazdowski Park - located by the Ujazdów Castle.
Gucin Gaj - overgrown residential park in Ursynów.
Łazienki Park - dates back to the 17th century and was redesigned in the Stanislaus style under Stanislaus II August in the second half of the 18th century.
Pole Mokotowskie - large park in Mokotów, former airport area at the beginning of the 20th century.
Park Morskie Oko - park complex in Mokotów.
Skaryszew Park - large park area in Praga, Warsaw's version of Central Park.
The Saxon Garden - large baroque park in the center of Warsaw.
Krasiński Garden - large baroque park complex in the center of Warsaw.
The Wilanów Garden - large baroque park complex at the Wilanów Palace.



Powązki Cemetery - from the 18th century with numerous historical tombs, the oldest preserved cemetery in Warsaw and the largest municipal cemetery in Poland.
The Evangelical-Augsburg Cemetery - from the 18th century.
The Evangelical Reformed Cemetery - 18th century.
The Okopowa Jewish Cemetery - from the early 19th century.
The Caucasian-Islamic Cemetery - 19th century.
The Tatar-Islamic Cemetery - from the 19th century.
The Italian Military Cemetery - 20th Century.
The Soviet military cemetery - from the 20th century.



The Palace of Culture - real socialist skyscraper from the 1950s (237 meters high).
The Warsaw Spire - postmodern skyscraper from the 2010s (220 meters high).
The Warsaw Trade Tower - postmodern skyscraper from the 1990s (208 meters high).
The Q22 - postmodern skyscraper from the 2010s (195 meters high).
The Rondo 1 - postmodern skyscraper from the 1990s (194 meters high).
The Złota 44 - postmodern skyscraper from the 2010s (192 meters high).
The Centrum LIM - postmodern skyscraper from the 1980s (170 meters high).
The Warsaw Financial Center - postmodern skyscraper from the 1990s (165 meters high).
The Hotel Inter-Continental - post-modern skyscraper from the 2000s (164 meters high).
The Cosmopolitan Twarda 2/4 - postmodern skyscraper from the 2010s (160 meters high).
The Oxford Tower - post-modern skyscraper from the 1970s (150 meters high).
Dsa Intraco I - postmodern skyscraper from the 1970s (138 meters high).
The TP S.A. Tower - postmodern skyscraper from the 2000s (128 meters high).
The Blue Tower Plaza - postmodern skyscraper from the 1990s (120 meters high).
The Atlas Tower - postmodern skyscraper from the 1990s (116 meters high).
The ORCO Tower - postmodern skyscraper from the 1990s (115 meters high).
The Łucka City - postmodern skyscraper from the 2000s (112 meters high).
The Novotel Warszawa Centrum - postmodern skyscraper from the 1970s (111 meters high).
The Chmielna 35 - postmodern skyscraper from the 1960s (108 meters high).
The Złote Tarasy - postmodern skyscraper from the 2000s (105 meters high).
The Babka Tower - postmodern skyscraper from the 2000s (105 meters high).
The Ilmet Building - postmodern skyscraper from the 1990s (103 meters high).



Chopin concerts in Łazienki Park. May to October. edit info
Mozart Festival. June.
Royal concerts in the Wilanów Palace. June to October.
Concerts under the linden tree in Łazienki Park
Warsaw Autumn (Warszawska Jesień) . International concerts, September.
Warsaw Theater Festival. October.
Warsaw Film Festival. October.
jazz jamboree International Jazz Festival, October.



National Museum (Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie), al. Jerozolimskie 3. Tel.: +48 22 621 10 31, +48 22 621 10 31 . Open: Tue-Thu 10am-6pm; Fri 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Sat–Sun 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.; closed: Mon, Holy Saturday, Easter, Corpus Christi, 15 Aug, 1 Nov, 24 Dec, 25 Dec
City Museum (Muzeum Warszawy), rynek Starego Miasta 28-42, 00-272 Warszawa.
Museum of the Polish Army (Muzeum Wojska Polskiego w Warszawie)
Warsaw Uprising Museum (Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego), Grzybowska 79.
Museum of the History of Polish Jews (Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich w Warszawie), Mordechaja Anielewicza ul. 6 .
Archaeological Museum (Państwowe Muzeum Archeologiczne w Warszawie)
Independence Museum (Muzeum Niepodległości w Warszawie)
Zachęta Gallery (Zachęta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki)
Museum of Modern Art (Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie)
Caricature Museum (Muzeum Karykatury im. Eryka Lipińskiego)
Poster Museum (Muzeum Plakatu w Wilanowie), ul. St. Kostki Potockiego 10/16, 02-958 Warszawa.
Frederic Chopin Museum (Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina w Warszawie)
Marie Curie Museum
Kopernikus Science Center (Centrum Nauki Kopernik w Warszawie)



The Vistula meanders wildly through the sandy Warsaw Plain. In Warsaw, too, it is hardly regulated and creates numerous sandbanks, river islands and sandy beaches on both banks, which are used by Warsaw residents and guests alike for (water) sports, sunbathing and fishing. Beaches near the center are increasingly offering loungers, music and gastronomy. If you are looking for peace and quiet, you should rather go to a city beach that is far from the center, of which there are numerous.



There are numerous large shopping centers in Warsaw, but also many small corner shops where you can browse for that special souvenir.

1 Arcadia . One of the largest mega malls in Europe.
2 Smyk (Centralny Dom Towarowy w Warszawie), Krucza 50 . A traditional toy store.
3 Galeria Mokotow . A big mall.
4 Hala Koszyki (Hala Targowa Koszyki) . A large market hall.
5 Mirów Halls (Hale Mirowskie) . Renovated market halls from the 19th century.
6 East Wall (Ściana Wschodnia w Warszawie) . Building complex with numerous commercial centers.
7 Wolf Bracka . Postmodern shopping mall.
8 Golden Terraces (Złote Tarasy) . Postmodern shopping mall.



Groceries and dining out are inexpensive in Warsaw, but more expensive than in other Polish cities or in the countryside.

You can eat cheaply in the “milk bars” (bar mleczny) or student canteens during the day. Pizza services are usually also cheap, such you can z. Order from Telepizza 022/ 80 11 11 111, Pizza Hut 022/ 53 63 636 and KFC 022/ 69 55 555.

Good higher class restaurants are:
1 Bagatela, ul. Bagatela 12. Vegetarian dishes.
2 El Poppo, ul. Senatorska 27. Mexican cuisine.
3 Qchnia Artystyczna, Aleje Ujazdowskie 6. Very good salads.

Top restaurants include:
Belvedere, Łazienki Park. Polish and French cuisine, the most expensive restaurant in Poland.
4 U Fukiera, rynek Starego Miasta 27 (Old Town Market Square 27), 00-272 Warszawa (on the main square of the historic Old Town, currently covered by scaffolding). Tel.: +48-22-831-1013, e-mail: fukier@ufukiera.pl. Very good Polish cuisine with a wine cellar, the oldest restaurant in Warsaw (since the 16th century). Very nice ambiance that makes you feel like you've stepped back in time. Food and service (for which 10% is added to the bill) are worth the price. With reservation, groups can also be accommodated in correspondingly large rooms. Open: daily 12:00-24:00. Price: main dishes 50-105 PLN. Last modified: May 2018 (information may be outdated)
5 Chianti, ul. Foksal 17. Italian cuisine.
6 Pod Samsonem, ul. Freta 3/5. Polish and Jewish cuisine, specialty is trout.
7 Polska Tradycja, ul. Belwederska 18A. Polish cuisine (we recommend: game and goose dishes).
Sadhu Cafe, ul. Walowa 5. Buddhist-style vegetarian cuisine.



From classical to jazz to rock and techno, there is a lot on offer in Warsaw. Going out in Warsaw is generally cheap by western European standards but expensive by Polish ones. Tickets for theatres, concerts and other events can be bought at ZASP (Aleje Jerozolimskie 25) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sat. 2 p.m.). Otherwise usually at the box office. Some events are free of charge, e.g. B. Chopin concerts in Łazienki Park.

(many films in original language with Polish subtitles)

Silver Screen Cinemas (Moskva Cinema), ul. Puławska 17. Multiplex.
Muranów, ul. Gen. Andersa 1.
Kultura, Krakowskie Przedmieście 21/23. Camera cinema with character.

Akwarium, ul. Emilii Plater 49. Jazz Club.
Labirynt, ul. Smolna 12.
Ground Zero, ul. Wspólna 62.
Yesterday, ul. Szkolna 2/4. Music of the 1960s/1970s.
Scena, ul. Armii Krajowej 3/5.
Lokomotyva, ul Kolejowa 37/39.
Piekarnia, ul. Młocińska 11.
Proxima, ul. Zwirki i Wigury 99a. student club.
Park Club Studencki SGH, al. Niepodległości 196. SGH Student Club.
Vector X, ul. Polna 9/11.



The range of accommodation options is plentiful, ranging from accommodations from ten euros to luxury suites for several thousand euros per night.

The cheapest are private accommodation for a few euros, which you can ask at the tourist information office. Since this cannot usually be planned in advance, there is a risk of going empty-handed when demand exceeds supply.

Student dormitories are also cheap, offering rooms from about ten euros per night during the semester break (June-August). Centrally located are mainly:

Grosik, ul. Madalińskiego 31/35. Tel: (0)22 89 42 302.
Sabinki, Aleja Niepodległości 147. Tel.: (0)22 64 63 200.
Youth hostels (rooms from seven euros) can be found in:

Youth hostel, ul. Smolna 30 (directly on the Royal Route).
Youth hostel, ul. Karolkowa 53a (near the Jewish cemetery).
Youth hostel, ul. Międzyparkowa 4/8.
Other cheap places to stay are the Tatamka Hostel, a member of the Hostelling International association, and the Globetrotter Hostel.

Hostel Tatamka (about ten minutes walk from the old town).
1 Globetrotter Hostel, Aleja Wyzwolenia 10/127; 00-570 Warsaw. Tel.: 797 987 702, mobile: 22 127 85 62, e-mail: info@globetrotterhostel.com.pl.

2 Hotel Europejski, Krakowskie Przedmieście 13. Very close to the center.
3 Marriott, Aleje Jerozolimskie 67/79 (skyscraper in the financial district).
4 Metropol, ul. Marszałkowska 99a (between the Old Town and the Financial District).

5 Bristol, Krakowskie Przedmieście 42/44. The best-known, most luxurious and most expensive hotel in Warsaw in Art Nouveau style right next to the Presidential Palace. This is where the rich and famous, as well as state guests, stay. Price: between 128 and 213 euros.
6 Dom Literatury, Krakowskie Przedmieście 87/89. Romantic hotel with a view of the palace square. Price: between 40 and 60 euros.
7 Intercontinental, ul. Emilii Plater. Skyscraper in the financial district opposite the Palace of Culture with a swimming pool at a height of 140 m, 401 rooms. Price: between 119 and 205 euros. Admission to the swimming pool and fitness area: 35 euros (free for hotel guests).



Warsaw universities maintain exchange programs, e.g. B. Erasmus, with universities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Polish courses for foreigners are offered by various organizers (including universities) in Warsaw.



Working in Warsaw for EU foreigners is basically possible without any problems, as long as this is based on reciprocity. German native speakers are often employed as language teachers and have very good chances in this market. Besides, it's not easy to get odd jobs if you don't speak Polish.



It's actually quite safe, but in large crowds - like anywhere else in the world - care should be taken.



The medical care is very good. Most health insurance companies from other EU countries cover the costs of treatment in Poland. You may need to ask your own checkout. Some insurance companies also pay for cures in Poland. There is an emergency medical service. In Warsaw there are always some pharmacies on night duty.


Practical advice

Tourist information is located at Schlossplatz 1/13, in the Palace of Culture, the Main Train Station and at the Chopin Airport. Tel.: 022/ 63 51 881 from 8 a.m. Cultural information on Tel. +48 022 62 98 489 from 10 a.m.

In addition to Polish, many people in Warsaw also speak English. German, French, Russian, Spanish and Italian are also partially popular among young people.


Internet and phone calls

Poland is well covered with landline connections and the mobile network is also very well developed, which is especially true for large cities like Warsaw. Public phones are plentiful and work with cards, tokens or coins. In Warsaw there are numerous Internet cafes with reasonable prices. There are also WiFi hotspots. The Polish Post is represented at several locations in Warsaw. Letters and postcards usually arrive quickly. Parcels usually take a little longer. Parcels are also carried by private carriers. The shipping costs are lower than in Western Europe.



The Mazovian plain with its beautiful willow landscapes, which shaped Chopin's music, extends in the immediate vicinity of Warsaw. Romantic English-style parks can be found in Arkadia and Nieborów, as well as in Puławy. The Zegrze reservoir on the northern outskirts of the city offers good water sports opportunities. The Polish lake districts (Masuria and Greater Poland) are located about 200 km and 100 km from Warsaw, respectively. Kampinos National Park is located on the western city limits.


Name origin

According to popular tradition, Warsaw was originally a remote small fishing settlement on the banks of the Vistula. It is said to have been founded by the poor fisherman Warsz and his wife Sawa. According to the story, Sawa was a mermaid who lives in the river (see the coat of arms of the city of Warsaw), who fell in love with the fisherman.

Warsaw was first mentioned in 1241 in the Latin formula of a deed of donation (actum et datum Varschevie, i.e. "disposed and issued to Warsaw"), forms of names handed down from the later Middle Ages include Warseuiensis (1321, Latin adjective), Varschewia (1342) and Warsaw (1482).

The etymology of the toponym is unclear. The most common is the hypothesis favored by Aleksander Brückner, among others, that the name of the city goes back to the genitive form of the proper name Warsz and consequently means something like "[village/good] of Warsz"; however, this first name is hardly documented and uncertain in its derivation, possibly it is a short form of Warcisław. The presumed owner and namesake of the settlement may have been wealthy in the area of today's Solec and Mariensztat districts and may have been a member of the Rawa or Rawicz noble family.

Other authors suspect a Baltic origin of the name, with a whole series of Etyma for comparison, such as the adjective *virš-ī'n- "upper" (cf. Lithuanian viršùs "height, peak, peak"); Rather, according to Simas Karaliūnas, Warszawa goes back to a Lithuanian Ãpvaršuva, which means something like "place with hospitality [to the visiting king]" (cf. Lithuanian apvaišinti, "to entertain all") and also the name of the royal estate Opvoišovo near Pajūris should have resulted in Tauroggen.

Today's official name of the city is Miasto stołeczne Warszawa ("The Capital of Warsaw"). The inhabitants of Warsaw are called Warsovians – in Polish Warszawiak, Warszawianin (male), Warszawianka (female), Warszawiacy and Warszawianie (plural).



 Geographical location

Warsaw is located on the middle Vistula, in the glacial valley of the Vistula, as well as on the Central Mazovian Depression at an average of 100 meters above sea level. The city spreads out on both sides of the Vistula and is roughly halfway between the Carpathian Mountains and the Baltic Sea - it's about 350 km each. The historic town center is on the left, western bank of the Vistula on the long Vistula cliff Skarpa Wiślana, which rises relatively steeply about 15 to 30 meters above the Vistula. One of the first bridges in Europe, several hundred meters long, connected the two banks as early as the 16th century. This favored the expansion of urban development to the right bank of the Vistula, which has always been called Praga. There are several glacial moraine hills and man-made hills in the urban area. The Vistula is navigable in the Warsaw area. The city has the river port of Żerań on the right bank of the Vistula. However, shipping is limited to smaller ships and boats, as the river depth often does not exceed three meters.



Warsaw is located in the transition zone from maritime to continental climate. The average annual temperature is 8.5 °C. The coldest month is January with an average temperature of -1.9 °C and the warmest is July with 19 °C. The summers are warm to hot, the winters cool and sometimes icy cold. Total annual precipitation does not exceed 550 mm. A thick layer of snow is not uncommon in the winter months and the waters in the parks and the Vistula can freeze completely.


City outline

Since the last administrative reform in 2002, Warsaw has once again become a single municipality, which also has the status of a district (Powiat in Polish). This status is roughly comparable to that of an independent city in Germany. Previously, Warsaw was a relatively loose association of municipalities consisting of several independent municipalities (gminy). The city is now divided into 18 districts (dzielnice), which are very much subordinate to a city-wide administration. Most of the new districts grew out of the old parishes, with two exceptions:

The old municipality of Centrum was dissolved and divided into seven districts. Here a return was made to the classification and naming that had existed until the early 1990s and which largely stemmed from pre-war times.
The former surrounding municipality of Wesoła was incorporated when the administrative reform came into force and now forms the district of the same name in the city of Warsaw.



Early Piast Period

The first fortified settlement on the territory of today's Warsaw was Stare Bródno in the 9th century. There was a hillfort and a village here. This settlement was abandoned at the end of the 11th century. A new fortified complex was built in Jazdów in the 12th century on the Vistula cliff on the left bank of the Vistula. This small complex was one of the residences of the Mazovian dukes. It is assumed that it was located in the area of today's Ujazdowski Castle and was destroyed in 1262 by the Lithuanians under Mindaugas. Other smaller settlements in Kamion, Gocław and Solec were established nearby. They were all in the Mazovia region, populated by West Slavic tribes, which was conquered in the 10th century by the Polish duke Mieszko I of the Piast dynasty. The most important city in Mazovia at that time was Płock, about 100 kilometers down the Vistula, which was the capital of Poland under Władysław I Herman for a short time in the 11th century. After the death of Boleslaw III. Wry mouth was introduced in Poland seniority constitution, which the state territory under the sons of Boleslaw III. Wrymouths divided and the eldest had seniority over the junior dukes. Masovia was handed over to his second eldest son. Since 1146 Senior Bolesław IV, who established the line of the Mazovian Piasts and ruled the country from Płock, became the lord of these lands.


Senior constitution

The division of Poland into senior duchies in 1188 weakened the whole country, leading to numerous Ruthenian and Lithuanian incursions into Mazovia. As a result, the trade route, which ran from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea, was moved from the western Bug to the left bank of the Vistula. This led to an economic boom in the Warsaw settlement of Jazdów, where the Mazovian dukes built one of their castles. However, Jazdów was destroyed by the Lithuanians in 1262, so the residents established their settlement three kilometers further north in the area of today's Warsaw Old Town. The Duke of Mazovia Bolesław II Mazowiecki also gave up the castle in Jazdów (today the Ujazdowski Castle is located there) and built a castle inside the Old Town (today's Warsaw Royal Castle). However, its headquarters remained in Płock. Between 1281 and 1321 Warsaw was mentioned several times in documents. However, the location document is no longer preserved. In 1334 Trojden I granted Warsaw city rights and many merchants from Thorn settled in the city. In 1339 an important legal dispute took place in Warsaw between Casimir III. by Poland and the Teutonic Order. In 1356 Siemowit III. founded the first monastery of the Augustinian order in Warsaw. Most of the buildings in the old town were built at this time, above all the Gothic St. John's Cathedral and the palace of the Mazovian dukes, which later became the royal palace.

With the reunification of Poland by King Władysław I Ellenlang in 1320, the seniority constitution was repealed. However, Masovia did not belong to Poland at that time, but became a Polish fief around the middle of the 14th century. It further split into the individual duchies of Płock, Rawa and Czersk. Warsaw belonged to the latter. Warsaw's Old Town was surrounded by a first ring of walls in 1350 and another in 1380. Around 1380, north of the old town, Warsaw's new town was also built on the banks of the Vistula, which received city rights in 1408. In 1413, Janusz I Starszy moved the capital of the Mazovian Duchy of Czersk from Czersk to Warsaw. After the Polish-Lithuanian Union of 1386, Warsaw developed very quickly thanks to its central location between the two capitals, Kraków and Vilnius. In particular, the reign of Prince Janusz I from 1374 to 1429 was one of Warsaw's first heydays. Several Gothic buildings and churches in the Old and New Towns have survived from this period, including the portal of the tenement house on the Old Town Square at number 21. In 1454, during the reign of Bolesław IV, the Church of St. Anne and the Saint Bernard monastery built south of the Kraków Gate. In 1469 the Mazovian princes confirmed the privileges of the Jewish community that had existed in Warsaw since the beginning of the 14th century. With the extinction of the respective Piastian dukes, Rawa came directly to Poland in 1462, Płock in 1496 and Czersk-Warsaw in 1526, with the last Mazovian princes probably being poisoned in 1524 (Stanislaus I) and 1526 (Janusz III) at the behest of the Polish queen Bona Sforza became. Both are buried next to their teacher Stanislaus from Strzelec in St. John's Cathedral. The magnificent Renaissance tombstones of the two princes and the canon were donated by their sister, Princess Anna Odrowąż. St. Anne's Church is also named after her because she generously supported the Saint Bernard monastery.


Polish-Lithuanian noble republic

With the annexation to Poland, the Warsaw bourgeoisie received many trading privileges from Sigismund I, which accelerated the city's development. With Poland's regaining of Gdańsk and the Vistula Delta in 1466, the Vistula became Poland's most important trade route for export and import to and from Western Europe. Warsaw, located on the Vistula, benefited greatly from this economically. After the death of Sigismund I, his widow Bona Sforza moved her court from Kraków's Wawel to Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw in 1548. However, her son Sigismund II August continued to rule Poland-Lithuania from Kraków, although he was increasingly visiting Warsaw. In 1569 and 1573, the Union of Lublin and the Articuli Henriciani stipulated that the Polish parliament, the Sejm, should meet in Warsaw and that the election of the king should take place in Kamion and Wola, just outside Warsaw. So were in Kamion Heinrich von Valois 1573 and in Wola 1574 Stephan Báthory and 1587 Sigismund III. Vasa elected Polish-Lithuanian kings. Since Stephan Báthory, the taking of the oath of fealty from the Prussian dukes has also been carried out in front of the St. Anne's Church in Warsaw instead of on Kraków's market square. After the fire in Kraków Wawel in 1596, Sigismund III. Wasa from the Swedish house of Wasa to move the residence of the Polish kings to Warsaw because he was also King of Sweden and harbored ambitions for the Moscow tsar throne. The gradual move went hand in hand with the expansion of the seat of the Mazovian dukes into the Polish royal palace from 1598 by Italian master builders. After returning from the successful campaign to Moscow in 1611, Sigismund III. Wasa finally in Warsaw. However, Kraków remained legally the capital as there was no legal act legalizing the move. Until 1795, Warsaw was only entitled to the title of royal seat. With the attainment of the role of the capital, Warsaw began a heyday in the early Baroque period under the Vasa dynasty, which lasted until the city was destroyed by the Swedes in 1655. After the fire in the old town in 1607, it was rebuilt in the Mannerist style. In the 16th century, Warsaw grew far beyond the medieval city walls of the old and new towns and had over 50,000 inhabitants. New districts emerged on both sides of the Vistula. Between 1568 and 1573 the Most Zygmunta Augusta was built, the first permanent bridge over the Vistula over 500 m long on 18 pillars. It was one of the longest bridges in Europe at that time. In 1648 Praga, the district on the right bank of the Vistula, received city rights. Other districts (jurydyka) were private property of individual magnates, wealthy nobles (szlachta), clergymen and monasteries. They were exempt from municipal jurisdiction. They arose in large numbers around the new early Baroque palaces of the nobility, who moved from Kraków in search of proximity to the royal court. The magnates also donated numerous early Baroque churches and monasteries. In 1597, for example, the Jesuits came to Warsaw. Sigismund III Vasa had the Royal Castle, the Ujazdowski Castle and the Kazimierz Palace rebuilt and expanded in the early Baroque style. Magnificent palaces of the nobility such as the Koniecpolski Palace, the Potocki Palace or the Krasicki Palace were built on the Royal Route along the Kraków suburbs. The Ossoliński Palace, built in 1641, was considered one of the most luxurious palaces in Europe. In 1637 Władysław IV opened the first permanent theater in the Royal Castle. For his father Sigismund III, who died in 1632. In 1643 Wasa had the Sigismund Column erected on Castle Square, the first profane monument in Warsaw. From 1661 the first Polish daily newspaper, the “Polish Merkur”, was published in Warsaw. In the first half of the 17th century, Warsaw was one of the leading centers of early modern Europe. In 1655-1657, during the Second Northern War, Warsaw was destroyed by the Swedes, Brandenburgers and Transylvanians. The rich palaces were robbed and burned down and the plundered art treasures and books were shipped to Sweden. The devastation was so great that the years of the Swedish Deluge went down in the history of the city and June 23rd was celebrated as a holiday to commemorate the retreat of enemy troops in 1657. Valuable early Baroque monuments from the Wasa period have been preserved or reconstructed, such as the Royal Castle, Ujazdowski Castle, the Jesuit Church and the Dominican Church and the Gianotti Palace in the old town. The Wasa period finally ended in 1668 with the abdication of John II Casimir.

A new heyday began for Warsaw under the rule of Jan Sobieski from 1673, who, primarily as a generous patron and art lover, had the southern parts of the city expanded. He succeeded Michael I. Korybut Wiśniowiecki, who ruled in Warsaw for only five years. From 1677 Sobieski built the Wilanów Palace on the south-extended Royal Route in the Versailles style with a large French garden. In 1687 he also donated the Antoni Padewski Church in the south of Warsaw as a vote for the victory near Vienna in 1683. Sobieski brought two of the most ingenious European master builders of the High Baroque to Warsaw, Tylman van Gameren and Andreas Schlueter, as well as numerous artists, among whom Jan Reisner is worth mentioning. From 1692, Sobieski's wife Marysieńka built one of the world's largest commercial centers at the time, Marywil, on the site of which the Great Theater and Theater Square are located today. During this period, under the guidance of Tylman van Gameren, the Krasiński Palace, the Ostrogski Palace, the Sacrament Church, the Capuchin Church and the Carmelite Church were also built. The Marymont Palace was also built for Marysieńka outside the city, today a densely populated residential district of Warsaw.

After the death of Sobieski in 1696 and the election of Augustus II in 1697, the Saxon period began. This period of the Saxon kings began very unhappily for Warsaw with the Great Northern War from 1702. During this war and the later War of the Polish Succession from 1734 Warsaw was again occupied and destroyed by Swedish and Russian troops. Last intertwined August III. Poland in the Seven Years' War from 1756. In the Saxon period under August II and August III. From 1713 the Saxon axis with the Saxon Palais, the Brühlsches Palais and the Saxon Park was created perpendicular to the Königsweg. In 1726 the Saxon Park was opened to the public. In 1740 the Collegium Nobilium, an aristocratic school of the Piarists, was formed, from which Warsaw University was to emerge. In 1748 the Warsaw Opera was opened. The palaces on Senatorska and Miodowa Streets (e.g. the Lelewel Palace built by Ephraim Schröger) also date back to the Saxon period. The House of Wettin brought outstanding Dresden master builders and artists, such as Johann Georg Plersch and Johann Sigmund Deybel, and the fashion for Meissner porcelain to the Warsaw court. They redesigned Warsaw in the late baroque and rococo style. In 1732, August II held one of the largest military parades on the Czerniaków Fields outside Warsaw in honor of his daughter Anna Orzelska, for whom he also had the Blue Palace built. Due to the great devastation in the numerous wars, the Saxon period went down in Warsaw history as one of the darkest periods.

It flourished again during the Polish Enlightenment under Stanislaus August Poniatowski from 1764, who had many Warsaw buildings rebuilt or erected in the classicist style. Under his rule, Warsaw became one of the most important centers of Enlightenment and Classicism in Europe. He extended the Royal Road south of the Kraków suburbs to the New World and founded new "Jurydykas" there. South of the Ujazdowski Castle he had the Łazienki complex built with many gardens and castles. Numerous palaces from the Stanislaus era can also be found on Długa and Senatorska Streets. Under his time, Warsaw had more than 150,000 inhabitants, making it one of the largest cities in Europe. He began his reign very ambitiously. Already in the first year of his reign, 1765, he founded the knight school, the mint and the Great National Theater in Warsaw under the direction of Wojciech Bogusławski. Since 1770 the city was reorganized and all streets were given street names and house numbers. From 1772 the Łazienki complex was rebuilt. From 1776 the old town was connected to the district of Praga on the right bank of the Vistula by another Vistula bridge. From 1773 the world's first ministry of education, the Commission for National Education, had its headquarters in Warsaw, and between 1788 and 1792 the Great Sejm met in the Warsaw Royal Castle, which on May 3, 1791 passed Europe's first modern constitution. This was preceded by the so-called Black Procession in 1789, in which the cities demanded more political say. It finally led to the inclusion of the city constitution of April 20, 1791 in the constitution of May 3, 1791. For Warsaw, this meant, among other things, that the jurydykas were abolished and that a unified city administration was introduced. Therefore, April 21 (the day Warsaw ratified the city constitution) is also the city holiday. The constitution of May 3, 1791 meant that Russian and Prussian troops occupied Poland in 1792 and the country was divided for the second time in 1793. During an initially successful uprising in Warsaw in April 1794 under the leadership of master shoemaker Jan Kiliński as part of the all-Polish Kościuszko Uprising, in which the entire population of Warsaw took an active part, the Russian garrison was destroyed and more than 4000 Russian soldiers and civilians were killed. In 1794, after the Battle of Warsaw, Suvorov's Russian troops carried out a revenge massacre of the population of the Praga district on the right bank. More than ten thousand civilians were killed. In 1795 Poland was divided for the third time. After the abdication of Stanisław August Poniatowski, who died in Grodno in 1798, Warsaw was occupied by Prussian troops in 1796 and for 11 years became the seat of the new Prussian province of South Prussia, which included Warsaw, Posen and Kalisz. The population fell rapidly to 115,000 inhabitants in 1806, and the economic situation worsened. In 1800 Stanisław Staszic founded the Polish Academy of Sciences (Polska Akademia Nauk) in Warsaw, which to this day has its seat in the Staszic Palace on the Kraków suburbs.


Duchy of Warsaw

After the Peace of Tilsit in 1807, the Duchy of Warsaw was formed from the two Prussian partition areas of 1793 and 1795 - with the exception of Danzig - with Warsaw as the capital. In 1807 it received a new liberal constitution and the Polish Sejm was reconvened in Warsaw after a twelve-year break. In the same year, a Code Napoléon (Code civil), adapted to the Polish legal tradition, came into force, one of the first comprehensive civil law books in Europe. As the basis for the 1964 Kodeks Cywilny, the Code Civil has shaped the Polish civil law system to this day. The nephew of the last Polish king, General Józef Antoni Poniatowski, rebuilt the Polish army in Warsaw, which soon numbered 200,000 men. In the Fifth Coalition War, the Duchy of Austria was attacked. Initially defeated (→ Battle of Raszyn), the duchy was able to assert itself against the Habsburgs and in the Peace of Schönbrunn with West Galicia and Kraków received the areas that had fallen to Austria during the Third Partition of Poland. Troops from the duchy took part in Napoleon's Russian campaign in 1812 and the following year in the Battle of the Nations near Leipzig, in which Józef Poniatowski died in the White Elster. He was then solemnly buried as a national hero in the Wawel Cathedral in Kraków. Poniatowski became the symbolic figure of the Duchy of Warsaw, although he was not a duke, just the commander-in-chief of the army. At the beginning of the 19th century, the people of Warsaw commissioned him with a monument made by the famous Danish classicist sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. In the course of the reorganization of Europe in 1814/15 by the Congress of Vienna, the Duchy of Warsaw was abolished.


Congress Poland

After the Congress of Vienna, Warsaw became the capital of the Kingdom of Poland (Congress Poland), ruled by the Russian Tsar in personal union with Russia. It received a relatively liberal constitution in 1817, and the Polish Sejm in Warsaw had extensive powers. Executive power rested with the governor, Grand Duke Constantine, brother of Tsar Alexander I.

In 1816, on the basis of the Collegium Nobilium of 1740, the Warsaw University was founded, and a year later the Warsaw Stock Exchange was founded as the first modern Polish stock exchange (a stock exchange was established in Kraków in 1818). Stock exchange trading in securities (especially bills of exchange) has been documented in Warsaw since the 17th century. In other Polish trading cities (Danzig, Kraków, Poznań, Lemberg, etc.) there has also been irregular stock exchange trading since the Middle Ages, which was brought to Poland by Dutch and Italian merchants. But the first stock exchange with a public stock exchange system was the aforementioned Warsaw Stock Exchange of 1817.

Industrialization also began in Warsaw at this time, and the first large factories were built in the city. Outside the gates, the Powązki Cemetery was established in 1792, one of the largest and most beautiful necropolises of the 19th century, and in 1825, under the leadership of Antonio Corazzi, construction of the Great Theater, at the time the largest in Europe, began. Among others, Helena Modrzejewska and Pola Negri played here.

In the 1810s and 1820s, the young Frédéric Chopin lived and gave concerts in Warsaw. He was born near the city in the family estate of his mother Żelazowa Wola. As early as the early 1820s, it became clear that the tsar would not abide by the constitution and intended to rule autocratically over his governor. This did not change after the Decembrist uprising in Russia in 1825.

In 1830 it became known that the tsar wanted to use Polish troops against the revolutionaries in Belgium. On November 30, 1830, the November Uprising broke out with the storming of the Belvedere Palace (Belweder) in Warsaw by insurgents. The Grand Duke Constantine had to flee the city after a few days, and the Polish Sejm deposed the Tsar as Polish king. The uprising was successful in the first few months, and Russian troops were forced to evacuate Warsaw and the surrounding area. After more than a year of war, however, the insurgents had to capitulate. With the great emigration, about 30,000 Warsaw residents and other congress Poles fled to Western Europe and the United States. Among them were Frédéric Chopin and Adam Mickiewicz.

In 1832 the constitution and the Sejm were abolished and a period of political reprisals began. In the same year, as a response to the November Uprising, the citadel, which also contained a prison for political prisoners, was built north of the new town. In the subsequent romantic era, Warsaw was expanded.

The railway reached Warsaw in 1840, and the first connection to Vienna was soon completed. During the Spring of Nations in 1848, unlike in the Prussian and Austrian partitions, things remained relatively quiet in Warsaw because the conspirators who were planning a nationwide uprising had been arrested beforehand. During this time, the textile industry city of Łódź was built around 80 km southwest of Warsaw in Congress Poland on the railway line to Vienna and soon rose to become one of the leading industrial metropolises in Europe.

In January 1863, the January Uprising against the Tsarist regime broke out. In a partisan war, the Warsaw residents were able to resist for two years until they had to give up at the end of 1864. The Kingdom of Poland was finally dissolved and incorporated into Russia. Warsaw thus became the third largest city in the Tsarist Empire after Moscow and St. Petersburg. The abolition of the customs border with Russia brought about a rapid economic boom that lasted until the First World War.

The economic center of the city shifted from the Royal Route to the magnificent Marszałkowska Street to the west. In 1866 the first horse-drawn tram and in 1908 the first electric tram ran in Warsaw. Numerous representative rental and commercial buildings as well as cultural institutions in the style of historicism, secession and eclecticism were built here.

After the destruction of the Second World War, this part of the city's history was completely lost. The remains of historical buildings from the 19th century can be found on Lwowska Street and partly on Ujazdów and Jerusalem Avenues.

From 1881 a modern sewage system was built. At the end of the 19th century, the two fort belts of the Warsaw Fortress were built. In 1900 the magnificent Art Nouveau building of the Warsaw Philharmonic was erected, where Ignacy Paderewski and Jan Kiepura performed in the first half of the 20th century. In 1867 the double and first female Nobel Prize winner Marie Skłodowska-Curie was born in Neustadt. The writer Bolesław Prus, in particular, commemorated the Warsaw positivism era in his true-to-realist novels. Above all, the novel "Lalka" should be mentioned here, in which Prus describes the career and fall of a Warsaw businessman. Another representative of Warsaw positivism, Henryk Sienkiewicz, received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1905. He was later buried in a crypt of Warsaw Cathedral. Teodor Józef Korzeniowski (pseudonym Joseph Conrad) also lived in Warsaw (Nowy Świat 47) in the 19th century. In the same year, in response to Russia's losing war against Japan and Bloody Sunday in St. Petersburg, a brief socialist uprising co-organized by Rosa Luxemburg, who came from a Jewish family in Zamość (southern Congress Poland) and grew up in Warsaw became. Around the turn of the century, 36% of Warsaw's resident population were Jews. In 1909, 36.9% were Jews, 2.4% Protestants and 0.4% Mariavites.


First World War

During the First World War, Russian Poland initially formed a frontal salient for Russia against the Central Powers that stretched far to the west. After the German defensive successes against the Russian army at Tannenberg and on the Masurian Lakes and the simultaneous defeat of Austria-Hungary in the Battle of Galicia, an offensive in central Poland was to lead the k.u.k. relieve forces. However, the Russian victory in the Battle of the Vistula south of Warsaw thwarted this attempt in the fall of 1914. In the spring and summer of 1915, the Central Powers again carried out major attacks on the Eastern Front (Battle of Gorlice-Tarnow, Bug Offensive, Narew Offensive), which led to extensive territorial gains. Under the impact of several heavy defeats, the Russian army was forced to give up Russian Poland and retreat inland. On August 5, 1915, the 9th German army took Warsaw, after the Russian army had burned down strategic buildings and bridges when they left.

In August 1915, the Germans set up the General Government of Warsaw, which lasted until November 1918, in the area of Russian Poland they occupied. Hans von Beseler became governor general, Ernst Reinhold Gerhard von Glasenapp police chief. Under the German military administration, the university was reopened with Polish as the language of instruction. On May 1st and 2nd, 1916, an extraordinary congress of internal medicine was held in Warsaw, attended mainly by military doctors. In autumn 1916, the German Reich and Austria-Hungary agreed on the creation of a provisional Polish kingdom with Warsaw as its capital and offered the Polish population the prospect of an independent Poland. This was favored by developments in Russia; in the peace treaty of Brest-Litovsk it renounced its sovereign rights in Poland.


Second Republic

The 14-point program of the US President Woodrow Wilson, which named the main features of a peace order for Europe, also included the reestablishment of an independent Poland. The fighting ended with the Armistice of Compiègne on November 11, 1918, and the German troops in Warsaw were disarmed. On the same day, Józef Piłsudski arrived in Warsaw, where he was given supreme command of the Polish troops by the Regency Council and proclaimed Poland's independence; this date has since been considered Polish Independence Day.

Warsaw has been the capital of the Second Polish Republic since 1919. In August 1920, during the Polish-Soviet War, it was threatened with capture by the Red Army, but under Piłsudski's supreme command, the Poles achieved an overwhelming victory that went down in history as the miracle of the Vistula.

In the interwar period, Warsaw experienced a new building boom. At the Aleje Ujazdowskie (since the government and embassy district) a new Sejm building and various ministry palaces and embassies were built in the 1920s. At the same time, the first Polish airport was inaugurated on Pole Mokotowskie. In addition, cultural life also flourished, e.g. the later Nobel Prize winner Czesław Miłosz. The Warsaw bohemian of this time was captured in the pictures of Józef Rapacki, among others. In 1926, during the Piłsudski May Putsch, street fighting broke out in Warsaw, starting on Most Poniatowskiego. However, after it became clear fairly early on that the incumbent government under Stanisław Wojciechowski had no support either in the army or in the townspeople, it gave up after two days.

Under Mayor Stefan Starzyński (in office since 1934), Warsaw experienced a cultural heyday. Warsaw's Okęcie Airport received domestic and international permanent flight connections. The tram and bus network was expanded and new streets were built in the outskirts. In 1939 Warsaw already had over 1,350,000 inhabitants.

The Second World War began in September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland. As the conflict progressed, the city of Warsaw became the center of bitter fighting. The remnants of the Polish army, defeated in the Battle of the Bzura, entrenched themselves in the city and defended it tenaciously. Shortly thereafter, Warsaw was completely surrounded by German troops after they had broken through the front on the Narew and were now standing in front of Warsaw to the east. During this heavy fighting, the city of Warsaw, especially the outskirts, was both shelled by German artillery and bombed from the air. More than ten thousand civilians died here. During the German siege of Warsaw, the city lost around 10% of its buildings, and the bombed Warsaw Royal Castle burned down. On September 28, 1939, Warsaw had to capitulate and was occupied by German troops. The mayor Stefan Starzyński was arrested by the Gestapo and murdered in the Dachau concentration camp in 1943.


German occupation in World War II


Four weeks after the start of the invasion of Poland, Wehrmacht troops marched into Warsaw on September 28, 1939, and a devastating occupation of more than five years began. Right from the start, the occupiers' terror met with resolute resistance from large sections of the population. Organized resistance took various forms, from secret educational institutions and small and large sabotage to assassinations. From the beginning of the occupation, Warsaw was the center of the Polish underground state with the secret administration of the London government-in-exile and the Home Army.

On July 31, 1944, as part of Operation Bagration, the Red Army reached Warsaw's Praga district. In the months that followed, the Vistula formed the front line, and the eastern parts of the city were under the control of the Red Army. As part of the Vistula-Oder operation, the western part of Warsaw could only be taken more than five months later on January 17, 1945.


Warsaw Ghetto

After Warsaw was occupied by the German Wehrmacht, the Jews of the city and the surrounding area were imprisoned in the Warsaw ghetto (Muranow district) from November 1940. It was the largest Jewish ghetto in occupied Europe. At least 300,000 Jewish citizens of Warsaw were deported from there and murdered. In 1941 Jews were forced to live in a ghetto, and leaving the ghetto and providing any help to the Jewish residents of Warsaw were punishable by death. Nevertheless, the Żegota organization and many private individuals were able to save hundreds of Jews from death.

On April 18, 1943, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising led by Mordechaj Anielewicz and Marek Edelman broke out as a reaction to the liquidation of the ghetto by the Waffen-SS. On May 8, 1943, most of the Jewish leaders in hiding at 18 Miła Street committed suicide. Some Jewish units, including Marek Edelman, managed to escape to the Polish underground. After the ghetto uprising on May 16, 1943, the SS destroyed the Great Synagogue in Warsaw, burned down an entire district (the Muranow district) and surviving Jews were murdered in the Treblinka concentration camp. This resistance against the German occupation was noticed internationally.


Warsaw Uprising

The Warsaw Uprising, carried out by the Polish Home Army, began on August 1, 1944 under the leadership of Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski. It was the largest uprising against the occupiers in occupied Europe during World War II. Almost the entire remaining population of the city took part in the military operations, the aim of which was to be Poland independent of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In the first days of August, the Polish media and a scout post were restored and the survey was initially successful when German troops had to withdraw from large parts of the city center. Due to a lack of supplies of any kind, the uprising quickly reached a critical point. The Red Army, which was far superior to the Wehrmacht at this point, remained standing on the right bank of the Vistula and offered no support to the resistance. In addition, the Soviets denied the Western Allies airfields from which they could have flown in more supplies and weapons. The Home Army had to capitulate on October 2, 1944. Almost 200,000 Polish soldiers and civilians lost their lives in the Warsaw Uprising, which was largely put down by units of the Waffen SS. As a reprisal, the majority of the remaining buildings on the left bank of the Vistula were systematically blown up by German troops and Warsaw was largely destroyed. The surviving population was deported to concentration camps or forced labor.


People's Republic

As part of the Red Army's Vistula-Oder offensive, the 1st Belorussian Front under Marshal Zhukov attacked the German 9th Army (General von Lüttwitz) in the center of the front in the area on both sides and south of Warsaw on January 13, 1945. The Soviet 47th Army and the Polish 1st Army surrounded the city, which was conquered by the evening of January 17th. It was a ruined city with almost no inhabitants. However, most of the population liberated from the camps soon returned to Warsaw.

However, the soldiers of the Home Army were not allowed to return. Many had to emigrate. The city administration was installed by the emerging Communist Party (Polska Partia Robotnicza). Soon the decision was made to rebuild Warsaw in detail. In 1945 a fund for the reconstruction of Warsaw was established. In February 1945, a commission headed by Roman Piotrowski began the first reconstruction work. The Old Town, the New Town and the Kraków suburbs were rebuilt from 1946 to 1953 in a historical reconstruction (1980 awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site). The construction work represents the largest planned reconstruction of a building in the world to date. At the same time, the buildings on the streets of Miodowa, Długa and Senatorska as well as the Teatralny and Bankowy squares were reconstructed. The works are largely based on paintings by the Italian painter Bernardo Bellotto (Canaletto), who created many city panoramas of Warsaw in the 18th century.

From 1947 to 1949, the tunnel of the "East-West Artery" was built under parts of the old town. In 1971 the Committee for the Reconstruction of the Royal Castle in Warsaw was formed, headed by Stanisław Lorentz. This reconstruction was carried out in the 1970s and 1980s.

Several districts were created in the real socialist style. The Warsaw Palace of Culture was built between 1952 and 1955 and was the second tallest building in Europe at the time. In addition, the districts of Marienstadt and Marszałkowska Dzielnica Mieszkaniowa (MDM) were built (again) in the real socialist style. The heyday of this style in Poland dates from 1949 to 1955 and, in its Warsaw variant, merged with Polish architecture of the 1930s, which in turn was strongly influenced by Warsaw Classicism. Long spurned, the architecture of social realism has recently been gradually rediscovered. Helena Krajewska, among others, painted cityscapes in this style.

In May 1955, the Warsaw Pact military alliance was founded in Warsaw under the dictates of the Soviet Union. In the same year, the World Youth Festival was held here. In response to the Polish October 1956, Władysław Gomułka was appointed First Party Secretary; the time of Stalinism came to an end (see also here). In the same year, Gomułka gave a speech to over a million people at Defiladenplatz, which was intended to herald the long-awaited change. In March 1968, a student revolt broke out after the ban on the performance of Adam Mickiewicz's play The Funeral in Warsaw. This was the beginning of the end of the Gomułka era, which was succeeded by Edward Gierek in December 1970 after a workers' uprising. In addition to the appeal by the Polish bishops to their German brothers in office for reconciliation in 1965, Willy Brandt's kneeling in Warsaw on December 7, 1970 in front of the memorial for the 1943 ghetto uprising was one of the most important cornerstones of German-Polish reconciliation. In 1976 the KOR (Committee for the Defense of Workers) was established in Warsaw, which would later become the Solidarność trade union, which was registered on November 10, 1980 at the Provincial Court in Warsaw. Pope John Paul II's visit to Warsaw on June 2, 1979, which was one of the reasons for the founding of the first independent trade union in the Eastern Bloc, and his mass in front of over a million Warsaw residents on Defiladen Square in 1987 were of decisive importance for the fall of communism. When General Jaruzelski declared martial law on December 13, 1981, Warsaw was occupied by special motorized units (ZOMO) with tanks and heavy military equipment. After the Solidarność movement in the 1980s, the round table talks took place in Warsaw from February to April 1989; as a result, the first (almost) free elections in a Warsaw Pact state were initiated (parliamentary elections June 4 and 18, 1989; presidential election July 19, 1989).


Third Republic

Warsaw from 1989

With the Law on the Warsaw Administrative Structure of May 18, 1990, Warsaw's self-government was reintroduced and on May 27, 1990, after more than 50 years, a city parliament was elected again. Stanisław Wyganowski was elected President of Warsaw, having held this position provisionally since January 1990. On April 7, 1991, after half a century, the Warsaw Stock Exchange was reopened as the second capital market institution of its kind in a former Eastern Bloc country, which in the following years developed into the leading stock exchange in East Central Europe. It got its headquarters – which also had a symbolic character – in the building of the former Polish United Workers' Party and later moved to a newly built building on Aleje Ujazdowskie. In 1994 eleven districts were formed from the urban area and in 1995 the first section of the subway was put into operation. In 2002, the Law on Warsaw's Administrative Structure was modernized so that Warsaw once again became a unitary municipality of Masovian Voivodeship with 18 sub-districts. In the 1990s, many modern skyscrapers and office buildings emerged in the center and district of Wola and Warsaw became the leading financial center in East-Central Europe. The controversial reprivatization of real estate led to the Warsaw reprivatization affair in the 2010s.



The reconstruction of Warsaw, which began in the People's Republic, is still ongoing today. In the coming decades, the royal gardens are to be reconstructed and the Brühlsche and Saxon palaces are to be rebuilt. Nevertheless, most of the buildings in old Warsaw will no longer be able to be rebuilt. Today's streets are largely different from those before 1939. The rich Art Nouveau architecture of Marszałkowska Street and Jerusalem Avenues has been irretrievably lost.

Like other centers in Central Europe, Warsaw benefited from the reunification of 1989. The city claims the title of Europe's largest construction site, because many shops, shopping malls, high-rise office buildings and leisure facilities have been built in the city center in recent years. Warsaw has shed its block building image and is now the "highest" city in Europe alongside Frankfurt, London, Rotterdam and Paris.

Warsaw is the largest investment focus in Poland. New high-rise office buildings are being built in the city, such as the 208-metre Warsaw Trade Tower, completed in 1999, or the 220-metre Warsaw Spire, which opened in 2016. Both compete for space in the skyline with the 237-meter-high Palace of Culture (built in 1955). In 2016, construction began on what is expected to be the tallest building in the European Union, the Varso Tower, which will be 310 meters high.

Warsaw is the seat of various universities, including Warsaw University and Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University. In addition, Warsaw has been the seat of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders (FRONTEX) since 2005.

As a result of the war in Ukraine, at least 150,000 Ukrainian refugees registered as residents in Warsaw in 2022.