About Warsaw

Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland.
It is located on the Vistula River roughly 370 kilometers (230 mi) from both the Baltic Sea coast and the Carpathian Mountains. Its population as of 2007 was estimated at 1,706,624, with a metropolitan area of approximately 2,785,000. The city area is 516.9 square kilometers (199.6 sq mi), with an agglomeration of 6,100.43 square kilometers (2,355.4 sq mi) (Warsaw Metro Area – Obszar Metropolitalny Warszawy).Warsaw is the 8th largest city in the European Union.
Warszawianka (1831) (French: La Varsovienne) is widely considered the unofficial anthem of the Capital City of Warsaw. On November 9, 1940 the City of Warsaw was awarded with the highest military decoration for courage in the face of the enemy - Order Virtuti Militari for the heroic defence in 1939.
Warsaw is also known as the "phoenix city", as it was completely destroyed during World War II, and rebuilt with the heroic effort of Polish citizens. Warsaw has given its name to the Warsaw Confederation, Warsaw Pact, Warsaw Convention, Treaty of Warsaw and the Warsaw Uprising.
Location and topography
Warsaw lies in east-central Poland about 350 km (220 mi) from Carpathian Mountains and Baltic Sea, 523 km (325 mi) east of Berlin, Germany.[11] The city straddles the Vistula River. It is located in the heartland of the Masovian Plain, and its average altitude is 100 metres (330 ft) above sea level, although there are some hills (mostly artificial) located within the confines of the city.
Warsaw is located on two main geomorphologic forms: 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 (10 to 25 m. above Vistula level) and on the Vistula terraces (max. 6,5 m 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 20-25 m high in the Old Town and Central district and about 10 m 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 few natural and artificial ponds and also groups of clay pits.The pattern of the Vistula terraces is unsymmetrical. The left side consist mainly of two levels: the highest one former flooded terraces and the lowest one the flood plain terrace. The contemporary flooded terrace has still visible valleys and ground depressions with water systems coming from Vistula old - riverbed. They consist of still quite natural streams and lakes as well as the pattern of drainage ditches. The right side of Warsaw has different pattern of geomorfological forms. There are several levels of the plain Vistula terraces (flooded as well as former flooded once) and only small part and not so visible moraine escarpment. Aeolian sand with number of dunes parted by peat swamps or small ponds cover the highest terrace. These are mainly forested areas (pine forest).
Warsaw climate chart
Climate chart for Warsaw Warsaw's climate is continental humid with cold winters and fairly hot summers. Winters are relatively mild and summers are cool. The average temperature is -2.4 °C (28 °F) in January and 19.1 °C (64 °F) in July. Temperatures may often reach 30 °C (86 °F) in the summer. Yearly rainfall averages 500 millimeters (19.7 in), the most rainy month being July. Spring and fall are usually beautiful seasons, the former crisp and sunny and full of blooms and the latter alternately sunny and misty, and cool but not cold.

Warsaw is a powiat (county), and is further divided into 18 boroughs, each one known as a dzielnica , each one with its own administrative body. Each of the boroughs includes several neighborhoods which have no legal or administrative status. Warsaw has two historic districts, called Old Town (Stare Miasto) and New Town (Nowe Miasto) in the borough of Śródmieście.[15]

Praga Północ
Praga Południe

Warsaw's mixture of architectural styles reflects the turbulent history of the city and country. During WWII, 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. Leopold Kronenberg Palace).[17] Mass residential blocks were erected, with basic design typical of Eastern bloc countries (See also: Before the war and today).
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.

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.

Palace on the Water.
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), the temple is 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 Barczyko house (1562), 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 Zygmunt's Column (1644).

Warsaw University of Technology building courtyard.
Building activity occurred in numerous noble palaces and churches during the later decades of the 17th century. One of the best examples of this architecture are Krasiński Palace (1677- 1683), Wilanów Palace (1677-1696) and St. Kazimierz Church (1688-1692). The most impressive examples of rococo architecture are Czapski Palace (1712-1721), Palace under 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 (rebuilt 1775-1795), 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 architecture. The Neoclassical revival affected all aspects of architecture, the most notable are the Great Theater (1825-1833) and buildings located at Bank Square (1825-1828).

Bas-relief of an iron forger at MDM neighborhood (Constitution Square), one of prime examples of socialist realism in Polish architecture.
Exceptional examples of the bourgeois architecture of the later periods were not restored by the communist authorities after the war (like mentioned Kronenberg Palace and Insurance Company 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 building (1899-1902) is the most interesting of the late 19th century architecture. 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 contemporary architecture include the Palace of Culture and Science (1952-1955), a Soc-realist skyscraper located in the city centre, the 10th-Anniversary Stadium which used to be the biggest open-air market in Europe and the Constitution Square with its monumental Social realism architecture. The central part of the right-bank (east) Praga borough it is a place where very run-down houses stand right next to modern apartment buildings and shopping malls.
Modern 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 and Merrill and Golden Terraces, consisting of seven overlapping domes retail and business centre.
Flora and fauna
Greenspace covers a quarter of the surface area of Warsaw, including a broad range of greenstructures, from small neighborhood parks, green spaces along streets and in courtyards, trees and avenues to large historic parks, nature conservation areas and the urban forests at the fringe of the city.

Peacocks - one of few animal species in the Royal Baths Park.
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 Palace Garden, the Royal Baths Park, the Wilanów Palace Park and the Królikarnia Palace Park (See also: Greenery in the city).
The Saxon Garden, covering the area of 15.5 ha, used to be a royal garden. The are over 100 different species of trees and the avenues are a place to sit and relax. 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 Royal Baths Park covers the 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. The Wilanów Palace Park, dates back to the second half of the 17th century. It covers the area of 43 ha. Its central French-styled area corresponds to the ancient, 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 Królikarnia 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.

19th century New Orangery houses a palm house.
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.
The flora of the city can 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.
About 15 km 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.
The Warsaw Zoo covers an area of 40 hectares (100 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.
History of Warsaw
Warsaw Timeline
Year Event
* 1300 Warsaw is founded
* 1413 Capital of Mazovia
* 1573 Warsaw Confederation and the first free election
* 1596 Capital of Poland
* 1641 Prussian Homage
* 1655 Deluge
* 1700 Great Northern War
* 1747 Foundation of Załuski Library
* 1791 Constitution is passed by the Sejm
* 1794 Warsaw Uprising and Massacre of Praga
* 1795 Third partition of Poland
* 1807 Warsaw Duchy was established
* 1815 Congress Poland was established
* 1830 November Uprising
* 1863 January Uprising
* 1918 Capital of the Second Polish Republic
* 1920 Miracle at the Vistula
* 1939 Siege of Warsaw
* 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
* 1944 Warsaw Uprising
* 1945 Rebuilding of Warsaw began
* 1952 Warsaw was recognized as the capital of the PRL
* 1955 Signature of the Warsaw Pact
* 1968 March events
* 1989 Polish Round Table Agreement Early history

1411 St. Mary's Church in Warsaw New Town.
The first fortified settlements on the site of today's Warsaw were Bródno (9th/10th century) and Jazdów (12th/13th century). After Jazdów was raided, a new similar settlement was established on the site of a small fishing village called Warszowa. The Płock prince Bolesław II of Masovia, established this settlement, the modern Warsaw, about 1300. The first historical document attesting to the existence of a Warsaw castellan dates to 1313.Fuller information about the age of the city is contained in the court case against the Teutonic Knights which took place in Warsaw cathedral in 1339. In the beginning of the 14th century it became one of the seats of the Dukes of Masovia, becoming the capital of Masovia in 1413. Fourteenth-century Warsaw's economy rested on crafts and trade. The townsmen, of uniform nationality at the time, were marked by a great disparity in their financial status. At the top were the rich patricians while the plebeians formed the lower strata. Upon the extinction of the local ducal line, the duchy was reincorporated into the Polish Crown in 1526.
16th to 18th century
This differentiation and the growing social contrasts resulted in 1525 in the first revolt of the poor of Warsaw against the rich and the authority they exercised. As a result of this struggle the so-called third order was admitted to the city authorities and shared power with the bodies formed by the patricians: the council and the assessors.
In 1529, Warsaw for the first time became the seat of the General Sejm, permanent since 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 at the same time of the Polish Crown in 1596, when King Sigismund III Vasa moved the court from Kraków.

Battle of Warsaw in 1656.
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. They were settled by craftsmen and tradesmen. The peak of their development came in the wake of Warsaw's revival after the Swedish invasion which had seriously ravaged the city. 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. The mid-17th century architecture of the Old and New Towns survived until Nazi invasion.In the 17th and early part of the 18th century, during the rule of the great nobles oligarchy, magnificent Baroque residences rose all around Warsaw.
In 1700, the Great Northern War broke out. The city was besieged several times and was obliged to pay heavy contributions.The second half of the 18th and first half of the 19th century marked a new and characteristic stage in the development of the city.Warsaw turned into an early-capitalistic principal city. The growth of political activity, development of progressive ideas, political and economic changes – all this exercised an impact on the formation of the city whose architecture began to reflect the contemporary aspirations and trends.

Religion was an element of Russification in the Russian Empire. This Roman Catholic Church in Warsaw was seized and converted into a Russian Orthodox Church while Warsaw was a part of the Russian Empire.
The composition of the Warsaw population altered during the Enlightenment. Factories developed, the number of workers increased, the class of merchants, industrialists and financiers expanded. At the same time there was a strong migration of peasants from the rural areas. In 1792, Warsaw had 115,000 inhabitants as compared with 24,000 in 1754.These changes brought about the development of the building trade. New noblemen's residences were put up, the middle class built its own houses which showed a marked social differentiation. The residences of the representatives of the wealthiest stratum – the big merchants and bankers – matched those of the magnates. A new type of city dwellings developed, catering to the needs and tastes of the bourgeoisie. The artistic medium for all these buildings was that of antiquity, which, although its different social origin was not analyzed at the time, expressed the progressive ideas of the Enlightenment.
19th to 20th century
Warsaw remained the capital of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1795, when it was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia to become the capital of the province of South Prussia. 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 center of the Congress Poland, a constitutional monarchy under a personal union with Imperial Russia.The Royal 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 the Russian rule over Poland was fired upon by the Russian troops. Five people were killed. The Underground Polish National Government resided in Warsaw during January Uprising in 1863–4.
Warsaw flourished in the late nineteenth 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 modernization of trams, street lighting and gas works.
The history of contemporary civilization knows no event of greater importance than the Battle of Warsaw, 1920, and none of which the significance is less appreciated. —Sir Edgar Vincent d'Abernon .

Warsaw became the capital of the newly-independent Poland in 1918. 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.[38] Poland stopped on itself the full brunt of the Red Army and defeated an idea of the "export of the revolution."
World War II

Sea of rubble - over eight out of every ten buildings in Warsaw were destroyed by the end of World War II. In left center can be seen ruins of Old Town Market Square.
During the Second World War, central Poland, including Warsaw, came under the rule of the General Government, a Nazi colonial administration. All higher education institutions were immediately closed and Warsaw's entire Jewish population – several hundred thousand, some 30% of the city – herded into the Warsaw Ghetto.[42] When the order came to annihilate the Ghetto as part of Hitler's "Final Solution" on April 19, 1943, Jewish fighters launched the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.[43] Despite being heavily outgunned and outnumbered, the Ghetto held out for almost a month.[43] When the fighting ended, almost all survivors were massacred, only few managed to escape or hide.[43][44]

Warsaw Uprising was a struggle by the Polish Home Army to liberate Warsaw from German occupation before the Red Army could "liberate" it.[45] By July 1944, the Red Army was deep into Polish territory and pursuing the Germans toward Warsaw.[16] 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 the control of 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.[16] The armed struggle, planned to last 48 hours, went on for 63 days. Eventually the Home Army fighters and civilians assisting them were forced to capitulate.[16] They were transported to the PoW camps in Germany, while the entire civilian population was expelled.[16]
The Nazis then essentially demolished Warsaw. 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.[16] Monuments and government buildings were blown up by special German troops known as Verbrennungs und Vernichtungskommando ("Burning and Destruction Detachments").[16] About 85% of the city had been destroyed, including the historic Old Town and the Royal Castle.[46]
On January 17, 1945 - after the beginning of the Vistula–Oder Offensive of the Red Army - Soviet troops entered the ruins of the city 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.
[edit] Modern times

John Paul II's Mass in Victory Square, 1979.
In 1945, after the bombing, the revolts, the fighting, and the demolition had ended, most of Warsaw lay in ruins. Next to the remnants of Gothic architecture the ruins of splendid edifices from the time of Congress Poland and ferroconcrete relics of prewar building jutted out of the rubble.[33]
After the war, under a Communist regime set up by the conquering Soviets, 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. The city resumed its role as the capital of Poland and 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.[47]
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.[48] 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![48] These words were very meaningful for the Polish citizens who understood them as the incentive for the democratic changes.[48]
In 1995, the Warsaw Metro opened. With the entry of Poland into the European Union in 2004, Warsaw is currently experiencing the biggest economic boom of its history.[49] The opening match of UEFA Euro 2012 is scheduled to take place in Warsaw.[50]
[edit] Demographics
Historically, Warsaw has been a destination for internal and foreign immigration, especially from Central and Eastern Europe. For nearly 300 years it was known as the "Old Paris" or "Second Paris".[41] It was always a centre of European culture, existed as a major European city, and was a destination for many Europeans. Demographically it was the most diverse city in Poland, with a significant numbers of foreign-born inhabitants. In addition to Polish majority, there was a significant Jewish minority in Warsaw. According to Russian census of 1897, out of the total population of 638,000, Jews constituted 219,000 (so around 34% percent).[51] Warsaw's prewar Jewish population of more than 350,000 constituted about 30 percent of the city's total population)[52] or foreign born. World War II changed all of this, and to this day there is much less ethnic diversity than in the previous 300 years of the city's history.[52] Most of the modern day population growth is based on internal migration and urbanization.

Population 1880–2006

Comparison of Warsaw's city boundaries today and in 1939.
* 1700: 30,000 (est.)
* 1792: 120,000
* 1800: 63,400
* 1830: 139,700
* 1850: 163,600
* 1882: 383,000
* 1900: 686,000
* 1925: 1,003,000
* 1939: 1,300,000 * 1945: 422,000 (September)
* 1950: 803,800
* 1960: 1,136,000
* 1970: 1,315,600
* 1980: 1,596,100
* 1990: 1,655,700
* 2000: 1,672,400
* 2002: 1,688,200
* 2006: 1,702,100[53] [edit] Municipal government

The rococo Branicki Palace houses the city government.
The Warsaw Act abolished all the former counties around Warsaw and formed one city powiat with a unified municipal government.[54]
Legislative power in Warsaw is vested in a unicameral Warsaw City Council (Rada Miasta), which comprises 60 members.[54] 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.[54] 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 vote.
Each of the 18 separate city districts has its own council (Rada dzielnicy).[54] 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 current President of Warsaw is Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz.
[edit] Politics

The Sejm building.
Main article: Members of Sejm from Warsaw constituency
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.
[edit] Infrastructure
[edit] Transportation
Although many streets were widened, and new ones created, during rebuilding of Warsaw in 1950s, the city is currently plagued with traffic problems.[55] Public transport in Warsaw is ubiquitous, serving the city with buses, tramways, and metro.
[edit] Roads and highways

The city center.
Warsaw lacks a good circular road system and most traffic goes directly through the city centre. Currently two circular roads are under consideration. The first (called OEW, or Obwodnica Etapowa Warszawy) is planned to run approximately 10 kilometers (6 mi) from the city centre through the city streets and across two new bridges.[56] The other is planned to become a part of both the A-2 motorway (itself a part of the European route E30 from Cork to Moscow) and the S-7 (Gdańsk–Kraków) express road, and will run through a tunnel under the southern area of Ursynów.[56] It is to be completed between 2010 and 2012.
[edit] Airports

Terminal 2 façade.
Warsaw has one international airport, Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport (usually referred to as Okęcie airport), located just 10 kilometers (6 mi) from the city centre.[57] With around 100 international and domestic flights a day and with over 9,268,551 passengers served in 2007, it is by far the biggest airport in Poland.[57] Immediately adjacent to the main terminal complex Terminal 1, is the Etiuda terminal, serving routes flown by low-cost carriers.[57] A new Terminal 2 has been opened in March 2008 in order to alleviate current overcrowding, and to extend the airport's capacity by another 6 million passengers. Terminal 2 servers domestic and international flights operated only by Star Alliance carriers.
There are plans to convert the disused military Modlin Airport, 35 kilometers (22 mi) north of the city centre, into Warsaw's second airport, mainly for low-cost carriers.[58] It will not be ready for use before 2010 at the earliest.
There also are long-term plans to build an entirely new international airport. Its location is yet to be decided.
[edit] Public transport

Świętokrzyski Bridge.
Public transport in Warsaw includes, buses, trams (streetcars), metro, light rail Warszawska Kolej Dojazdowa line and regional rail,[59] all managed by ZTM (Zarząd Transportu Miejskiego, the Warsaw Transport Authority). Regional rail is operated by Szybka Kolej Miejska (Fast Urban Rail) and Koleje Mazowieckie (Mazovian Railoads). There are also some suburban bus lines run by private operators.[60]
There are three tourist routes: "T", a vintage tram running in July and August; bus "100" which runs on weekends and which operates the only double-decker bus owned by the city; and the "180" bus, a regular scheduled service that follows the "Royal Route" from the War Cemetery in the North, near the Old Town and down city's most prestigious thoroughfares – Krakowskie Przedmieście, Nowy Świat and Aleje Ujazdowskie – and terminating at Wilanów Palace.
[edit] Buses
Bus service covers the entire city, with approximately 170 routes totalling about 2,603 kilometers (1,617 mi) in length, and with some 1,600 vehicles. Between midnight and 5 am the city and suburbs are served by night lines. The same ticket, with the inscription "ZTM Warszawa" is valid for all means of municipal transport, including city and suburban lines and the Metro.[61] Tickets are best bought at newsagents but can be bought from the drivers of trams and buses.

[edit] Trams
Main article: Warsaw tram system

A modern tram in Warsaw.
The first tram (streetcar) line in Warsaw was opened on 11 December 1866.[62] The last horse-drawn tram ran on 26 March 1908.[62] In the period between the world wars, the tram network was extended significantly. After the German invasion of September 1939 the service was halted for approximately three months due to war damage, but the trams were back in service by 1940.[62] In 1941 the present colors of the cars were introduced (yellow and red, in the colors of the Flag of Warsaw. Previously, trams were painted either white and red, or entirely red).
During the Warsaw Uprising, the tram system was destroyed. The first tram line was reopened on 20 June 1945. Following the Second World War, the tram network in Warsaw underwent fast development.[62] The tracks reached all the principal parts of the city. However, in the 1960s, the official policy of both Polish and Soviet authorities promoted the use of Soviet oil; hence more buses were purchased and the tram network was shortened.
Currently, the Tramwaje Warszawskie company runs 863 cars on over 240 kilometers (149 mi) of tracks. Twenty-odd lines run across the city with additional lines opened on special occasions (such as All-Saints Day).
[edit] Metro
Main article: Warsaw Metro

Plac Wilsona metro station.
Plans to build an underground rail system in Warsaw date as far back as 1925.[63] The Great Depression buried those plans as Poland and the world was gripped by hardship. The studies over the subway project were revived in 1938, but World War II brought an end to the ambitious undertaking.[63] Since 1955 there was a return to the old idea of a shallow metro network. However, the planning phase proceeded at a very slow pace and the economical situation prevented all successive communist governments from actually starting a serious work.[63] Finally, in 1985, the programme was approved by the government and the first tunnels were built.[63] Lack of funds, poor planning, and tedious bureaucracy meant that the work progressed very slowly, at a speed no greater than 2 metres a day. The first section of the Metro was opened in 1995 with a total of 11 stations.[63] The first line from Kabaty in the south to Młociny in the north was completed in October 2008. It has 21 stations along a distance of approximately 23 kilometres.[64] Initially, all of the trains were Russian built. In 1998, 108 new carriages were ordered from Alstom.[63]
The second line running east-west will be about 31 kilometres. It will run from Bemowo in the west to the east bank of the river, where it will split into two branches, one running north to Bródno, the other south-east to Gocław. The central section is now in the bidding stage and will be 6 km. long with seven stations.[63]
[edit] Railway
Main article: Warsaw Railway Junction
Principal railway stations[show]

Station name
* Warszawa Centralna
* Warszawa Śródmieście
* Warszawa Gdańska
* Warszawa Wileńska
* Warszawa Zachodnia
* Warszawa Wschodnia The first railway opened in Warsaw in 1845 (the Warsaw-Vienna Railway). Nowadays Warsaw is one of the main railway hubs in Poland.
The main railway station is Warszawa Centralna serving both domestic traffic to almost every major city in Poland, and international connections mainly to Germany, Czech Republic and former Soviet Union countries. There are also five other major railway stations and a number of smaller suburban stations.
The main railway line crosses the city in a tunnel (tunel średnicowy built in 1933) approximately 2.3 kilometers (1.4 mi) long and running directly under the city center.[65] It is part of an east-west line connecting the Warszawa Zachodnia, Warszawa Centralna and Warszawa Wschodnia stations through the tunnel and a railway bridge over the Vistula River.
[edit] Health system
The first hospital in Warsaw was established in 1353 by duke Siemowit III and his wife Eufemia and named after the Holy Spirit intra muros.[66][67] In 1571 famous Wojciech Oczko, an author of extensive treatises on balneology and syphilidology was made a hospital doctor.[67] It was located previously on Piwna, Przyrynek and Konwiktorska streets, and from 1861 on Elektoralna Street, where it was barbarically destroyed during the siege of Warsaw in 1939.[68]

Children's Memorial Health Institute.
Medical University of Warsaw, the largest medical school in Poland, has 16 affiliated hospitals including the largest clinical hospital in Poland - Public Central Teaching Hospital at Banacha Street, where students are trained in almost all fields of medicine.[69]
Warsaw is home to the Children's Memorial Health Institute (CMHI), the highest-reference hospital for all of Poland, as well as an active research and education center.[70] CMHI was founded by Poles living in Poland and abroad in 1968.[70] In a huge complex of newly designed buildings, with the most up-to-date equipment, a group of leading authorities in pediatrics and their co-workers. At present, the CMHI covers an area of 20 hectares and employs almost 2,000, making it the largest pediatric center in Poland.[70] Funds come from government, health insurance and other resources.
The Maria Skłodowska-Curie Institute of Oncology it is one of the largest and most modern oncological institutions in Europe.[71] The clinical section is located in a 10-floor building with 700 beds, 10 operating theaters, an intensive care unit, several diagnostic departments, and an outpatient clinic.[71] Each floor forms separate departments with surgical, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy wards. Each department provides the full range of combined treatment in a particular field.
Although healthcare system in Poland is free for persons covered by the general health insurance,[72] but it is sometimes slow. For those who wish to avoid queues of public hospitals, there are many private medical centers and hospitals in Warsaw.
[edit] Leisures
[edit] Events
Further information: Events in Warsaw
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.[73][74] 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.[73] By the 19th century this tradition had become a festive event, and it continues today.[73] The city council organize concerts and other events.[74] Each Midsummer’s Eve, apart from the official floating of wreaths, jumping over fires, looking for the fern flower, there are musical performances, dignitaries' speeches, fairs and fireworks by the river bank.[74]
The prestigious Warsaw Film Festival, an annual festival that takes place every October.[75] Films are usually screened in their original language with Polish subtitles and participating cinemas include Kinoteka (Palace of Science and Culture), Palladium and Luna. Over 100 films are shown throughout the festival, and awards are given to the best and most popular films.[75]
[edit] Nightlife

Jazz concert in Tygmont Club.
Poland’s capital has one of the best nightlifes in all of Europe, with a huge amount of pubs, clubs and places where the fun goes on all week from dusk till dawn.[76] Music lovers will find every type of genre being represented, from urban RnB nights to live jazz and hard rock clubs.[77]
In addition to the numerous late-night bars in-house DJs thers's reasonable range of clubbing opportunities in Warsaw, with new venues opening all time.[78] The accent is commercial techno, Latin or golden oldies night.[78] There are a number of alternative-leaning clubs which put on irregular concerts, while established bands (whether Polish or foreign) play in the larger discoth?ques, or in venues such as the Congress Hall in the Palace of Culture and Science.[78] In summer, big Western pop-rock acts may play outdoor gigs in sports stadiums.[78]
The Ground Zero Club, which used to be an air-raid shelter during the war and since it opened back in 1993, it is the most popular dance venue, while Tygmont Jazz Club is a well-established live-music venue in Warsaw's city center. Another interesting place - Dekada is a popular late night theme bar-restaurant-disco, which has based its interior on an American Dinner. The music is a range of school disco, live bands and jazz. Some of the hippest clubs in Warsaw are gay and generally there are a growing number of gay spots. Tomba Tomba, Rasko and Utopia are the most popular gay, lesbian venues in Warsaw.[79]
[edit] Sports
Main article: Sports in Warsaw

A scale model of the National Stadium.
On 9 April 2008 the mayor 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.[80]
The National Stadium, a planned football (soccer) stadium, will be built in Warsaw on the site of the former dilapidated 10th-Anniversary Stadium.[81] The national stadium is due to host the opening match (a group match), remaining 2 group matches, a quarterfinal, and a semifinal of the UEFA Euro 2012 hosted jointly by Poland and Ukraine.[82]

Olympic Center in Warsaw.
There are many sports centers 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 best of the city's swimming centres is at Wodny Park Warszawianka, 4 km south of the centre at Merliniego Street, where there's an Olympic-sized pool as well as water slides and children's areas.[83] Legia Warszawa, the army club with a nationwide following, play at Polish Army Stadium, just southeast of the centre at Łazienkowska Street. Their biggest rivals, Polonia Warsaw, are less well supported but were league champions in 2000 - they play at Konwiktorska Street, a ten-minute walk north of Old Town.
Warsaw is a city where you can enjoy active leisure as well. Tourists can relax playing tennis or squash, doing water sports, horse-riding, cycling, climbing, or going to one of numerous excellently equipped fitness clubs. Near the city center are sporting facilities like golf courses, swimming pools and aqua-parks, artificial rivers, slides and paddling pools.
Club Sport Founded League Venue Head Coach Legia Warszawa[84] Football 1916 Ekstraklasa Polish Army Stadium Jan Urban Polonia Warsaw[85] Football 1911 Ekstraklasa Stadion Polonii Jacek Grębocki Legia Warszawa[86] Basketball 1947 Second League OSiR Bemowo Robert Chabelski Polonia Warbud Warszawa[87] Basketball 1911 Dominet Bank Ekstraliga Hala Sportowa "Koło" Wojciech Kamiński [edit] Culture
[edit] Theatre in the past

Great Theater, home of Poland's National Theatre and Opera.
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.[88]
The main building housed the Great Theater from 1833–4, 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.[88]
Nearby, in Ogród Saski (Saxon Garden), the Summer Theatre was in operation from 1870 to 1939,[89] 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 (1922–6), was the best example of "Polish monumental theatre". From the mid-1930s, the Great Theater building housed the State Institute of Dramatic Arts – the first state-run academy of dramatic art, with an Acting Department and a Stage Directing Department.[88]
Plac Teatralny and its environs was the venue for numerous parades, celebrations of state holidays, carnival balls, and concerts.
[edit] Theatre
Warsaw is home to over 30 major theatres spread throughout the city, including the National Theatre (founded in 1765) and the Grand Theatre in Warsaw (established 1778).[90]

Palace of Culture and Science.
Warsaw also attracts many young and off-stream directors and performers who add to the city's theatre culture. Their productions may be viewed mostly in smaller theatres and Houses of Culture (Domy Kultury), mostly outside Śródmieście (downtown Warsaw). Warsaw hosts the International Theatrical Meetings.
[edit] Music
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 Frederick 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.[78]
[edit] Museums and art galleries
Museums in Warsaw[show]
Name and official website
* National Museum (site)
* Zachęta National Gallery of Art (site)
* Centre for Contemporary Art (site)
* Museum of Modern Art (site)
* Museum of the Polish Army (site)
* Royal Castle (site)
* Warsaw Uprising Museum (site)
* Fryderyk Chopin Museum (site)
* Historical Museum of Warsaw (site)
* Polish History Museum (site)
* Museum of Independence (site)
* Museum of the History of Polish Jews (site)
* Museum of Sports and Tourism (site)
* Museum of Communism (site)
* Museum of Caricature (site)
* Motorisation Museum (site)

Warsaw Uprising Museum.
The levelling of Warsaw during the war has left gaping holes in the city's historic collections. [91] And although a considerable amount of treasures were spirited away to safety as the storm clouds gathered in 1939, it is also true that a great number of collections from palaces and museums in the countryside were brought to Warsaw at that time as the capital was considered a safer place than some remote castle in the borderlands.[91] Thus losses were heavy.[91]
Yet in spite of this, Warsaw still boasts some wonderful museums. As interesting examples of expositions the most notable are: the world’s first Museum of Posters boasting one of the largest collections of art posters in the world,[92] Museum of Hunting and Riding and the Railway Museum. From among Warsaw’s 60 museums, the most prestigious ones are National Museum with a wide 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 and 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) are a delight, as are those of the Royal Castle. The Palace in Natolin – a former rural residence of Duke Czartoryski. Its interiors and park are accessible to tourists.
Holding the Poland's largest private collection of art, the Carroll Porczyński Collection Museum[93] displays works from such varied artists as Rubens, Goya, Constable, Renoir, van Gogh and Dalí, and countless others.[94]

17th century Ostrogski Castle houses the Chopin Museum.
A fine tribute to the fall of Warsaw and history of Poland can be found in the Warsaw Uprising Museum and in the Katyń Museum which preserves the memory of the crime.[95] Museum of Independence host of sentimental and patriotic paraphernalia connected with these fateful epochs, as well as some invaluable art collections. Dating back to 1936 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 Centre of Contemporary Art, with some permanent and temporary exhibitions, concerts, shows and creative workshops. Zachęta National Gallery of Art is the oldest exhibition site in Warsaw, with a tradition stretching back to the mid 19th century. The gallery organises exhibitions of modern art by Polish and international artists and promotes art in many other ways.
The city also possesses some marvellous oddities such as the Museum of Caricature (the only one of its kind in the world)[96] and a magnificent Motorisation Museum, which has everything from 1930's classics to cars that were owned by Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.[97]
[edit] Media and film
See also: List of films featuring Warsaw

New TVP Building.
Warsaw is the media centre of Poland. TVP, the major Polish public service broadcasting corporation collected their activities in a new headquarter at Samochodowa Street in Warsaw. There are also numerous local and national TV and radio stations located in Warsaw, such as TVN, Polsat, TV4, TV Puls, Canal+ Poland, Cyfra+ and MTV Poland.[98]
Since May 1661 the first Polish newspaper, 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, Gazeta Wyborcza, Dziennik Polska-Europa-Świat Poland's large nationwide daily newspapers[99] 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 campanies are TOR, Czołówka, Zebra and Kadr who is behind several international movie productions.[100]
Over the next few years the new Film City in Nowe Miasto, located a mere 80 km from Warsaw, will become the centre of Polish film production and international co-production.[100] It is to be the largest high-tech film studio in Europe.[100] The first projects filmed in the new Film City will be two films about the Warsaw Uprising.[100] Two backlots will be constructed for these projects - a lot of pre-WWII Warsaw and city ruins.[100]
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, The Decalogue by Krzysztof Kieślowski, also including Oscar winner The Pianist by Roman Polański.[101]
[edit] Education

Rococo Czapski Palace houses the Academy of Fine Arts.
Higher education in Warsaw[show]
Name and year established
* University of Warsaw (1816)
* Warsaw University of Technology (1826)
* Warsaw School of Economics (1906)
* Warsaw University of Life Science (1818)
* Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University (1999)
* Medical University of Warsaw (1950)
* Academy of Fine Arts (1844)
* Academy of National Defence (1947)
* University of Physical Education in Warsaw (1929)
* Fryderyk Chopin Music Academy (1810)
* Aleksander Zelwerowicz State Theatre Academy (1946) 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.[102] 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.[103] 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 was established in 1816, when the partitions of Poland separated Warsaw from the oldest and most influential Polish academic center, in Kraków.[104] Warsaw University of Technology is the second academic school of technology in the country, and one of the largest in Central Europe, employing 2,000 professors.[105] 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 Academy the oldest and largest music school in Poland, and one of the largest in Europe,[106] the Warsaw School of Economics, the oldest and most renowned economic university in the country,[107] and the University of Life Science the largest agricultural university founded in 1818.[108]

Warsaw University Library.
Warsaw has numerous libraries, many of which contain vast collections of historic documents. The most important library in terms of historic document collections include the National Library of Poland. Library holds 8.2 million volumes in its collection.[109] Formed in 1928[110] sees itself as a successor to the Załuski Library, the biggest in Poland and one of the first and biggest libraries in the world.[110][111]
Another important library - the University Library, founded in 1816,[112] is home to over two million items.[113] The building was designed by architects Marek Budzyński and Zbigniew Badowski and opened on the 15th of December 1999.[114] It is surrounded by green. The University Library garden, designed by Irena Bajerska, was opened on June 12, 2002. It is one of the largest and most beautiful roof gardens in Europe with an area of more than 10.000 m?, and plants covering 5.111 m?.[115] As the university garden it is open to the public every day.[115]
[edit] Economy
In 2008, Warsaw was ranked the world's 35th most expensive city to live in.[116] It was classified as a gamma world city (also known as a "minor world city") by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Study Group and Network from Loughborough University, placing it on a par with cities such as Rome and Beijing.[117]
[edit] Business and commerce

Downtown Warsaw.
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.[118] Foreign investors' financial participation in the city's development was estimated in 2002 at over 650 million euro. Warsaw produces 12% of Poland's national income[119] which, per capita, is estimated at around 290% of the Polish average. The nominal GDP (PPP) per capita in Warsaw was about $38,000 in 2005 (€25,500).[119] Warsaw leads the region of Central Europe in foreign investment and in 2006, GDP growth met expectations with a level of 6.1%.[120] 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 this year.[121]

Golden Terraces shopping centre.
At the same time the unemployment rate is one of the lowest in Poland, not exceeding 3%, according to the official figures. The city itself collects around 8,740,882,000 złotys in taxes and direct government grants.
It has been said that Warsaw, together with Frankfurt, London, Paris, Moscow, Brussels and Rotterdam is one of the tallest cities in Europe.[122] Eleven of the tallest skyscrapers in Poland, of which nine are office buildings, are located in Warsaw. The tallest structure, the centrally-located Palace of Culture and Science, is the European Union's seventh-tallest building. Warsaw hosts the headquarters of Frontex, the EU's border control agency.[123]
[edit] Warsaw Stock Exchange
Main article: Warsaw Stock Exchange

Exchange Building, home of the exchange from 1876 until World War II.
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.[124] Today, the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) is, according to many indicators,[121] the largest market in the region. It is now the biggest stock exchange in the country, with more than 300 companies listed.[125] 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).[126] The capitalization of the exchange was US$440.92 billion (as at 28 December 2007).[125] The Warsaw Stock Exchange offers both cash and derivative products under one roof.[125] The city is now considered to be one of the most attractive business locations in Europe.[121]
[edit] Industry
During Warsaw's reconstruction after World War II, the communist authorities decided that the city would become a major industrial centre. Numerous large factories were built in the city or just outside it. The largest were the Huta Warszawa Steel Works and two car factories.
As the communist economy deteriorated, these factories lost significance and most went bankrupt after 1989.[127][128] Today, the Arcelor Warszawa Steel Mill (formerly Huta Warszawa) is the only major factory remaining. The FSO car factory produces cars mostly for export.
The number of state-owned enterprises continues to decrease while the number of companies operating with foreign capital grows.[127] The largest foreign investors are Daewoo, Coca-Cola Amatil and Metro AG.[127] Warsaw has the biggest concentration of electronics and high-tech industry in Poland and the growing consumer market perfectly fosters the development of the food-processing industry.[127]
[edit] Tourist attractions
Main article: Tourist attractions in Warsaw
[edit] Sights
Historic Centre of Warsaw* UNESCO World Heritage Site
State Party Poland Type Cultural Criteria ii, vi Reference 30 Region** Europe Inscription history Inscription 1980 (4th Session) * Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO. Warsaw Old Town[show]

1. Stone stairs
2. Historical Museum
3. Barbican
4. Defensive walls
5. Salwator tenement
6. Museum of Leather Crafts
7. St. Anne's tenement
8. Fukier tenement
9. Museum of Literature
10. Museum of Artistic and Precision Crafts
11. St. Martin's Church 12. Gothic Bridge
13. Pelican house
14. St. John's Cathedral
15. Jesuit Church
16. Canonicity
17. Royal Castle
18. Copper-Roof Palace
19. East - West Route tunnel
20. Dung Hill
21. Warsaw Mermaid statue
22. Zygmunt's Column Although today's Warsaw is a fairly young city, it has many tourist attractions. Apart from the Warsaw Old Town quarter, carefully 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 Warsaw University campus. Also the popular Nowy Świat Street is worth mentioning. Wilanów Palace, the former royal residence of King John III Sobieski, is notable for its baroque architecture and beautiful parks.[129]
Warsaw's oldest public park, the Saxon Garden, is located within 10 minutes' walk from the old town.[130] Warsaw's biggest public park and said to be the most beautiful is the Royal Baths Park. It is also very old – established in the 17th century and given its current classical shape in late 18th century[131] – is located further south, on the Royal Route, about 3 km (1.9 mi) from the Warsaw Old Town.
The Powązki Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Europe,[132] 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, be it Catholics, 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.
There are many places in Warsaw where Jewish culture resonates down through time. Nożyk Synagogue, the picturesque Próżna Street, the Jewish theater are only the beginning of a walk in the traces of Warsaw Judaica. There are also many places commemorating the tragic pages of Warsaw’s history such as the Umschlagplatz, the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, and a section of the Ghetto wall on Sienna Street.[23]
Examples of the heroic history of Warsaw can be found in all parts of the city. The Warsaw Citadel, one of the architectural attractions of the city, is an impressive 19th century fortification and one of the best preserved examples of defensive architecture in Poland.[23] The statue of Little Insurgent located at the ramparts of the Old Town commemorates the children who served as messengers and frontline troops in the Warsaw Uprising.[23] Pawiak an infamous German Gestapo prison is now occupied by a Mausoleum of Memory of Martyrdom and the museum.[133]
In Warsaw there are many places connected with the life and work of Fryderyk Chopin. The heart of Polish-born composer is sealed inside Warsaw's Holy Cross Church.[134] During the summer time the Chopin Monument in the Royal Baths Park is a place where pianists give a concerts to the park audience.[135]
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[136] and the Radium Institute at Wawelska Street for the research and the treatment of cancer which she founded in 1925.[137]
[edit] Warsaw Mermaid

The 1659 coat of arms of Old Warsaw on the cover of one of Warsaw's accounting books.
Main article: Coat of arms of Warsaw
The mermaid (syrenka) is Warsaw's symbol[138] and, among other places, 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.[139] 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).[140] 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.[141] In 1653 the poet Zygmunt Laukowski asks the question:

The origin of the legendary figure is not fully known. The best-known legend, by Artur Oppman, it that a long time 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 ever since we can see her sitting at the entrance to the port of Copenhagen. The second mer-maiden 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. Local 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.[143]
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.[143]
Every member of the 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.[144] 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.[145]
Famous people

Marie Curie was born in Warsaw.
Further information: Category:People from Warsaw
One of the most famous people born in Warsaw is Maria Skłodowska-Curie, who achieved international recognition for her scientific discoveries.[146] Another famous person from Warsaw is the musician Fryderyk Chopin. He was born in the village of Żelazowa Wola, about sixty kilometers from Warsaw, but moved to the city with his family when he was seven months old.[147] Famous artist born in Warsaw was Tamara de Lempicka.[148] She was born Maria Górska in Warsaw to wealthy parents and in 1916 she married a Polish lawyer Tadeusz Łempicki.[149] Better than anyone else she represents the Art Deco style in painting.[148] Warsaw was beloved city of Isaac Bashevis Singer, which he described in many of his novels.[150]
* Largest cities of the European Union: ranked 8th.
* Most expensive cities: ranked 35th of 144.
* Best cities in terms of quality of living: ranked 86th of 100.
* Best cities in terms of health and sanitation: ranked 100th of 215.

Source- Wikipedia