From top, left to right:
Royal Baths Park
Staszic Palace and Copernicus Monument
Warsaw Old Town
Coat of arms
Paris of the East, Phoenix City
Motto(s): Semper invicta (
Latin "Ever invincible")
Warsaw in Poland
Show map of Poland
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Coordinates: 52°14′N 21°1′E / 52.233°N 21.017°E /
Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz (PO)
• City metropolis
517.24 km2 (199.71 sq mi)
6,100.43 km2 (2,355.39 sq mi)
78–116 m (328 ft)
• City metropolis
Poland (9th in EU)
3,372/km2 (8,730/sq mi)
• Metro density
509.1/km2 (1,319/sq mi)
• Summer (DST)
00-001 to 04–999
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Historic Centre of Warsaw
1980 (4th session)
Varsovian Trumpet Call
Warsaw (/ˈwɔːrsɔː/; Polish: Warszawa
[varˈʂava] ( listen); see also other names) is the capital
and largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the
Poland and its population is officially estimated at
1.760 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.101
million residents, which makes
Warsaw the 9th most-populous capital
city in the European Union. The city limits cover 516.9 square
kilometres (199.6 sq mi), while the metropolitan area covers
6,100.43 square kilometres (2,355.39 sq mi).
Warsaw is an
alpha global city, a major international tourist destination and a
significant cultural, political and economic hub. With a nominal
GDP of $230 billion (PPP), it is the wealthiest capital city in
Eastern Europe alongside Berlin. Moreover, its
historical Old Town was designated a
UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Once described as
Paris of the East,
Warsaw was believed to be one of
the most beautiful cities in the world until World War II. The
German invasion in 1939, the massacre of the Jewish population and
deportations to concentration camps led to the uprising in the Warsaw
ghetto in 1943 and to the major and devastating
between August and October 1944.
Warsaw gained the new title of
Phoenix City because of its extensive history and complete
reconstruction after the severe damage it suffered in World War II,
which left over 85% of its buildings in ruins. On 9 November
1939, the city was awarded Poland's highest military decoration for
heroism, the Virtuti Militari, following the Siege of
Warsaw is one of Europe’s most dynamic metropolitan cities. In
Economist Intelligence Unit
Economist Intelligence Unit ranked
Warsaw as the 32nd most
liveable city in the world. In 2017 the city came 4th in the
“Business-friendly” category and 8th in “Human capital and life
style”. It was also ranked as one of the most liveable cities in
Central and Eastern Europe.
The city is a significant centre of research and development, BPO,
ITO, as well as of the Polish media industry. The
Exchange is the largest and most important in Central and Eastern
Europe. Frontex, the
European Union agency for external border
security as well as ODIHR, one of the principal institutions of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have their
headquarters in Warsaw. Together with Frankfurt,
London and Paris,
Warsaw is also one of the cities with the highest number of
skyscrapers in the European Union.
The city is the seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw
National Philharmonic Orchestra,
University of Warsaw, the Warsaw
Polytechnic, the National Museum, the Great Theatre—National Opera,
the largest of its kind in the world, and the
Gallery of Art. The picturesque Old Town of Warsaw, which represents
examples of nearly every European architectural style and historical
period, was listed as a
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site by
UNESCO in 1980.
Other main architectural attractions include the Castle Square with
the Royal Castle and the iconic King Sigismund's Column, the Wilanów
Palace, the Łazienki Palace, St. John's Cathedral, Main Market
Square, palaces, churches and mansions all displaying a richness of
colour and detail.
Warsaw is renowned for its bars, restaurants, art
galleries and, most notably, several dozen museums and outspread
greenery, with around a quarter of the city's area occupied by
1 Etymology and names
2.1 Early history
2.2 16th to 18th centuries
2.3 19th and 20th centuries
2.4 Capital of Second Polish Republic: 1918–39
2.5 Second World War
Warsaw during the People's Republic
2.7 Recent times: 1989–present
3.1 Location and topography
3.4.1 Flora and fauna
4 Society and demographics
4.1 Immigrant population
5 Government and politics
5.1 Municipal government
6.1 Business and commerce
Warsaw Stock Exchange
8 Transport and infrastructure
9.1 Music and theatre
9.3 Museums and art galleries
9.4 Media and film
10 Famous people
12 International relations
12.1 Twin towns and sister cities
14 See also
Etymology and names
Warsaw's name in the
Polish language is Warszawa, approximately
/vɑːrˈʃɑːvə/ (also formerly spelled Warszewa and Warszowa).
Samuel Bogumił Linde
Samuel Bogumił Linde argues that early spellings of the name
included Worszewa and Werszewa. According to some sources,
the origin of the name is unknown. In Pre-Slavic toponomastic layer of
Northern Mazovia: corrections and addenda (the Narew drainage), it
is stated that the toponymy of northern Mazovia tends to have unclear
etymology (p. 30). Originally, Warszawa was the name of a fishing
village. According to one theory Warszawa means "belonging to Warsz",
Warsz being a shortened form of the masculine name of Slavic origin
Warcisław; see also etymology of Wrocław. However the ending
-awa is unusual for a big city; the names of Polish cities derived
from personal names usually end in -ów/owo/ew/ewo (e.g. Piotrków,
Adamów) while the -av- in the early name of
Wrocław is part of a
personal name. Folk etymology attributes the city name to a fisherman,
Wars, and his wife, Sawa. According to legend, Sawa was a mermaid
living in the
Vistula River with whom 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
See also the
Vršovci family which had escaped to Poland. The official
city name in full is miasto stołeczne Warszawa (English: "The Capital
City of Warsaw"). A native or resident of
Warsaw is known as a
Varsovian – in Polish warszawiak, warszawianin (male), warszawianka
(female), warszawiacy, and warszawianie (plural).
Other names for
Warsaw include Varsovia (Latin, Spanish) and Varsóvia
(Portuguese), Varsovie (French), Varsavia (Italian), Warschau (German,
Dutch), װאַרשע /Varshe (Yiddish), Varšuva (Lithuanian), and
For the name of
Warsaw in various languages, see wikt:Warsaw.
History of Warsaw
History of Warsaw and Timeline of Warsaw
Construction of St John's Cathedral began in 1390. It is one of
Warsaw's most ancient and important buildings.
The first fortified settlements on the site of today's
Bródno (9th/10th century) and Jazdów (12th/13th
century). After Jazdów was raided by nearby clans and dukes, a
new similar settlement was established on the site of a small fishing
village called Warszowa. The Prince of Płock, Bolesław II of
Masovia, established this settlement, the modern-day Warsaw, in about
1300. In the beginning of the 14th century it became one of the seats
of the Dukes of Masovia, becoming the official capital of the Masovian
Duchy in 1413. 14th-century Warsaw's economy rested on mostly
crafts and trade. Upon the extinction of the local ducal line, the
duchy was reincorporated into the Crown of the Kingdom of
16th to 18th centuries
Warsaw New Town
Warsaw New Town in 1778. Painted by Bernardo Bellotto
Warsaw for the first time became the seat of the General
Sejm, permanently from 1569. In 1573 the city gave its name to the
Warsaw Confederation, formally establishing religious freedom in the
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Due to its central location between
the Commonwealth's capitals of
Kraków and Vilnius,
Warsaw became the
capital of the Commonwealth and the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland
Sigismund III Vasa
Sigismund III Vasa moved his court from
1596. In the following years the town expanded towards the
suburbs. Several private independent districts were established, the
property of aristocrats and the gentry, which were ruled by their own
laws. Three times between 1655–1658 the city was under siege and
three times it was taken and pillaged by the Swedish, Brandenburgian
and Transylvanian forces.
In 1700, the
Great Northern War
Great Northern War broke out. The city was besieged
several times and was obliged to pay heavy tribute.
into an early-capitalistic principal city. The reign of Augustus II
and Augustus III was a time of development for Warsaw. The Saxon
monarchs brought many renowned German architects, who rebuilt the city
in a style similar to Dresden. In 1747 the
Załuski Library was
established, the first Polish public library and the largest at the
Stanisław II Augustus, who remodelled the interior of the Royal
Castle, also made
Warsaw a centre of culture and the arts. He
Royal Baths Park
Royal Baths Park and ordered the construction or
refurbishment of numerous palaces, mansions and richly-decorated
tenements. This earned
Warsaw the nickname
Paris of the East.
Warsaw remained the capital of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
until 1795, when it was annexed by the
Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia in the third
and final partition of Poland; it subsequently became the capital
of the province of South Prussia.
19th and 20th centuries
Water Filters designed by
William Lindley and finished in 1886
Liberated by Napoleon's army in 1806,
Warsaw was made the capital of
the newly created Duchy of Warsaw. Following the Congress of
Vienna of 1815,
Warsaw became the centre of Congress Poland, a
constitutional monarchy under a personal union with Imperial
Russia. The Royal
University of Warsaw
University of Warsaw was established in 1816.
Following the repeated violations of the Polish constitution by the
Russians, the 1830
November Uprising broke out. However, the
Polish-Russian war of 1831 ended in the uprising's defeat and in the
curtailment of the Kingdom's autonomy. On 27 February 1861 a
Warsaw crowd protesting against Russian rule over
Poland was fired
upon by Russian troops. Five people were killed. The
Underground Polish National Government resided in
Warsaw during the
January Uprising in 1863–64.
Marszałkowska Street as it appeared in 1912
Warsaw National Philharmonic in 1918
Warsaw flourished in the late 19th century under Mayor Sokrates
Starynkiewicz (1875–92), a Russian-born general appointed by Tsar
Alexander III. Under Starynkiewicz
Warsaw saw its first water and
sewer systems designed and built by the English engineer William
Lindley and his son, William Heerlein Lindley, as well as the
expansion and modernisation of trams, street lighting and gas
Russian Empire Census of 1897 recorded 626,000 people living in
Warsaw, making it the third-largest city of the Empire after St.
Petersburg and Moscow.
Capital of Second Polish Republic: 1918–39
Warsaw was occupied by
Germany from 4 August 1915 until November 1918.
The Allied Armistice terms required in Article 12 that Germany
withdraw from areas controlled by
Russia in 1914, which included
Germany did so, and underground leader
Warsaw on 11 November and set up what became the Second Polish
Warsaw the capital. In the course of the
Polish-Bolshevik War of 1920, the huge Battle of
Warsaw was fought on
the eastern outskirts of the city in which the capital was
successfully defended and the
Red Army defeated.
Poland stopped the
full brunt of the
Red Army by itself and defeated the idea of the
"export of the revolution".
The history of contemporary civilisation knows no event of greater
importance than the Battle of Warsaw, 1920, and none of which the
significance is less appreciated ... yet never had Poland's services
been greater, never had the danger been more imminent.
— Sir Edgar Vincent d'Abernon, The Eighteenth Decisive Battle of
Średnicowy Bridge was constructed for a railway (1921-1931),
connecting both parts of the city. Warszawa Główna railway station
(1932-1939) was unfinished and destroyed during WWII.
Stefan Starzyński was Mayor of
Warsaw 1934-1939, and he was murdered
by the Nazis during the Siege in December 1939.
Second World War
Sea of rubble – over 85% of the buildings in
destroyed by the end of World War II, including the Old Town and Royal
After the German Invasion of
Poland on 1 September 1939 started the
Second World War,
Warsaw was defended until 27 September. Central
Poland, including Warsaw, came under the rule of the General
Government, a German Nazi colonial administration. All higher
education institutions were immediately closed and Warsaw's entire
Jewish population – several hundred thousand, some 30% of the
city – were herded into the
Warsaw Ghetto. 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
Hitler's "Final Solution" on 19 April 1943, Jewish fighters launched
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.
Warsaw Uprising took place in 1944. The Polish Home Army attempted
Warsaw from German occupation before the arrival of the
By July 1944, the
Red Army was deep into Polish territory and pursuing
the Germans toward Warsaw. Knowing that Stalin was hostile to the
idea of an independent Poland, the
Polish government-in-exile in
London gave orders to the underground Home Army (AK) to try to seize
Warsaw from the Germans 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 PoW camps in Germany, while
the entire civilian population was expelled. Polish civilian
deaths are estimated at between 150,000 and 200,000.
The Germans then razed
Warsaw to the ground. Hitler, ignoring the
agreed terms of the capitulation, ordered the 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 had
been destroyed, including the historic Old Town and the Royal
On 17 January 1945 – after the beginning of the Vistula–Oder
Offensive of the Red Army – Soviet troops 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
Warsaw during the People's Republic
In 1945, after the bombings, revolts, fighting, and demolition had
ended, most of
Warsaw lay in ruins.
A tourist standing beside the iconic
Palace of Culture and Science,
After World War II, under a Communist regime set up by the conquering
Soviets, the "Bricks for Warsaw" campaign was initiated, and large
prefabricated housing projects were erected in
Warsaw to address the
housing shortage, along with other typical buildings of an Eastern
Bloc city, such as the
Palace of Culture and Science, a gift from the
Soviet Union. The city resumed its role as the capital of
the country's centre of political and economic life. 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's World Heritage list.
John Paul II's visits to his native country in 1979 and 1983 brought
support to the budding "Solidarity" movement and encouraged the
growing anti-communist fervor there. In 1979, less than a year
after becoming pope, John Paul celebrated Mass in Victory Square in
Warsaw and ended his sermon with a call to "renew the face" of Poland:
Let Thy Spirit descend! Let Thy Spirit descend and renew the face of
the land! This land! These words were very meaningful for the
Polish citizens who understood them as the incentive for
Recent times: 1989–present
In 1995, the
Warsaw Metro opened with a single line. A second line was
opened in March 2015. With the entry of
Poland into the European
Union in 2004,
Warsaw is currently experiencing the largest economic
boom of its history. The opening fixture of
UEFA Euro 2012
UEFA Euro 2012 took
place in Warsaw, a game in which
Poland drew 1–1 with Greece.
Warsaw was the host city for the 2013 United Nations Climate Change
Conference and for the 2016 NATO Summit.
Location and topography
Warsaw, seen from the International Space Station
Warsaw lies in east-central
Poland about 300 km (190 mi)
Carpathian Mountains and about 260 km (160 mi) from
the Baltic Sea, 523 km (325 mi) east of Berlin, Germany.
The city straddles the
Vistula River. It is located in the heartland
of the Masovian Plain, and its average elevation is 100 metres
(330 ft) above sea level. The highest point on the left side of
the city lies at a height of 115.7 metres (379.6 ft) ("Redutowa"
bus depot, district of Wola), on the right side – 122.1 metres
(400.6 ft) ("Groszówka" estate, district of Wesoła, by the
eastern border). The lowest point lies at a height 75.6 metres
(248.0 ft) (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
(121 metres (397.0 ft)) and Szczęśliwice hill (138 metres
(452.8 ft) – the highest point of
Warsaw in general).
Grzybowski Square in the central district of Warsaw. Though
the city is located on the mostly flat Masovian Plain, the downtown
has higher elevation than other suburbs.
Warsaw is located on two main geomorphologic formations: the plain
moraine plateau and the
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 (10 to 25 m
(32.8 to 82.0 ft) above
Vistula level) and on the Vistula
terraces (max. 6.5 m (21.3 ft) 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 20 to 25 m
(65.6 to 82.0 ft) high in the Old Town and Central district and
about 10 m (32.8 ft) 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 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
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 sand with a number of dunes parted by peat swamps
or small ponds cover the highest terrace. These are mainly forested
areas (pine forest).
Warsaw's climate is humid continental (Köppen: Dfb) with cold, snowy,
cloudy winters and warm, sunny, stormy summers. Spring and autumn can
be unpredictable, highly prone to sudden weather changes; however,
temperatures are usually mild and with low humidity, especially around
May and September. The average temperature ranges between
−1.8 °C (29 °F) in January and 19.2 °C
(66.6 °F) in July. The mean year temperature is 8.5 °C
(47.3 °F). Temperatures may often reach 30 °C
(86 °F) in the summer, although the effects of hot weather are
usually offset by relatively low dew points and large diurnal
Warsaw is Europe's fourth driest capital,
with yearly rainfall averaging 529 millimetres (20.8 in), the
wettest month being July.
Climate data for
Warsaw (1981–2010) Extremes (1951–present)
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days
Source #1: Pogoda.ru.net
Source #2: KNMI
Warsaw's mixture of architectural styles reflects the turbulent
history of the city and country. During the Second World War, Warsaw
was razed to the ground by bombing raids and planned destruction.
After liberation, rebuilding began as in other cities of the
communist-ruled PRL. Most of the historical buildings were thoroughly
reconstructed. However, some of the buildings from the 19th century
that had been preserved in reasonably reconstructible form were
nonetheless eradicated in the 1950s and 1960s (e.g. Kronenberg
Palace). Mass residential blocks were erected, with basic
design typical of Eastern bloc countries.
Public spaces attract heavy investment, so that the city has gained
entirely new squares, parks and monuments. Warsaw's current urban
landscape is one of modern and contemporary architecture.
Main article: Architecture of Warsaw
Jabłonowski Palace, an example of
Renaissance Revival architecture
Warsaw's palaces, churches and mansions display a richness of color
and architectural details. Buildings are representatives of nearly
every European architectural style and historical period. The city has
wonderful examples of architecture from the Gothic, Renaissance,
Baroque and neoclassical periods, all of which are located within easy
walking distance of the town centre.
Gothic architecture is represented in the majestic churches but also
at the burgher houses and fortifications. The most significant
buildings are St. John's Cathedral (14th century), a typical example
of the so-called Masovian Gothic style; St. Mary's Church (1411), a
town house of Burbach family (14th century); Gunpowder Tower
(after 1379); and the Royal Castle 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). The most
interesting examples of Mannerist architecture are the Royal Castle
(1596–1619) and the Jesuit Church (1609–1626) at Old Town. Among
the first structures of the early Baroque, the most important are St.
Hyacinth's Church (1603–1639) and
Sigismund's Column (1644).
Hotel Bristol is a unique example of Warsaw's architectural heritage.
Building activity occurred in numerous noble palaces and churches
during the later decades of the 17th century. Some of the best
examples of this architecture are Krasiński
Wilanów Palace (1677–1696) and
St. Kazimierz Church
St. Kazimierz Church (1688–1692).
The most impressive examples of rococo architecture are Czapski Palace
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
Palace on the Water
Królikarnia (1782–1786), Carmelite Church
(façade 1761–1783) and Evangelical Holy Trinity Church
(1777–1782). The economic growth during the first years of Congress
Poland caused a rapid rise of architecture. The Neoclassical revival
affected all aspects of architecture; the most notable examples are
the Great Theater (1825–1833) and buildings located at Bank Square
Warsaw University of Technology
Warsaw University of Technology building courtyard
Exceptional examples of the bourgeois architecture of the later
periods were not restored by the communist authorities after the war
(like the previously mentioned Kronenberg
Rosja building) or they were rebuilt in socialist realism style (like
Warsaw Philharmony edifice originally inspired by
Palais Garnier in
Paris). Despite that, the
Warsaw University of Technology
Warsaw University of Technology building
(1899–1902) is the most interesting of the late 19th-century
architecture. Some 19th-century buildings in the
Praga district (the
Vistula’s right bank) have been restored although many have been
poorly maintained. Warsaw’s municipal government authorities have
decided to rebuild the Saxon
Palace and the Brühl Palace, the most
distinctive buildings in prewar Warsaw.
Notable examples of post-war architecture include the
Culture and Science (1952–1955), a soc-realist skyscraper located in
the city centre, and the Constitution Square with its monumental
socialist realism architecture (MDM estate).
Contemporary architecture in
Warsaw is represented by the Metropolitan
Office Building at Pilsudski Square by Lord 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,
Museum of the
History of Polish
Jews by Rainer Mahlamäki and Golden Terraces,
consisting of seven overlapping domes retail and business centre.
It has been said that Warsaw, together with Frankfurt, London, Paris
and Rotterdam, is one of the cities with the highest number of
skyscrapers in Europe.
Warsaw is ranked as 79th in the list of
cities with the most skyscrapers around the world.
Notable skyscrapers in Warsaw
Palace of Culture and Science
Cosmopolitan Twarda 2/4
Hotel Marriott and Oxford Tower
Main article: Tourist attractions in Warsaw
Main Market Square in Warsaw's Old Town, a
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Warsaw is a fairly young city, it has numerous
tourist attractions. Apart from the
Warsaw Old Town
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,
King Sigismund's Column, Market Square, and the Barbican.
Further south is the so-called Royal Route, with many classicist
palaces, the Presidential
Palace and the
University of Warsaw
University of Warsaw campus.
Wilanów Palace, the former royal residence of King John III Sobieski,
is notable for its
Baroque architecture and parks.
Warsaw's oldest public park, the Saxon Garden, is located within 10
minutes' walk from the old town. Warsaw's biggest public park is
the Łazienki Park, also called the "Royal Baths Park", established in
the 17th century and given its current classical shape in the late
18th century. It is located further south, on the Royal Route,
about 3 km (1.9 mi) from the
Warsaw Old Town.
The Barbican, one of few remaining relics of the complex network of
Powązki Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Europe, full
of sculptures, some of them by the most renowned Polish artists of the
19th and 20th centuries. Since it serves the religious communities of
Warsaw such as Catholics, Orthodox, Jews, Muslims or Protestants, it
is often called a necropolis. Nearby is the Okopowa Street Jewish
Cemetery, one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Europe.
Warsaw Old Town
Museum of Leather Crafts
St. Anne's tenement
Museum of Literature
Museum of Artistic and Precision Crafts
St. Mary's Church
St. John's Cathedral
East – West Route tunnel
In many places in the city the Jewish culture and history resonates
down through time. Among them the most notable are the 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, fragments of the Ghetto wall on Sienna
Street and a mound in memory of the Jewish Combat Organization.
New World Street, one of the main shopping promenades in Warsaw
There are also many places commemorating the heroic history of
Warsaw. Pawiak, an infamous German
Gestapo prison now occupied by
Mausoleum of Memory of Martyrdom and the museum, is only the
beginning of a walk in the traces of Heroic City. The Warsaw
Citadel, an impressive 19th-century fortification built after the
defeat of the November Uprising, was a place of martyrdom for the
Poles. Another important monument, the statue of 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 impressive
Warsaw Uprising Monument by
Wincenty Kućma was erected in memory of the largest insurrection of
World War II.
Warsaw there are many places connected with the life and work of
Frédéric Chopin. The heart of the Polish-born composer is sealed
inside Warsaw's Holy Cross Church. During the summer time the
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: Marie's birthplace at the
Warsaw New Town, the
working places where she did her first scientific works and the
Radium Institute at Wawelska Street for the research and the treatment
of which she founded in 1925.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is an important central
St. Kazimierz Church
St. Kazimierz Church at New Town Market Square
Canon Square with the narrowest townhouse in Europe.
Holy Cross Church
Castle Square and Sigismund's Column
St. Anne's Church
Staszic Palace and
Nicolaus Copernicus monument
Three Crosses Square
Flora and fauna
Green space covers almost a quarter of the area of Warsaw,
including a broad range from small neighborhood parks, green spaces
along streets and in courtyards, to avenues of trees and large
historic parks, nature conservation areas and the urban forests at the
fringe of the city.
Łazienki Palace, also referred to as the
Palace on the Water
There are as many as 82 parks in the city which cover 8% of its
area. The oldest ones, once parts of representative palaces, are
Saxon Garden, the Krasiński
Łazienki Park (Royal
Wilanów Palace Park and
Palace Park (See
also: Greenery in the city).
The Saxon Garden, covering an area of 15.5 ha, was formally a royal
garden. There are over 100 different species of trees and the avenues
are a place to sit and relax. At the east end of the park, the Tomb of
the Unknown Soldier is situated. In the 19th century the Krasiński
Palace Garden was remodelled by Franciszek Szanior. Within the central
area of the park one can still find old trees dating from that period:
maidenhair tree, black walnut, Turkish hazel and Caucasian wingnut
trees. With its benches, flower carpets, a pond with ducks on and a
playground for kids, the Krasiński
Palace Garden is a popular
strolling destination for the Varsovians. The Monument of the Warsaw
Ghetto Uprising is also situated here.
Łazienki Park covers an area
of 76 ha. The unique character and history of the park is reflected in
its landscape architecture (pavilions, sculptures, bridges, cascades,
ponds) and vegetation (domestic and foreign species of trees and
bushes). What makes this park different from other green spaces in
Warsaw is the presence of peacocks and pheasants, which can be seen
here walking around freely, and royal carps in the pond. Wilanów
Palace Park dates back to the second half of the 17th century. It
covers an area of 43 ha. Its central French-styled area corresponds to
Baroque forms of the palace. The eastern section of the
park, closest to the Palace, is the two-level garden with a terrace
facing the pond. The park around the
Palace is situated
on the old escarpment of the Vistula. The park has lanes running on a
few levels deep into the ravines on both sides of the palace.
Saxon Garden with Temple of Vesta
Other green spaces in the city include the Botanic Garden and the
University Library garden. They have extensive botanical collection of
rare domestic and foreign plants, while a palm house in the New
Orangery displays plants of subtropics from all over the world.
Besides, within the city borders, there are also: Pole Mokotowskie (a
big park in the northern Mokotów, where was the first horse racetrack
and then the airport), Park Ujazdowski (close to the
Sejm and John
Lennon street), Park of Culture and Rest in Powsin, by the southern
city border, and Park Skaryszewski by the right
Vistula bank, in
Praga. The oldest park in Praga, the
Praga Park, was established in
1865–1871 and designed by Jan Dobrowolski. In 1927 a zoological
garden (Ogród Zoologiczny) was established on the park grounds,
and in 1952 a bear run, still open today.
Riverside boulevards along the Vistula.
The flora of the city may be considered very rich in species. The
species richness 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.
Bielany Forest, located within the borders of Warsaw, is the remaining
part of the Masovian Primeval Forest.
Bielany Forest nature reserve is
connected with Kampinos Forest. It is home to rich fauna and
flora. Within the forest there are three cycling and walking trails.
Another big forest area is Kabaty Forest by the southern city border.
Warsaw has also two botanic gardens: by Łazienki park (a
didactic-research unit of the
University of Warsaw) as well as by the
Park of Culture and Rest in Powsin (a unit of the Polish Academy of
There are 13 natural reserves in Warsaw – among others, Bielany
Forest, Kabaty Woods, and Czerniaków Lake. About 15 kilometres (9
miles) from Warsaw, the
Vistula river's environment changes strikingly
and features a perfectly preserved ecosystem, with a habitat of
animals that includes the otter, beaver and hundreds of bird
species. There are also several lakes in Warsaw – mainly
the oxbow lakes, like Czerniaków Lake, the lakes in Łazienki or
Wilanów Parks, and Kamionek Lake. There are a lot of small lakes in
the parks, but only a few are permanent – the majority are
emptied before winter to clean them of plants and sediments.
Warsaw Zoo covers an area of 40 hectares (99 acres). 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.
Society and demographics
Note: 2010 2014 2017
Largest groups of foreign residents
Demographically, it was the most diverse city in Poland, with
significant numbers of foreign-born inhabitants. In addition to
the Polish majority, there was a significant Jewish minority in
Warsaw. According to the Russian census of 1897, out of the total
population of 638,000,
Jews constituted 219,000 (around 34%
percent). Warsaw's prewar Jewish population of more than 350,000
constituted about 30 percent of the city's total population. In
1933, out of 1,178,914 inhabitants 833,500 were of Polish mother
World War II
World War II changed the demographics of the city, and to
this day there is much less ethnic diversity than in the previous 300
years of Warsaw's history. Most of the modern day population
growth is based on internal migration and urbanisation.
In 1939, c. 1,300,000 people lived in Warsaw, but in
1945 – only 420,000. During the first years after the war, the
population growth was c. 6%, so shortly the city started to suffer
from the lack of flats and of areas for new houses. The first remedial
measure was the
Warsaw area enlargement (1951) – but the city
authorities were still forced to introduce residency registration
limitations: only the spouses and children of the permanent residents
as well as some persons of public importance (like renowned
specialists) were allowed to get the registration, hence halving the
population growth in the following years. It also bolstered a
stereotype popular among the dwellers of other cities claiming that
average Varsovians thought of themselves as better only because they
lived in the capital. While all restrictions on residency registration
were scrapped in 1990, a negative image of a typical
in some form persists till this day.
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
Rome. In 2016, it was estimated that 21,000 people living in Warsaw
were foreign born, although some suspect the actual number could be as
high as 60,000-150,000, or 1.2~3.4% - 8.5% of all Varsovians. Of
those, Ukrainians, Vietnamese,
Russians were the
most prominent groups.
Religion in Warsaw
Throughout its existence,
Warsaw has been a multi-cultural 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 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
Warsaw Uprising of 1944. After the war, the new communist
Poland discouraged church construction and only a small
number were rebuilt.
During the survey, conducted in 2010 by a team of sociologists from
Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University
Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University 66% of the
surveyed declared themselves as believers and 6% as non-believers. 32%
of the faithful of the Archdiocese of
Warsaw attended masses and 34%
of the faithful of the Warsaw-
Praga diocese. The Eucharist was
received by about 15% of the faithful.
Government and politics
As the capital of Poland,
Warsaw is the political centre of the
country. All state agencies are located there, including the Polish
Parliament, the Presidential
Office and the Supreme Court. In the
Polish parliament the city and the area are represented by 31 MPs (out
of 460). Additionally,
Warsaw elects two MEPs (Members of the European
Sejm is the lower house of the Polish parliament. The
Sejm is made
up of 460 deputies, or Poseł in Polish (literally 'Envoy'). It is
elected by universal ballot and is presided over by a speaker called
the Marshal of the
Sejm (Marszałek Sejmu).
The municipal government existed in
World War II
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
powiats, 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.
Neoclassical Commission Palace, the house of the city's 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 or powiats. 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, Gdańsk, and Poznań. In Warsaw, its districts additionally
have some of a powiat's 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
of the same type for all districts.
Embassy of the Netherlands
Legislative power in
Warsaw is vested in a unicameral
Council (Rada Miasta), which comprises 60 members. Council
members are elected directly every four years. 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 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
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
Warsaw President was Jan Andrzej Menich (1695–1696).
Between 1975 and 1990 the
Warsaw Presidents simultaneously led the
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
The current President of
Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz (since
2006-12-02) – the former president of the National Bank of
Poland. The first president elected according these rules was
Lech Kaczyński. When he was elected as the President of Polish
Republic (December 2005) he resigned as mayor on the day before taking
Headquarters of Polish government agencies in Warsaw
Poland's bicameral parliament, the
Sejm and the Senate
Chancellery of the Prime Minister
Presidential Palace, the seat of the Polish president
Supreme Court of Poland
Supreme Administrative Court
The seat of the administration of the Masovian Voivodeship
Mostowski Palace, the seat of Warsaw's police headquarters
The main gate of the Ministry of Health
Ministry of Agriculture
Main article: Districts of Warsaw
35.4 km2 (13.7 sq mi)
22.4 km2 (8.6 sq mi)
48.6 km2 (18.8 sq mi)
19.26 km2 (7.44 sq mi)
32.3 km2 (12.5 sq mi)
24.37 km2 (9.41 sq mi)
15.57 km2 (6.01 sq mi)
24.95 km2 (9.63 sq mi)
73.04 km2 (28.20 sq mi)
09.7 km2 (3.7 sq mi)
79.71 km2 (30.78 sq mi)
11.4 km2 (4.4 sq mi)
09.35 km2 (3.61 sq mi)
08.5 km2 (3.3 sq mi)
28.63 km2 (11.05 sq mi)
36.73 km2 (14.18 sq mi)
19.30 km2 (7.45 sq mi)
22.6 km2 (8.7 sq mi)
521.81 km2 (201.47 sq mi)
Until 1994, there were 7 districts in Warsaw: Śródmieście, Praga
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 (Stare Miasto) and New Town (Nowe
Miasto), in the borough of Śródmieście.
Warsaw was ranked the world's 46th most expensive city to
live in. It was classified as an alpha world city (also known as
a "major global city that links economic regions into the world
economy") by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Study Group and
Network from Loughborough University, placing it on a par with cities
such as Sydney, Istanbul,
Amsterdam or Seoul.
Business and commerce
Warsaw, especially its city centre (Śródmieście), is home not only
to many national institutions and government agencies, but also to
many domestic and international companies. In 2006, 304,016 companies
were registered in the city. Warsaw's ever-growing business
community has been noticed globally, regionally, and nationally.
MasterCard Emerging Market Index has noted Warsaw's economic strength
and commercial center. Moreover,
Warsaw was ranked as the 7th greatest
emerging market. Foreign investors' financial participation in the
city's development was estimated in 2002 at over 650 million euros.
Warsaw produces 12% of Poland's national income, which in 2008
was 305.1% of the Polish average per capita (or 160% of the European
Union average). The
GDP per capita in
Warsaw amounted to PLN 131,000
in 2014 (c. €30,800 or $36,000). Total nominal
GDP of the city
in 2010 amounted to 191.766 billion PLN, 111,696 PLN per capita, which
was 301.1% of the Polish average.
Warsaw leads the region of
Central Europe in foreign investment and in 2006,
GDP growth met
expectations with a level of 6.1%. It also has one of the fastest
growing economies, with
GDP growth at 6.5 percent in 2007 and 6.1
percent in the first quarter of 2008.
Złote Tarasy (English: Golden Terraces) is a commercial and
entertainment complex in the center of Warsaw.
At the same time the unemployment rate is one of the lowest in Poland.
According to the official figures it was around 4% in February
2015. The city itself collects around 8,740,882,000 złotys in
taxes and direct government grants.
Warsaw Stock Exchange
Warsaw Stock Exchange
Warsaw Stock Exchange
Warsaw Stock Exchange is the largest one in Central Europe.
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 the post-war communist control of the country and
the reintroduction of a free-market economy. Today, the Warsaw
Stock Exchange (WSE) is, according to many indicators, the
largest market in the region, with 374 companies listed and total
capitalization of 162,584 mln EUR as of 31 August 2009. 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).
During Warsaw's reconstruction after World War II, the communist
authorities decided that the city would become a major industrial
centre. As a result, numerous large factories were built in and around
the city. The largest were the Huta Warszawa Steel Works, the FSO car
factory and the "Ursus" tractor factory.
As the communist economy deteriorated, these factories lost
significance and most went bankrupt after 1989. Today, the
Arcelor Warszawa Steel Mill (formerly Huta Warszawa) is the only major
The FSO Car Factory was established in 1951. A number of vehicles have
been assembled there over the decades, including the Warszawa, Syrena,
Fiat 125p (under license from Fiat, later renamed FSO 125p when the
license expired) and the Polonez. The last two models listed were also
sent abroad and assembled in a number of other countries, including
Egypt and Colombia. 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.
In 2005 the factory was sold to AvtoZAZ, a Ukrainian car manufacturer
which assembled the Chevrolet Aveo there. The license for the
production of the Aveo expired in February 2011 and has not been
renewed since. Currently the company is defunct.
The "Ursus" factory opened in 1893 and is still in operation today.
Throughout its history various machinery was assembled there,
including motorcycles, military vehicles, trucks and buses. However,
World War II
World War II only tractors are still being assembled there.
The number of state-owned enterprises continues to decrease while the
number of companies operating with foreign capital is on the rise,
reflecting the continued shift towards a modern market-based
economy. The largest foreign investors are
Coca-Cola Amatil and
Warsaw has the biggest concentration of electronics and
high-tech industry in Poland, while the growing consumer market
perfectly fosters the development of the food-processing
Main article: Education in Warsaw
Higher education in Warsaw
Name and year established
University of Warsaw
University of Warsaw (1816)
Warsaw University of Technology
Warsaw University of Technology (1826)
Warsaw School of Economics
Warsaw School of Economics (1906)
Warsaw University of Life Sciences
Warsaw University of Life Sciences (1818)
Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University
Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University (1999)
University of Warsaw
University of Warsaw (1809/1950)
Academy of Fine Arts (1844)
Academy of National Defence (1947/1990)
University of Technology (1951)
University of Physical
Education in Warsaw
Education in Warsaw (1929)
Fryderyk Chopin University of Music
Fryderyk Chopin University of Music (1810)
Kozminski University (1993)
University of Social Sciences and Humanities
University of Social Sciences and Humanities (1996)
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
The main gate of the
University of Warsaw
Faculty of Physics of the
University of Warsaw
University of Warsaw
University of Warsaw was established in 1816, when the partitions
Warsaw from the oldest and most influential Polish
academic center, in Kraków.
Warsaw University of Technology
Warsaw University of Technology 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 National Defence University, highest military
academic institution in Poland; the Fryderyk Chopin
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
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 and most beautiful roof gardens
in Europe with an area of more than 10,000 m2
(110,000 sq ft), and plants covering 5,111 m2
(55,010 sq ft). As the university garden it is open to
the public every day.
Transport and infrastructure
Main article: Transport in Warsaw
Night view of the Świętokrzyski
Bridge and the National
the left bank of the Vistula
S8 in Warsaw
Warsaw has seen major infrastructural changes over the past few years
amidst increased foreign investment, economic growth and EU funding.
The city has a much improved infrastructure with new roads, flyovers,
Warsaw lacks a good ring road system and most traffic goes directly
through the city centre, leading to the third highest level of
congestion in continental Europe. The
Warsaw ring road has been
planned to consist of three express roads: S2, S8 and S17. Currently
parts of S2 and S8 are open, with the remaining construction to be
finished by 2019.
Thanks to the A2 motorway stretching west from Warsaw, which opened in
June 2012, the city now has a direct motorway connection with Łódź,
Poznań and ultimately with Berlin.
The city has two international airports:
Warsaw Chopin Airport,
located just 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the city centre, and
Warsaw-Modlin Airport, located 35 kilometres (22 mi) 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
in Central-Eastern Europe. and it has also been called "the most
important and largest airport in Central Europe".
Warsaw Chopin Airport
Public transport in
Warsaw includes buses, trams (streetcars), Metro,
the light rail
Warszawska Kolej Dojazdowa
Warszawska Kolej Dojazdowa line, urban railway 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 (ZTM, the
Warsaw Municipal Transport Authority).
Pendolino high-speed trains connect Warsaw, Kraków, Wrocław,
Tri-City and the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Area.
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 service covers the entire city, with approximately
170 routes totalling about 2,603 kilometres (1,617 mi), and with
some 1,600 vehicles.
Currently, the Tramwaje Warszawskie (
Warsaw Trams) company runs 863
cars on over 240 kilometres (150 mi) of tracks. Twenty-odd lines
run across the city with additional lines opened on special occasions
(such as All Saints' Day).
The first section of the
Warsaw Metro was opened in 1995 initially
with a total of 11 stations. It now has 21 stations running a
distance of approximately 23 km (14 mi). Initially, all
of the trains were Russian built. In 1998, 108 new carriages were
ordered from Alstom. The second line running east-west will be
about 31 km (19 mi). The central section is 6 km
(4 mi) long with seven stations, opened on 8 March 2015.
The main railway station is 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.
Public transport in Warsaw
Metro Line 2, Nowy Świat-Uniwersytet station
Fast City Rail trains, Chopin Airport station
Warsaw Suburban train
Veturilo bicycle station
Main article: Infrastructure in Warsaw
Like many cities in Central and Eastern Europe, infrastructure in
Warsaw suffered considerably during its time as an Eastern Bloc
economy – though it is worth mentioning that the initial Three-Year
Plan to rebuild
Poland (especially Warsaw) was a major success, but
what followed was very much the opposite. However, over the past
Warsaw has seen many improvements due to solid economic growth,
an increase in foreign investment as well as funding from the European
Union. In particular, the city's metro, roads, sidewalks, health care
facilities and sanitation facilities have improved markedly.
Warsaw has some of the best medical facilities in
East-Central Europe. The city is home to the Children's Memorial
Health Institute (CMHI), the highest-reference hospital in all of
Poland, as well as an active research and education center. The
Maria Skłodowska-Curie Institute of Oncology is one of the largest
and most modern oncological institutions in Europe. The clinical
section is located in a 10-floor building with 700 beds, 10 operating
theatres, an intensive care unit, several diagnostic departments as
well as an outpatient clinic. The infrastructure has developed a
lot over the past years.
Music and theatre
The edifice of the Grand Theatre in Warsaw. It is one of the largest
theatres in Europe, featuring one of the biggest stages in the world.
Thanks to numerous musical venues, including the Teatr Wielki, the
Polish National Opera, the Chamber Opera, the National Philharmonic
Hall and the National Theatre, as well as the Roma and Buffo music
theatres and the Congress Hall in the
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 as one of the European hubs of underground
electronic music with a very attractive house and techno music
Warsaw is home to over 30 major theatres spread throughout the city,
including the National Theatre (founded in 1765) and the Grand Theatre
Bronisław Komorowski attends the 2010 International Chopin
Piano Competition in Warsaw.
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 (Central Warsaw).
the International Theatrical Meetings.
From 1833 to the outbreak of World War II, Plac Teatralny (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
The main building housed the 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 1939 –
the Nowy Theatre, which staged productions of contemporary poetical
drama, including those directed by Leon Schiller.
Nearby, in Ogród Saski (the Saxon Garden), the Summer Theatre was in
operation from 1870 to 1939, and in the 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 Arts – the first
state-run academy of dramatic art, with an acting department and a
stage directing department.
Warsaw Multimedia Fountain Park
Several commemorative events take place every year. Gatherings of
thousands of people on the banks of the
Vistula on Midsummer’s Night
for a festival called
Wianki (Polish for Wreaths) have become a
tradition and a yearly event in the programme of cultural events in
Warsaw. The festival traces its roots to a peaceful 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
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.
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 Golden Terraces and
Kultura. Over 100 films are shown throughout the festival, and awards
are given to the best and most popular films.
Museums and art galleries
Museums in Warsaw
Name and official website
Zachęta National Gallery of Art (site)
Royal Castle (site)
Copernicus Science Centre
Copernicus Science Centre (site)
Centre for Contemporary Art (site)
Museum of Modern Art (site)
Museum of the Polish Army (site)
Museum of Polish History (site)
Museum of Independence (site)
Museum of the History of the Polish
Museum of Sport and Tourism (site)
Museum of Caricature (site)
Museum of History of Polish Jews
The levelling of
Warsaw during the war has left gaping holes in the
city's historic collections. Although a considerable number of
treasures were spirited away to safety in 1939, a great number of
collections from palaces and museums in the countryside were brought
Warsaw at that time as the capital was considered a safer place
than some remote castle in the borderlands. Thus losses were
Warsaw Uprising Museum
Gallery of the 19th-Century Art at the National Museum
As interesting examples of expositions the most notable are: the
Museum of Posters boasting one of the largest
collections of art posters in the world, the
Museum of Hunting
and Riding and the Railway Museum. From among Warsaw's 60 museums, the
most prestigious ones are the National
Museum 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
Museum of the Polish Army whose set portrays
the history of arms.
The collections of Łazienki and
Wilanów palaces (both buildings came
through the war in good shape) focus on the paintings of the "old
masters", as do those of the Royal Castle which displays the
Lanckoroński Collection including two paintings by Rembrandt.
Palace in Natolin, a former rural residence of Duke Czartoryski,
is another venue with its interiors and park accessible to tourists.
The 17th-century Ostrogski Castle houses the Chopin Museum.
Holding Poland's largest private collection of art, the Carroll
Porczyński Collection Museum displays works from such varied
Paris Bordone, Cornelis van Haarlem, José de Ribera,
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
Museum and in the Katyń
preserves the memory of that crime. The
Warsaw Uprising Museum
also operates a rare preserved and operating historic stereoscopic
Warsaw Fotoplastikon. The
Museum of Independence
preserves patriotic and political objects connected with Poland's
struggles for independence. Dating back to 1936 the
Museum contains 60 rooms which host a permanent exhibition of the
Warsaw from its origins until today.
Zachęta National Gallery of Art
The 17th century Royal
Ujazdów Castle currently houses the Centre for
Contemporary Art, with some permanent and temporary exhibitions,
concerts, shows and creative workshops. The Centre currently realizes
about 500 projects a year. The
Zachęta 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
Museum of John Paul II and Primate Wyszyński,
and a Motorisation
Museum in Otrębusy.
Media and film
See also: List of films featuring Warsaw
Main TVP headquarters at Woronicza street
Warsaw is the media centre of Poland, and the location of the main
headquarters of TVP and other numerous local and national TV and radio
stations, such as
Polskie Radio (Polish Radio), TVN, Polsat, TV4, TV
Puls, Canal+ Poland,
Cyfra+ and MTV Poland.
Since May 1661 the first Polish newspaper, the Polish Ordinary
Mercury, was printed in Warsaw. The city is also the printing capital
Poland with a wide variety of domestic and foreign periodicals
expressing diverse views, and domestic newspapers are extremely
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 studios. Among the movie companies
are TOR, Czołówka, Zebra and Kadr who is behind several
international movie productions.
Over the next few years the new Film City in Nowe Miasto, located a
mere 80 km (50 mi) from Warsaw, will become the centre of
Polish film production and international co-production. It is to
be the largest high-tech film studio in Europe. The first
projects filmed in the new Film City will be two films about the
Warsaw Uprising. Two backlots will be constructed for these
projects – a lot of pre-
World War II
World War II
Warsaw and city
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 and Korczak by Andrzej
Wajda and The Decalogue by Krzysztof Kieślowski, also including Oscar
winner The Pianist by Roman Polański.
It is also home to the National Film Archive, which, since 1955, has
been collecting and preserving Polish film culture.
Main article: Sport in Warsaw
On 9 April 2008 the President of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz,
obtained from the mayor of
Wolfgang Schuster a challenge
award – a commemorative plaque awarded to
Warsaw as the
European capital of Sport in 2008.
The Interior of the National
Stadium before the UEFA
semi-final match between
Italy on 28 June 2012
The National Stadium, a 58,500 seat capacity football (soccer)
stadium, replaced Warsaw's recently demolished 10th-Anniversary
Stadium. The national stadium hosted the opening match, 2 group
matches, a quarterfinal, and a semifinal of the
UEFA Euro 2012
UEFA Euro 2012 hosted
Poland and Ukraine.
The Olympic Center
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
Hala Torwar, used for all kinds 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
The best of the city's swimming centres is at Wodny Park Warszawianka,
4 km (2 mi) south of the centre at Merliniego Street, where
there's an Olympic-sized pool as well as water slides and children's
From the Warsovian football teams, the most famous is Legia
Warsaw – the army club with a nationwide following play at
Polish Army Stadium, just southeast of the centre at Łazienkowska
Street. Established in 1916, they have won the country’s
championship 11 times (most recently in 2016) and won the Polish Cup
18 times. In the Champions League season 1995/96 they reached the
quarter-finals, where they lost to Panathinaikos Athens.
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. 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).
Polonia Warsaw's basketball team was one of the country's elite teams
until the mid-70s. Today, like the football (soccer) team, they
compete in one of Poland's lower divisions as well.
The 1659 coat of arms of Old
Warsaw on the cover of one of Warsaw's
Main article: Coat of arms of Warsaw
The mermaid (syrenka) is Warsaw's symbol and can be found on
statues throughout the city and on 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:
Warsaw of strong walls; why was the emblem
Mermaid with sharp sword,
given you by the kings?
— Zygmunt Laukowski
1855 bronze sculpture of The
Mermaid in the Old Town Market
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 Historical
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
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'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 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 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
Queen's Royal Hussars of the
United Kingdom 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 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.
Further information: Category:People from Warsaw
Famous notables born in Warsaw. Clockwise from upper left: Maria
Skłodowska-Curie, Benoit Mandelbrot,
Samuel Goldwyn and Tamara de
One of the most famous people born in
Warsaw was 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 60 km (37 mi) 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
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
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. Other notables include Samuel Goldwyn, the
founder of Goldwyn Pictures, mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot,
Joseph Rotblat and biochemist Casimir Funk.
Warsaw was the
beloved city of Isaac Bashevis Singer, which he described in many of
Warsaw has just now been destroyed. No one will ever
Warsaw I knew. Let me just write about it. Let this
disappear forever, he wrote.
Largest capital cities of the European Union: ranked 9th (2012).
Most expensive cities: ranked 113th of 144.
Livability Index: ranked 32nd (2012)
Twin towns and sister cities
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Poland
Warsaw is twinned with:
Kazakhstan (since 2002)
Germany (since 1991)
Hungary (since 2005)
Buenos Aires in
Argentina (since 1992)
Chicago in the
United States (since 1960)
Coventry in the
United Kingdom (since 1957)
Germany (since 1989)
Russia (since 1997)
Japan (since 1990)
Vietnam (since 2000)
China (since 1993)
France (since 1990)
Turkey (since 1991)
Ukraine (since 1994)
Spain (since 1981)
Philippines (since 2006)
Russia (since 1993)
Norway (since 2005)
Latvia (since 2002)
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro in
Brazil (since 1997)
France (since 1995)
St. Petersburg in
Russia (since 1997)
South Korea (since 1996)
Taiwan (since 1995)
Tel Aviv in
Israel (since 1992)
The Hague in
Netherlands (since 1991)
Canada (since 1990)
Lithuania (since 1998)
References – city's official site.
Paris, France, 1999
Prague, Czech Republic
Warsaw in art
New Town Market Square,
Nowy Świat Street,
Warsaw in literature
City of menace, like a coffin lid
thrown down an abyss as if
by a tempest's blow –
as a black lion who takes long to die
— Warsaw, Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński
What are you doing here, poet, on the ruins
Of St. John's Cathedral this sunny
Day in spring?
What are you thinking here, where the wind
Blowing from the
The red dust of the rubble?
— In Warsaw, Czesław Miłosz
Before the war and today
Vienna Railway Station
the end of the nineteenth century
Roman Dmowski Roundabout
Warsaw Philharmonic Hall
Warsaw Philharmonic Hall
Sienna and Zgoda streets intersection
Stefan Wiechecki "Wiech" Passage
St. Alexander's Church
St. Alexander's Church
Vienna Railway Station platforms
Warszawa Śródmieście railway station
St. Andreas and St. Albert Church
St. Andreas and St. Albert Church
Warsaw in photochrome prints
Adam Mickiewicz monument
St. Alexander's Church
Greenery in the city
Royal Baths Park
Wilanów Palace Park
Battle of Warsaw
List of tallest buildings in Warsaw
List of honorary citizens of Warsaw
Street names of Warsaw
Tourism in Poland
Warsaw concentration camp
Warsaw Fire Guard
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Suburb as seen from the Cracow Gate shows the view of Castle
Square and Krakowskie Przedmieście
^ The return of squads of Polish army from Wierzbna is showing the
general view of
Krakowskie Przedmieście with Tyszkiewicz Palace
^ The painting shows the
Vistula embankment near the Kierbedź Bridge
in Warsaw. The framework bridge was constructed by Stanisław
Kierbedź in 1850–1864. It was recognized by once as modern
structure and as "amazing heap of iron" by others. The bridge was
destroyed by the Nazis in 1944.
^ Full name:
Nowy Świat Street
Nowy Świat Street in
Warsaw on a Summer's Day.
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^ "Rescuing poetry". Retrieved 10 July 2008.
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Crowley, David (2003). Warsaw. Reaktion Books.
ISBN 1-86189-179-2. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
Olchowik-Adamowska, Liliana; Ławecki, Tomasz (1 April 2006).
Warsaw (First ed.). Peterborough, United Kingdom: Thomas
Cook Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84157-492-9. Retrieved 11 March
Bozenna Kirkpatrick (18 July 2012). "Polish
Vistula River Victory of
1920, implications". An Outline. Electronic Museum.ca. Archived from
the original (Internet Archive) on 1 November 2012. Retrieved 3 March
Official webpage of
Warsaw includes 360° panoramas of the UNESCO
District Police Headquarters –
Warsaw II (part of Warsaw
Warsaw Guide. Online City Guide for
Warsaw in Poland. Retrieved 17 May
What to do and see in Warsaw
See also: Bibliography of the history of Warsaw
Links to related articles
Districts of Warsaw
Mayors of Warsaw
First Polish Republic
Józef Michał Łukasiewicz (1791)
Ignacy Wyssogota Zakrzewski
Ignacy Wyssogota Zakrzewski (1792)
Andrzej Rafałowicz (1793)
Ignacy Wyssogota Zakrzewski
Ignacy Wyssogota Zakrzewski (1794)
Józef Michał Łukasiewicz (1794) and
Andrzej Rafałowicz (1794)
Franz Schimmelpfennig von der Ove
Friedrich Georg Tilly
Duchy of Warsaw
Jakub Ignacy Łaszczyński
Teodor Andrault de Langeron
World War I
Second Polish Republic
Oskar Rudolf Dengel
People's Republic of Poland
Third Polish Republic
Mirosław Kochalski (acting)
Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz (acting)
Principal cities of Poland
Capitals of European states and territories
Capitals of dependent territories and states whose sovereignty is
disputed shown in italics.
Andorra la Vella, Andorra
Douglas, Isle of Man (UK)
London, United Kingdom
Saint Helier, Jersey (UK)
Saint Peter Port, Guernsey (UK)
Longyearbyen, Svalbard (Norway)
Mariehamn, Åland Islands (Finland)
Nuuk, Greenland (Denmark)
Olonkinbyen, Jan Mayen (Norway)
Tórshavn, Faroe Islands (Denmark)
Prague, Czech Republic
Gibraltar, Gibraltar (UK)
North Nicosia, Northern Cyprus4, 5
San Marino, San Marino
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Vatican City, Vatican City
Stepanakert, Artsakh4, 5
Sukhumi, Abkhazia3, 5
Tskhinvali, South Ossetia3, 5
1 Also the capital of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
2 Also the seat of the European Union, see Institutional seats of
European Union and
Brussels and the European Union
3 Transcontinental country
4 Entirely in Southwest Asia but having socio-political
connections with Europe
5 Partially recognised country
Capital cities of the member states of the European Union
World Heritage Sites in Poland
Auschwitz-Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp
Białowieża Forest / Belovezhskaya Pushcha (with Belarus)
Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork
Centennial Hall, Wrocław
Churches of Peace
Churches of Peace in Jawor and Świdnica
Cracow's Historic Centre
Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: the Mannerist Architectural and Park Landscape
Complex and Pilgrimage Park
Medieval Town of Toruń
Muskauer Park / Park Mużakowski (with Germany)
Old City of Zamość
Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine and its Underground Water
Historic Centre of Warsaw
Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines
Wooden churches of Southern Lesser Poland
Wooden tserkvas of the Carpathian region in
Poland and Ukraine
European Capitals of Sport
2022 The Hague
Counties of Masovian Voivodeship
Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki
Coordinates: 52°14′N 21°1′E / 52.233°N 21.017°E /