Warsaw was our fifth and final destination of the whole Taste of Eastern Europe tour. I was just a few inches from exhaustion, but thankfully the laid back atmosphere of the capital city of Poland provided me with much-needed relief. The walking tour was not as intense as that in Prague or Budapest – the calm, mostly tourist-free streets (whereas Krakow was quite busy with herds of tourists) and interesting historical sites proved more than enough to finish my trip in a satisfying note.
Upon arriving at Warsaw we were immediately greeted with the Palace of Culture and Science. This, the tallest building in Poland, was formerly known as the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science, thank god the comrade’s name was removed from the interior lobby and one of the building’s sculptures ~.~
Our walk started at the famous historic Nowy Świat Street. It is a clean, lively, and pretty thoroughfare that took us from the hustle and bustle of the busy banking street, to the beautiful campus of University of Warsaw, near which it changes into Krakowskie Przedmieście, which then runs all the way to the Royal Castle.
I love how elegant these street lamps are:
As the thoroughfare changes into Krakowskie Przedmieście, the streets suddenly assume a more historical and sober feel.
This is the Roman Catholic Holy Cross Church:
The church was built in the 17th century, but suffered from heavy damage during the Warsaw Uprising 1944 and was eventually demolished in 1945 by the Nazis. Like many other buildings in Warsaw which experienced the same fate during WWII, the church had to be reconstructed with a simplified design.
Perhaps the most famous thing about this church is that this is where Chopin’s heart is kept ;A;
Next to the church I found The Chopin Family Drawing Room:
, where Chopin’s sister used to stay. From what the guide told us, Chopin’s piano was kept in her apartment until the Nazis came and burnt it down.
Opposite is the Nicolaus Copernicus Monument:
This statue of Copernicus stands right before Staszic Palace–the seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
We took a short walk into the University of Warsaw‘s campus:
The building where Chopin used to take classes xD
As mentioned earlier, most of Warsaw’s buildings/churches/monuments are simplified replicas of their proud predecessors, which were demolished during WWII. I was not uber amazed by the architecture I saw, but sometimes interesting stuff popped up:
Visitationist Church–one of the most notable rococo churches in Warsaw with a history dating back to the 17th century–is among a few historic survivors.
In front of the church the statue of Stefan Wyszyński, the heroic Polish prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, known for his stand against Nazism and Communism:
A short walk from the Church led us to Warsaw’s Presidential Palace, which was first constructed in 1643:
The equestrian statue of Prince Józef Poniatowski in front of the Palace:
On our way to Warsaw’s Royal Castle:
Too bad we didn’t have time to stay long at the castle >.< it seemed to be such a gorgeous place :((
From the castle we could easily walk to Warsaw’s Old Town:
The heart of the old town, and of Warsaw itself for that matter, is the bright and colorful Old Town Market Place with a history as old as the city itself (back to the 13th century). The market place was blown up by the Nazis in WWII and was later reconstructed in the 1950s:
Pretty buildings within the Old Town:
Located between the Old and New Towns is Warsaw Barbican where you can get a good view of Warsaw’s lovely architecture:
Around the Barbican…
Our tour ended at Warsaw Uprising Museum–definitely among the best and most moving museums I have ever been to. My time in Warsaw wouldn’t feel so fulfilling without a visit to this incredible place.