Warsaw has a long history, which is reflected in its architecture and sights. The beautiful and mysterious capital of Poland stretches on the banks of the Vistula River. The first records in chronicles about it date back to the 14th century. Warsaw is one of the most beautiful cities in the European Union and is now protected by UNESCO.
Main attractions of Warsaw
Consider the most important and most interesting attractions of the Polish capital with photos and descriptions.
Marshal Józef Piłsudski Square
The square is included in all tourist guides in Warsaw and is one of the main attractions of the city. It is here that important city events such as parades, rallies, national holidays and concerts are held. The square is named after Józef Piłsudski, who played an important role in restoring Polish state power.
A monument to the politician stands in the center of the square, symbolizing the rebirth of the Polish state. Interestingly, during the German occupation, this square was named after Adolf Hitler. After the victory over fascism, it was renamed Victory Square, and today it has been renamed after Piłsudski again.
In addition to the monument here you can lay flowers at the memorial to the fallen soldier, and explore the ruins of the Saxon Palace. This palace has undergone several global reconstructions during its lifetime. It was originally built in the Baroque style and was a royal residence. Later the palace was several times rebuilt and redesigned.
In 1944 the palace was destroyed by Nazi troops and it remained only three arcades, under which the memorial to the Fallen Soldier was erected.
Dom Polski Restaurant
On the map of Warsaw, on French Street, in the walls of a medieval villa there is a restaurant with traditional cuisine “Polish House”. Today the restaurant is among the most interesting attractions in Warsaw. The gastronomic attraction opened its doors to its first customers in 1998 and has been recognized many times as restaurant of the year.
Today, the restaurant has dozens of awards, including a Michelin star, which is awarded only to the best restaurants. This symbol indicates high cuisine and excellent service. If you get here on a Sunday or Monday, you can enjoy beautiful live Polish music played on the cello and violin.
“Polish House” has several cozy rooms, where you can sit down for a family lunch or dinner. The restaurant is surrounded by a magnificent greenhouse, with exotic plants, fountains and sculptures. The facility opens daily from 12:00 local time and continues to operate until the last guest leaves.
The cuisine is represented by traditional Polish meat, poultry and fish dishes.
Church of the Holy Cross
The Church of the Holy Cross began its history back in 1267. In those days a small chapel was built on the site of the present church, which was later rebuilt into a wooden church. The temple was destroyed several times, but always rebuilt. The church acquired its present appearance in 1696. The church was badly damaged during World War II. The Germans looted the church and blew it up. Unique icons were lost and the altar was destroyed.
However, after the war the church was completely restored and today, as before, services are held in the church, weddings are held and children are baptized. The temple is of exceptional importance to the country, and even its altar, restored from old sketches, now bears the name Altar of the Fatherland.
A unique attraction of the temple is the statue of Jesus Christ carrying a huge cross. Previously this monument was concrete, but after vandals defaced it was decided to cast the sculpture in bronze.
During the war, the Germans removed the statue, but left it in a roadside trench, where it was found by Polish soldiers. The monument was returned and after the victory over fascism it was re-installed in front of the church.
Stare Miasto is the oldest historical district of Warsaw. Its oldest buildings date back to the 13th century. The area is separated from the rest of the city by medieval walls on one side and a dried-up riverbed on the other. When you enter this place, you are instantly transported to many centuries ago. Narrow paved streets, vendors’ shops and, of course, the market square. Wandering around the old town you can see a very unusual buildings from the Middle Ages.
During World War II most of the old city was destroyed, but after the war all the ancient monuments of architecture were painstakingly restored from old photographs and drawings.
In the Old Town you can see such interesting sights as the Triangle Square, the Palace Square, the Cathedral of John the Baptist, the Thin House, the Church of the Jesuit Fathers. The Old City as a World Heritage Site is protected by UNESCO.
Every year this attraction is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists. Remarkably, even restored buildings here look as if they are really 300-400 years old.
The market square is located in Warsaw’s Old Town. This marketplace has played a huge role in Warsaw’s economy throughout the city’s existence. It was here that local and overseas merchants traded, where traveling artists came, and only here artisans could sell the fruits of their labor. The market square is still the center of commerce today. Every tourist can buy here a lot of souvenirs or serious things.
Tourists enjoy strolling around the square, looking at market stalls, small restaurants and cafes. A special atmosphere sets the free musicians and artists, they come here to entertain people and earn some money, just like centuries ago.
Within the old square there are several historical sites that the whole family can visit, these are the Museum of Literature, the Museum of History and the statue of the Siren of Warsaw. The monument was created in 1855 and cast in zinc. Later it was moved to different parts of the city, but in 2008 the Siren was cast in bronze and returned to its historical place. The original was given to the city museum.
Interestingly, the square is divided into four parts, each named after famous Polish political figures.
For many, the journey around Warsaw begins on Palace Square. This is not surprising, located in the center of the city square has become a concentration of attractions and historical legends. In the very center of the square rises the majestic column of Sigismund III.
On the eastern side is the Royal Palace, and nearby stands the Cathedral Church of St. John. The gloomy Gothic-style building is considered the oldest temple in the city and dates back to the 14th century. It was here that all Polish kings were crowned and buried. Even today, services are held in the church and the beautiful sounds of the organ can be heard.
Today, on the square are folk festivals, this is where the main Christmas tree of the country. Musicians play on the square during the day and grandiose fire shows are staged at night, which attract not only tourists but also local residents. Palace Square is listed as a World Heritage Site. Walking around the square, you can look at the stores and restaurants that are located here at every step on the way.
Not far from the square, in Jerusalem Alley you can visit the Museum of the Polish Army, which will tell you the whole history of the Polish army from the Middle Ages to the present day.
The modern Royal Castle was built in the 17th century. It replaced a wooden castle built in the 13th century. It was around this residence that the old town, with all its streets and unusual houses, once lined up. The Royal Palace, like most Polish landmarks, was destroyed by Nazi troops and rebuilt in the postwar years.
Today the castle is a historical museum, which reflects all the difficult periods of Poland. A visit to the museum will be interesting for history and art lovers. In addition to historical exhibits, there are priceless canvases by famous artists.
When visiting the museum, be sure to check out the marble cabinet, where portraits of all the kings are on display, the knight’s room, and of course don’t pass by the royal chambers. There really is a lot to see here. The furniture, paintings, furnishings, and art were miraculously saved before the Nazi bombing and returned to the newly rebuilt building. The palace often hosts theatrical productions and concerts.
If you are lucky enough to visit the southeastern outskirts of Warsaw, be sure to visit Wilanów Palace. This Baroque masterpiece is the city’s calling card. The story of the construction of the castle is connected with the story of love, and perhaps that’s why this attraction is so beautiful.
The palace was built by Jan Srpski for his beloved wife Mary. Their romance began when Mary was married, but after outliving her spouse, she married a secret lover. The entire interior of the castle tells tourists about this love. Majestic sculptures, unique paintings, gilded columns and a beautiful garden are what you will see on a tour of the palace.
World War II did not spare this corner of Warsaw either. The Germans looted the palace, and what they couldn’t take away was irretrievably ruined. By the end of the war, only one-fifth of the interior had survived. After the palace was restored, all the objects of art were returned here, and all of them are of great historical value. Many of the exhibits were acquired back in the days of Jan Srpski.
The magnificent garden is presented in several styles that show how the yard has changed from one owner to the next.
Three Crosses Square
In the central part of Warsaw, along the route of the Royal Route, there is Three Crosses Square. Originally the square had only two gilded crosses, which rise from the tops of the columns, built by order of King Augustus II. Later, a monument was erected on the square to St. John, who holds a third cross in his hands.
In fact, there is a fourth cross on the square, it crowns the dome of the church of St. Alexander, but for some reason this cross does not participate in the name of the square. Three Crosses Square is considered to be the place of lovers. This is where dates are arranged, lovers and newlyweds walk. The square connects Novy Light Street and Ujazdovskie Alley.
After 1944, most of the buildings that framed the square were destroyed, but after the victory over fascism, many of them fell under the reconstruction program. This is how the church of St. Alexander took its original form, but the Institute for the Deaf was rebuilt.
Today, the 18th-century house on the square is preserved in its original form, as is the historic part of the Deaf and Blind complex.
What else to see in Warsaw
Consider what else to see in Warsaw, because this city is so amazing that every time you can find more and more interesting places for independent excursions. To find such places you can buy a guidebook with addresses or hire an experienced guide.
Art lovers will be interested in the Chopin Museum. The exhibition was created in 2010 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the great Polish composer’s birth. The museum is located on the territory of Ostroh Castle and can tell a lot about Chopin’s life and work.
The Warsaw Barbican is another interesting place, where the crowds of tourists who come to Poland’s capital are eager to visit. The fort is part of the system of military fortifications of the old city. The restored Barbican takes tourists back to the Middle Ages. Today the tower is an exhibition complex, and at its foot is a monument to the mermaid. According to legend, it was a siren who came up out of the water and said that a great city would be built on this spot. By the way, the siren is the symbol of Warsaw and its coat of arms.
If you are going to Warsaw with children, be sure to visit the interactive Copernicus Science Museum. The museum is divided into several thematic zones, each of which presents the scientific achievements of mankind. Adults and children are allowed to do experiments on their own, which will certainly delight your kids. This is where children can become lords of lightning, create their own tornado and even be a real archaeologist. Photo with a description of the museum is on the official site, there you can also order a ticket to visit the exhibition.