On Saturday, I took the day to myself to explore Poland’s capital, well its Old Town to be exact. The Old Town, along with the rest of Warszawa, was mostly destroyed during WWII. Fortunately, a lot of effort was built into rebuilding it. With that, the capital has a lot of history in it, from war statues/monuments on every other corner to its abundance of museums. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that Warszawa is a fusion of baroque-styled buildings, war monuments, and structures from the Communist era.
Here are some of my pictures from in and around the Old Town!
Krakowskie Przedmieście – one of the most well known streets in Warsaw that leads to the Old Town and is lined with beautiful and important buildings.
Bazylika Świętego Krzyża (The Church of the Holy Cross) – a Roman Catholic church that is located on this street and is the most notable Baroque church in Warsaw.
The Presidential Palace is located on Krakowskie Przedmieście. It was bulit in 1643, but was remodeled and renovated many times since then. Luckily, it managed to survive WWII (because the Nazis presided in it) and the Warsaw Uprising (a failed attempt to liberate Warsaw from the Nazis, which resulted in Hitler ordering the systematic destruction of Warsaw; when the Nazis left Poland in January 1945, around 85% of Warsaw was destroyed).
Plac Zamkowy (The Castle Square) – the street will eventually lead you to this square, which is at the tip of the Old Town. There is a castle (not visible in this picture, but located to the right!), which gives the name for the square. The tall Zygmunt Statue you see here portrays King Zygmunt III, the king for making Warsaw the capital of Poland.
Here you can see the Royal Castle (if you notice, the green building is the same one from the previous picture)! The Royal Castle has been around since the 14th century, but it was destroyed by the Nazis in the beginning of WWII. Luckily, civilians helped save several artifacts and paintings from inside the Castle. The Castle was rebuilt from 1971-1980, thanks to local contributions.
Rynek Starego Miasta (The Old Market Square) – the square located in the center of the Old Town. It’s surrounded by restaurants and bars, where you’ll occasionally hear musicians playing or be able to buy local crafts and paintings!
Syrenka (the Warsaw Mermaid) – this bronze sculpture of a mermaid has been here since 1855. The mermaid is a symbol of Warsaw and can be traced back to a royal seal of Warsaw from 1390. There are a couple stories that go along with the mermaid, but this is the most popular one: A Prince once went out on a hunting trip and got lost in the forest, where he met the mermaid. The mermaid did not hurt him, but shot arrows into the sky and told him to follow them to find people that would help him. There, he met a kind fisherman family that had two daughters, Wars and Sawa, and treated him well, despite not knowing he was the prince. In return, the Prince promised to build a large town near them which he named Warszawa and made the mermaid its symbol.
A view of the Royal Castle from within the Old Town.