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Warsaw, * la, Varsovia (
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Pol ...
: ''Warszawa'' ), officially the Capital City of Warsaw, is the capital and
largest city The United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, ...
of
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
. The metropolis stands on the
River Vistula
River Vistula
in east-central Poland and its population is officially estimated at 1.8 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.1 million residents, which makes Warsaw the 7th most-populous capital city in the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
. The city area measures and comprises 18 boroughs, while the metropolitan area covers . Warsaw is an alpha- global city, a major cultural, political and economic hub, and the country's seat of government. Its historical
Old Town File:Porvoon tuomiokirkko Näsinmäeltä.JPG, The Medieval, medieval timed old town of Porvoo in Finland, along the Porvoonjoki river in summer time. In a city or town, the old town is its historic or original core. Although the city is usually ...

Old Town
was designated a
UNESCO World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNES ...
. Warsaw traces its origins to a small fishing town in
Masovia Mazovia or Masovia ( pl, Mazowsze) is a historical region in mid-north-eastern Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is div ...
. The city rose to prominence in the late 16th century, when
Sigismund III Sigismund III Vasa ( pl, Zygmunt III Waza, lt, Žygimantas Vaza; 20 June 1566 – 30 April 1632 N.S.) was King of Poland Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), ...

Sigismund III
decided to move the Polish capital and his royal court from
Kraków Kraków (), also written in English as Krakow and traditionally known as Cracow, is the second-largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River The Vistula (; pl, Wisła, , german: Weichsel) is the longest ri ...

Kraków
. Warsaw served as the de facto capital of the
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and, after 1791, the Commonwealth of Poland, was a country and bi-federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is ...
until 1795, and subsequently as the seat of
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...

Napoleon
's
Duchy of Warsaw The Duchy of Warsaw ( pl, Księstwo Warszawskie, french: Duché de Varsovie, german: Herzogtum Warschau), also known as Napoleonic Poland, was a Poland, Polish client state of the First French Empire, French Empire established by Napoleon Bonapar ...
. The 19th century and its
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
brought a demographic boom which made it one of the largest and most densely-populated cities in Europe. Known then for its elegant architecture and boulevards, Warsaw was bombed and besieged at the start of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
in 1939. Much of the historic city was destroyed and its diverse population decimated by the
Ghetto Uprising The ghetto uprisings during World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved World War II by country, the vast majority of the ...
in 1943, the general
Warsaw Uprising The Warsaw Uprising ( pl, powstanie warszawskie; german: Warschauer Aufstand) was a major World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —i ...

Warsaw Uprising
in 1944 and systematic razing. Warsaw is served by two international airports, the busiest being Warsaw Chopin and the smaller intended for low-cost carriers. Major public transport services operating in the city include the
Warsaw Metro The Warsaw Metro (Polish: ''Metro Warszawskie'') is a rapid transit system serving the city of Warsaw, the capital of Poland. It currently consists of two lines, the north–south M1 (Warsaw), Line M1 that links central Warsaw with its densely popu ...

Warsaw Metro
,
buses A bus (contracted from omnibus, with variants multibus, motorbus, autobus, etc.) is a designed to carry many s. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type is the , with larger loads carried by and es, and sm ...
, urban-light railway and an extensive
tram network Image:Hw lh.jpg, Preserved Linke-Hofmann-Busch tram, in Trams in Kraków, Kraków, Poland A tram (in North America streetcar or trolley) is a railroad car, rail vehicle that runs on tramway track public urban streets; some include segments ...
. In 2012, the
Economist Intelligence Unit The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is the research and analysis division of the Economist Group The Economist Group (legally The Economist Newspaper Limited) is a media company headquartered in London London is the capital city, capita ...

Economist Intelligence Unit
ranked Warsaw as the 32nd most liveable city in the world.Best cities ranking and report
(PDF). A special report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, 2012.
In 2017, the city came 4th in the "Business-friendly", 8th in "Human capital and life style" and topped the quality of life rankings in the region. The city is a significant centre of research and development,
business process outsourcing Outsourcing is an agreement in which one company hires another company to be responsible for a planned or existing activity that is or could be done internally, and sometimes involves transferring employees and assets from one firm A company, ...
, and
information technology outsourcing Outsourcing is an agreement in which one company hires another company to be responsible for a planned or existing activity that is or could be done internally, and sometimes involves transferring employees and assets from one firm A company, ...
. The
Warsaw Stock Exchange The Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE), pl, Giełda Papierów Wartościowych w Warszawie, is a stock exchange in Warsaw Warsaw ( ; pl, Warszawa ; see also Warsaw#Toponymy and names, other names) is the capital and List of cities and towns in Pola ...
is the largest and most important in
Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions and generalised locations * Central Africa, a region in the centre of Africa ...

Central
and
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical reg ...

Eastern Europe
. , the European Union agency for external border security as well as
ODIHR The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is the principal institution of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) dealing with the "three generations of human rights, human dimension" of security. The Of ...
, one of the principal institutions of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) or international organization is an organization composed primarily o ...
have their headquarters in Warsaw. Jointly with Frankfurt and Paris, Warsaw features one of the highest number of skyscrapers in the European Union. The city hosts the
Polish Academy of Sciences Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly ...
,
National Philharmonic Orchestra The National Philharmonic Orchestra was a British orchestra An orchestra (; ) is a large instrumental ensemble typical of classical music Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both ...
,
University of Warsaw The University of Warsaw ( pl, Uniwersytet Warszawski, la, Universitas Varsoviensis), established in 1816, is the largest university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, hig ...
, the
Warsaw University of Technology The Warsaw University of Technology ( pl, Politechnika Warszawska, literally, "Warsaw Polytechnic") is one of the leading institutes of technology in Poland and one of the largest in Central Europe. It employs 2,453 teaching faculty, with 357 prof ...
, the
National Museum A national museum is a museum maintained and funded by a national government. In many countries it denotes a museum run by the central government, while other museums are run by regional or local governments. In other countries a much greater numb ...
,
Zachęta The Zachęta National Gallery of Art ( Polish: ''Zachęta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki'') is a contemporary-art museum in the center of Warsaw Warsaw ( ; pl, Warszawa ; see also Warsaw#Toponymy and names, other names) is the capital and List of c ...
Art Gallery and the Warsaw Grand Theatre, the largest of its kind in the world. The reconstructed Old Town, which represents examples of nearly every European architectural style and
historical period Periodized human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, and since the History of writing, advent of writing, from p ...
, was listed as a
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for h ...
by
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
in 1980. Other main architectural attractions include the Royal Castle and the iconic , the
Wilanów Palace Wilanów Palace ( pl, Pałac w Wilanowie, ) is a former royal palace located in the Wilanów district of Warsaw Warsaw ( ; pl, Warszawa ; see also Warsaw#Toponymy and names, other names) is the capital and List of cities and towns in Poland, ...

Wilanów Palace
, the Palace on the Isle, St. John's Cathedral, Main Market Square, as well as numerous churches and mansions along the Royal Route. Warsaw possesses thriving arts and club scenes, gourmet restaurants and large
urban green space Asramam Maidan in Kollam city, India. It is the largest open space available in any of the city limits in Kerala state. In land-use planning, urban green space is open space reserve, open-space areas reserved for parks and other "green spaces", ...
s, with around a quarter of the city's area occupied by parks.


Toponymy and names

Warsaw's name in the
Polish language Polish (Polish: ''język polski'', , ''polszczyzna'' or simply ''polski'', ) is a West Slavic languages, West Slavic language of the Lechitic languages, Lechitic group, written in the Latin script. It is spoken primarily in Poland and serves as ...
is . Other previous spellings of the name may have included , , or . The exact origin of the name is uncertain and has not been fully determined. Originally, Warszawa was the name of a small fishing settlement on the banks of the
Vistula The Vistula (; pl, Wisła, , german: Weichsel) is the longest river in Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinc ...

Vistula
river. One theory states that means "belonging to Warsz", being a shortened form of the masculine
Old Polish Old Polish language ( pl, język staropolski) is the period in the history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic R ...
name Warcisław, which etymologically is linked with
Wrocław Wrocław (; german: Breslau ; sli, Brassel; cs, Vratislav), ''Wratislavia''. is a city in southwestern Poland and the largest city in the historical region of Silesia. It lies on the banks of the River Oder in the Silesian Lowlands of Centra ...

Wrocław
. However the ending -awa is unusual for a large city; the names of Polish cities derived from personal names usually end in -ów/owo/ew/ewo (e.g. Piotrków, Adamów).
Folk etymology Folk etymology (also known as popular etymology, analogical reformation, reanalysis, morphological reanalysis or etymological reinterpretation) is a change in a word or phrase resulting from the replacement of an unfamiliar form by a more familia ...
attributes the city name to Wars and Sawa. There are several versions of the legend with their appearance. According to one version, Sawa was a mermaid living in the Vistula with whom fisherman Wars fell in love. In actuality, Warsz was a 12th/13th-century nobleman who owned a village located at the modern-day site of the Mariensztat neighbourhood. The official city name in full is ("The Capital City of Warsaw"). A native or resident of Warsaw is known as a ''Varsovian'' – in Polish , (male), (female), , and (plural).


History


1300–1800

The first fortified settlements on the site of today's Warsaw were located in Bródno (9th/10th century) and Jazdów (12th/13th century). After Jazdów was raided by nearby clans and dukes, a new fortified settlement was established on the site of a small fishing village called "Warszowa". The Prince of
Płock Płock (pronounced ) is a city in central Poland, on the Vistula river. It is in the Masovian Voivodeship (since 1999), having previously been the capital of the Płock Voivodeship (1975–1998). According to the data provided by Central Statistic ...

Płock
, Bolesław II of Masovia, established the modern-day city in about 1300 and the first historical document attesting to the existence of a
castellan A castellan is the title used in Medieval Europe In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and ...
y dates to 1313. With the completion of St John's Cathedral in 1390, Warsaw became one of the seats of the
Dukes of Masovia 200px, Dukes of Masovia in 1450 Duke of Masovia ( pl, Książę Mazowsza) was a title born by the sons and descendants of the Polish Duke Bolesław III Wrymouth. In accordance with the last will and testament of Bolesław, upon his death his lan ...
and was officially made capital of the in 1413. The economy then predominantly rested on craftsmanship or trade, and the town housed approximately 4,500 people at the time. During the 15th century, the population migrated and spread beyond the northern city wall into a newly formed self-governing precinct called
New Town New is an adjective referring to something recently made, discovered, or created. New or NEW may refer to: Music * New, singer of K-pop group The Boyz Boyz or The Boyz may refer to: Music Bands *The Boyz (German band), a German boy band of t ...
. The existing older settlement became eventually known as the
Old Town File:Porvoon tuomiokirkko Näsinmäeltä.JPG, The Medieval, medieval timed old town of Porvoo in Finland, along the Porvoonjoki river in summer time. In a city or town, the old town is its historic or original core. Although the city is usually ...

Old Town
. Both possessed their own town charter and independent councils. The aim of establishing a separate district was to accommodate new incomers or undesirables who were not permitted to settle in Old Town, particularly the
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), ...
. Social and financial disparities between the classes in the two precincts led to a minor revolt in 1525. Following the sudden death of Janusz III and the extinction of the local ducal line, Masovia was incorporated into the
Kingdom of Poland Historical political entities *Kingdom of Poland "Kingdom of Poland" ( Polish: ''Królestwo Polskie'', Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was orig ...

Kingdom of Poland
in 1526.
Bona Sforza Bona Sforza d’Aragona (2 February 1494 – 19 November 1557) was Queen consort, Queen of Kingdom of Poland (1385–1569), Poland and List of Lithuanian consorts, Grand Duchess of Lithuania as the second wife of Sigismund I the Old, and ...

Bona Sforza
, wife of
Sigismund I of Poland Sigismund I the Old ( pl, Zygmunt I Stary, lt, Žygimantas II Senasis; 1 January 1467 – 1 April 1548) was King of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg">Aztec King Nezahualpiltzi ...

Sigismund I of Poland
, was widely accused of poisoning the duke to uphold Polish rule over Warsaw. In 1529, Warsaw for the first time became the seat of a
General Sejm A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral zone in suppo ...
and held that privilege permanently from 1569. The city's rising importance encouraged the construction of a new set of defenses, including the landmark
Barbican A barbican (from fro, barbacane) is a fortified outpost or fortified gateway, such as at an outer defense perimeter of a city or castle, or any tower situated over a gate or bridge which was used for defensive purposes. In the Middle Ages, ba ...

Barbican
. Renowned
Italian architects Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...
were brought to Warsaw to reshape the Royal Castle, the streets and the marketplace, resulting in the Old Town's early Italianate appearance. In 1573, the city gave its name to the
Warsaw Confederation Image:Konfederacja Warszawska.jpg, 300px, Original act of the Warsaw Confederation The Warsaw Confederation, signed on 28 January 1573 by the Polish national assembly (''sejm konwokacyjny'') in Warsaw, was one of the first European acts granting r ...
which formally established
religious freedom Freedom of religion or religious liberty is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freedom ...
in the
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and, after 1791, the Commonwealth of Poland, was a country and bi-federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is ...
. Due to its central location between the Commonwealth's two major cities of
Kraków Kraków (), also written in English as Krakow and traditionally known as Cracow, is the second-largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River The Vistula (; pl, Wisła, , german: Weichsel) is the longest ri ...

Kraków
and
Vilnius Vilnius ( , ; see also other names Other most often refers to: * Other (philosophy), a concept in psychology and philosophy Other or The Other may also refer to: Books * The Other (Tryon novel), ''The Other'' (Tryon novel), a 1971 horror n ...

Vilnius
, Warsaw became the capital of the Commonwealth and the
Polish Crown The Crown of the Kingdom of Poland ( pl, Korona Królestwa Polskiego; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area arou ...
when
Sigismund III Vasa Sigismund III Vasa ( pl, Zygmunt III Waza, lt, Žygimantas Vaza; 20 June 1566 – 30 April 1632 N.S.) was King of Poland Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), ...

Sigismund III Vasa
transferred his royal court in 1596. In the subsequent years the town significantly expanded to the south and westwards. Several private independent districts (''jurydyka'') were the property of aristocrats and the gentry, which they ruled by their own laws. Between 1655 and 1658 the city was besieged and pillaged by the Swedish, Brandenburgian and
Transylvania Transylvania is a historical region in central Romania. To the east and south its natural border is the Carpathian Mountains, and to the west the Apuseni Mountains. Broader definitions of Transylvania also encompass the western and north-western ...

Transylvania
n forces. The conduct of the
Great Northern War The Great Northern War (1700–1721) was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in Northern Europe, Northern, Central Europe, Central and Eastern Europe. The i ...

Great Northern War
(1700–1721) also forced Warsaw to pay heavy tributes to the invading armies. The reign of
Augustus II Augustus II; lt, Augustas II; in Saxony also known as Frederick Augustus I – Friedrich August I (12 May 16701 February 1733), most commonly known as Augustus the Strong, was Elector of Saxony from 1694 as well as King of Poland and Grand Duke ...
and
Augustus III Augustus III ( pl, August III Sas, lt, Augustas III; 17 October 1696 5 October 1763) was List of Polish monarchs, King of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1734 until 1763, as well as List of rulers of Saxony, Ele ...

Augustus III
was a time of great development for Warsaw, which turned into an early-
capitalist Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, ...

capitalist
city. The
Saxon The Saxons ( la, Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang, Seaxan, osx, Sahson, nds, Sassen, nl, Saksen) were a group of early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic langua ...

Saxon
monarchs employed many German architects, sculptors and engineers, who rebuilt the city in a style similar to
Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Leipzig. It is the List of cities in German ...

Dresden
. The year 1727 marked the opening of the
Saxon Garden The Saxon Garden ( pl, Ogród Saski) is a 15.5–hectare The hectare (; SI symbol: ha) is a Non-SI units mentioned in the SI, non-SI metric system, metric unit of area equal to a square with 100-metre sides (1 hm2), or 10,000 m2, and is p ...
in Warsaw, the first publicly accessible park. The Załuski Library, the first Polish public library and the largest at the time, was founded in 1747.
Stanisław II AugustusStanislav (given name), Stanislav is a Slavic given name with many spelling variations(Stanislaus, Stanislas, Stanisław, etc.). These names may also refer to: Places * Stanislaus County, California * Stanislaus River, California * Place Stanisla ...
, who remodelled the interior of the Royal Castle, also made Warsaw a centre of culture and the arts. He extended the
Royal Baths Park Royal may refer to: People * Royal (name)Royal can be a surname or a given name. Bearers include: Surname * Billy Joe Royal (1942–2015), American country music and pop singer * Calvin Royal III, American ballet dancer * Darrell Royal (1924 ...
and ordered the construction or refurbishment of numerous palaces, mansions and richly-decorated
tenements area of Edinburgh, featuring atypical decorative lintels, built 1880. A tenement is a type of building shared by multiple dwellings, typically with flats or apartments on each floor and with shared entrance stairway access, on the British Isles n ...
. This earned Warsaw the nickname ''Paris of the North''. Warsaw remained the capital of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1795, when it was annexed by the
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female ...
in the third and final
partition of Poland The Partitions of Poland were three partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth that took place toward the end of the 18th century and ended the existence of the state, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland Poland ( ...

partition of Poland
; it subsequently became the capital of the province of
South Prussia South Prussia (german: Südpreußen; pl, Prusy Południowe) was a Provinces of Prussia, province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1793 to 1807. History South Prussia was created out of territory annexed in the Partitions of Poland, Second Partition ...
. During this time,
Louis XVIII of France Louis XVIII (Louis Stanislas Xavier; 17 November 1755 – 16 September 1824), known as the Desired (), was King of France The monarchs of the Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de France, frm, Royaulme de France, ...

Louis XVIII of France
spent his exile in Warsaw under the pseudonym ''Comte de Lille''.


1800–1939

Warsaw was made the capital of a newly created French client state, known as the
Duchy of Warsaw The Duchy of Warsaw ( pl, Księstwo Warszawskie, french: Duché de Varsovie, german: Herzogtum Warschau), also known as Napoleonic Poland, was a Poland, Polish client state of the First French Empire, French Empire established by Napoleon Bonapar ...
, after a portion of Poland's territory was liberated from Prussia, Russia and Austria by
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...

Napoleon
in 1806. Following Napoleon's defeat and exile, the 1815
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) w ...

Congress of Vienna
assigned Warsaw to
Congress Poland Congress Poland or Russian Poland, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland, was a polity created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna as a semi-autonomous Poland, Polish State (polity), state and successor to Napoleon's Duchy of Warsaw. It was est ...
, a
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from ...
within the easternmost sector (or partition) under a
personal union A personal union is the combination of two or more states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The Stat ...

personal union
with
Imperial Russia The Russian Empire, . commonly referred to as Imperial Russia, was a historical empire that extended across Eurasia and North America from 1721, succeeding the Tsardom of Russia following the Treaty of Nystad that ended the Great Northern War. T ...
. The Royal University of Warsaw was established in 1816. With the violation of the Polish constitution, the 1830
November Uprising The November Uprising (1830–31), also known as the Polish–Russian War 1830–31 or the Cadet Revolution, was an armed rebellion in the heartland of partitioned Poland Partition may refer to: Computing Hardware * Disk partitioning 272x ...

November Uprising
broke out against foreign influence. The Polish-Russian war of 1831 ended in the uprising's defeat and in the curtailment of Congress Poland's autonomy. On 27 February 1861, a Warsaw crowd protesting against Russian control over Congress Poland was fired upon by Russian troops. Five people were killed. The Underground Polish National Government resided in Warsaw during the
January Uprising The January Uprising ( pl, powstanie styczniowe; lt, 1863 metų sukilimas; russian: Польское восстание) was an insurrection principally in Russian Empire, Russia's Congress Poland, Kingdom of Poland aimed at the restoration of ...

January Uprising
in 1863–64. Warsaw flourished throughout the 19th century under Mayor Sokrates Starynkiewicz (1875–92), who was appointed by . Under Starynkiewicz Warsaw saw its first water and sewer systems designed and built by the English engineer
William Lindley William Lindley (7 September 1808 in London – 22 May 1900 in Blackheath, London Blackheath is an area of South East Greater London, London, England, straddling the border of the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the London Borough of Lewisham. ...

William Lindley
and his son,
William Heerlein Lindley Sir William Heerlein Lindley (30 January 1853, in Hamburg en, Hamburgian(s) , timezone1 = Central European Time, CET , utc_offset1 = +1 , timezone1_DST = Central European Summer ...
, as well as the expansion and modernisation of trams, street lighting, and gas infrastructure. Between 1850 and 1882, the population grew by 134% to 383,000 as a result of rapid
urbanisation Urbanization (or urbanisation) refers to the population shift from rural In general, a rural area or a countryside is a geographic area that is located outside town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , ...
and industrialisation. Many migrated from surrounding rural Masovian towns and villages to the city for employment opportunities. The western borough of
Wola Wola (, ) is a dzielnica, district in western Warsaw, Poland, formerly the village of Wielka Wola, incorporated into Warsaw in 1916. An industrial area with traditions reaching back to the early 19th century, it underwent a transformation into an ...

Wola
was transformed from an agricultural periphery occupied mostly by small farms and
windmills A windmill is a structure that converts wind power into rotational energy by means of vanes called windmill sail, sails or blades, specifically to mill (grinding), mill grain (gristmills), but the term is also extended to windpumps, wind turbine ...

windmills
(mills being the namesake of Wola's central neighborhood Młynów) to an industrial and manufacturing centre.
Metallurgical Metallurgy is a domain of Materials science, materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic Chemical element, elements, their Inter-metallic alloy, inter-metallic compounds, and their mixtures, which ...
, textile and glassware factories were commonplace, with chimneys dominating the westernmost skyline. Like
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
, Warsaw's population was subjected to income segmentation.
Gentrification Gentrification is the process of changing the character of a neighborhood A neighbourhood (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard ...

Gentrification
of inner suburbs forced poorer residents to move across the river into
Praga Praga is a district of Warsaw Warsaw, * la, Varsovia (Polish language, Polish: ''Warszawa'' ), officially the Capital City of Warsaw, is the capital and List of cities and towns in Poland, largest city of Poland. The metropolis stand ...

Praga
or Powiśle and Solec districts, similar to the East End of London and London Docklands. Poorer religious and ethnic minorities such as the Jews settled in the crowded parts of northern Warsaw, in Muranów. The Russian Empire Census, Imperial Census of 1897 recorded 626,000 people living in Warsaw, making it the third-largest city of the Empire after St. Petersburg and Moscow as well as the largest city in the region. Grand architectural complexes and structures were also erected in the city centre, including the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Church of the Holiest Saviour and tenements along Marszałkowska Street. During World War I, Warsaw was occupied by Germany from 4 August 1915 until November 1918. The Armistice of 11 November 1918 concluded that defeated Germany is to withdraw from all foreign areas, which included Warsaw. Germany did so, and underground leader Józef Piłsudski returned to Warsaw on the same day which marked the beginning of the Second Polish Republic, the first truly sovereign Polish state after 1795. In the course of the Polish–Soviet War (1919–1921), the 1920 Battle of Warsaw (1920), Battle of Warsaw was fought on the eastern outskirts of the city. Poland successfully defended the capital, stopped the brunt of the Bolshevik Red Army and temporarily halted the "export of revolution, export of the communist revolution" to other parts of Europe. The interwar period (1918–1939) was a time of major development in the city's infrastructure. New modernism, modernist housing estates were built in Mokotów to de-clutter the densely populated inner suburbs. In 1921, Warsaw's total area was estimated at only 124.7 km2 with 1 million inhabitants–over 8,000 people/km2 made Warsaw more densely populated than contemporary London. The Średnicowy Bridge was constructed for railway (1921–1931), connecting both parts of the city across the
Vistula The Vistula (; pl, Wisła, , german: Weichsel) is the longest river in Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinc ...

Vistula
. Warszawa Główna railway station (1932–1939) was not completed due to the outbreak of the Second World War. Stefan Starzyński was the List of mayors of Warsaw, Mayor of Warsaw between 1934 and 1939.


Second World War

After the German Invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 started the Second World War, Warsaw Siege of Warsaw (1939), was defended until 27 September. Central Poland, including Warsaw, came under the rule of the General Government, a German Nazism, Nazi colonial administration. All higher education institutions were immediately closed and Warsaw's entire Jewish population – several hundred thousand, some 30% of the citywere herded into the Warsaw Ghetto. In July on 1942, the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto began to be deported en masse to the Aktion Reinhard extermination camps, particularly Treblinka. The city would become the centre of urban resistance to Nazi rule in occupied Europe. When the order came to annihilate the ghetto as part of Adolf Hitler, Hitler's "Final Solution" on 19 April 1943, Jewish fighters launched the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Despite being heavily outgunned and outnumbered, the Ghetto held out for almost a month. When the fighting ended, almost all survivors were massacred, with only a few managing to escape or hide. By July 1944, the Red Army was deep into Polish territory and pursuing the Nazis toward Warsaw. The Polish government-in-exile in London gave orders to the underground Armia Krajowa, Home Army (AK) to try to seize control of Warsaw before the Red Army arrived. Thus, on 1 August 1944, as the Red Army was nearing the city, the Warsaw uprising began. The armed struggle, planned to last 48 hours, was partially successful, however, it went on for 63 days. Eventually, the Home Army fighters and civilians assisting them were forced to capitulate. They were transported to Prisoner of war, PoW camps in Germany, while the entire civilian population was expelled. Polish civilian deaths are estimated at between 150,000 and 200,000. Hitler, ignoring the agreed terms of the capitulation, ordered the Destruction of Warsaw, entire city to be razed to the ground and the library and museum collections taken to Germany or burned. Monuments and government buildings were blown up by special German troops known as ''Verbrennungs- und Vernichtungskommando'' ("Burning and Destruction Detachments"). About 85% of the city was destroyed, including the historic Old Town and the Royal Castle. On 17 January 1945 – after the beginning of the Vistula–Oder Offensive of the Red Army – Soviet troops and Polish troops of the First Polish Army (1944-1945), First Polish Army entered the ruins of Warsaw, and liberated Warsaw's suburbs from German occupation. The city was swiftly taken by the Soviet Army, which rapidly advanced towards Łódź, as German forces regrouped at a more westward position.


1945–1989

In 1945, after the bombings, revolts, fighting, and demolition had ended, most of Warsaw lay in ruins. The area of the former Ghetto was razed to the ground, with only a sea of rubble remaining. The immense destruction prompted a temporary transfer of the new government and its officials to Lodz, which became the transitional seat of power. Nevertheless, Warsaw officially resumed its role as the capital of Poland and the country's centre of political and economic life. After World War II, the "Bricks for Warsaw" campaign was initiated and large prefabrication, prefabricated Public housing, housing projects were erected in Warsaw to address the major housing shortage. Plattenbau apartment blocks were a solution to avoid Warsaw's former density problem and to create more green spaces. Some of the buildings from the 19th century that have survived in a reasonably reconstructible form were nonetheless demolished in the 1950s and 1960s, like the Leopold Stanisław Kronenberg, Kronenberg Palace. The Śródmieście, Warsaw, Śródmieście (central) region's urban system was completely reshaped; former cobblestone streets were asphalted and significantly widened for traffic use. Many notable streets such as Gęsia, Nalewki and Wielka disappeared as a result of these changes and some were split in half due to the construction of Parade Square, Plac Defilad (Parade Square), one of the largest of its kind in Europe. Much of the central district was also designated for future skyscrapers. The 237-metre Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw, Palace of Culture and Science resembling New York's Empire State Building was built as a gift from the Soviet Union. Warsaw's urban landscape is one of modern and contemporary architecture. Despite wartime destruction and post-war remodelling, many of the historic streets, buildings, and churches were restored to their original form. In 1980, Warsaw's historic Old Town was inscribed onto
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
's World Heritage Site, World Heritage list. Pope John Paul II, John Paul II's visits to his native country in 1979 and 1983 brought support to the budding Solidarity (Polish trade union), "Solidarity" movement and encouraged the growing Anti-communism, anti-communist fervor there. In 1979, less than a year after becoming pope, John Paul celebrated Mass in Piłsudski Square, Victory Square in Warsaw and ended his sermon with a call to "renew the face" of Poland. These words were meaningful for Varsovians and Poles who understood them as the incentive for liberal-democratic reforms.


1989–present

In 1995, the
Warsaw Metro The Warsaw Metro (Polish: ''Metro Warszawskie'') is a rapid transit system serving the city of Warsaw, the capital of Poland. It currently consists of two lines, the north–south M1 (Warsaw), Line M1 that links central Warsaw with its densely popu ...

Warsaw Metro
opened with a single line. A second line was opened in March 2015. With the entry of Poland into the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
in 2004, Warsaw is experiencing the largest economic boom of its history. The opening fixture of UEFA Euro 2012 took place in Warsaw and the city also hosted the 2013 United Nations Climate Change Conference and the 2016 Warsaw summit, 2016 NATO Summit.


Geography


Location and topography

Warsaw lies in east-central Poland about from the Carpathian Mountains and about from the Baltic Sea, east of Berlin, Germany. The city straddles the
Vistula The Vistula (; pl, Wisła, , german: Weichsel) is the longest river in Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinc ...

Vistula
River. It is located in the heartland of the Masovian Plain, and its average elevation is above sea level. The highest point on the left side of the city lies at a height of ("Redutowa" bus depot, district of Wola), on the right side – ("Groszówka" estate, district of Wesoła, by the eastern border). The lowest point lies at a height (at the right bank of the Vistula, by the eastern border of Warsaw). There are some hills (mostly artificial) located within the confines of the city – e.g. Warsaw Uprising Hill () and Szczęśliwice hill ( – the highest point of Warsaw in general). Warsaw is located on two main geomorphologic formations: the plain moraine plateau and the Vistula Valley with its asymmetrical pattern of different terraces. The Vistula River is the specific axis of Warsaw, which divides the city into two parts, left and right. The left one is situated both on the moraine plateau ( above Vistula level) and on the Vistula terraces (max. above Vistula level). The significant element of the relief, in this part of Warsaw, is the edge of moraine plateau called Warsaw Escarpment. It is high in the Old Town and Central district and about in the north and south of Warsaw. It goes through the city and plays an important role as a landmark. The plain moraine plateau has only a few natural and artificial ponds and also groups of clay pits. The pattern of the Vistula terraces is asymmetrical. The left side consists mainly of two levels: the highest one contains former flooded terraces and the lowest one the flood plain terrace. The contemporary flooded terrace still has visible valleys and ground depression (geology), depressions with water systems coming from the old Vistula – riverbed. They consist of still quite natural streams and lakes as well as the pattern of drainage ditches. The right side of Warsaw has a different pattern of geomorphological forms. There are several levels of the Vistula plain terraces (flooded as well as formerly flooded), and only a small part is a not so visible moraine escarpment. Aeolian processes, Aeolian sand with a number of dunes parted by peat swamps or small ponds cover the highest terrace. These are mainly forested areas (Temperate coniferous forest, pine forest).


Climate

Warsaw experiences an oceanic climate, denoted by ''Cfb'' by the Köppen climate classification. However, the city has clear humid continental climate, humid continental influences (Köppen climate classification, Köppen: ''Dfb''), and the city is defined as such with old data, prior to the recent effect of climate change and the city's urban heat island.Alt URL
Meanwhile, by the genetic climate classification of Wincenty Okołowicz, it has a Temperate climate, temperate "fusion" climate, with both maritime and continental features. The city has cold, sometimes snowy, cloudy winters, and warm, relatively sunny but frequently stormy summers. Spring and autumn can be unpredictable, highly prone to sudden weather changes; however, temperatures are usually mild, especially around May and September. The daily average temperature ranges between in January and in July and the mean year temperature is . Temperatures may reach in the summer, although the effects of hot weather are usually offset by relatively low dew points and large diurnal temperature differences. Warsaw is Europe's sixth driest major city (third in
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical reg ...

Eastern Europe
), with yearly rainfall averaging , the wettest month being July.


Cityscape


Urbanism and architecture

Warsaw's long and eclectic history left a noticeable mark on its architecture and urban form. Unlike most Polish cities, Warsaw's cityscape is mostly contemporary architecture, contemporary – modern glass buildings are towering above older historical edifices which is a common feature of North American metropolises. A Concentric zone model, concentric zone pattern emerged within the last decades; the majority of Warsaw's residents live outside the commercial city centre and commute by Warsaw metro, metro, bus or tram. Tenements and apartments in the central neighbourhoods are often reserved for commercial activity or temporary (tourist, student) accommodation. The nearest residential zones are predominantly located on the outskirts of the inner borough, in Ochota, Mokotów and Żoliborz or along the
Vistula The Vistula (; pl, Wisła, , german: Weichsel) is the longest river in Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinc ...

Vistula
in Powiśle. A seat of Polish monarchs since the end of the 16th century, Warsaw remained a small city with only privately owned palaces, mansions, villas and several streets of townhouses. These displayed a richness of color and architectonic details. The finest German, Italian and Dutch architects were employed, among them Tylman van Gameren, Andreas Schlüter, Jakub Fontana and Enrico Marconi. The buildings situated in the vicinity of the Warsaw Old Town represent nearly every European architectural style and
historical period Periodized human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, and since the History of writing, advent of writing, from p ...
. Warsaw has excellent examples of architecture from the Gothic architecture, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical architecture, Neoclassical periods, all of which are located within walking distance of the centre. Gothic architecture is represented in the majestic churches but also at the Middle class, burgher houses and fortifications. The most significant buildings are St. John's Cathedral, Warsaw, St John's Cathedral (1390), a typical example of the so-called Masovian Brick Gothic style; Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Warsaw, St Mary's Church (1411); the Burbach townhouse (14th century); Gunpowder Tower (after 1379); and Royal Castle's ''Curia Maior'' (1407–1410). The most notable examples of Renaissance architecture in the city are the house of the Baryczko merchant family (1562), a building called "The Negro" (early 17th century), and Salwator tenement (1632), all situated on the Old Town Market Place, Warsaw, Old Market Place. The most interesting examples of Mannerism, Mannerist architecture are the Royal Castle (1596–1619) and the Jesuit Church, Warsaw, Jesuit Church (1609–1626). Among the first structures of the early Baroque, the most important are St. Hyacinth's Church, Warsaw, St. Hyacinth's Church (1603–1639) and Sigismund's Column (1644), the first secular monument in the form of a column in modern history. Some of the best examples of palatial Baroque architecture are Krasiński Palace (1677–1683),
Wilanów Palace Wilanów Palace ( pl, Pałac w Wilanowie, ) is a former royal palace located in the Wilanów district of Warsaw Warsaw ( ; pl, Warszawa ; see also Warsaw#Toponymy and names, other names) is the capital and List of cities and towns in Poland, ...

Wilanów Palace
(1677–1696) and St. Kazimierz Church, St Kazimierz Church (1688–1692). The most impressive examples of rococo architecture are Czapski Palace (1712–1721), Palace of the Four Winds (1730s) and Visitationist Church (façade 1728–1761). The neoclassical architecture in Warsaw can be described by the simplicity of the geometrical forms teamed with a great inspiration from the Roman period. Some of the best examples of the neoclassical style are the Łazienki Palace, Palace on the Isle (1775–1795), Królikarnia (1782–1786), Carmelite Church, Warsaw, Carmelite Church (façade 1761–1783) and the Holy Trinity Church, Warsaw, Holy Trinity Church (1777–1782). The neoclassical revival affected all aspects of architecture; the most notable examples are the Great Theatre, Warsaw, Great Theater (1825–1833) and buildings located at Plac Bankowy, Warsaw, Bank Square (1825–1828). Exceptional examples of the bourgeoisie, bourgeois architecture of the later periods were not restored by the communism, communist authorities after the war or were remodelled into a socialist realist style (like Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic edifice originally inspired by Palais Garnier in Paris). Despite that, the
Warsaw University of Technology The Warsaw University of Technology ( pl, Politechnika Warszawska, literally, "Warsaw Polytechnic") is one of the leading institutes of technology in Poland and one of the largest in Central Europe. It employs 2,453 teaching faculty, with 357 prof ...
(Polytechnic) building (1899–1902) is the most interesting of the late 19th-century architecture. Some 19th-century industrial and brick workhouse buildings in the Praga district were restored, though many have been poorly maintained or demolished. Some of the important landmarks lost are the Saxon Palace and the Brühl Palace, Warsaw, Brühl Palace, the most distinctive buildings in prewar Warsaw. Notable examples of post-war architecture include the Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw, Palace of Culture and Science (1952–1955), a socialist realism, soc-realist and art deco skyscraper based on the Empire State Building in New York. The Plac Konstytucji, Constitution Square with its monumental socialist realism architecture (MDM estate) was modelled on the grand squares of Paris, London, Moscow and Rome. Italianate Tuscan order, tuscan-styled colonnades based on those at Piazza della Repubblica, Rome, Piazza della Repubblica in Rome were also erected on Plac Zbawiciela, Saviour Square. Contemporary architecture in Warsaw is represented by the Metropolitan Office Building at Piłsudski Square, Pilsudski Square by Norman Foster (architect), Norman Foster, Warsaw University Library (BUW) by Marek Budzyński and Zbigniew Badowski, featuring a garden on its roof and view of the Vistula River, Rondo 1 office building by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Złota 44 residential skyscraper by Daniel Libeskind, Museum of the History of Polish Jews by Rainer Mahlamäki and Złote Tarasy, Golden Terraces, consisting of seven overlapping domes retail and business centre. Jointly with Frankfurt, London, Paris and Rotterdam, Warsaw is one of the cities with the highest number of skyscrapers in Europe.


Landmarks

Although contemporary Warsaw is a fairly young city compared to other European capitals, it has numerous tourist attractions and architectural monuments dating back centuries. Apart from the Warsaw Old Town quarter, reconstructed after World War II, each borough has something to offer. Among the most notable landmarks of the Old Town are the Royal Castle, Sigismund's Column, Old Town Market Place, Warsaw, Market Square, and the
Barbican A barbican (from fro, barbacane) is a fortified outpost or fortified gateway, such as at an outer defense perimeter of a city or castle, or any tower situated over a gate or bridge which was used for defensive purposes. In the Middle Ages, ba ...

Barbican
. Further south is the so-called Royal Route, with many historical churches, Baroque architecture, Baroque and classicism, Classicist palaces, most notably the Presidential Palace, Warsaw, Presidential Palace, and the
University of Warsaw The University of Warsaw ( pl, Uniwersytet Warszawski, la, Universitas Varsoviensis), established in 1816, is the largest university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, hig ...
campus. The former royal residence of King John III Sobieski at Wilanów Palace, Wilanów is notable for its Baroque architecture and eloquent palatial garden. Powązki Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Europe, featuring of sculptures, some of them by the most renowned Polish artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Since it serves the religion, religious communities of Warsaw such as Catholics, Jews, Orthodox Christians, Muslims or Protestants, it is often called a List of necropoleis, necropolis. Nearby is the Okopowa Street Jewish Cemetery, one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Europe. In many places in the city the Secular Jewish culture, Jewish culture and History of the Jews in Poland, history resonates down through time. Among them the most notable are the Jewish Theatre, Warsaw, Jewish theater, the Nożyk Synagogue, Janusz Korczak's Orphanage and the picturesque Próżna Street. The tragic pages of Warsaw's history are commemorated in places such as the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, the Umschlagplatz (Warsaw Ghetto), Umschlagplatz, fragments of the Ghetto wall on Sienna Street and a mound in memory of the Jewish Combat Organization. Many places commemorate the heroic history of Warsaw such as Pawiak, a German Gestapo prison now occupied by a Mausoleum of Memory of Martyrdom and a museum. The Warsaw Citadel, a 19th-century fortification built after the defeat of the
November Uprising The November Uprising (1830–31), also known as the Polish–Russian War 1830–31 or the Cadet Revolution, was an armed rebellion in the heartland of partitioned Poland Partition may refer to: Computing Hardware * Disk partitioning 272x ...

November Uprising
, was a place of martyrdom for the Poles. Another important monument, the statue of Mały Powstaniec, Little Insurrectionist located at the ramparts of the Old Town, commemorates the children who served as messengers and frontline troops in the Warsaw Uprising, while the Warsaw Uprising Monument by Wincenty Kućma was erected in memory of the largest insurrection of World War II. In Warsaw there are many places connected with the life and work of Frédéric Chopin who was born near the city in Żelazowa Wola. The heart of the Polish composer is sealed inside Warsaw's Holy Cross Church, Warsaw, Holy Cross Church. During the summer time the Chopin Statue, Warsaw, Chopin Statue in Łazienki Park is a place where pianists give concerts to the park audience. Also many references to Marie Curie, her work and her family can be found in Warsaw; Curie's birthplace at the Warsaw New Town, the working places where she did her first scientific works and the Curie Institute (Warsaw), Radium Institute at Wawelska Street for the research and the treatment of which she founded in 1925. File:Warszawa, kościół św. Anny, chór HDR.jpg, St. Anne's Church, Warsaw, St. Anne's Church File:Warszawa, ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 3 20170516 002.jpg, Holy Cross Church, Warsaw, Holy Cross Church File:Warszawa kościół pokarmelicki.jpg, Carmelite Church, Warsaw, Carmelite Church has an original 18th-century façade File:Pałac Króla Jana III Sobieskiego w Wilanowie 9.JPG,
Wilanów Palace Wilanów Palace ( pl, Pałac w Wilanowie, ) is a former royal palace located in the Wilanów district of Warsaw Warsaw ( ; pl, Warszawa ; see also Warsaw#Toponymy and names, other names) is the capital and List of cities and towns in Poland, ...

Wilanów Palace
, once a royal residence File:Belweder (2).JPG, Belweder Palace, official seat of the President of Poland, President File:Castle Square (9632847640).jpg, Castle Square, Warsaw, Castle Square with the Royal Castle and Sigismund's Column File:2017-05-27 Pałac Krasińskich 2.jpg, Krasiński Palace, a branch of the National Library of Poland, National Library File:Warszawa, ul. Kanonia 26, 24, 22, 20, 18, 16, 14 20170518 001.jpg, Canon Square (''Kanonia'') with the narrowest townhouse in Europe File:Warszawa, Rynek Nowego Miasta 2 20170516 001.jpg, St. Kazimierz Church at New Town Market Place, Warsaw, New Town Market Square File:Kościół św Aleksandra w Warszawie p7.jpg, Three Crosses Square marks the entry into Old Town File:Barbakan w Warszawie - 03.jpg,
Barbican A barbican (from fro, barbacane) is a fortified outpost or fortified gateway, such as at an outer defense perimeter of a city or castle, or any tower situated over a gate or bridge which was used for defensive purposes. In the Middle Ages, ba ...

Barbican
, a remaining relic of historic fortifications.


Flora and fauna

Green space covers almost a quarter of Warsaw's total area. "Warsaw is a green city. Almost a quarter of its area is fields, parks, green squares and lush gardens, making Warsaw a European metropolis that truly offers its visitors a breath of fresh air." These range from small neighborhood parks and green spaces along streets or in courtyards, to tree-lined avenues, large historic parks, nature conservation areas and urban forests at the fringe of the city. There are as many as 82 parks in the city; the oldest ones were once part of representative palaces and include the Saxon Garden, Saxon and Krasiński Palace, Krasiński Gardens, Łazienki Park (Royal Baths Park) and
Wilanów Palace Wilanów Palace ( pl, Pałac w Wilanowie, ) is a former royal palace located in the Wilanów district of Warsaw Warsaw ( ; pl, Warszawa ; see also Warsaw#Toponymy and names, other names) is the capital and List of cities and towns in Poland, ...

Wilanów Palace
Parkland. The Saxon Garden, covering an area of 15.5 ha, formally served as a royal garden to the now nonexistent Saxon Palace. In 1727, it was made into one of the world's first public parks and later remodelled in the forest-like English Garden, English style. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Warsaw, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is situated at the east end of the park near the central fountain, on Piłsudski Square. With its benches, flower carpets and a central pond, the Krasiński Palace Garden was once a notable strolling destination for most Varsovians. The Łazienki Park covers an area of 76 ha and its unique character and history is reflected in the landscape architecture (pavilions, sculptures, bridges, water cascades) and vegetation (domestic and foreign species of trees and shrubs). The presence of Indian peafowl, peacocks, common pheasant, pheasants and squirrels at Łazienki attracts tourists and locals. The Wilanów Palace Parkland on the outskirts of Warsaw traces it history to the second half of the 17th century and covers an area of 43 ha. Its Garden à la française, French-styled alleys corresponds to the ancient, Baroque forms of the palace. The Botanical Garden and the Warsaw University Library, University Library rooftop garden host an extensive collection of rare domestic and foreign plants, while a palm house in the New Orangery displays plants of subtropics from all over the world. Mokotów Field (once a racetrack), Ujazdów Park and Skaryszewski Park are also located within the city borders. The oldest Praga Park, park in the Praga borough was established between 1865 and 1871. The flora of Warsaw may be considered very rich in species on city standards. This is mainly due to the location of Warsaw within the border region of several big floral regions comprising substantial proportions of close-to-wilderness areas (natural forests, wetlands along the Vistula) as well as arable land, meadows and forests. The nearby Kampinos Forest, Kampinos Nature Reserve is the last remaining part of the Masovian Old-growth forest, Primeval Forest and is protected by law. The Kabaty Woods are by the southern city border and are visited by the residents of southern boroughs such as Ursynów. There are 13 natural reserves in the vicinity and just from Warsaw, the environment features a perfectly preserved ecosystem with a habitat of animals like the European otter, otter, European beaver, beavers and hundreds of bird species. There are also several lakes in Warsaw – mainly the oxbow lakes at Czerniaków and Kamionek. The Warsaw Zoo covers an area of . There are about 5,000 animals representing nearly 500 species. Although officially created in 1928, it traces back its roots to 17th century private menageries, often open to the public.


Demographics

Demographics, Demographically, Warsaw was the most diverse city in Poland, with significant numbers of foreign-born residents. In addition to the Polish majority, there was a large and thriving Jewish minority. According to the Russian Empire Census, Imperial Census of 1897, out of the total population of 638,000, Jews constituted 219,000 (equivalent to 34%). Prior to the Second World War, Warsaw hosted the world's second largest Jewish population after New York City, New York – approximately 30 percent of the city's total population in the late 1930s. In 1933, 833,500 out of 1,178,914 people declared
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Pol ...
as their mother tongue. There was also a notable Germans in Poland, German community. The ethnic composition of contemporary Warsaw is incomparable to the diversity that existed for nearly 300 years. Most of the modern-day population growth is based on internal migration and urbanisation. In 1939, approximately 1,300,000 people resided in Warsaw; by 1945 the population had dropped to 420,000. During the first years after the war, the population growth rate was high and the city soon began to suffer from the lack of flats and dwellings to house new incomers. The first remedial measure was the enlargement of Warsaw's total area (1951) – however the city authorities were still forced to introduce limitations; only the spouses and children of permanent residents as well as some persons of public importance (renowned specialists, artists, engineers) were permitted to stay. This negatively affected the image of an average Warsaw citizen, who was perceived as more privileged than those migrating from rural areas, towns or other cities. While all restrictions on residency registration were scrapped in 1990, the negative opinion of Varsovians in some form continues to this day.


Immigrant population

Much like most capital cities in Europe, Warsaw boasts a foreign-born population that is significantly larger than in other cities, although not coming close to the figures representing the likes of Madrid or Rome. In 2019, it was estimated that 40,000 people living in Warsaw were born overseas. Of those, Ukrainians in Poland, Ukrainians, Vietnamese people, Vietnamese, Belarusians, Russians and Indian people, Indians were the most prominent groups.


Religion

Throughout its existence, Warsaw had been a multi-cultural and multi-religious city. According to the 1901 census, out of 711,988 inhabitants 56.2% were Catholics, 35.7% Jews, 5% Greek Orthodox Christians and 2.8% Protestants. Eight years later, in 1909, there were 281,754 Jews (36.9%), 18,189 Protestants (2.4%) and 2,818 Mariavite Church, Mariavites (0.4%). This led to construction of hundreds of places of religious worship in all parts of the town. Most of them were destroyed in the aftermath of the
Warsaw Uprising The Warsaw Uprising ( pl, powstanie warszawskie; german: Warschauer Aufstand) was a major World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —i ...

Warsaw Uprising
in 1944. After the war, the new communist authorities of Poland discouraged church construction and only a small number were rebuilt. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Warsaw, Archdiocese of Warsaw and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Warszawa-Praga, Diocese of Warsaw-Praga are the two ecclesiastical districts active in the city which serve the large Roman Catholic population of 1.4 million. The Lutheran Diocese of Warsaw is one of six in Poland; its main temple is the Holy Trinity Church, Warsaw, Holy Trinity Church from 1782, one of Warsaw's most important and historic landmarks. The Evangelical Reformed Parish, Warsaw, Evangelical Reformed Parish (Calvinism, Calvinist) is leading the Polish Reformed Church. The main tserkva of the Orthodox Christianity, Orthodox Christians is Praga's Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene, Warsaw, Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene from 1869. The Jewish Commune of Warsaw (''Gmina Wyznaniowa Żydowska'') is one of eight in the country; Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich resides in the city. There are also 3 active synagogues, one of which is the pre-war Nożyk Synagogue designated for Orthodox Judaism, Orthodox Jews. An Islamic Cultural Centre in Ochota and a small mosque in Wilanów serve the Muslims.


Government and politics

As the capital of Poland, Warsaw is the political centre of the country. All state agencies are located there, including the Parliament of Poland, Polish Parliament, the President of Poland, Presidential Office and the Supreme Court of Poland, Supreme Court. In the Polish parliament the city and the area are represented by 31 Member of Parliament, MPs (out of 460). Additionally, Warsaw elects two Member of the European Parliament, MEPs (Members of the European Parliament). The Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, is situated in Warsaw on Wiejska Street. The Sejm is composed of 460 members (in Polish ''deputowany'' or ''poseł''). It is elected by universal ballot and is presided over by a speaker called the Marshal of the Sejm (Marszałek Sejmu).


Municipal government

The municipal government existed in Warsaw until World War II and was restored in 1990 (during the communist times, the National City Council – ''Miejska Rada Narodowa'' – governed in Warsaw). Since 1990, the system of city administration has been changed several times – also as the result of the reform which restored ''powiat''s, cancelled in 1975. Finally, according to the ''Warsaw Act'', the city is divided into 18 districts and forms one ''city powiat'' with a unified municipal government. The basic unit of territorial division in Poland is a commune (''gmina''). A city is also a commune – but with a city charter. Both cities and communes are governed by a mayor – but in the communes the mayor is vogt (''wójt'' in Polish), however in the cities – ''burmistrz''. Some bigger cities obtain the entitlements, i.e. tasks and privileges, which are possessed by the units of the second level of the territorial division – counties (''powiaty'' in Polish). An example of such entitlement is a car registration: a ''gmina'' cannot register cars, this is a ''powiat's'' task (i.e. a registration number depends on what ''powiat'' a car had been registered in, not the ''gmina''). In this case we say "city county" or ''powiat grodzki''. Such cities are for example Lublin,
Kraków Kraków (), also written in English as Krakow and traditionally known as Cracow, is the second-largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River The Vistula (; pl, Wisła, , german: Weichsel) is the longest ri ...

Kraków
, Gdańsk, and Poznań. In Warsaw, its districts additionally have some of a ''powiat'' entitlements – like the already mentioned car registration. For example, the Wola district has its own evidence and the Ursynów district – its own (and the cars from Wola have another type of registration number than those from Ursynów). But for instance the districts in Kraków do not have the entitlements of a ''powiat'', so the registration numbers in Kraków are of the same type for all districts. Legislature, Legislative power in Warsaw is vested in a unicameralism, unicameral Warsaw City Council (''Rada Miasta''), which comprises 60 members. Council members are elected directly every five years (since 2018 Polish local elections, 2018 election). Like most legislative bodies, the city council divides itself into committees which have the oversight of various functions of the city government. Bills passed by a simple majority are sent to the mayor (the List of mayors of Warsaw, President of Warsaw), who may sign them into law. If the mayor vetoes a bill, the council has 30 days to override the veto by a two-thirds majority vote. Each of the 18 separate city districts has its own council (''Rada dzielnicy''). Their duties are focused on aiding the President and the City Council, as well as supervising various municipal companies, city-owned property and schools. The head of each of the District Councils is named the Mayor (''Burmistrz'') and is elected by the local council from the candidates proposed by the President of Warsaw. The mayor of Warsaw is called President. Generally, in Poland, the mayors of bigger cities are called ''presidents'' – i.e. cities with over 100,000 people or that had a president before 1990. The first Warsaw President was Jan Andrzej Menich (1695–1696). Between 1975 and 1990 the Warsaw presidents simultaneously led the Warsaw Voivodeship (1975-1998), Warsaw Voivode. Since 1990 the President of Warsaw had been elected by the city council. In the years of 1994–1999 the mayor of the district Centrum automatically was designated as the President of Warsaw: the mayor of Centrum was elected by the district council of Centrum and the council was elected only by the Centrum residents. Since 2002 the President of Warsaw is elected by all of the citizens of Warsaw. The List of mayors of Warsaw, President of Warsaw is Rafał Trzaskowski. The first president elected according these rules was Lech Kaczyński. When he was elected as the President of Poland, President of Polish Republic (December 2005) he resigned as mayor on the day before taking office. File:Sejm RP.jpg, Parliament of Poland, Poland's bicameral parliament, the Sejm and the Senate of Poland, Senate File:Gmach Kancelarii Prezesa Rady Ministrów kwiecień 2017.jpg, Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland, Chancellery of the Prime Minister File:Poland-00741 - Palace Prezydencki (31071435322).jpg, The Presidential Palace, Warsaw, Presidential Palace, seat of the Polish president File:Warszawa 9471.jpg, Supreme Court of Poland File:Naczelny Sąd Administracyjny w Warszawie 2020.jpg, Supreme Administrative Court of Poland, Supreme Administrative Court File:Pałac Ministra Skarbu w Warszawie 2018.jpg, The seat of the administration of the Masovian Voivodeship File:Pałac Mostowskich w Warszawie 05.JPG, Mostowski Palace, the seat of Warsaw's police headquarters File:Warszawa, ul. Miodowa 15 20170518 002.jpg, The main gate of the Ministry of Health (Poland), Ministry of Health File:Ministerstwo Rolnictwa i Rozwoju Wsi Wspolna.jpg, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Poland), Ministry of Agriculture File:Gmach Ministerstwa Finansów w Warszawie 2017.jpg, Ministry of Finance (Poland), Ministry of Finance


Districts

Until 1994, there were 7 districts in Warsaw: Śródmieście, Praga Północ, Praga Południe, Żoliborz, Wola, Ochota, and Mokotów. Between 1994 and 2002, there were 11 districts: Centrum, Białołęka, Targówek, Rembertów, Wawer, Wilanów, Ursynów, Włochy, Ursus, Bemowo, and Bielany. In 2002, the town Wesoła was incorporated and the territorial division of Warsaw was established as follows: Warsaw is a county (''powiat''), and is further divided into 18 districts (''dzielnica''), each one with its own administrative body. Each of the districts is customarily subdivided into several neighbourhoods which have no legal or administrative status. Warsaw has two historic neighbourhoods, called
Old Town File:Porvoon tuomiokirkko Näsinmäeltä.JPG, The Medieval, medieval timed old town of Porvoo in Finland, along the Porvoonjoki river in summer time. In a city or town, the old town is its historic or original core. Although the city is usually ...

Old Town
(''Stare Miasto'') and
New Town New is an adjective referring to something recently made, discovered, or created. New or NEW may refer to: Music * New, singer of K-pop group The Boyz Boyz or The Boyz may refer to: Music Bands *The Boyz (German band), a German boy band of t ...
(''Nowe Miasto''), in the borough of Śródmieście, Warsaw, Śródmieście.


Economy

Warsaw is the leading economic and financial hub of Central Europe, the Visegrád Group and the Three Seas Initiative. In 2019, the city's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was estimated at €94 billion ($ billion), which places Warsaw among the wealthiest regions in the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
; it generates approximately 1/6 of the Economy of Poland, total GDP of Poland and the country's national income. In 2020, Warsaw was classified as an Global city, alpha world city (also known as a "major global city that links economic regions into the world economy") by the Globalization and World Cities study group from Loughborough University, placing it on a par with cities such as Sydney, Istanbul, Amsterdam or Seoul. Warsaw's city centre (Śródmieście, Warsaw, Śródmieście) and commercial
Wola Wola (, ) is a dzielnica, district in western Warsaw, Poland, formerly the village of Wielka Wola, incorporated into Warsaw in 1916. An industrial area with traditions reaching back to the early 19th century, it underwent a transformation into an ...

Wola
district are home not only to many national institutions and government agencies, but also to many domestic and international companies. In 2017, 423,000 enterprises were registered in the city. Warsaw's ever-growing business community has been noticed globally, regionally, and nationally; in 2019 Warsaw was one of the top destinations for foreign investors in Europe. In October 2019, Warsaw's unemployment rate was 1.3%, the lowest in the country. Shopping and consumerism is an important component of Warsaw's economy – the high street of retail is New World Street, New World (''Nowy Świat'') and the Royal Route. However, most retailers choose to operate in central shopping centres and Shopping mall, malls such as Złote Tarasy, Złote Tarasy-Golden Terraces, Galeria Mokotów and Westfield Arkadia – one of the biggest shopping complexes in Europe. Luxury goods, Luxury or upmarket goods as well as designer labels can be found in the Vitkac Department Store and around Frascati, Warsaw, Frascati.


Warsaw Stock Exchange

Warsaw's first stock exchange was established in 1817 and continued trading until World War II. It was re-established in April 1991, following the end of a communist planned economy and the reintroduction of a free market, free-market economy. Today, the
Warsaw Stock Exchange The Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE), pl, Giełda Papierów Wartościowych w Warszawie, is a stock exchange in Warsaw Warsaw ( ; pl, Warszawa ; see also Warsaw#Toponymy and names, other names) is the capital and List of cities and towns in Pola ...
(WSE) is, according to many indicators, the largest market in the region, with 433 companies listed and total capitalisation of 1 trillion Polish złoty, PLN as of 26 November 2020. From 1991 until 2000, the stock exchange was, ironically, located in the building previously used as the headquarters of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR).


Industry

The most prominent industries and industrial sectors include high-tech, electrotechnical, chemical, cosmetic, construction, food processing, printing, metallurgy, machinery and clothing. The majority of production plants and facilities are concentrated within the WOP Warsaw Industrial Precinct (''Warszawski Okręg Przemysłowy'') which is situated around the city's peripheral localities such as
Praga Praga is a district of Warsaw Warsaw, * la, Varsovia (Polish language, Polish: ''Warszawa'' ), officially the Capital City of Warsaw, is the capital and List of cities and towns in Poland, largest city of Poland. The metropolis stand ...

Praga
, Pruszków, Sochaczew, Piaseczno, Marki and Żyrardów. Warsaw has developed a particularly strong Retail, retail market/sector, representing around 13% of the total retail stock in the country. Following World War II, the authorities decided that the city will be transformed into a major industrial (heavy industry) and manufacturing centre. As a result, numerous large factories and production facilities were built in and around the city. Among the largest were ''Huta Warszawa'' steel works (now ArcelorMittal, Arcelor), the Fabryka Samochodów Osobowych, FSO Car Factory and Ursus SA. The FSO, established in 1951, was once Warsaw's most successful corporation. Notable vehicles assembled there over the decades include the FSO Warszawa, Warszawa, FSO Syrena, Syrena, Polski Fiat 125p, Fiat 125p and the FSO Polonez, Polonez. In 1995, the factory was purchased by the South Korean car manufacturer Daewoo, which assembled the Tico, Espero, Nubia, Tacuma, Leganza, Lanos and Matiz there for the European market. The company is now defunct. The Ursus factory opened in 1893 and is still in operation. Throughout its history various machinery was assembled there – motorcycles, military vehicles, trucks and buses. Since World War II it has produced only tractors.


Media and film

Warsaw is the media centre of Poland, and the location of the main headquarters of Telewizja Polska, TVP and other numerous local and national TV and radio broadcasting, radio stations, such as Polskie Radio (Polish Radio), TVN (Poland), TVN, Polsat, TV4 (Poland), TV4, TV Puls, Canal+ Poland, Cyfra+ and MTV Poland. Since May 1661 the first Polish newspaper, the ''Merkuriusz Polski Ordynaryjny, Polish Ordinary Mercury'', was printed in Warsaw. The city is also the printing capital of Poland with a wide variety of domestic and foreign periodicals expressing diverse views, and domestic newspapers are extremely competitive. ''Rzeczpospolita (newspaper), Rzeczpospolita'', ''Gazeta Wyborcza'' and ''Dziennik Polska-Europa-Świat'', Poland's large nationwide daily newspapers, have their headquarters in Warsaw. Warsaw also has a sizable movie and television industry. The city houses several movie companies and movie studio, studios. Among the movie companies are TOR, Czołówka, Zebra and KADR (studio), Kadr which is behind several international movie productions. Since World War II, Warsaw has been the most important centre of film production in Poland. It has also been featured in numerous movies, both Polish and foreign, for example: Kanał (film), ''Kanał'' and ''Korczak (film), Korczak'' by Andrzej Wajda and ''The Decalogue (film), The Decalogue'' by Krzysztof Kieślowski, also including Academy Award, Oscar winner The Pianist (2002 film), ''The Pianist'' by Roman Polanski, Roman Polański. It is also home to the National Film Archive, which, since 1955, has been collecting and preserving Polish film culture.


Education

Warsaw holds some of the finest institutions of higher education in Poland. It is home to four major universities and over 62 smaller schools of higher education. The overall number of students of all grades of education in Warsaw is almost 500,000 (29.2% of the city population; 2002). The number of university students is over 280,000. Most of the reputable universities are public, but in recent years there has also been an upsurge in the number of private universities. The
University of Warsaw The University of Warsaw ( pl, Uniwersytet Warszawski, la, Universitas Varsoviensis), established in 1816, is the largest university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, hig ...
was established in 1816, when the partitions of Poland separated Warsaw from the oldest and most influential Polish academic center, in
Kraków Kraków (), also written in English as Krakow and traditionally known as Cracow, is the second-largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River The Vistula (; pl, Wisła, , german: Weichsel) is the longest ri ...

Kraków
.
Warsaw University of Technology The Warsaw University of Technology ( pl, Politechnika Warszawska, literally, "Warsaw Polytechnic") is one of the leading institutes of technology in Poland and one of the largest in Central Europe. It employs 2,453 teaching faculty, with 357 prof ...
is the second academic school of technology in the country, and one of the largest in East-Central Europe, employing 2,000 professors. Other institutions for higher education include the Medical University of Warsaw, the largest medical school in Poland and one of the most prestigious; the Defense (military), National Defence University, highest military academic institution in Poland; the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music, the oldest and largest music school in Poland and one of the largest in Europe; the Warsaw School of Economics, the oldest and most renowned economic university in the country; the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, the largest agricultural university, founded in 1818; and the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, the first private secular university in the country. Warsaw has numerous libraries, many of which contain vast collections of historic documents. The most important library in terms of historic document collections is the National Library of Poland. The library holds 8.2 million volumes in its collection. Formed in 1928, it sees itself as a successor to the Załuski Library, the biggest in Poland and one of the first and biggest libraries in the world. Another important library – the University Library, founded in 1816, is home to over two million items. The building was designed by architects Marek Budzyński and Zbigniew Badowski and opened on 15 December 1999. It is surrounded by green. The University Library garden, designed by Irena Bajerska, was opened on 12 June 2002. It is one of the largest roof gardens in Europe with an area of more than , and plants covering . As the university garden it is open to the public every day.


Transport

Warsaw is a considerable transport hub linking Western Europe, Western, Central and Eastern Europe. The city has a good Bus transport in Warsaw, network of buses and a continuously expanding perpendicular Warsaw metro, metro running north to south and east to west. The Trams in Warsaw, tram system is one of the biggest in Europe, with a total length of . As a result of increased foreign investment, economic growth and EU funding, the city has undertaken the construction of new roads, Overpass, flyovers and bridges. The supervising body is the City Roads Authority (ZDM – ''Zarząd Dróg Miejskich''). Warsaw lacks a complete ring road system and most traffic goes directly through the city centre, leading to the eleventh highest level of congestion in Europe. The Warsaw ring road has been planned to consist of three Expressways of Poland, express roads: Expressway S2 (Poland), S2 (south), Expressway S8 (Poland), S8 (north-west) and Expressway S17 (Poland), S17 (east). S8 and a part of S2 are open, with S2 to be finished by June 2021. The Autostrada A2, A2 motorway opened in June 2012, stretches west from Warsaw and is a direct motorway connection with Łódź, Poznań and ultimately with Berlin. The city has two international airports: Warsaw Chopin Airport, located just from the city centre, and Modlin Airport, Warsaw-Modlin Airport, located to the north, opened in July 2012. With around 100 international and domestic flights a day and with 15,500,000 passengers served in 2017, Warsaw Frédéric Chopin Airport is by far the biggest airport in Poland and in Central-Eastern Europe. and it has also been called "the most important and largest airport in Central Europe". Public transport also extends to light rail Warszawska Kolej Dojazdowa line, urban railway Szybka Kolej Miejska (Warsaw), Szybka Kolej Miejska, regional rail Koleje Mazowieckie (Mazovian Railways), and bicycle sharing systems (Veturilo). The buses, trams, urban railway and Metro are managed by Zarząd Transportu Miejskiego w Warszawie, Warszawski Transport Publiczny (WTP, Warsaw Public Transpoert). The regional rail and light rail is operated by Polish State Railways (PKP). There are also some suburban bus lines run by private operators. Bus transport in Warsaw, Bus service covers the entire city, with approximately 170 routes totalling about , and with some 1,600 vehicles. The first section of the
Warsaw Metro The Warsaw Metro (Polish: ''Metro Warszawskie'') is a rapid transit system serving the city of Warsaw, the capital of Poland. It currently consists of two lines, the north–south M1 (Warsaw), Line M1 that links central Warsaw with its densely popu ...

Warsaw Metro
was opened in 1995 initially with a total of 11 stations. As of 2020, it has 34 stations running a distance of approximately . The main railway station is Warszawa Centralna railway station, Warszawa Centralna serving both domestic traffic to almost every major city in Poland, and international connections. There are also five other major railway stations and a number of smaller suburban stations. File:C12 Nowy Świat-Uniwersytet - peron, Otwarcie M2, 2015-03-08.jpg, Warsaw Metro, Metro Line 2, Nowy Świat-Uniwersytet metro station, Nowy Świat-Uniwersytet station File:Autobusy Dworzec Centralny 2016.jpg, Bus transport in Warsaw, Buses File:Tram Warsaw, Pesa Swing 120Na n°3287.jpg, Trams in Warsaw, Tram car File:ED250-010.jpg, Pendolino high-speed rail, high-speed trains at Warszawa Centralna File:EN100-01, Warszawa Śródmieście WKD, 2016-05-30.jpg, Warsaw Commuter Railway, Warsaw Suburban train


Culture


Music and theatre

Thanks to numerous musical venues, including the Great Theatre, Warsaw, ''Teatr Wielki'', the Polish National Opera, the Chamber opera, Chamber Opera, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, National Philharmonic Hall and the National Theatre, Warsaw, National Theatre, as well as the Roma and Buffo music theatres and the Congress Hall (Warsaw), Congress Hall in the Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw, Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw hosts many events and festivals. Among the events worth particular attention are: the International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition, the International Contemporary Music Festival Warsaw Autumn, the Jazz Jamboree, Warsaw Summer Jazz Days, the International Stanisław Moniuszko Vocal Competition, the Mozart Festival, and the Festival of Old Music. Warsaw is also considered one of the European hubs of underground electronic music with a very attractive house and techno music scene. Warsaw is home to over 30 major theatres spread throughout the city, including the National Theatre, Warsaw, National Theatre (founded in 1765) and the Grand Theatre, Warsaw, Grand Theatre (established 1778). Warsaw also attracts many young and off-stream directors and performers who add to the city's theatrical culture. Their productions may be viewed mostly in smaller theatres and ''Houses of Culture'' (''Domy Kultury''), mostly outside ''Śródmieście, Warsaw, Śródmieście'' (Central Warsaw). Warsaw hosts the International Theatrical Meetings. From 1833 to the outbreak of World War II, Plac Teatralny ''(Theatre Square (Warsaw), Theatre Square)'' was the country's cultural hub and home to the various theatres. Plac Teatralny and its environs was the venue for numerous parades, celebrations of state holidays, carnival balls and concerts. The main building housed the Great Theatre, Warsaw, Great Theatre from 1833 to 1834, the Rozmaitości Theatre from 1836 to 1924 and then the National Theatre, the Reduta Theatre from 1919 to 1924, and from 1928 to 1939the Nowy Theatre, which staged productions of contemporary poetical drama, including those directed by Leon Schiller. Nearby, in Ogród Saski (the
Saxon Garden The Saxon Garden ( pl, Ogród Saski) is a 15.5–hectare The hectare (; SI symbol: ha) is a Non-SI units mentioned in the SI, non-SI metric system, metric unit of area equal to a square with 100-metre sides (1 hm2), or 10,000 m2, and is p ...
), the Summer Theatre was in operation from 1870 to 1939, and in the interwar period, inter-war period, the theatre complex also included Momus, Warsaw's first literary cabaret, and Leon Schiller's musical theatre Melodram. The Wojciech Bogusławski Theatre (1922–26) was the best example of "Polish monumental theatre". From the mid-1930s, the Great Theatre building housed the Upati Institute of Dramatic Artsthe first state-run academy of dramatic art, with an acting department and a stage directing department.


Museums and art galleries

There are over 60 museums and galleries in Warsaw which are accessible to the public. As interesting examples of expositions the most notable are: the world's first Poster Museum, Wilanów, Museum of Posters boasting one of the largest collections of art posters in the world, and the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Among the most prestigious ones are the
National Museum A national museum is a museum maintained and funded by a national government. In many countries it denotes a museum run by the central government, while other museums are run by regional or local governments. In other countries a much greater numb ...
with a collection of works whose origin ranges in time from antiquity till the present epoch as well as one of the best collections of paintings in the country including some paintings from Adolf Hitler's private collection, and the Polish Army Museum, Museum of the Polish Army whose set portrays the history of arms. The collections of Łazienki Palace, Łazienki and Wilanów Palace, Wilanów palaces focus on the paintings of the "old masters", as do those of the Royal Castle which displays the Palais Lanckoroński#Lanckoroński Collection, Lanckoroński Collection including two paintings by Rembrandt. The Palace in Natolin, a former rural residence of Duke Czartoryski family, Czartoryski, is another venue with its interiors and park accessible to tourists. Holding Poland's largest private collection of art, the Museum of John Paul II Collection, Carroll Porczyński Collection Museum displays works from such varied artists as Paris Bordone, Cornelis van Haarlem, José de Ribera, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Vincent van Gogh along with some copies of masterpieces of European painting. A fine tribute to the fall of Warsaw and history of Poland can be found in the Warsaw Uprising Museum and in the Katyn massacre, Katyń Museum which preserves the memory of that crime. The Warsaw Uprising Museum also operates a rare preserved and operating historic stereoscopic theatre, the Warsaw Fotoplastikon. The Museum of Independence preserves patriotic and political objects connected with Poland's struggles for independence. Dating back to 1936 the Museum of Warsaw, Warsaw Historical Museum contains 60 rooms which host a permanent exhibition of the history of Warsaw from its origins until today. The 17th century Royal Ujazdów Castle houses the Centre for Contemporary Art, with some permanent and temporary exhibitions, concerts, shows and creative workshops. The Centre realizes about 500 projects a year. The
Zachęta The Zachęta National Gallery of Art ( Polish: ''Zachęta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki'') is a contemporary-art museum in the center of Warsaw Warsaw ( ; pl, Warszawa ; see also Warsaw#Toponymy and names, other names) is the capital and List of c ...
National Gallery of Art, the oldest exhibition site in Warsaw, with a tradition stretching back to the mid-19th century organises exhibitions of modern art by Polish and International Artists and promotes art in many other ways. Since 2011, Warsaw Gallery Weekend is held on the last weekend of September. The city also possesses some oddities such as the Neon Museum, Warsaw, Neon Museum, the Museum of Caricature, Warsaw, Museum of Caricature, the Museum of John Paul II and Primate Wyszyński, the Legia Warsaw Museum, and a Motorisation Museum in Otrębusy.


Cuisine and food

Warsaw's culinary tradition was shaped by its once multicultural population; its cuisine is distinct from that of other cities and towns in Poland. Strong Jewish cuisine, Jewish and French cuisine, French influences were cultivated over the years, in particular herring, consommé, bagels, aspic and French meringue-based pastries or cakes. Traditional Varsovian food is hearty and includes a tripe soup for entrée, a Pyzy (dish), pyza dumpling for main and the iconic wuzetka (voo-zetka) chocolate cream pie for dessert. Crayfish and Aspic, fish in gelatin were the classical dishes in Warsaw's restaurants throughout the 1920s and the 1930s. Much like Paris or Vienna, Warsaw once possessed a prominent Parisian café, café culture which dated back to the early 18th century, and the city's cafeterias were a place for socializing. The historic E. Wedel, Wedel Chocolate Lounge on Szpitalna Street remains one of the most renowned spots for social gatherings. Cafeterias, confectioneries and patisseries such as Caffè Nero, Costa Coffee and Starbucks are predominantly found along the Royal Route on New World Street. Thousands of Warsaw's residents also flock annually to the pastry workshops (''pączkarnia'') to buy pączki doughnuts on Fat Thursday. Restaurants offering authentic Polish cuisine are concentrated around the Old Town district. Various spit cakes of Czech Republic, Czech or Hungary, Hungarian origin (kürtőskalács and trdelník) are also sold primarily in the Old Town. Hala Koszyki is a popular meeting place in Warsaw noted for its food hall. In the 20th century, Warsaw was famed for its state-owned milk bars (''bar mleczny'') which offered cheap fast food in the form of home dinners. Examples of dishes popularized by these canteens include tomato soup, schnitzels, frikadeller, mizeria, mizeria salad and many others. Contemporary fast food giants like McDonald's, KFC, Subway (restaurant), Subway and Burger King are the successors to milk bars, though some reemerged in recent years due to widespread nostalgia. Gourmet and haute cuisine establishments are situated in the vicinity of the downtown area or in the Frascati, Warsaw, Frascati neighbourhood. Thirteen Varsovian restaurants were appreciated by the Michelin Guide, with two receiving a michelin star in 2019. In 2021, National Geographic named Warsaw one of the top cities for Veganism, vegans in Europe. Śródmieście Południowe (Southern Downtown) and its "hipster food culture" was singled out as the epicenter.


Events

Several commemorative events take place every year, notably the Orange Warsaw Festival featuring music concerts. One of the more popular events is the procession of the Three Wise Men (in Polish known as the Three Kings) on Epiphany (holiday), Epiphany, shortly after the New Year. Paper crowns are usually worn by spectators throughout the day. The event, which runs along the Royal Route, is attended by Warsaw's highest officials and by the Polish president who resides nearby. Gatherings of thousands of people on the banks of the Vistula on Midsummer's Night for a festival called Wianki (Polish for ''Wreaths'') have also become a tradition and a yearly event in the programme of cultural events in Warsaw. The festival traces its roots to a peaceful paganism, pagan ritual where maidens would float their wreaths of herbs on the water to predict when they would be married, and to whom. By the 19th century this tradition had become a festive event, and it continues today. The city council organize concerts and other events. Each Midsummer's Eve, apart from the official floating of wreaths, jumping over fires, and looking for the fern flower, there are musical performances, dignitaries' speeches, fairs and fireworks by the river bank. Warsaw Multimedia Fountain Park is located in an enchanting place, near the Old Town and the Vistula. The ‘Water – Light – Sound’ multimedia shows take place each Friday and Saturday from May till September at 9.30 pm (May and – 9 October pm). On other weekdays, the shows do not include lasers and sound. The Warsaw Film Festival, Warsaw Film festival, an annual festival that takes place every October. Films are usually screened in their original language with Polish subtitles and participating cinemas include Kinoteka (Palace of Science and Culture), Multikino at Złote Tarasy, Golden Terraces and Kultura. Over 100 films are shown throughout the festival, and awards are given to the best and most popular films.


Warsaw Mermaid

The mermaid (''syrenka'') is Warsaw's symbol and can be found on statues throughout the city and on Coat of arms of Warsaw, the city's coat of arms. This imagery has been in use since at least the mid-14th century. The oldest existing armed seal of Warsaw is from the year 1390, consisting of a round seal bordered with the Latin inscription ''Sigilium Civitatis Varsoviensis'' (Seal of the city of Warsaw). City records as far back as 1609 document the use of a crude form of a sea monster with a female upper body and holding a sword in its claws. In 1653 the poet Zygmunt Laukowski asks the question: The Mermaid Statue stands in the very centre of Old Town Square, surrounded by a fountain. Due to vandalism, the original statue had been moved to the grounds of the Museum of Warsaw – the statue in the square is a copy. This is not the only mermaid in Warsaw. Another is located on the bank of the Vistula River near Świętokrzyski Bridge and another on Karowa Street. The origin of the legendary figure is not fully known. The best-known legend, by Artur Oppman, is that long ago two of Triton (mythology), Triton's daughters set out on a journey through the depths of the oceans and seas. One of them decided to stay on the coast of Denmark and can be seen sitting at the entrance to the port of Copenhagen. The second mermaid reached the mouth of the
Vistula The Vistula (; pl, Wisła, , german: Weichsel) is the longest river in Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinc ...

Vistula
River and plunged into its waters. She stopped to rest on a sandy beach by the village of Warszowa, where fishermen came to admire her beauty and listen to her beautiful voice. A greedy merchant also heard her songs; he followed the fishermen and captured the mermaid. Another legend says that a mermaid once swam to Warsaw from the Baltic Sea for the love of the Griffin, the ancient defender of the city, who was killed in a struggle against the Deluge (history), Swedish invasions of the 17th century. The mermaid, wishing to avenge his death, took the position of defender of Warsaw, becoming the symbol of the city. Every member of the Queen's Royal Hussars of the UK's light cavalry wears the ''Maid of Warsaw'', the crest of the City of Warsaw, on the left sleeve of his No. 2 (Service) Dress. Members of No. 651 Squadron RAF, 651 Squadron Army Air Corps of the United Kingdom also wear the ''Maid of Warsaw'' on the left sleeve of their No. 2 (Service) Dress.


Sports

On 9 April 2008 the President of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, obtained from the mayor of Stuttgart Wolfgang Schuster a challenge award – a commemorative plaque awarded to Warsaw as the European capital of Sport in 2008. The Stadion Narodowy, National Stadium, a 58,580-seat-capacity football (soccer) stadium, replaced Warsaw's recently demolished 10th-Anniversary Stadium. The Stadion Narodowy hosted the opening match, two group matches, a quarter-final, and a semi-final of UEFA Euro 2012. There are many sports centres in the city as well. Most of these facilities are swimming pools and sports halls, many of them built by the municipality in the past several years. The main indoor venue is Torwar Hall, Hala Torwar, used for a variety of indoor sports (it was a venue for the 2009 EuroBasket but it is also used as an indoor skating rink). There is also an open-air skating rink (Stegny) and a horse racetrack (Służewiec). The best of the city's swimming centres is at Wodny Park Warszawianka, south of the centre at Merliniego Street, where there's an Olympic-sized pool as well as water slides and children's areas. From the Warsovian football teams, the most famous is Legia Warsaw – the army club with a nationwide following play at Stadion Wojska Polskiego, just southeast of the centre at Łazienkowska Street. Established in 1916, they have won the Ekstraklasa, country's championship fifteen times (most recently in 2021) and won the Polish Cup nineteen times. In the 1995–96 UEFA Champions League season, they reached the quarter-finals, where they lost to Greek club Panathinaikos F.C., Panathinaikos. Their local rivals, Polonia Warsaw, have significantly fewer supporters, yet they managed to win the country's championship two times (in 1946 and 2000) and won the cup twice as well. Polonia's home venue is located at Konwiktorska Street, a ten-minute walk north from the
Old Town File:Porvoon tuomiokirkko Näsinmäeltä.JPG, The Medieval, medieval timed old town of Porvoo in Finland, along the Porvoonjoki river in summer time. In a city or town, the old town is its historic or original core. Although the city is usually ...

Old Town
. Polonia was relegated from the country's top flight in 2013 because of their disastrous financial situation. They are now playing in the second league (3rd tier in Poland). Legia Warszawa (basketball), Legia Warsaw's basketball team was one of the country's best teams in 50s and 60s. They are now participating in Polish Basketball League, PLK, the highest-tier level of the Polish basketball.


Famous people

One of the most famous people born in Warsaw was Marie Curie, Maria Skłodowska-Curie, who achieved international recognition for her research on radioactivity and was the first female recipient of the Nobel Prize. Famous musicians include Władysław Szpilman and Frédéric Chopin. Though Chopin was born in the village of Żelazowa Wola, about from Warsaw, he moved to the city with his family when he was seven months old. Casimir Pulaski, a Polish general and hero of the American Revolutionary War, was born here in 1745. Tamara de Lempicka was a famous artist born in Warsaw. She was born Maria Górska in Warsaw to wealthy parents and in 1916 married a Polish lawyer Tadeusz Łempicki. Better than anyone else she represented the art deco style in painting and art. Nathan Alterman, the Israeli poet, was born in Warsaw, as was Moshe Vilenski, the Israeli composer, lyricist, and pianist, who studied music at the Warsaw Conservatory. Russia, Russian Jewish poet and essayist Osip Mandelstam, one of the foremost members of the Acmeist poetry, Acmeist school of poetry was born in Warsaw while it was part of the Russian Empire. Other notables include Samuel Goldwyn, the founder of Goldwyn Pictures, mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot, physicist Joseph Rotblat, biochemist Casimir Funk, and Moshe Prywes, an Israeli physician who was the first President of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Warsaw was the beloved city of Isaac Bashevis Singer, which he described in many of his novels: "Warsaw has just now been destroyed. No one will ever see the Warsaw I knew. Let me just write about it. Let this Warsaw not disappear forever", he wrote. Notable sportspeople born in Warsaw include footballer Robert Lewandowski and tennis player Iga Świątek.


Rankings

* Largest cities of the European Union by population within city limits, Largest capital cities of the European Union: ranked 7th (2020). * List of most expensive cities for expatriate employees, Most expensive cities: ranked 113th of 144. * World's most liveable cities, Livability index: ranked 32nd (2012)


International relations


Twin towns – sister cities

Warsaw is Sister city, twinned with: * Berlin, Germany (1991) * Chicago, United States (1960) * Düsseldorf, Germany (1989) * Grozny, Russia (1997) * Hanoi, Vietnam (2000) * Kyiv, Ukraine (1994) * Moscow, Russia (1993) * Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan (2002) * Riga, Latvia (2002) * Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1997) * Seoul, South Korea (1996) * Taipei, Taiwan (1995) * Tel Aviv, Israel (1992) *
Vilnius Vilnius ( , ; see also other names Other most often refers to: * Other (philosophy), a concept in psychology and philosophy Other or The Other may also refer to: Books * The Other (Tryon novel), ''The Other'' (Tryon novel), a 1971 horror n ...

Vilnius
, Lithuania (1998)


Partnership and friendship

Warsaw also cooperates with: * Budapest, Hungary (2005) * Buenos Aires, Argentina (1992) * Coventry, United Kingdom (1957) * The Hague, Netherlands (1991) * Hamamatsu, Japan (1990) * Harbin, China (1993) * Île-de-France, France (1990) * Istanbul, Turkey (1991) * Madrid, Spain (1981) * Oslo, Norway (2006) * Paris, France (1999) * Saint-Étienne, France (1995) * Saint Petersburg, Russia (1997) * Toronto, Canada (1990) * Vienna, Austria (1991) * Yerevan, Armenia (2013)


See also

* Battle of Warsaw (disambiguation), Battle of Warsaw * Destruction of Warsaw * List of tallest buildings in Warsaw * List of honorary citizens of Warsaw * Street names of Warsaw * Tourism in Poland * Treaty of Warsaw (disambiguation) * Warsaw concentration camp * Warsaw dialect * Warsaw Fire Guard * Legia Warszawa


Notes


References


Bibliography

* *
Official webpage of Warsaw
includes 360° panoramas of th


District Police Headquarters – Warsaw II
(part of Warsaw Metropolitan Police)
Warsaw Guide.
Online City Guide for Warsaw in Poland. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
What to do and see in Warsaw


Further reading


External links

* {{Authority control Warsaw, Capitals in Europe Cities and towns in Masovian Voivodeship City counties of Poland Holocaust locations in Poland Recipients of the Silver Cross of the Virtuti Militari World Heritage Sites in Poland Populated places established in the 13th century