Warsaw Sights

It is very difficult to pinpoint where the Warsaw city center is. Varsovians differ in its definition. Some would say it is the area around the Palace of Culture and Science (and the Central Railway Station), which is bustleswith fashionable shops and hotels. Others would argue that plac Trzech Krzyży is the center—or plac Zbawiciela. For many, it would be the area around the Royal Castle and

the Old Town square; after all, it was at this location that a fishing hamlet was founded and eventually grew into Warsaw town.

For the visitor, the question is, happily, not so important because all these places are not at all far from one another, and Warsaw is an easy city to navigate. The Palace of Culture and Science will certainly provide you with a useful orientation point: to its north lies the Royal Route, the Old Town, and the New Town; to its south, the Diplomatic Quarter and the Łazienki Park. West of the Old Town lie Muranów and Mirów, neighborhoods in the former Jewish district. All these sights are on the left bank of the Vistula River.

On the right bank is the Praga District, a poorer quarter of workers and artisans that emerged from the war fairly intact. Today, Praga is becoming increasingly fashionable, and many visitors find its galleries, bars, and unique "provincial" flavor well worth the trip across the Vistula.

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Warsaw Sights

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Archikatedra św. Jana

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Ulica Świętojańska, leading from the Rynek Starego Miasta to the Zamek Królewski, takes its name from this cathedral, which was built...


  • Building/Architectural Site

The pinnacled Barbakan, the mid-16th-century stronghold in the old city wall on ulica Freta, now marks the boundary between the Old Town...

Biblioteka Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego

  • Garden/Arboretum

A 10-minute walk toward the river from the main campus of Warsaw University is the relatively new (1999) Warsaw University Library, a...

Botanical Gardens

  • Garden/Arboretum

These gardens, covering an area of roughly 3 acres, were laid out in 1818. At the entrance stands the neoclassical observatory, now...

Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Zamek Ujazdowski

  • Museum/Gallery

If you are interested in modern art, you will find it in the somewhat unlikely setting of the 18th-century Zamek Ujazdowski, reconstructed...

Femina Cinema

  • Memorial/Monument/Tomb

Before the war, this area was the heart of Warsaw's Jewish Quarter, which was walled off by the Nazis in November 1940 to isolate the...

Former Gestapo Headquarters

  • Museum/Gallery

The building that currently houses Poland's Ministry of Education was the Gestapo headquarters during World War II. A small museum details...

Former headquarters of the Polish Communist Party

  • Financial Institution

Anti-Communists love the irony of this once-despised symbol of oppression; for a decade after the Communist fall, until 2001, it was...

Fragment of ghetto wall

  • Memorial/Monument/Tomb

In the courtyard of this building on Sienna Street, through the archway on the left, and just a little farther east, on Złota Street,...

Galeria Klimy Bocheńskiej

  • Museum/Gallery

In a 19th-century liquor factory in the right-bank Praga district, the gallery exhibits, promotes, and even sells works by well-known...