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Things to do in Warsaw

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Warsaw Royal Castle
Former residence of Mazovian princes. Once the capital was moved to Warsaw from Krakow, the castle served as seat of the king and the government. Completely destroyed during World War II. Built in the 15th century, this castle served as residence of Mazovian princes. Once the capital was moved to Warsaw from Krakow, the castle served as seat of the king and the government. The castle has been renovated repeatedly and destroyed completely during World War II. It was rebuilt between 1971-1988 using castle remains and rubble. Today, the segment with the clock tower opens the way to the Old Town. Museum attractions include two original Rembrandt paintings as well as works by Bernard Bellotto, aka Canaletto, court painter to Polish King Stanisław August Poniatowski. Canaletto's paintings were vital during Warsaw's post-war reconstruction.
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Museum of King Jan III's Palace at Wilanow
Wilanów Palace is a true pearl of Baroque architecture in Warsaw. Learn about King Jan III Sobieski, who successfully fended off the Turks in the battle of Vienna and who lived in Wilanów with his beloved Marysieńka. Take a walk in the park and tour the palace interiors; see the portrait gallery and listen to stories of great romances. The building and the park have both kept their original form, despite the partition, war, and occupation. See the home of King Jan III Sobieski, the vanquisher of the Turks at Vienna, who in 1683 stopped their march through Europe. The ruler, who gained the nickname of the fearless Lion of Lechistan, lived in the palace with his beloved wife, Maria. In the palace, you will see the king’s apartments and the suites of Queen Maria Kazimiera, which include the Chinese, Dutch and Antiquities rooms and the Potocki Museum. Stop for a moment in the White Room to see images of other palace owners and people associated with it. Wilanów Palace is a must-see when visiting Warsaw. In the wintertime, the venue, illuminated with thousands of lamps, transforms into the Royal Garden of Lights.
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Royal Lazienki Museum
This vast park is a favourite place for Varsovians where they go for long walks amid beautiful nature and architecture to rest from the hustle and bustle of the city. At the heart of the park is the summer residence of the last king of Poland – Stanisław August Poniatowski. The name of the complex comes from the seventeenth-century bathhouse of a Polish nobleman, rebuilt in the 18th century into a palace. Here, in the Palace on the Island, King Stanisław August Poniatowski hosted his famous Thursday dinners, to which he invited scholars and poets to discuss the issues of the day. Today it is a museum where you can admire paintings from the royal collections. In the grounds of Łazienki you will also see an orangery, an amphitheatre, an eighteenth-century court theatre, the Museum of Hunting and Horse-riding, the Myślewicki Palace and numerous free-standing sculptures.
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Fryderyk Chopin Museum
Fryderyk Chopin is one of the most famous Varsovians and a trip to his museum is a must on any visit to Warsaw. It is located in the historic Ostrogski Palace and is one of the most modern biographical museums in Europe. The exhibits and multimedia displays tell the story of the life and the work of the composer. You will learn everything about his childhood and youth spent in Warsaw and his life after he emigrated. You will see letters written to him and by him, drawings and dedications. You will see portraits made during the composer’s lifetime, his hand casting, his death mask and priceless memorabilia: a gold watch given to the 10-year-old artist in recognition of his talent, a candy box, a keyring with his initials, a cufflink, and a priceless Pleyel piano on which the composer played for the last two years of his life.
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Palace of Culture and Science
The highest and most recognisable building in Warsaw can be seen from almost every part of the capital. Where did it come from? It was opened in 1955 on the initiative of Joseph Stalin as a “gift of the Soviet people for the Poles”. Built by Russian workers, for a long time, it was considered to be a symbol of socialist power and the pride of People’s Poland – it was where conventions of the Polish United Workers’ Party took place. Since its very beginning, its monumental interiors have hosted numerous concerts, exhibitions, fairs and shows. Currently, the palace is home to theatres, a cinema, museums, trendy pubs and the main Warsaw Tourist Information office. Go up to the observation deck on the 30th floor of the building and see the beautiful panorama of the city from a height of 114 metres. Take a look at the socialist realist sculptures placed in the niches of the palace’s facade. Each symbolises a different field of science, art, technology or culture, for example a young man with a book of classical literature, a member of komsomol, an archer and a woman from Central Asia. In a direct line from the main entrance, you will find a stone honour tribune, from which the first secretaries of the Central Committee of the Polish communist party greeted those marching on the May Day parade.
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Warsaw Rising Museum
A unique place that helps visitors understand contemporary Warsaw. This interactive museum commemorates the largest underground combat operation in German-occupied Europe during World War II. The 1944 Warsaw Uprising changed forever the face of the Polish capital. The multimedia exhibition reflects the atmosphere of the Uprising, shows not only the military history of the 63 days of fighting and the everyday life of the civilian population, but also describes the post-war communist terror. Strolling along the granite pavement among the rubble of the destroyed capital, you will listen to the stories of the insurgents and see original exhibits from the uprising. You will understand how soldiers moving through the sewers felt and you will see a birds-eye view of the flattened city in the film City of Ruins.
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Warsaw's Old Town
Warsaw’s Old Town (Stare Miasto) is the historical center of Warsaw and the oldest part of town dating back to the 13th century. Situated in the middle of the Old Town is the beautiful market square with its good variety of restaurants. The largest part of the Old Town was destroyed during the Second World War and was later reconstructed. The reconstruction was so precise that one can hardly tell if the the building survived the war or if it was rebuilt. This was honored by the UNESCO who in 1980 added the Warsaw Old Town to its list of World Heritage Sites. The Old Town is also a great place for purchasing souvenirs of Warsaw, as several souvenir stores are located here. The Old Town is located close to most city hotels, you can find it in southern direction from the New Town and north of Krakowskie Przedmiescie (which begins at the Castle Square).
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Warsaw National Museum
The museum houses a magnificent collection of over 830,000 exhibits from all periods, from antiquity to the present. Masterpieces of Polish and world art are presented in themed galleries. In the Faras Gallery you can see the largest collection of Nubian artefacts in Europe from the eighth to the fourteenth centuries, including a unique collection of wall paintings. They come from the flooded Christian cathedral at Faras in Sudan and depict divinities, dignitaries and saints. Authentic 15th-century altars from various regions of Poland, Gothic sculptures and paintings for private prayer houses can be seen in the Gallery of Medieval Art. If you want to understand the role of art in the past, this is the place for you. In the Gallery of Old Art, you will be transported to an era when painting and sculpture functioned on a par with crafts. Next to paintings and sculptures, you will see beautifully decorated furniture, fabrics and dishes, and even the coat and coronation insignia of the King Augustus III. Don’t forget to check out the schedule of temporary exhibitions.
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Vistula Boulevards
It is difficult to imagine a panorama of Warsaw without the Vistula – the river has had a huge impact on the development of the city, and today offers tourists and locals countless attractions. A kilometres-long riverside promenade is a great place for a walk, a bike ride, as well as a night of fun in one of the seasonal clubs operating here. Along the boulevards are gazebos with sun loungers, stone benches and seats made from tree branches. There is also a lookout point and a mini beach with wicker baskets. In such a place, there has to be a place for the symbol of the river and Warsaw – the Mermaid. Stop at the monument and take a photo. Young children will enjoy the water playground with “dancing” fountains and figures of fish as trampolines for jumping. In the summer season, sail on the Vistula. You can choose from a motor boats, sail boats, ferries or kayaks.
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Copernicus Science Centre and Heavens of Copernicus
The Copernicus Science Centre is a real treat for science lovers. Have a go at making your own experiments and find out what it felt like for Neil Armstrong to take his first step on the Moon. Find out why we experience fear and learn about the mysteries of the senses. Visit the Heavens of Copernicus Planetarium and watch the incredible show, and don’t forget to check out the Robotic Theatre. Once you’ve seen everything, chill out on the lawn in the Discovery Park. This attraction is not only for children.
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POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
The POLIN Museum restores the memory of the rich, thousand-year shared history of two peoples: Poles and Jews. The interactive exposition will take you on an incredible journey across centuries. You’ll have the chance to walk the streets of a pre-war Jewish shtetl and discover how Polish and Jewish cultures have intermingled. The edifice of the museum is itself an architectural attraction and a landmark of modern Warsaw. Before you start your tour, pay attention to the building itself, which conceals many symbols and meanings, for example: the main hall “cuts” the museum building from the underground to the roof, symbolising the crack in the history of Polish Jews caused by the Holocaust. On the glass panes covering the façades is the Hebrew word Polin, which means “Poland” or “here you will rest”. Then go on a journey through the centuries following the route designated by eight theme galleries. Antique objects, paintings, interactive exhibits, reconstructions and video projections will bring you closer to this fascinating history.
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Zacheta National Gallery of Art
Zachęta is one of the oldest showrooms in Poland. The impressive building was built between 1898-1900 and designed by Stefan Szyller. All the most outstanding Polish artists’ presented their works in Zachęta, including Wojciech Gerson, Jan Matejko, Józef Chełmoński, Józef Brandt, Stanisław Wyspiański, Józef Mehoffer and many others.