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Warsaw coat of arms
Warsaw Warszawa (Poland)
Warsaw Warszawa
Basic data
State : Poland
Voivodeship : Mazovia
Powiat : District-free city
Area : 517.24  km²
Geographic location : 52 ° 13 '  N , 21 ° 2'  E Coordinates: 52 ° 13 '0 "  N , 21 ° 2' 0"  E
Height : 113 m npm
Residents : 1,790,658 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Postal code : 00-001 to 04-999
Telephone code : (+48) 022
License plate : WA, WB, WD, WE, WF, WH, WI, WJ, WK, WN, WT, WU, WW, WX, WY
Economy and Transport
Next international airport : Warsaw Chopin Airport
Gminatype: Borough
Surface: 517.241 km²
Residents: 1,783,321
(Jun. 30, 2019)
Population density : 3448 inhabitants / km²
Community number  ( GUS ): 1465011
City President : Rafał Trzaskowski
Address: pl. Bankowy 3/5
00-950 Warszawa
Website : www.um.warszawa.pl

Warsaw ( Polish Warszawa [varˈʂava] listen ? / I , Yiddish וואַרשע Warsche) has been the capital of Poland since 1596 and is the largest city ​​in terms of area and the most populous city in the country with over 1.75 million inhabitants . As one of the most important traffic, economic and trade centers in Central and Eastern Europe , Warsaw enjoys great political and cultural importance. There are numerous institutions, universities , theaters , museums and monuments in the city . Audio file / audio sample

Both sides of the power of the Vistula (pln. Wisła ) in the Masovian located, it represents the center of the second largest agglomeration of Poland with around 3.5 million inhabitants represent your city is divided into 18 municipalities. Under which Śródmieście ( downtown ) downtown and houses the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the rebuilt Warsaw Old Town .


Geographical location

Warsaw is located on the central Vistula , in the glacial valley of the Vistula, as well as on the Central Mazovian Depression at an average of 100 meters above sea level. The city spreads out on both sides of the Vistula and lies roughly halfway between the Carpathian Mountains and the Baltic Sea  - each about 350 km. The historic town center is located on the left, western bank of the Vistula on the long Vistula cliff Skarpa Wiślana , which rises relatively steeply about 15 to 30 meters above the Vistula. One of the first bridges in Europe with a length of several hundred meters connected the two banks as early as the 16th century. This favored the expansion of the city development to the right bank of the Vistula, which has always been called Praga . There are several Ice Age moraine hills and man-made hills in the urban area. The Vistula is navigable in the Warsaw area. The city has Binnenerań inland port on the right bank of the Vistula . However, shipping traffic is limited to smaller ships and boats, as the river depth often does not exceed three meters.


Warsaw is in the transition zone from the maritime to the continental climate. The average annual temperature is 8.5 ° C . The coldest month is January with an average temperature of −1.9 ° C and the warmest is July with 19 ° C. The summers are warm to hot, the winters cool and sometimes icy cold. The sum of the annual rainfall does not exceed 550 mm. A thick layer of snow is not uncommon in the winter months and the waters in the parks and the Vistula can freeze completely.

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: wetterkontor.de
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Warsaw
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) −0.8 0.0 5.9 12.6 18.6 21.7 23.0 22.7 18.4 12.5 5.6 1.3 O 11.9
Min. Temperature (° C) −6.0 −4.9 −1.5 3.3 8.3 11.2 12.9 12.4 8.8 4.7 0.9 −3.2 O 4th
Precipitation ( mm ) 24 24 26th 34 54 70 73 59 48 35 39 35 Σ 521
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 1.4 2.1 3.7 5.0 6.8 7.9 7.3 6.9 5.1 3.2 1.3 0.8 O 4.3
Rainy days ( d ) 7th 7th 6th 7th 9 9 10 8th 8th 7th 9 9 Σ 96
Humidity ( % ) 86 85 77 73 68 69 74 74 77 82 86 88 O 78.2
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: wetterkontor.de

City structure

Since the last administrative reform in 2002, Warsaw has once again been a unified urban municipality, which also has the status of a district ( Powiat in Polish ). This status is roughly comparable to a city in Germany. Previously, Warsaw was a relatively loose municipal association consisting of several independent municipalities (gminy) . Now the city is divided into 18  city ​​districts (dzielnice) , which are very much subordinate to an overall city administration. Most of the new districts emerged from the old parishes, with two exceptions:

  1. The old community Centrum was dissolved and divided into seven districts. Here one returned to the classification and naming that had existed until the beginning of the 1990s and which largely came from pre-war times.
  2. The former surrounding municipality Wesoła was incorporated when the administrative reform came into force and now forms the district of the same name in Warsaw.
warsaw division
Administrative division of Warsaw since 2002

The following are the current districts of Warsaw in numbers (as of 2014):

Surname Area in km² population Population density in inhabitants / km²
Bemowo 25.0 118.057 4722
Białołęka 73.0 109,062 1494
Bielany 32.3 131,934 4084
Mokotów 35.4 218.911 6184
Ochota 9.7 84,280 8688
Praga-Południe 22.4 178,309 7960
Praga-Północ 11.4 67.279 5901
Rembertów 19.3 23,812 1233
Śródmieście 15.6 120.091 7698
Targówek 24.2 123,677 5110
Ursus 9.4 56,490 6009
Ursynów 43.8 148.385 3387
Wawer 79.7 72,921 915
Wesoła 22.6 24,073 1065
Wilanów 36.7 30,703 836
Włochy 28.6 39,940 1396
Wola 19.3 138,462 7174
Żoliborz 8.5 49.056 5771
total 516.7 1,735,442 3356


Origin of name

Warsaw was mentioned for the first time in 1241 in the Latin formula of a deed of gift ( actum et datum Varschevie , ie "decreed and issued to Warsaw"), name forms handed down from the later Middle Ages include Warseuiensis (1321, Latin adjective), Varschewia (1342) and Warschouia (1482).

The etymology of the toponym is unclear. Most common is the hypothesis favored by Aleksander Brückner, among others , that the name of the city goes back to the genitive form of the proper name Warsz and consequently means something like "[village / estate] des Warsz"; However, this first name is hardly known and its derivation is uncertain, possibly it is a short form of Warcisław . The alleged owner and namesake of the settlement is likely to have been wealthy in the area of ​​today's Solec and Mariensztat districts and may have been a member of the noble family of Rawa or Rawicz .

Other authors suspect a Baltic origin of the name, with a whole series of Etyma for comparison, such as the adjective * virš-ī'n- "upper" (cf. Lithuanian viršùs "height, peak, peak"); According to Simas Karaliūnas ' Warszawa goes back to a Lithuanian Ãpvaršuva , which means something like "place with duty of hospitality [to the visiting king ]" (cf. Lithuanian apvaišinti , "entertain everyone") and also the name of the royal estate Opvoišovo Pajūris in Tauroggen is said to have surrendered.

Early Piast period

A castle stood on the site of
Ujazdowski Castle as early as the 12th century

The first fortified settlement in what is now Warsaw was Stare Bródno in the 9th century. There was a hill fort and a village here. This settlement was abandoned at the end of the 11th century. A new fortified structure was built in Jazdów in the 12th century on the Vistula cliff on the left bank of the Vistula. This small complex was one of the seats of the Dukes of Mazovia. It is believed that it was in the area of ​​today's Ujazdowski Castle and was destroyed in 1262 by the Lithuanians under Mindaugas . Other smaller settlements in Kamion , Gocław and Solec were established nearby . They all lay in the area of Mazovia , populated by West Slavic tribes , which was conquered in the 10th century by the Polish Duke Mieszko I from the Piast dynasty . The most important city in Mazovia at that time was Płock , about 100 kilometers downstream , which was the capital of Poland for a short time in the 11th century under Władysław I. Herman . After the death of Bolesław III. Wrymouth , the Seniorate Constitution was introduced in Poland, which governed the territory under the sons of Boleslaw III. Schiefmunds and the eldest had the seniorate over the junior dukes. Mazovia was passed on to his second eldest son. Since 1146 Senior Bolesław IV. , Who founded the line of the Mazovian Piasts and ruled the country from Płock, became the ruler of these lands.

Seniorate Constitution

The Palace Square with the Royal Palace and a view of St. John's Cathedral

The division of Poland into senior duchies in 1188 weakened the whole country, which led to numerous incursions by the Ruthenians and Lithuanians into Mazovia. As a result, the trade route that ran from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea was relocated from the western Bug to the left bank of the Vistula. This led to an economic boom in the Warsaw settlement of Jazdów, where the Mazovian dukes built one of their castles. However, Jazdów was destroyed by the Lithuanians in 1262, so the residents built their settlement three kilometers further north in the area of ​​today's Warsaw Old Town. The Duke of Mazovia Bolesław II. Mazowiecki also gave up the castle in Jazdów (today the Ujazdowski Castle is located there ) and built a castle within the old town (today's Warsaw Royal Castle ). Its headquarters remained in Plock. Warsaw was mentioned several times between 1281 and 1321. The location certificate is no longer preserved. In 1334 Trojden I granted Warsaw city charter and many merchants from Thorn settled in the city. 1339 took place in Warsaw a significant legal dispute between Casimir III. of Poland and the Teutonic Order . In 1356 was by Siemowit III. founded the first monastery of the Augustinian order in Warsaw. At this time most of the buildings in the old town were built, especially the Gothic St. John's Cathedral and the Palace of the Dukes of Mazovia, which later became the royal palace.

Duchy of Mazovia and Polish fiefdom

Remains of the city wall from 1350

With the reunification of Poland by King Władysław I. Ellenlang in 1320, the seniority constitution was repealed. At the same time, Mazovia was not part of Poland, but became a Polish fiefdom in the middle of the 14th century. It was further divided into the individual duchies of Płock , Rawa and Czersk . Warsaw was one of the latter. The Old Town of Warsaw was surrounded in 1350 with first and 1380 with another ring of walls. Around 1380, to the north of the old town, also on the bank of the Vistula, the Warsaw New Town was built, which received Kulm town charter in 1408 . Janusz I. Starszy moved the capital of the Mazovian Duchy of Czersk from Czersk to Warsaw in 1413. After the Polish-Lithuanian Union of 1386, Warsaw developed very quickly thanks to its central location between the two capitals Krakow and Vilnius . In particular, the reign of Prince Janusz I from 1374 to 1429 was one of Warsaw's first heydays. Several Gothic buildings and churches in the old and new towns have been preserved from this period, including the portal of the town house on the market square of the old town at number 21. In 1454, during the reign of Bolesław IV, the Church of St. Anne and the Bernardine monastery built south of the Kraków Gate. In 1469 the Mazovian princes confirmed the privileges of the Jewish community that had existed in Warsaw since the beginning of the 14th century. With the extinction of the Piast dukes, Rawa came directly to Poland in 1462, Płock in 1496 and Czersk-Warsaw in 1526, with the last Mazovian princes probably poisoned in 1524 (Stanislaus I) and 1526 (Janusz III) at the behest of the Polish Queen Bona Sforza were. Both are buried next to their teacher Stanislaus from Strzelec in St. John's Cathedral. The splendid Renaissance tombstones of the two princes and the canon were donated by her sister Princess Anna Odrowąż . The St. Anna Church is named after her, as she generously supported the Bernardine monastery.

Polish-Lithuanian aristocratic republic

Warsaw. Engraving from 1656
Warsaw. Oil painting by Bernardo Bellotto , called Canaletto, from 1770
Louis de Silvestre : August the Strong - portrait from around 1718

With the annexation to Poland, the Warsaw bourgeoisie received many trade privileges from Sigismund I , which accelerated the development of the city. When Poland regained Danzig and the Vistula Delta in 1466, the Vistula became the most important Polish trade route for exports and imports to and from Western Europe. Warsaw, located on the Vistula, benefited greatly from this economically. After the death of Sigismund I, his widow Bona Sforza moved her court from Kraków Wawel to Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw in 1548 . Her son Sigismund II August , however, continued to rule Poland-Lithuania from Krakow, although he was visiting Warsaw more and more often. In 1569 and 1573 the Union of Lublin and the Articuli Henriciani determined that the Polish parliament, the Sejm , should meet in Warsaw and the election of the king in Kamion and Wola at the gates of Warsaw. So in Kamion Heinrich von Valois in 1573 and in Wola in 1574 Stephan Báthory and in 1587 Sigismund III. Wasa elected Polish-Lithuanian kings. Since Stephan Báthory, the taking of the feudal oath of the Prussian dukes has also been carried out in front of St. Anne's Church in Warsaw instead of on the Krakow market square. After the fire of the Kraków Wawel in 1596, Sigismund III decided. Wasa from the Swedish house Wasa to move the residence of the Polish kings to Warsaw, because he was also king of Sweden and had ambitions for the Moscow throne. The move in stages went hand in hand with the expansion of the seat of the Mazovian dukes into the Polish royal palace from 1598 by Italian builders. After returning from the successful campaign to Moscow in 1611, Sigismund III stayed. Wasa finally in Warsaw. Nonetheless, Krakow remained legally the capital, as there was no legal act that would legalize the move. Until 1795 Warsaw was only entitled to the title of royal seat. With the acquisition of the role of the capital, Warsaw began a heyday in the early baroque period under the Wasas dynasty, which lasted until the city was destroyed by the Swedes in 1655. After the fire in the old town in 1607, it was rebuilt in Mannerist style . In the 16th century, Warsaw grew far beyond the medieval city walls of the old and new towns and had a population of over 50,000. New districts arose on both sides of the Vistula. From 1568 to 1573 the first over 500 m long Vistula bridge was built on 18 pillars. It was one of the longest bridges in Europe at the time. In 1648, Praga , the district on the right bank of the Vistula, received city rights. Other districts ( Jurydyka ) were privately owned by individual magnates, wealthy noblemen ( Szlachta ) , clergymen and monasteries. They were exempt from city jurisdiction. They arose in large numbers around the new early baroque palaces of the aristocracy who moved from Krakow in search of proximity to the royal court. The magnates also donated numerous early baroque churches and monasteries. In 1597, for example, the Jesuits came to Warsaw. Sigismund III. Wasa had the royal palace rebuilt and expanded the Ujazdowski palace and the Kazimierz palace in the early baroque style. Magnificent palaces of the nobility such as the Koniecpolski Palace , the Potocki Palace and the Krasicki Palace were built along the Kraków suburb on the Royal Route . The Ossoliński Palace, built in 1641, was considered one of the most luxurious palaces in Europe. In 1637 Władysław IV opened the first permanent theater in the royal palace. For his father Sigismund III, who died in 1632. Wasa had the Sigismund Column erected on Schlossplatz in 1643 , the first secular monument in Warsaw. From 1661 the first Polish daily newspaper, the “Polish Mercury”, appeared in Warsaw. In the first half of the 17th century, Warsaw was one of the leading centers of the early modern period in Europe. In the years 1655–1657, during the Second Northern War , Warsaw was destroyed by the Swedes, Brandenburgers and Transylvanians. The rich palaces were looted and burned down and the looted art treasures and book collections were shipped to Sweden . The devastation was so great that these years went down in the history of the city as the Swedish Flood and June 23 was celebrated as a feast day in memory of the retreat of the enemy troops in 1657. Nonetheless, valuable early Baroque monuments from the Wasa period have been preserved or reconstructed, such as the Royal Castle, Ujazdowski Castle, the Jesuit Church and the Dominican Church as well as the Gianotti Palace in the old town. The Wasa period finally ended in 1668 with the abdication of John II Casimir .

A renewed heyday began for Warsaw under the rule of Jan Sobieski from 1673, who, as a generous patron and art lover, had the southern parts of the city expanded. He succeeded Michael I. Korybut Wiśniowiecki, who ruled in Warsaw for only five years . Starting in 1677, Sobieski built the Wilanów Palace on the Versailles-style Royal Route, which was extended to the south, with a large French garden. In 1687 he also donated the Antoni Padewski Church in the south of Warsaw as a vote for the victory near Vienna in 1683. Sobieski brought two of the most ingenious European builders of the High Baroque to Warsaw, Tylman van Gameren and Andreas Schlueter , as well as numerous artists, including Jan Reisner should be mentioned. From 1692, Sobieski's wife Marysieńka built one of the world's largest trading centers at the time, Marywil , which now houses the Great Theater and the Theater Square. During this time, under the guidance of Tylman van Gameren, the Krasiński Palace , the Ostrogski Palace , the Sacraments Church, the Capuchin Church and the Carmelite Church were built . The Marymont Palace was also built for Marysieńka outside the city , today a densely populated residential district of Warsaw.

After the death of Sobieski in 1696 and the election of August II in 1697, the Saxon period began . This time of the Saxon kings began very unhappily for Warsaw with the Great Northern War from 1702. During this war and the subsequent War of the Polish Succession from 1734, Warsaw was again occupied and destroyed by Swedish and Russian troops. Most recently , August III. Poland in the Seven Years War from 1756. In the Saxon period under August II. And August III. The Saxon Axis was created from 1713 with the Saxon Palace , the Brühl Palace and the Saxon Park perpendicular to the Königsweg. In 1726 the Saxon Park was opened to the public. In 1740 the Collegium Nobilium was established , a Piarist aristocratic school from which the Warsaw University was to emerge. In 1748 the Warsaw Opera was opened. The palaces on Senatorska and Miodowa Strasse (e.g. the Palais Lelewel built by Ephraim Schröger ) also date back to the Saxon period . The Wettins brought outstanding Dresden builders and artists, such as Johann Georg Plersch and Johann Sigmund Deybel , and fashion for Meissen porcelain to the Warsaw court. They redesigned Warsaw in the late Baroque and Rococo styles. In 1732 August II conducted one of the largest military parades on the Czerniaków fields near Warsaw in honor of his daughter Anna Orzelska , for whom he also had the Blue Palace built. Due to the great devastation in the numerous wars, the Saxon period went down as one of the blackest periods in Warsaw's history.

The period of prosperity was renewed during the Polish Enlightenment under Stanislaus August Poniatowski from 1764, who had many Warsaw buildings rebuilt or built in the classicist style. Under his rule, Warsaw became one of the most important centers of Enlightenment and classicism in Europe. He extended the Royal Route south of the Kraków suburb to the New World and founded new “Jurydykas” there. He had the Łazienki complex with many gardens and castles built south of Ujazdowski Castle. Numerous palaces from the Stanislaus period can also be found on Długa and Senatorska streets. During his time, Warsaw had more than 150,000 inhabitants, making it one of the largest cities in Europe. He started his reign very ambitiously. In the first year of the reign in 1765 he founded the Knight School, the Mint and the Great National Theater in Warsaw under the direction of Wojciech Bogusławski . Since 1770 the city was reorganized and all streets were given street names and house numbers. From 1772 the Łazienki complex was rebuilt. From 1776 the old town was connected to the Praga district to the right of the Vistula by another bridge over the Vistula. From 1773, the world's first ministry of education, the Commission for National Education , had its seat in Warsaw and between 1788 and 1792 the Great Sejm met in the Warsaw Royal Castle , which passed the first modern European constitution on May 3, 1791. This was preceded by the so-called Black Procession in 1789 , in which the cities demanded more political say. It finally led to the incorporation of the city constitution of April 20, 1791 into the constitution of May 3, 1791 . For Warsaw this meant, among other things, that the Jurydykas were repealed and that a uniform city administration was introduced. Therefore, April 21 (the day Warsaw ratified the city constitution) is also the city holiday. The Constitution of May 3, 1791 had the effect that Russian and Prussian troops occupied Poland in 1792 and the country in 1793 for the second time split was. In an initially successful uprising in Warsaw in April 1794 under the leadership of the master shoemaker Jan Kilińskis within the all-Polish Kościuszko uprising , in which the entire population of Warsaw took an active part, the Russian garrison was destroyed and more than 4,000 Russian soldiers and civilians were killed. In 1794, after the Battle of Warsaw, the Russian troops of Suvorov staged a massacre of the population of the right bank of the Praga district as revenge . More than ten thousand civilians were killed. In 1795 Poland was divided for the third time. After Stanisław August Poniatowski's abdication, who died in Grodno in 1798 , Warsaw was occupied by Prussian troops in 1796 and for 11 years the seat of the new Prussian province of South Prussia , which included Warsaw, Posen and Kalisz . The population fell rapidly to 115,000 in 1806, and the economic situation deteriorated. In 1800 Stanisław Staszic founded the Polish Academy of Sciences (Polska Akademia Nauk) in Warsaw, which is still located in the Staszic Palace on the Kraków suburb.

Duchy of Warsaw

After the Treaty of Tilsit , the Duchy of Warsaw was formed in 1807 from the two Prussian partition areas of 1793 and 1795 - with the exception of Danzig - with Warsaw as the capital. In 1807 it received a new liberal constitution and the Polish Sejm was convened again in Warsaw after a twelve-year break. In the same year, a Code Napoléon (Code civil) adapted to the Polish legal tradition came into force, one of the first summarized civil law books in Europe. As the basis for the Kodeks Cywilny, issued in 1964, the Civil Code has shaped the Polish civil law system to this day. The nephew of the last Polish king, General Józef Antoni Poniatowski , rebuilt the Polish army in Warsaw, which soon numbered 200,000 men. In the Fifth Coalition War , the Duchy of Austria was attacked . Initially defeated (→ Battle of Raszyn ), the duchy was able to assert itself against the Habsburgs and in the Treaty of Schönbrunn with Western Galicia and Krakow received the territories that had fallen to Austria during the Third Partition of Poland . Troops of the duchy took part in Napoleon's Russian campaign in 1812 and the following year in the Battle of Leipzig , in which Józef Poniatowski found his death in the White Elster . He was then solemnly buried as a national hero in the Wawel Cathedral in Krakow. Poniatowski became a symbol of the Duchy of Warsaw, although he was not a duke, but only the commander in chief of the army. As early as the early 19th century , the Warsaw residents commissioned a monument that was made by the famous Danish sculptor of classicism Bertel Thorvaldsen . In the course of the reorganization of Europe in 1814/15 by the Congress of Vienna , the Duchy of Warsaw was abolished.

Congress Poland

The arsenal was stormed in 1830 during the November Uprising
Belvedere - this is where the November Uprising began

After the Congress of Vienna , Warsaw became the capital of the Kingdom of Poland ( Congress Poland ), which was ruled by the Russian Tsar in personal union with Russia. It was given a relatively liberal constitution in 1817, and the Polish Sejm in Warsaw had extensive powers. The executive power lay with the governor Grand Duke Constantine , the brother of Tsar Alexander I.

Warsaw University was founded in 1816 on the basis of the Collegium Nobilium from 1740 , and a year later the Warsaw Stock Exchange was the first modern Polish stock exchange (a stock exchange was established in Krakow in 1818 ). Stock exchange trading in securities (especially bills of exchange) has been documented in Warsaw since the 17th century. In other Polish trading cities ( Danzig , Krakow, Posen , Lemberg, etc.), there had been irregular stock exchange trading since the Middle Ages, which was brought to Poland by Dutch and Italian merchants. But the first stock exchange with a public exchange regime was the aforementioned Warsaw Stock Exchange from 1817.

During this time, industrialization began in Warsaw, and the first large factories were built in the city. Outside the gates, the Powązki Cemetery was laid out in 1792 , one of the largest and most beautiful necropolises of the 19th century, and in 1825, under the leadership of Antonio Corazzi , the construction of the Great Theater, the largest in Europe at the time, began. Here played among others Helena Modjeska and Pola Negri .

In the 1810s and 20s, the young Frédéric Chopin , who was born near the city in the manor of his mother Żelazowa Wola family, lived and performed in Warsaw . Already at the beginning of the 1820s it became clear that the Tsar would not abide by the constitution and intended to govern his governor in an autocratic manner. This did not change after the Decembrist uprising in Russia in 1825.

In 1830 it became known that the Tsar wanted to use Polish troops against the revolutionaries in Belgium. So the broke on 30 November 1830 with the storming of Belvedere Palace (Belweder) in Warsaw insurgent November uprising going on. The Grand Duke Constantine had to flee the city after a few days, and the Polish Sejm deposed the Tsar as King of Poland. The uprising was successful in the first few months, and Russian troops had to evacuate Warsaw and the surrounding area. After more than a year of war, however, the insurgents had to capitulate. With the great emigration, around 30,000 Warsaw and other Congress Poles fled to Western Europe and the United States . Among them were Frédéric Chopin and Adam Mickiewicz .

In 1832 the constitution and the Sejm were repealed and a period of political reprisals began. In the same year the citadel , which also contained a prison for political prisoners, was built north of the new town in response to the November uprising. In the subsequent romantic era, Warsaw was expanded.

The railroad had reached Warsaw since 1840, and the first connection to Vienna was soon completed. In contrast to the Prussian and Austrian partitions, Warsaw remained relatively quiet during the spring of 1848 , as the conspirators who were planning a nationwide uprising had been arrested beforehand. During this time, the textile industry city of Łódź was built about 80 km southwest of Warsaw in Congress Poland on the railway line to Vienna and soon rose to become one of the leading industrial metropolises in Europe.

In January 1863 the January uprising against the Tsarist regime broke out . In a partisan war, the Warsaw residents were able to resist for two years until they had to give up at the end of 1864. The Kingdom of Poland was finally dissolved and Russia annexed. Thus Warsaw became the third largest city in the tsarist empire after Moscow and St. Petersburg. The abolition of the customs border with Russia brought about a rapid economic upswing that lasted until the First World War .

The economic center of the city shifted from the Royal Route to the magnificent Marszałkowska Street to the west of it . In 1866 the first horse-drawn tram and in 1908 the first electric tram ran in Warsaw. Numerous representative rental and commercial buildings as well as cultural institutions in the style of historicism, secession and eclecticism were built here .

After the destruction of the Second World War, this part of the city's history was completely lost. Remnants of the historical buildings from the 19th century can be found in Lwowska Street and partly in Ujazdów and Jerusalem avenues.

From 1881 a modern sewer system was built. At the end of the 19th century, the two fort belts of the Warsaw Fortress were built . In 1900 the splendid building of the Warsaw Philharmonic was built in Art Nouveau style, in which Ignacy Paderewski and Jan Kiepura performed in the first half of the 20th century . In 1867, the double and first female Nobel Prize winner Marie Skłodowska-Curie was born in the New Town. The author Bolesław Prus, in his novels that are faithful to realism, commemorated the period of Warsaw positivism . Above all, the novel " Lalka " should be mentioned here, in which Prus describes the career and the case of a Warsaw entrepreneur. Another representative of Warsaw positivism, Henryk Sienkiewicz , received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1905. He was later buried in a crypt in Warsaw Cathedral. Teodor Józef Korzeniowski (pseudonym Joseph Conrad ) also lived in Warsaw (Nowy Świat 47) in the 19th century . In the same year, in response to Russia's lost war against Japan and Bloody Sunday, a brief socialist uprising took place in St. Petersburg , co-organized by Rosa Luxemburg , who came from a Jewish family in Zamość (southern Congress Poland) and grew up in Warsaw has been. At the turn of the century, 36% of Warsaw's resident population were Jews . In 1909 36.9% were Jews, 2.4% Protestants and 0.4% Mariavites .

First World War

Invasion of German cavalry in 1915
Session of the Extraordinary Congress of Internal Medicine held in Warsaw in May 1916

During the First World War , Russian Poland initially formed a far westward Russian front against the Central Powers . After the German defensive successes against the Russian army at Tannenberg and on the Masurian Lakes and the simultaneous defeat of Austria-Hungary in the battle in Galicia , an offensive in central Poland was intended to relieve the Austro-Hungarian armed forces . However, the Russian victory in the Battle of the Vistula south of Warsaw made this advance fail in autumn 1914. In the spring and summer of 1915, the Central Powers again carried out major attacks on the Eastern Front ( Battle of Gorlice-Tarnów , Bug Offensive , Narew Offensive ), which led to extensive territorial gains. Under the impression of several severe defeats, the Russian army was forced to give up Russian Poland and withdraw into the interior (→ Great withdrawal of the Russian army in 1915 ). On August 5, 1915, the 9th German Army took Warsaw, before the Russian Army had burned down strategic buildings and bridges when it withdrew.

In the territory of Russian Poland they occupied, the Germans established the General Government of Warsaw in August 1915, which existed until November 1918 . Hans von Beseler became Governor General, Ernst Reinhold Gerhard von Glasenapp became the Chief of Police. Under the German military administration, the university was reopened with Polish as the language of instruction. On May 1 and 2, 1916, an extraordinary congress of internal medicine was held in Warsaw, mainly attended by military doctors . In autumn 1916 the German Reich and Austria-Hungary agreed on the creation of a provisional Polish kingdom with Warsaw as the capital, and promised the Polish population an independent Poland. This was favored by the development in Russia (→ October Revolution ); in the peace treaty of Brest-Litowsk it renounced its sovereign rights in Poland.

Second republic

In the 14-point program of US President Woodrow Wilson , which identified the basic principles of a peace order for Europe, the re-establishment of an independent Poland was also mentioned. The fighting ended with the Armistice of Compiègne on November 11, 1918, and the German troops in Warsaw were disarmed. On the same day Józef Piłsudski arrived in Warsaw, where he received supreme command of the Polish troops through the Regency Council and proclaimed Poland's independence; this date has since been considered Polish Independence Day .

Warsaw had been the capital of the Second Polish Republic since 1919 . During the Polish-Soviet War in August 1920, it was threatened with capture by the Red Army , but under Piłsudski's command the Poles achieved an overwhelming victory that went down in history as a miracle on the Vistula .

In the interwar period, Warsaw experienced a new building boom. On Aleje Ujazdowskie (since then the government and embassy district), a new Sejm building as well as various ministry palaces and embassies were built in the 1920s . At the same time, the first Polish airport was inaugurated at Pole Mokotowskie . In addition, cultural life also flourished. a. the later Nobel Prize winner Czesław Miłosz . The Warsaw bohemian of that time has been captured in pictures by Józef Rapacki , among others . In 1926, during the Piłsudski May Putsch , street fighting broke out in Warsaw, which began on the Poniatowski Bridge . However, after it became clear fairly early on that the incumbent government under Stanisław Wojciechowski had no support either in the army or in the city population, it gave up after two days.

Under city president Stefan Starzyński (in office since 1934) Warsaw experienced a cultural heyday. Warsaw 's Okęcie Airport received permanent domestic and international flight connections. The tram and bus network was expanded and new streets were built in the outskirts. In 1939 Warsaw already had over 1,350,000 inhabitants.

In September 1939 the Second World War began with the German invasion of Poland . As the conflict progressed, Warsaw became the center of bitter fighting. The remnants of the Polish army defeated in the Battle of the Bzura holed up in the city area and defended it tenaciously. Shortly afterwards Warsaw was completely enclosed by German troops after they broke through the front on the Narew and were now also in the east in front of Warsaw. During these heavy fighting, the urban area of ​​Warsaw, especially the outskirts, was both shot at by German artillery and bombed from the air. Far more than ten thousand civilians were killed here. During the German siege of Warsaw , the city lost around 10% of its buildings and the bombed Warsaw Royal Castle burned down. On September 28, 1939 Warsaw had to surrender and was occupied by German troops. City President Stefan Starzyński was arrested by the Gestapo and murdered in Dachau concentration camp in 1943 .

German occupation in World War II

The destroyed Warsaw in January 1945


Four weeks after the attack on Poland began , Wehrmacht troops marched into Warsaw on September 28, 1939, and a devastating occupation of over five years began. Right from the start, the terror of the occupiers met with determined resistance from large sections of the population. Organized resistance took various forms, from secret educational institutions and small and large sabotages to assassinations. From the beginning of the occupation, Warsaw was the center of the Polish Underground State with the secret administration of the London government in exile and the Home Army .

On July 31, 1944, as part of Operation Bagration, the Red Army reached the Warsaw district of Praga . In the following months the Vistula formed the front line and the eastern parts of the city were under the control of the Red Army. As part of the Vistula-Oder operation , the western part of Warsaw could only be captured more than five months later on January 17, 1945.

Warsaw Ghetto

After the occupation of Warsaw by the German Wehrmacht, the Jews of the city and the surrounding area were imprisoned in the Warsaw ghetto from November 1940. It was the largest Jewish ghetto in occupied Europe. At least 300,000 Jewish citizens of Warsaw were deported and murdered from there. In 1941, the ghetto was made compulsory for Jews and leaving the ghetto and any assistance to the Jewish Warsaw residents was punishable by death. Nevertheless, the Żegota organization and many private individuals were able to save hundreds of Jews from death.

On April 18, 1943, there was an uprising in the Warsaw ghetto under the leadership of Mordechaj Anielewicz and Marek Edelman as a reaction to the liquidation of the ghetto by the Waffen SS . On May 8, 1943, most of the Jewish leaders committed suicide in hiding at 18 Miła Street. Some Jewish units, including Marek Edelman, managed to escape to the Polish underground. After the ghetto uprising, the SS destroyed the Great Synagogue in Warsaw on May 16, 1943 , burned down an entire district and murdered most of the surviving Jews in the Treblinka concentration camp . This resistance to the German occupation was registered internationally.

Warsaw Uprising

The Warsaw Uprising, supported by the Polish Home Army , began on August 1, 1944 under the leadership of Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski . It was the largest uprising against the occupiers in occupied Europe during the Second World War. Almost the entire remaining urban population took part in the war, the aim of which was to achieve Poland independent of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In the first days of August, the Polish media and a scout post were restored and the survey was initially successful when German troops had to withdraw from large parts of the city center. Due to a lack of supplies of any kind, the uprising quickly got into a critical situation. The Red Army, which was far superior to the Wehrmacht at the time, had stopped on the right bank of the Vistula and offered no support to the resistance. The Soviets also refused the Western Allies airfields from which they could have flown in more relief supplies and weapons. The Home Army had to capitulate on October 2, 1944. Almost 200,000 Polish soldiers and civilians were killed in the Warsaw Uprising, which was largely suppressed by units of the Waffen SS . As a reprisal, the majority of the remaining buildings on the left bank of the Vistula were blown up by the German troops as planned and Warsaw largely destroyed . The surviving population was deported to concentration camps or to forced labor .

People's Republic

On January 17, 1945, the Red Army marched into a ruined city with no inhabitants. Most of the liberated population returned to Warsaw. However, the soldiers of the Home Army were not allowed to return. Many had to emigrate. The city administration was installed by the emerging Communist Party ( Polska Partia Robotnicza ) . Soon the decision was made to rebuild Warsaw down to the last detail. In 1945 a fund for the reconstruction of Warsaw was established. In February 1945 a commission headed by Roman Piotrowski began the first reconstruction work. The old town, the new town and the Kraków suburbs were rebuilt in a historical reconstruction from 1946 to 1953 (declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980). The construction work represents the largest planned reconstruction of a development in the world to date. At the same time, the development of the streets Miodowa , Długa and Senatorska as well as the Teatralny and Bankowy squares were reconstructed. The work was largely based on paintings by the Italian painter Bernardo Bellotto (Canaletto), who created many city panoramas of Warsaw in the 18th century.

From 1947 to 1949, the tunnel of the "East-West Artery" was built under parts of the old town. In 1971 a committee for the reconstruction of the Warsaw Royal Castle was established under the direction of Stanisław Lorentz . This rebuilding was carried out in the 1970s and 1980s.

Several districts were built in the real socialist style. From 1952 to 1955 the Warsaw Palace of Culture was built, which was then the second tallest building in Europe. In addition, the Marienstadt and Marszałkowska Dzielnica Mieszkaniowa (MDM) districts were (re) built in the real socialist style. The heyday of this style in Poland dates from 1949 to 1955 and, in its Warsaw modification, merged with the Polish architecture of the 1930s, which in turn was strongly influenced by Warsaw classicism. Despised for a long time, the architecture of social realism has recently been gradually being rediscovered. Cityscapes of this style were painted by Helena Krajewska, among others .

In May 1955, under the dictates of the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact military alliance was founded in Warsaw . In the same year the World Youth Festival took place here. In response to the Polish October 1956, Władysław Gomułka was appointed First Party Secretary; the time of Stalinism came to an end (see also here ). In the same year, Gomułka gave a speech to over a million people on Defiladenplatz , which was intended to usher in the longed-for upheaval. In March 1968 there was a student revolt triggered by the ban on the performance of Adam Mickiewicz's play Funeral in Warsaw. This marked the beginning of the end of the Gomułka era, which was replaced by Edward Gierek in December 1970 after a workers' uprising . In addition to the call by the Polish bishops to their German colleagues for reconciliation in 1965, Willy Brandt's kneeling in Warsaw on December 7, 1970 in front of the memorial for the ghetto uprising in 1943 was one of the most important cornerstones for German-Polish reconciliation. In 1976 the KOR (Committee for the Defense of Workers) was founded in Warsaw , from which the Solidarność trade union was later to emerge, which was registered on November 10, 1980 at the Warsaw Voivodship Court. Crucial to the downfall of communism was the Pope's visit , John Paul II. , The concurrent causes on June 2, 1979 in Warsaw for the establishment of the first independent trade union in the Soviet bloc was, and his Mass before more than one million inhabitants of Warsaw on the Defiladenplatz in 1987. With the declaration of martial law by General Jaruzelski on December 13, 1981, Warsaw was occupied by motorized special forces ( ZOMO ) with tanks and heavy military equipment. After the Solidarność movement in the 1980s, there were round table talks in Warsaw from February to April 1989 ; as a result, the first (almost) free elections in a Warsaw Pact state were initiated (June 4 and 18, 1989 parliamentary elections; presidential election July 19, 1989 ).

Third Republic

Warsaw city center

Warsaw from 1989

With the law on the Warsaw administrative structure of May 18, 1990, Warsaw's self-government was reintroduced and on May 27, 1990 a city parliament was re-elected after more than 50 years. Stanisław Wyganowski , who had been provisional in this position since January 1990, was elected President of Warsaw . On April 7, 1991, after half a century, the Warsaw Stock Exchange was reopened as the second capital market institution of its kind in a former Eastern Bloc state, which in the following years developed into the leading exchange in East Central Europe. It got its seat - which was also symbolic - in the building of the former Polish United Workers' Party and later moved to a newly built building on Aleje Ujazdowskie. In 1994 eleven districts were formed from the urban area and in 1995 the first section of the subway was put into operation. In 2002, the Warsaw Administrative Structure Act was modernized so that Warsaw was once again a unified municipality of the Masovian Voivodeship with 18 subunits. In the 1990s many modern skyscrapers and office buildings were built in the center and the Wola district and Warsaw became the leading financial center in East Central Europe . The controversial reprivatisation of real estate led to the Warsaw reprivatisation affair in the 2010s .


The reconstruction of Warsaw that began in the People's Republic is still ongoing today. In the next few decades the royal gardens are to be reconstructed and the Brühl and Saxon palaces rebuilt. Nevertheless, most of the buildings in old Warsaw will no longer be able to be rebuilt. Today's streets are largely different than they were before 1939. The rich secessionist architecture of Marszałkowska Street and Jerusalem Allee has been irretrievably lost.

Like other centers in Central Europe, Warsaw benefited from the fall of 1989 . The city claims the title of largest construction site in Europe , as many shops, shopping centers, high-rise office buildings and leisure facilities have been created in the city center in recent years. Warsaw has shed its block building image and is now the “highest” city in Europe alongside Frankfurt, London, Rotterdam and Paris.

Warsaw is the largest investment focus in Poland. New high-rise office buildings are being built in the city, such as the 208-meter-high Warsaw Trade Tower , which was completed in 1999, or the Warsaw Spire, which opened in 2016 and is 220 meters high. Both compete for the 237-meter-high Palace of Culture (built in 1955) in the skyline. In 2016, construction began on what is likely to be the tallest building in the European Union, the Varso Tower , which will be 310 meters high.

Warsaw is the seat of various universities, including the Warsaw University and the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University . In addition, since 2005 Warsaw has been the seat of the European Agency for Operational Cooperation at the External Borders (FRONTEX).

Panoramic view of the city, 2012


Legal basis

The political structure of the city administration is regulated by the law on the administrative structure of the capital Warsaw of March 15, 2002. This is the third legal text of this kind after the decisions of 1990 and 1994. The law of 2002 stipulated the following:

  • Warsaw is a municipality (Polish Gmina ) with the legal status of a city with rights of a (land) district (miasto na prawach powiatu )
  • City arms
  • Number of councilors in Warsaw
  • Warsaw is obliged to carry out delegated state tasks that the national government or administration is authorized to delegate by law or voluntary agreement, provided that the necessary financial resources have been made available
  • Division of the City of Warsaw into districts as helping bodies, the creation of which is required by law
  • Area of ​​the city for the day the law comes into force

President of the city

The mayor is the executive body of the Polish capital. He or she reports to the employees of the city administration, the heads of the city organizational units as well as other service units such as the Warsaw Fire Brigade, which was founded in 1836 . The president is elected by the residents of the city in a general, secret, equal and direct election. The local elections are held at the same time. Before the 2002 reform, the city council elected the president.

The President appoints the most important officials of the city, including his / her own deputies, who are responsible for certain areas and form the city magistrate with the President (zarząd miasta) . In addition, he / she participates in the appointment of the district mayor.

Result of the city presidential election 2018:

This means that Rafał Trzaskowski, who is considered to be left-liberal and left-green, was elected as Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz's successor by an absolute majority in the first ballot .

City council

The city council consists of 60 members and is elected every four years. Its main task is, on the one hand, to adopt the main statute of the city and, on the other hand, to adopt the budget and to monitor its compliance.

Main statute of the city of Warsaw:

Before adopting the main statute of the city of Warsaw, the city council is obliged to obtain the opinions of the individual district councils. If a district council does not comment within 14 days, the opinion is deemed to have been obtained.

In addition, the draft statute must be discussed with the prime minister, which must happen no later than 30 days after the matter has been brought up. If the Prime Minister has not taken any action after 30 days, the meeting is deemed to have taken place.

The 2018 city council election led to the following result:

  • Koalicja Obywatelska (KO): 44.0% of the vote, 40 seats
  • Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (PiS): 25.5% of the vote, 19 seats
  • Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej (SLD) / Lewica Razem (Razem): 5.7% of the votes, 1 seat
  • Our City Election Committee: 5.7% of the vote, no seat
  • Election Committee for Independent Local Governments: 4.9% of the vote, no seat
  • Kukiz'15 : 4.1% of the vote, no seat
  • Election Committee Jan Śpiewak: 3.9% of the vote, no seat
  • Others: 6.2% of the vote, no seat

Town twinning

POL Warszawa COA.svg

The city coat of arms

The currently valid coat of arms was decided in a competition in 1938. The author drew from a historical account from 1390.

Blazon : The figure of a woman with a fish tail and a raised sword in her right hand and a round shield in her left hand can be seen on a red background . There is a golden royal crown above the coat of arms . The mermaid's hair , shield, sword, and crown are gold in color.



There are around 30 theaters in Warsaw that work all year round. The two most important are the National Theater ( Teatr Narodowy ) founded in 1765 and the State Opera Opera Narodowa im Teatr Wielki ( Great Theater ) from 1833, which embody Warsaw's long theater tradition. In addition, the main theaters are: Teatr Studio , Teatr Polski, Teatr Rozmaitości and Teatr Ateneum. Popular musicals such as Phantom of the Opera are played at Teatr Roma.

Famous Warsaw theater directors: Jerzy Grzegorzewski , Grzegorz Jarzyna , Adam Hanuszkiewicz .

Famous Warsaw theater actors: Gustaw Holoubek , Daniel Olbrychski , Zbigniew Zapasiewicz , Krystyna Janda , Andrzej Seweryn .


There are numerous state and private museums in Warsaw. Most were destroyed during the Second World War and rebuilt in the post-war period, with large parts of the museum holdings falling victim to the war and are still missing today. Below is a small list of selected museums.

Selected museums in Warsaw
Surname address Brief description
Katyn Museum.jpg
Katyn Museum ulica Jezioranskiego 3, Warsaw Citadel (map) Presentation of the prehistory, execution and the subsequent political struggle over the Katyn murders of 1940. The museum opened in September 2015.
national museum warsaw
National Museum Aleje Jerozolimskie 3, 00-495 Warszawa (map) It is the largest Warsaw museum with branches in the Warsaw Royal Castle , Łazienki Palace, Królikarnia Palace and Wilanów Palace . Its beginnings go back to 1862, but it was not until 1932 that the first exhibitions of decorative art opened. The entire building was officially inaugurated on June 18, 1938. In the 21st century the museum has around 780,000 exhibits on antiquity, Polish and foreign painting, sculpture and handicrafts. Particularly noteworthy are the sacred art (numerous Gothic altars from all over Poland) and the collection of paintings by Stanisław Wyspiański , Józef Mehoffer and Jacek Malczewski . European art is represented by works from the Netherlands, Flanders, Italy, France and Germany. Among others, Sandro Botticelli , Francesco Solimena , Rembrandt van Rijn , Willem Claeszoon Heda , Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun , Claude Joseph Vernet , Joachim von Sandrart , Hans Dürer , Angelika Kauffmann , Gebrüder Fabritius, Jean-Baptiste Greuze should be mentioned. The highlight of the collection of the Italian masters is the Botticelli Madonna. The famous painting Battle of Grunwald by Jan Matejko is also in the collection of 19th century Polish art. The museum also has a large coin collection and an archaeological section in which numerous finds by Polish archaeologists from Greece, Egypt and Rome are exhibited. The most interesting part of the exhibition is the worldwide unique collection of early Christian wall paintings from Faras (Sudan).
warsaw royal castle
Warsaw Royal Castle Plac Zamkowy 4 (map) The Royal Palace houses a large collection of cityscapes by Bernardo Bellotto and historical paintings by Jan Matejko . The largest exhibition of oriental carpets from the 17th century in Europe is shown in the structurally associated palace under the tin roof .
Łazienki complex map The Łazienki Complex in the Old Orangery houses the largest collection of Polish sculpture from five centuries.
Poster Museum in Wilanónw ulica Stanisława Kostki Potockiego 10/16 (map) The poster museum is located in the Wilanów complex and is the world's oldest museum of its kind. Works by Alfons Mucha , Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso can be admired . The International Poster Biennale has also been organized since 1986 .
Warsaw City History Museum Rynek Starego Miasta 28-42 (map) The history of the city and its residents is presented in several interconnected buildings on the old town market. The handicraft collection is particularly noteworthy. The museum has been under construction for a few years. The reopening has not yet been officially announced.
Museum of Evolution Plac Defilad 1 (map) The Museum of Evolution displays a collection of dinosaur skeletons found by Polish paleontologists in the Gobi Desert.
Museum of the Earth Aleja Na Skrapie 20/26, 00-488 (map) The Museum of the Earth has one of the largest amber collections in the world.
Polish Army Museum Aleje Jerozolimskie 3, 00-495 Warszawa (map) The Museum of the Polish Army was founded in 1920 by Józef Piłsudski . It houses one of the largest military collections in Poland with exhibits from over a thousand years of Polish military history. Branch offices of the museum are the Military Technology Museum and an information center about the murder of tens of thousands of Polish officers, teachers and cultural bearers by the Soviet NKVD in 1940 in the forests around Katyn .
museum of the warsaw uprising
Warsaw Rising Museum Grzybowska 79-00-001 Warszawa (map) On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising , the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising (Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego) was opened on July 31, 2004 .


The most important galleries with changing and permanent exhibitions are Galeria Zachęta , the Center for Contemporary Art ( Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej ) in Ujazdowski Castle, Gallery Foksal, Gallery XXI, Gallery Test, Gallery Zapiecek, and Gallery Kordegarda.


The International Chopin Competition has been held in the Warsaw National Philharmonic since 1927 .

Building ensembles

St. John's Cathedral ; behind the Jesuit Church

Old town

Zakrzewski side of the market square
Marketplace before 1939

Warsaw's old town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. The most representative square in the old town is the large triangular palace square . Originally, its south side was delimited by the Kraków Gate, of which only a Gothic bridge remains. The east side forms the west facade of the royal palace (Zamek Królewski) , the north-west side of the palace square is occupied by the house front of the old town. The Trasa WZ tunnel has been running below Schlossplatz since 1949 . In the middle of the square stands the Sigismund's Column (Kolumna Zygmunta) , which was erected in 1643/44 .

The current early baroque building with the 60 m high clock tower dates from 1598–1619, while the wing facing the Vistula is from the Rococo . Inside, elements of classicism dominate . The castle burned down during the bombing of Warsaw in 1939 and was blown up by the Wehrmacht in 1944 . After the war, the ruins remained standing for decades. From 1971–1988 the faithful reconstruction was made from donations.

To the east below the palace square next to the royal palace is the late baroque palace under the tin roof , which was named after the material of its roof. It was built in 1698–1701 as the town residence of the Lubomirskis. Later it served as the residence of King Stanislaus II August. The palace was burned down after the Warsaw Uprising and rebuilt in 1948–1949.

The historical and geographical center of the old town is the market square (Rynek) , in the middle of which is the sculpture of the Syrenka river maiden . The town hall , which was demolished in 1817 , has been in the center of the square since the Middle Ages . The market square was laid out in the 13th century on an area of ​​90 × 73 meters. It was mainly merchants and craftsmen who lived around it. Many artists later also settled here. The majority of the patrician houses were rebuilt after the city fire of 1607, whereby Gothic elements could be preserved, especially in the foundations. The sgraffito paintings and the polychromies on some houses were reconstructed by Jan Seweryn Sokołowski after the destruction in World War II . The east side, also known as the Brass side, was most severely damaged, so that a reconstruction had to be preceded by the demolition of some of the foundations. In contrast, on the north side, the Dekert side, most of the original structure was preserved. The Historical Museum of the City of Warsaw is located in the whole row of houses . The Baryczka House and the House of the Negerlein stand out here , with a Renaissance facade by Santi Gucci . The west or Kołątaj side features a neo-renaissance wall clock and the House of Peace and Justice . The most famous view of the market square is from the south side (Zakrzewski side), which is dominated by the tower of the Jesuit church. The Lion House and the sundial by Tadeusz Przypkowski deserve special attention . The two 18th century fountains were restored in the 1970s.

From the market square there are two side streets in all directions. The northern Nowomiejska Street leads to the Barbakane , a massive defensive structure on a Gothic bridge around the New Town Gate, which was built by Jan Baptysta in the 15th century. Świętojańska Street leads southeast to the Palace Square.

St. John's Cathedral is on this street . It dates from the second half of the 15th century, but was rebuilt in the following centuries. Most recently, in keeping with the spirit of the 19th century, it was redesigned in the English neo-Gothic style, which destroyed its historical appearance. During the Second World War , the structure was devastated down to the foundations, only the old, low bell tower was partially preserved. Since the church had to be completely reconstructed, it was decided to rebuild it as a new creation based on the Mazovian Gothic.

Right next to it is the Jesuit Church , consecrated to Our Lady , which was built between 1609 and 1629 in the transition style from Mannerism to Baroque . Another attraction on Świętojańska Street is the Renaissance-style house facing the ship . Other well-preserved town houses, such as the House of the Doves , the house with the Christ statue or the Burbach patrician house , can be found on the streets Szeroki Dunaj ( Wide Danube - former brook within the old town), Wąski Dunaj (Narrow Danube) , Piwna Street, Brzozowa Street and Rycerska Street. Martin's Church , built in 1356, with a Gothic choir and a Baroque facade is located on Piwna Street . The picturesque Ulica Kamienne Schodki (Stone Stairway ) , which led to the former White Gate, leads steeply down to the Vistula . Kanonikerplatz in the east of the old town is lined with Mannerist town houses that originally belonged to the Order of Canon . In its center stands the Warsaw ore bell, cast in 1646. A particularly beautiful view of the old town is offered from the Praga bank of the Vistula.


Neustädter Marktplatz after Canaletto 1770 with the Sacraments Church

Description of the location and some churches

The new town (Nowe Miasto) connects to the old town in the north and is also located on a bank dune on the Vistula. It was laid out outside the city walls in the 14th century. After being completely destroyed in World War II, the new town was rebuilt together with the old town in the early 1950s. The center is the triangular Neustädter Marktplatz. Like the old town market, it had a town hall that was demolished in 1818.

On the south side of the square is the Baroque Sacraments Church of St. Casimir , built by Tylman van Gameren in 1688–1692 in honor of the victor of the Battle of Kahlenberg (1683), King Jan Sobieski . It served as a hospital during the Warsaw Uprising . Hundreds of wounded, doctors and nurses were killed during a bombing raid by the German Air Force when their dome collapsed.

The oldest New Town and one of the oldest Warsaw churches is the late Gothic St. Mary's Church , built at the beginning of the 15th century , whose characteristic tower dominates the panorama of the Vistula. There are also three other originally Gothic churches that were rebuilt in the Baroque period - the Franciscan , the Paulaner and the Dominican Church . The baroque aristocratic palace of the Sapieha magnate dynasty , the Sapieha Palace , towers over the northern part of the new town. The streets of Ulica Freta and Ulica Mostowa are particularly beautiful. Two-time Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie was born in a house on the former in the 19th century . At the latter stands the Renaissance bridge gate that led to the first Warsaw Vistula Bridge from the 16th century. The 5-star Hotel Le Regina has been located in the former Mostowski Palace on Ulica Kościelna since 2004 . Also worth seeing is the so-called Mokronowski Palace , which was built by Giacomo Fontana in 1771 .

Royal road

The beginning of the Königsweg at Schlossplatz in 1770

The Warsaw Royal Route (Trakt Królewski) begins at the Royal Castle and leads south for about 10 km to the city ​​residence of Wilanów King Jan Sobieski and is one of the longest prestigious streets in the world. It consists of several representative streets, the Kraków suburb, the New World ( Ulica Nowy Świat ) and the Ujazdowski avenues (from north to south). The Königsweg runs along the Vistula and, together with the Saxon Axis running perpendicular to it, formed the main axis of urban development in Warsaw. It was already built at the beginning of the city's history and connected the former Jazdów settlement with the old town. After Queen Bona Sforza built a castle on the foundations of Jazdów Castle at the beginning of the 16th century and settled there after the death of her husband King Sigismund I , permanent buildings were built on the way from the Kraków Gate to Ujazdowski Castle. The Royal Route was one of the first Warsaw streets to be paved. In contrast to the narrow old town, this part of the city was laid out over a large area and spacious gardens and parks as well as large palaces and houses dominate. The many government and administrative buildings in former aristocratic palaces that line the Königsweg also live up to its reputation as a boulevard. Large parts are to be closed to road traffic in the next few years and expanded into a promenade with their numerous shops.

Krakow suburb

St. Anne's Church

The Kraków suburb begins at the Royal Castle and leads next to the Presidential Palace (the official seat of the President) to the Staszic Palace . In the Middle Ages, the Cracow Gate was located at the northern end of the Cracow suburb. Today the Sigismund's Column stands prominently on the Schlossplatz. The first buildings in the Kraków suburb were destroyed during the war and not rebuilt during the construction of the east-west underpass. Today the tower of St. Anne's Church , from which there is a beautiful panorama of the city, is the northernmost building in the Kraków suburb. The St. Anna Church is a synthesis of Gothic, Baroque and Classicist architectural styles. It was donated in 1454 by the Mazovian Princess Anna Mazowiecka in honor of her namesake for the St. Bernard Order. The choir, the star vault and the hall in the church monastery are kept in the Gothic style and survived later renovations. During the Renaissance it was extended to the west and changed to Baroque style in the 17th century. Stanisław Kostka Potocki and Chrystian Piotr Aigner designed a late Baroque facade with sculptures by Jakob Monaldi and Franz Pinck in 1788 . Aigner later designed the classicist colonnade from 1819–1821. Only a small part of the church was destroyed during the Second World War. As a result of the construction of the east-west tunnel, however, it threatened to be damaged and the embankment had to be supported with reinforced concrete piles. Today the St. Anna Church is used as a university church by the university community. The most important palaces in the Kraków suburbs include the Palais Czapski built by Tylman van Gameren in 1686 , the Potocki Palace built by Józef Piola in 1693 and the Kazimierz Palace built in the 17th century .

Nowy Świat

The Nowy Świat (New World) begins at the Staszic Palace and leads over the Rondo de Gaulle to the Square of Three Crosses . It is one of Warsaw's most popular promenade and shopping streets. This is where the Kossakowski Palace , the Sanguszko Palace and the Branicki Palace are located . An artificial palm tree stands on the Rondo Charles'a de Gaulle'a . Here the Nowy Świat and the Jerusalemer Allee cross, which lead to the Poniatowski Bridge . Before the First World War, the Opalinski Palace stood on the Rondo, and Rudolf Świerczyński built the Bank for Agricultural Economics in its place from 1928 to 1931 . The building is considered to be one of the best examples of interwar architecture in Poland. At the end of Nowy Świat, Chrystian Piotr Aigner's Aleksander Church is on the Three Crosses Square .

Aleje Ujazdowskie

Branicki Palace on Miodowa Street

The Aleje Ujazdowskie begin at the Three Crosses Square, with the Alexander Church in the middle. Wiejska Street branches off to the southeast, where the government buildings of the Sejm and Senate are located. The actual Aleje Ujazdowskie branch off from the Three Crosses Square directly to the south and soon turn into a park landscape. The most important parks in Warsaw are located on the eastern side in particular. The Łazienki Park, with its main attractions, the Łazienki Palace and the Chopin Monument , and the Belweder Palace (Belvedere) are located on the Aleje Ujazdowskie. In the vicinity there is the Ujazdowski Park, opened in 1896, with the Ujazdowski Castle , where the contemporary art center is located today .


In the 19th century, the Russian occupation forces first built the citadel and then two belts of fortifications (mainly artillery forts) around Warsaw, thus expanding the city into a fortress of Warsaw , as they feared an attack by Western European great powers. The Austrians acted similarly with Cracow and Przemyśl and Germany with Lötzen and Toruń , since they each foresaw a Russian attack. Some of these bastions were used in the First World War. In addition to the citadel, some of these Warsaw forts (as well as the Modlin Fortress , which was part of the Polish fortress triangle) have been preserved and can be visited.


Palace of Culture , a landmark of Warsaw

Since the 16th century, many magnate families moved their headquarters to Warsaw, where the Sejm met and the election of a king took place. Whoever wanted to take part in big politics had to be present on site. Although Warsaw never became the capital of the aristocratic republic, but was "only" the royal seat and the Sejm city, the politically important decisions were made here. In this respect, the capital Krakow only formally remained the capital after 1611. Many of the representative palaces were built along the main axes of the city (Königsweg, Saxon Axis, Ulica Senatorska, Ulica Miodowa, Ulica Freta) in Baroque and Classicism styles . Some of the largest palaces with extensive gardens were built just outside the main streets, such as the Wilanów Palace . The following are some of the most important palaces in Warsaw:

Churches and synagogues


The first brick churches were built in Warsaw towards the end of the 14th century. However, hardly any of the Gothic and Renaissance churches survived the devastation caused by the Swedes in the First Northern War from 1655 to 1660 unscathed. After the war, the destroyed churches were rebuilt and new ones were built in the course of the expansion of the urban area to the south. Warsaw owes its numerous high baroque and classicist churches to this major construction activity , which characterize the cityscape today. The most important architect of the Warsaw Baroque was Tylman van Gameren . Domenico Merlini , Chrystian Piotr Aigner and Simon Gottlieb Zug created in the classicism style . The neo-renaissance and neo-Gothic styles also left numerous sacred buildings in Warsaw. During the Russian occupation in the 19th century, numerous Orthodox churches were built in Warsaw, only two of which have survived to this day. Most were demolished after Polish independence in 1918 or destroyed in World War II.

The many former synagogues also date from the 19th century, two of which have been preserved (see Nożyk Synagogue ).

Many of Warsaw's churches were blown up or badly damaged in 1944, but were reconstructed after the war.

The German occupation forces had the Great Synagogue blown up on May 16, 1943 after the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto . The Praga Synagogue was demolished in 1961.

Gothic and Renaissance church buildings

  • The St. John's Cathedral is the oldest surviving church in Warsaw, since 1798 Cathedral and in its present Gothic form a reconstruction of the 1950s. Even if it was built around 1390 in the Masovian brick Gothic style , its appearance, especially the facade, was subject to many changes in the period that followed. Inside you will find, among other things, the classicist tomb of the Marshal of the Great Sejm Stanisław Małachowski by Bertel Thorvaldsen .
  • The Gothic Church of the Conception of Mary in the New Town was founded by Princess Anna of Mazovia around 1400. In 1581 the massive bell tower was completed. In the 19th century, the interior of the church building was restored in a neo-Gothic style and a neo-Romanesque facade was added. The redesigns were remedied from 1905 and during the reconstruction after the damage in 1944.
  • Right next to the cathedral is the Jesuit Church , which was built from 1609 to 1629 as a sanctuary of the Madonna of God, the patroness of Warsaw. After it was blown up in 1944, it was reconstructed true to the original in the style of the Renaissance and Mannerism . Inside, the elliptical dome that covers the choir has been preserved.

Church building from the baroque period

In 1661 the reconstruction was completed, which gave the church its present form. The neo-Gothic entrance hall added in 1825 was not rebuilt during the reconstruction of the church after the destruction of the Second World War. Inside there is a stuccoed Lublin vault .

  • The baroque St. Anthony Church of the Bernardines from 1635 in Mokotów was rebuilt by Tylman van Gameren from 1687 to 1693 after the destruction by the Swedes .
  • The small baroque St. Antonius Church of the Reformers on the northern edge of the Saxon Garden dates from the years 1668–1680.
  • The Redemptorist Church of St. Benon was built by the German congregation in the 17th century.
  • On the gable of the Capuchin Church for the Transfiguration of the Lord ( kościół Przemienienia Pańskiego ) the coat of arms of John III is emblazoned . Sobieskis and points to its importance as a votive church for his victory in the battle of the Kahlenberg . In the simple church, which was built from 1683 to 1694 at ul. Miodowa in the early Baroque style, the heart of Johann Sobieski and the urn of Augustus the Strong are kept in the crypt created by Joachim Daniel von Jauch .
  • The construction of the baroque Visitation Church (kościół Wizytek; Opieki świętego Józefa) began in 1728, but could not be completed until 1761 due to lack of money and the collapse of the roof. The well-proportioned, tower-free facade was executed by Ephraim Schröger until 1763 . The baroque and rococo furnishings (including the ship's pulpit) are also worth seeing, as the church was one of the few in Warsaw to survive the war almost unscathed.
  • The Church of the Holy Cross of the Missionaries is one of the largest churches in Warsaw and the burial place of many famous people. This is where the heart of Frédéric Chopin rests . Its baroque body, which was rebuilt after the Second World War, dates from 1679 to 1696, in the late baroque-classicist style the spiers were added from 1725 to 1737 and the facade in 1756.
  • The Church of St. Casimir (Kościół Sakramentek św. Kazimierza) was built on the Neustadt market square from 1688 to 1692 as a votive church for the victory over the Turks in the Battle of Kahlenberg . Tylman van Gameren designed it as a high baroque central building with a dome. Its baroque furnishings fell victim to the Second World War.
  • In 1353 the Augustinian Church of St. Martin (kościół św. Marcina) and monastery were founded. Today's late baroque building comes from the 18th century.
  • The double-towered Paulan Church of the Holy Spirit ( Kościół św. Ducha ) in the New Town was built in the late Baroque style in 1707–1717. The Pauline monks of Jasna Góra rebuilt the church after the 1st Swedish War; today it is the starting point of pilgrims to Częstochowa .
  • The late Baroque field cathedral of the Polish Army (Katedra Polowa Wojska Polskiego) replaced a wooden previous building in 1701.
  • The Carmelite Church of the Assumption and Joseph the Carmelite (kościół karmelitów) was built from 1661 to 1681 as a foundation of King Władysław IV Wasas . The unusual facade by Ephraim Schröger was added in 1762–1780 in the transition style from Baroque to Classicism. Due to the minor damage in the Second World War, the church served as a cathedral until the reconstruction of St. John's Cathedral and large parts of the baroque furnishings, such as the baroque group Marriage of Mary with Joseph by Jan Jerzy Plersch , as well as a rich stucco work of the vault were preserved.
  • The baroque Church of the Holy Spirit in Warsaw's New Town has been a church of the Paulans since the 17th century .
  • Also in the New Town of Warsaw is the Hyacinth Church , which was donated to the Dominicans in 1603 in baroque style .

Classicist houses of worship

  • The construction of the Franciscan Church (kościół św. Franciszka) in the New Town began in 1679 in the Baroque style and continued until 1788, when the classical facade was completed.
  • On the edge of the old town is the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (cerkiew Wniebowzięcia NMP) of the Basilians . Domenico Merlini created this classicist building with its palace facade in 1782–1784.
  • On the Theater Square next to the Jabłonowski Palace is the St. Andrew's Church (kościół św. Andrzeja) , the original building of which dates from 1722 and was supplemented in 1819 by the classicist facade by Chrystian Piotr Aigner . The heavily damaged church was demolished in 1953. In 1999 the façade was faithfully reconstructed and the nave was rebuilt in a shortened form.
  • St. Anne's Church ( Kościół św. Anny ) is located south of the Palace Square . It was built in the 15th century in Gothic style next to the Bernardine monastery. A Gothic star vault in the entrance to the sacristy and the choir was preserved from this time . Subsequent renovations gave the church a rich Baroque style that has been preserved to this day; the classical facade was built towards the end of the 18th century.
  • The Evangelical-Augsburg Trinity Church (kościół św. Trójcy) was built by Simon Gottlieb Zug between 1777 and 1781 in the classical style. The central interior is spanned by a 58-meter-high cupola modeled on the Pantheon with its cassette cladding and opaion .
  • The Alexander Church ( kościół św. Aleksandra ) was built between 1818 and 1825 according to plans by Chrystian Piotr Aigner . The dome-crowned central building was rebuilt in the neo-Renaissance style in 1886–1895 and provided with a double tower facade. In 1944 the church was badly damaged, and in the course of the reconstruction the extensions and conversions were removed and the original classical appearance was reconstructed.

Churches in different architectural styles such as historicism, neo-Romanesque or neo-renaissance

Parks and squares

  • The oldest park in Warsaw emerged from the 600 year old Royal Gardens at the Warsaw Royal Castle from the Renaissance period. They lie below the classical east facade and the Kubicki arcades of the castle on the Vistula side and take up an area of ​​6  hectares . After the war damage, they are now being reconstructed in the 21st century. With 43 hectares, the park around the palace in Wilanów is the largest baroque garden in Warsaw. With the construction of the magnate's palaces in the Baroque era, many private parks were created, which have been gradually opened to the public since the 18th century.
  • The largest park in Warsaw is the Łazienki Park on Ujazdowski Alley from the 18th century, which was built in the English style around the Łazienki Palace in the former animal enclosure on an area of ​​almost 80 hectares. It is one of the most beautiful parks in Europe and includes several palaces, artificial lakes, canals and cascades, bridges, arbors, pavilions, sculptures and an ancient theater on the island on hilly terrain. At the southern end is Belweder Castle , which was the seat of the Russian governors and the Polish presidents until 1995. The park was built by King Stanislaus August Poniatowski , who designed some of it himself. Since 1818 part of the park has been used as a botanical garden by the University of Warsaw . Other important buildings in the park include the Old and New Orangery (Pomarańczarnia) from 1774 to 1778 and 1860/61, the Myślewicki Palace and the Sybil temple. In summer, piano concerts take place at the Chopin monument.
Theater square

Memorials and cemeteries

Memorial to commemorate the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto
Memorial plaque to the 12,000 civilians murdered during the Wola massacre on Ulica Górczewska 32

The Warsaw cemeteries are unique as witnesses of the times, as they are the only parts of the city that were not completely destroyed in World War II. The oldest preserved cemeteries date from the 18th century and are furnished with beautiful tombs from the 18th and 19th centuries. The 43 hectare Powązki cemetery with graves of many famous Poles should be emphasized . The nearby Jewish cemetery is one of the largest in Europe.

Due to the often tragic history of the city, there are many memorials to victims of foreign rule and tyranny in Warsaw. These include, above all, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier , the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial , the Warsaw Uprising Monument , the Xth Pavilion in the Citadel, Pawiak and numerous smaller memorial plaques and stones that the attentive visitor encounters at almost every intersection.

In the post-war years, over 200 memorial plaques were placed in Warsaw to commemorate the victims and events during the German occupation. The Polish sculptor Karol Tchorek (1904–1985) designed it in 1948 as part of a competition. In 1949 he received the first prize for it. In 2013 there were still over 160 of these Tchorek memorial plaques in Warsaw. Quite a few had fallen victim to the modernization and expansion of the city. In 1962, the then Citizens' Committee for Monument Protection decided to catalog the locations of these panels. Schools, companies, non-profit organizations, professional associations and public institutions were responsible for implementation. The panels are made of sandstone. The Maltese cross is shown as the central motif. As a rule, the sign in the middle bears the inscription: “MIEJSCE UŚWIĘCONE KRWIĄ POLAKÓW POLEGŁYCH ZA WOLNOŚĆ OJCZYZNY” (“this place is sanctified by the blood of the Poles who fell in the struggle for the freedom of their homeland”). Information about the respective event is recorded below. However, no guarantees can be given for the exact coverage of the information, such as the number of fatalities or the date of the event. There are also grammatical errors, punctuation or spelling errors. The wording of the text was determined by political pressure. Most of the plaques refer to the Warsaw Uprising, an event that was controversial in the communist regime of Poland. For this reason, the inscriptions were carefully worded according to the official propaganda of the time. In some cases, the Warsaw Uprising was indirectly circumscribed, which can be found in the formulated text, for example, under "insurgent" or "insurgent hospital". Nazism was always referred to as "Hitlerowcy" ("Hitlerists").


Socialist realism

The architecture of socialist realism is sometimes felt to be imposed by the Soviet Union and alien to the present day . However, this architectural style is now accepted as part of the city's architectural history. What applies to the artistically and structurally more demanding style of the 1950s cannot, however, apply to the prefabricated buildings of the 1970s, which were built mainly in the outskirts.

The most dominant socially realistic building in the city center is the Pałac Kultury i Nauki or Pałac Kultury for short ( Palace of Culture and Science or Palace of Culture ) , which was built between 1952 and 1955 . It combines the confectionery style with elements of traditional Polish architecture, such as the Polish attic , but its cube also resembles the Empire State Building in New York . In addition, the Constitution Square , the MDM district, Marienstadt and the east wall are characteristic architectural examples of this period. The central council building of the PVAP was also built in this style. Later buildings from the socialist period show a more internationally oriented style, which can be seen, for example, in the Novotel Warszawa Centrum (formerly: Hotel Forum ), the Hotel Marriott , the Intraco I , the Intraco II (today Oxford Tower ) designed by a Swedish architectural office called) and other skyscrapers of the real socialist era. The former largest bazaar in Europe in the 10-lecia stadium looked like a reminiscence of the early days after the reunification.

Modern architecture

The Metropolitan by Norman Foster

Since 1989 there has been a turning point in monumental Warsaw architecture, and more and more glass buildings have emerged. It all started with the Blue Tower, which was completed in the early 1990s on Bankenplatz on the site of the former main synagogue. Especially since the fall of the Wall, Warsaw has been shedding its prefabricated image and even the tallest building in the city, the Palace of Culture, is slowly being replaced by modern high-rise buildings. The most interesting modern buildings were built along Johannes-Paul-II.-Allee and Emilia-Plater-Straße west of the Kulturpalast. Individual excellent examples of architecture can also be found outside the financial district, such as the Warsaw Trade Tower or the Metropolitan . Masterpieces of recent years are the Rondo 1-B , the Złote Tarasy (Golden Terraces) , the Supreme Court building and the new university library . The monumental Temple of Divine Providence in the Wilanów district , the foundation stone of which was laid in 1792, is currently under construction . Interesting future projects are the Złota 44 skyscraper by Daniel Libeskind on Johannes-Paul-II.-Allee and the Copernicus Science Center on the Vistula. There is also lively discussion about the reconstruction of the Saxon Palace and the Brühl Palace, as well as a memorial in honor of John Paul II on Piłsudski Square .

Warsaw, not rebuilt

Piłsudski Square before 1926
Jabłonowski Palace before 1900

Many buildings could not be rebuilt after the Second World War, especially the entire Saxon axis. It stood vertically in an east-west direction on the Königsweg, and it crossed it at the level of the Hotel Bristol . It included the Piłsudski-Platz (before 1918 Sächsischer Platz, 1939–1945 Adolf-Hitler-Platz, 1945–1989 Platz des Sieges) with its baroque buildings (including an Orthodox church with a tower until around 1920), the Sächsisches Palais , the Brühlsche Palais , the Saxon Garden and the palaces of the settlement behind the Iron Gate. Nothing is left of the development on Piłsudski Square. Today, its south side is lined by the Hotel Viktoria and the north side by the modern “Metropolitan” office building designed by star architect Norman Foster . The east side is somewhat reminiscent of the pre-war period, although these buildings were not faithfully reconstructed after the war. The only remnant of the Sächsisches Palais and the Brühlschen Palais is part of the column front, where the tomb of the unknown soldier is located. The preparatory work for the reconstruction of the Saxon Palace began with archaeological excavations in 2006. The buildings and plants in the Saxon Garden were almost completely burned down in 1944. The theater and the orangery were not rebuilt. Only the arcade fountain and the Sybillentempel bear witness to the former splendor. Large parts of the former park became building land and were therefore lost to the park. The great Iron Gate and palaces in the west no longer exist. The only palace that has been partially reconstructed is the Lubomirski Palace , which was rotated around 90 degrees on rails in 1967 after the reconstruction, so that it now closes the imaginary Saxon axis at its current western end. Originally it led far into the settlement behind the Iron Gate , where today prefabricated buildings replace the representative buildings from before 1939.



Złote Tarasy (Golden Terraces)

Warsaw is the economic center of Poland. Around 15% of the Polish gross domestic product is generated in the city. According to a study from 2014, the greater Warsaw area generated a gross domestic product of 141.1 billion US dollars (KKB). In the ranking of the economically strongest metropolitan regions worldwide, it was 94th. The GDP per capita was $ 48,681. Warsaw is thus by far the richest large city in Poland and has a per capita income that also exceeds that of many Western European metropolises. The city's economy is heavily liberalized. Many foreign investors use Warsaw as a starting point for doing business in Central and Eastern Europe, which can be recognized by the many new high-rise office buildings and hotels.

The Warsaw Stock Exchange has existed again since April 1991 . The Giełda Papierów Wartościowych w Warszawie (GPW) is one of the fastest growing stock exchanges in the world and is the largest exchange in Eastern Central Europe. In a ranking of the most important financial centers worldwide, Warsaw took 45th place (as of 2018).


In 2005, the construction of the Złote Tarasy (German: Golden Terraces ) shopping center began on an area of ​​three hectares near the central train station (Warszawa Centralna) , which opened on February 7, 2007 after a construction period of 37 months. It covers a usable area of ​​over 200,000 m². With 57,000 m² of retail space, it is one of the largest in Eastern Europe. A special feature is the 10,000 m² atrium, which is spanned by a wave-like glass roof. The complex also has a cinema center and a car park with 1,700 parking spaces.


The Polish broadcasters TVN , Telewizja Polska , Polsat , TV 4 , TV Puls and Canal + have their headquarters in Warsaw . In addition, companies such as Viacom International Media Networks and Discovery Networks have one of the headquarters in Warsaw. In addition, Polskie Radio i Telewizja and various other private stations broadcast from the capital. Poland's most important tabloid Fakt has its headquarters here, but also Gazeta Wyborcza and Rzeczpospolita .


Metro station on Wilson Square


Warsaw is an important traffic junction at the intersection of the Paris / London - Berlin –Warsaw– Minsk / Kiev / Moscow and Northern Europe - Balkans transport routes .


In the area of local public transport , Warsaw has a bus and tram network that is congested, especially outside the center. The 121 km long Warsaw tram network is served by 27 lines. It is technically partially out of date and is currently being modernized. The bus network in Warsaw consists of 219 lines and serves a route network with a total length of approx. 2600 km.

A subway has been running in Warsaw since April 1995 , the completion of which has repeatedly been delayed. The line network currently comprises two lines with a length of 29.2 kilometers and 28 stations. The M1 line runs in a north-south direction and has a total length of 23.1 kilometers with 21 stations. The M2 line, which was opened in March 2015 and is 6.1 kilometers long and has 7 stations, runs in a west-east direction and crosses under the Vistula .

For regional and suburban traffic there is, in addition to some suburban and intercity buses, the Warsaw suburban railway ( Warszawska Kolej Dojazdowa ) .

Since July 1, 2005, the Warsaw S-Bahn (Warszawska Szybka Kolej Miejska) has been operating. The S-Bahn network was expanded to four lines on June 1, 2012.


For long-distance traffic there is an underground central station ( Warszawa Centralna ), the stations Warszawa Wschodnia (east) and Warszawa Zachodnia (west) and several smaller stations.

An extensive system of pedestrian tunnels links the central station with the two stations of the suburban railway (Warszawa Śródmieście) and the underground (Centrum) , which are a few hundred meters away. Mainly long-distance trains run from the central station to all major Polish cities and most of the capitals of neighboring countries such as Berlin, Minsk, Moscow, Kiev, Vienna and Prague.

The PKP has expanded the long-distance routes Warsaw – Gdansk – Gdynia and Warsaw – Krakow and –Kattowitz for the EIP (Pendolino) . Other routes are served with the Express InterCity (EIC). - The construction of a high-speed line to the Baltic States ( Rail Baltica ) should be completed by 2023.

Intercity buses

Planned expressway network in Warsaw

Warsaw has a large bus station, Warszawa Zachodnia . It can be reached from the central station with the city bus routes 158 and 588. From there mainly long-distance buses run by PKS, which are regarded as equivalent to rail in Poland. The bus station for city bus transport is on the front of Warszawa Zachodnia. National and international bus traffic is handled in the rear area of ​​the station building.

Air traffic

Warsaw Ring Road; State around 2010

With Chopin Airport, Warsaw has the most important and largest international airport in Poland. The airport is the home airport of the Polskie Linie Lotnicze (LOT) . Chopin Airport is located about 10 km from the city center in the Okęcie district of the Włochy district . Around 16 million passengers are handled at the airport each year. The airport has four terminals.

The second airport, called Modlin Airport, is located about 50 km northwest of Warsaw and is intended to relieve the Chopin airport. It is mainly used by low-cost airlines.

Road traffic

The Polish capital is connected to the nationwide Polish trunk road network, the expressway network in the Warsaw area is still under construction. Droga krajowa 2 , 7 , 8 and 61 are currently running through the city center.

Warsaw has no bypasses, so there is a lot of traffic in the city center. The so-called expressway bypass (in Polish: Ekspresowa Obwodnica Warszawy ) with a length of around 85 kilometers is currently being built and planned to keep long-distance traffic out of the city center. It consists of the expressways S2 ( E30 ), S7 ( E77 ), S8 ( E67 ) and the S17 ( E372 ). The S2 expressway is intended to close the gap on the A2 autostrada between the “ Warsaw-Konotopa ” and “Warsaw-Lubelska” motorway junctions . In future, the S79 expressway is to connect Chopin Airport with the expressway bypass .

The bike rental system in Warsaw is called Veturilo .


Entrance gate to the main building of Warsaw University

As the capital of Poland, Warsaw is the country's educational center alongside Krakow . Approximately 255,000 students study in the city. The most important universities in the city are:

The Polish campus of the College of Europe is located in the Natolin district .

The Fryderyk Chopin University of Music has existed in Warsaw since 1810 and the most important drama school in Poland since 1932 - the Aleksander Zelwerowicz Theater Academy in Warsaw . Many of the most famous Polish actors graduated from here.

In addition to the Polish National Library and the Warsaw University Library, the Warsaw City Library is the largest public library and also serves to supply the citizens with literature.


Narodowy Stadium in May 2012

The city's most famous football clubs are Legia and Polonia , each of which has won the Polish championship several times. The former army club Legia plays its games in the Wojska Polskiego stadium , which can seat over 30,000 spectators. Polonia, like the American football club Warsaw Eagles , plays in the much smaller Polonia Warsaw stadium .

The largest arena in the city is the Narodowy Stadium , which was built for the 2012 European Football Championship and has around 58,000 seats. It is the home of the Polish men's national football team , which previously played their home games at the Dziesięciolecia Stadium . A World Championship Grand Prix for the Speedway Individual World Championship has also been held here every year since 2015 .

The Warsaw Marathon has been held every year since 1979 .

Horse racing has a great tradition in Warsaw. The Pole Mokotowskie racecourse existed between 1841 and 1939 ; this was replaced by the Służewiec racecourse , which still exists today.


The list of personalities of the city of Warsaw includes personalities born in the city as well as those who had their sphere of activity in Warsaw.

The personalities made honorary citizens by the city can be found in the list of honorary citizens of Warsaw .


The asteroid (1263) Varsavia is named after Warsaw .

From July 24th to 30th, 1989 the IX. International fire fighting competitions organized by the World Fire Brigade Association CTIF (Fire Brigade Olympics ). The program included Traditional International Fire Brigade Competitions, International Fire Brigade Sports Competitions and International Youth Fire Brigade Competitions.

See also

Portal: Warsaw  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Warsaw


Web links

Commons : Warsaw  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Warsaw  Travel Guide
 Wikinews: Category: Warsaw  - in the news
Wiktionary: Warsaw  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

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