Warsaw (Polish: Warszawa [varˈʂava] (listen); see also other names) is the capital and largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland and its population is officially estimated at 1.765 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.1 million residents, which makes Warsaw the 8th most-populous capital city in the European Union. The city limits cover 516.9 square kilometres (199.6 sq mi), while the metropolitan area covers 6,100.43 square kilometres (2,355.39 sq mi). Warsaw is an alpha global city, a major international tourist destination, and a significant cultural, political and economic hub. Its historical Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Once described as the Paris of the North, Warsaw was believed to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world until World War II. Bombed at the start of the German invasion in 1939, the city withstood a siege for which it was later awarded Poland's highest military decoration for heroism, the Virtuti Militari. Deportations of the Jewish population to concentration camps led to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943 and the destruction of the Ghetto after a month of combat. A general Warsaw Uprising between August and October 1944 led to even greater devastation and systematic razing by the Germans in advance of the Vistula–Oder Offensive. Warsaw gained the new title of Phoenix City because of its extensive history and complete reconstruction after World War II, which had left over 85% of its buildings in ruins.
Warsaw is one of Europe's most dynamic metropolitan cities. In 2012 the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Warsaw as the 32nd most liveable city in the world. In 2017 the city came 4th in the "Business-friendly" category and 8th in "Human capital and life style". It was also ranked as one of the most liveable cities in Central and Eastern Europe.
The city is a significant centre of research and development, Business process outsourcing, Information technology outsourcing, as well as of the Polish media industry. The Warsaw Stock Exchange is the largest and most important in Central and Eastern Europe. Frontex, the European Union agency for external border security as well as ODIHR, one of the principal institutions of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have their headquarters in Warsaw. Together with Frankfurt, London and Paris, Warsaw is also one of the cities with the highest number of skyscrapers in the European Union.
The city is the seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, University of Warsaw, the Warsaw Polytechnic, the National Museum, the Great Theatre—National Opera, the largest of its kind in the world, and the Zachęta National Gallery of Art. The picturesque Old Town of Warsaw, which represents examples of nearly every European architectural style and historical period, was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980. Other main architectural attractions include the Castle Square with the Royal Castle and the iconic King Sigismund's Column, the Wilanów Palace, the Łazienki Palace, St. John's Cathedral, Main Market Square, palaces, churches and mansions all displaying a richness of colour and detail. Warsaw is positioning itself as Eastern Europe’s chic cultural capital with thriving art and club scenes and serious restaurants, with around a quarter of the city's area occupied by parks.
|The Capital City of Warsaw|
Paris of the North, Phoenix City
Semper invicta (Latin "Ever invincible")
Location within Poland
Location within Europe
Location on Earth
|• Mayor||Rafał Trzaskowski (PO)|
|• City metropolis||517.24 km2 (199.71 sq mi)|
|• Metro||6,100.43 km2 (2,355.39 sq mi)|
|Elevation||78–116 m (328 ft)|
|• City metropolis||1,764,615 (1st) |
|• Rank||1st in Poland (9th in EU)|
|• Density||3,372/km2 (8,730/sq mi)|
|• Metro density||509.1/km2 (1,319/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
00-001 to 04–999
|Area code(s)||+48 22|
|– Total||€55 billion|
|– Per capita||€31,200|
|Official name||Historic Centre of Warsaw|
|Designated||1980 (4th session)|
Warsaw's name in the Polish language is Warszawa (also formerly spelled Warszewa and Warszowa). Other previous spellings of the name may have included Worszewa and Werszewa. According to some sources, the origin of the name is unknown. In Pre-Slavic toponomastic layer of Northern Mazovia: corrections and addenda (the Narew drainage), it is stated that the toponymy of northern Mazovia tends to have unclear etymology (p. 30). Originally, Warszawa was the name of a fishing village. According to one theory Warszawa means "belonging to Warsz", Warsz being a shortened form of the masculine name of Slavic origin Warcisław; see also etymology of Wrocław. However the ending -awa is unusual for a big city; the names of Polish cities derived from personal names usually ending in -ów/owo/ew/ewo (e.g. Piotrków, Adamów) while the -av- in the early name of Wrocław is part of a personal name. Folk etymology attributes the city name to a fisherman, Wars, and his wife, Sawa. According to legend, Sawa was a mermaid living in the Vistula River with whom Wars fell in love. In actuality, Warsz was a 12th/13th-century nobleman who owned a village located at the modern-day site of the Mariensztat neighbourhood. See also the Vršovci family which had escaped to Poland. The official city name in full is miasto stołeczne Warszawa ("The Capital City of Warsaw"). A native or resident of Warsaw is known as a Varsovian – in Polish warszawiak, warszawianin (male), warszawianka (female), warszawiacy, and warszawianie (plural).
Other names for Warsaw include Varsovia (Latin, Spanish) and Varsóvia (Portuguese), Varsovie (French), Varsavia (Italian), Warschau (German, Dutch), װאַרשע /Varshe (Yiddish), Varšuva (Lithuanian), Varsó (Hungarian) and Varšava (Czech)
The first fortified settlements on the site of today's Warsaw were located in Bródno (9th/10th century) and Jazdów (12th/13th century). After Jazdów was raided by nearby clans and dukes, a new similar settlement was established on the site of a small fishing village called Warszowa. The Prince of Płock, Bolesław II of Masovia, established this settlement, the modern-day Warsaw, in about 1300. In the beginning of the 14th century it became one of the seats of the Dukes of Masovia, becoming the official capital of the Masovian Duchy in 1413. 14th-century Warsaw's economy rested on mostly crafts and trade. Upon the extinction of the local ducal line, the duchy was reincorporated into the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland in 1526.
In 1529, Warsaw for the first time became the seat of the General Sejm, permanently from 1569. In 1573 the city gave its name to the Warsaw Confederation, formally establishing religious freedom in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Due to its central location between the Commonwealth's capitals of Kraków and Vilnius, Warsaw became the capital of the Commonwealth and the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland when King Sigismund III Vasa moved his court from Kraków to Warsaw in 1596. In the following years the town expanded towards the suburbs. Several private independent districts were established—the property of aristocrats and the gentry, which they ruled by their own laws. Three times between 1655 and 1658 the city was under siege, and three times it was taken and pillaged by the Swedish, Brandenburgian and Transylvanian forces.
In 1700, the Great Northern War broke out. The city was besieged several times and was obliged to pay heavy tribute. Warsaw turned into an early-capitalist city. The reign of Augustus II and Augustus III was a time of development for Warsaw. The Saxon monarchs brought many renowned German architects, who rebuilt the city in a style similar to Dresden. In 1747 the Załuski Library was established, the first Polish public library and the largest at the time.
Stanisław II Augustus, who remodelled the interior of the Royal Castle, also made Warsaw a centre of culture and the arts. He extended the Royal Baths Park and ordered the construction or refurbishment of numerous palaces, mansions and richly-decorated tenements. This earned Warsaw the nickname Paris of the East.
Warsaw remained the capital of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1795, when it was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia in the third and final partition of Poland; it subsequently became the capital of the province of South Prussia.
Liberated by Napoleon's army in 1806, Warsaw was made the capital of the newly created Duchy of Warsaw. Following the Congress of Vienna of 1815, Warsaw became the centre of Congress Poland, a constitutional monarchy under a personal union with Imperial Russia. The Royal University of Warsaw was established in 1816.
Following repeated violations of the Polish constitution by the Russians, the 1830 November uprising broke out. But the Polish-Russian war of 1831 ended in the uprising's defeat and in the curtailment of the Kingdom's autonomy. On 27 February 1861 a Warsaw crowd protesting against Russian rule over Poland was fired upon by Russian troops. Five people were killed. The Underground Polish National Government resided in Warsaw during the January Uprising in 1863–64.
Warsaw flourished in the late 19th century under Mayor Sokrates Starynkiewicz (1875–92), a Russian-born general appointed by Tsar Alexander III. Under Starynkiewicz Warsaw saw its first water and sewer systems designed and built by the English engineer William Lindley and his son, William Heerlein Lindley, as well as the expansion and modernisation of trams, street lighting, and gas infrastructure.
Warsaw was occupied by Germany from 4 August 1915 until November 1918. The Allied Armistice terms required in Article 12 that Germany withdraw from areas controlled by Russia in 1914, which included Warsaw. Germany did so, and underground leader Piłsudski returned to Warsaw on 11 November and set up what became the Second Polish Republic, with Warsaw as the capital. In the course of the Polish-Bolshevik War of 1920, the huge Battle of Warsaw was fought on the eastern outskirts of the city in which the capital was successfully defended and the Red Army defeated. Poland stopped the full brunt of the Red Army by itself and defeated the idea of the "export of the revolution".
The history of contemporary civilisation knows no event of greater importance than the Battle of Warsaw, 1920, and none of which the significance is less appreciated ... yet never had Poland's services been greater, never had the danger been more imminent.
After the German Invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 started the Second World War, Warsaw was defended until 27 September. Central Poland, including Warsaw, came under the rule of the General Government, a German Nazi colonial administration. All higher education institutions were immediately closed and Warsaw's entire Jewish population – several hundred thousand, some 30% of the city – were herded into the Warsaw Ghetto. The city would become the centre of urban resistance to Nazi rule in occupied Europe. When the order came to annihilate the ghetto as part of Hitler's "Final Solution" on 19 April 1943, Jewish fighters launched the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Despite being heavily outgunned and outnumbered, the Ghetto held out for almost a month. When the fighting ended, almost all survivors were massacred, with only a few managing to escape or hide.
By July 1944, the Red Army was deep into Polish territory and pursuing the Germans toward Warsaw. Knowing that Stalin was hostile to the idea of an independent Poland, the Polish government-in-exile in London gave orders to the underground Home Army (AK) to try to seize control of Warsaw from the Germans before the Red Army arrived. Thus, on 1 August 1944, as the Red Army was nearing the city, the Warsaw uprising began. The armed struggle, planned to last 48 hours, was partially successful, however it went on for 63 days. Eventually the Home Army fighters and civilians assisting them were forced to capitulate. They were transported to PoW camps in Germany, while the entire civilian population was expelled. Polish civilian deaths are estimated at between 150,000 and 200,000.
The Germans then razed Warsaw to the ground. Hitler, ignoring the agreed terms of the capitulation, ordered the entire city to be razed to the ground and the library and museum collections taken to Germany or burned. Monuments and government buildings were blown up by special German troops known as Verbrennungs- und Vernichtungskommando ("Burning and Destruction Detachments"). About 85% of the city had been destroyed, including the historic Old Town and the Royal Castle.
On 17 January 1945 – after the beginning of the Vistula–Oder Offensive of the Red Army – Soviet troops and Polish troops of the First Polish Army entered the ruins of Warsaw, and liberated Warsaw's suburbs from German occupation. The city was swiftly taken by the Soviet Army, which rapidly advanced towards Łódź, as German forces regrouped at a more westward position.
In 1945, after the bombings, revolts, fighting, and demolition had ended, most of Warsaw lay in ruins.
After World War II, under a Communist regime set up by the conquering Soviets, the "Bricks for Warsaw" campaign was initiated, and large prefabricated housing projects were erected in Warsaw to address the housing shortage, along with other typical buildings of an Eastern Bloc city, such as the Palace of Culture and Science, a "gift" from the Soviet Union. The city resumed its role as the capital of Poland and the country's centre of political and economic life. Many of the historic streets, buildings, and churches were restored to their original form. In 1980, Warsaw's historic Old Town was inscribed onto UNESCO's World Heritage list.
John Paul II's visits to his native country in 1979 and 1983 brought support to the budding "Solidarity" movement and encouraged the growing anti-communist fervor there. In 1979, less than a year after becoming pope, John Paul celebrated Mass in Victory Square in Warsaw and ended his sermon with a call to "renew the face" of Poland: Let Thy Spirit descend! Let Thy Spirit descend and renew the face of the land! This land! These words were very meaningful for the Polish citizens who understood them as the incentive for liberal-democratic reforms.
In 1995, the Warsaw Metro opened with a single line. A second line was opened in March 2015. With the entry of Poland into the European Union in 2004, Warsaw is currently experiencing the largest economic boom of its history. The opening fixture of UEFA Euro 2012 took place in Warsaw, a game in which Poland drew 1–1 with Greece. Warsaw was the host city for the 2013 United Nations Climate Change Conference and for the 2016 NATO Summit.
Warsaw lies in east-central Poland about 300 km (190 mi) from the Carpathian Mountains and about 260 km (160 mi) from the Baltic Sea, 523 km (325 mi) east of Berlin, Germany. The city straddles the Vistula River. It is located in the heartland of the Masovian Plain, and its average elevation is 100 metres (330 ft) above sea level. The highest point on the left side of the city lies at a height of 115.7 metres (379.6 ft) ("Redutowa" bus depot, district of Wola), on the right side – 122.1 metres (400.6 ft) ("Groszówka" estate, district of Wesoła, by the eastern border). The lowest point lies at a height 75.6 metres (248.0 ft) (at the right bank of the Vistula, by the eastern border of Warsaw). There are some hills (mostly artificial) located within the confines of the city – e.g. Warsaw Uprising Hill (121 metres (397.0 ft)) and Szczęśliwice hill (138 metres (452.8 ft) – the highest point of Warsaw in general).
Warsaw is located on two main geomorphologic formations: the plain moraine plateau and the Vistula Valley with its asymmetrical pattern of different terraces. The Vistula River is the specific axis of Warsaw, which divides the city into two parts, left and right. The left one is situated both on the moraine plateau (10 to 25 m (32.8 to 82.0 ft) above Vistula level) and on the Vistula terraces (max. 6.5 m (21.3 ft) above Vistula level). The significant element of the relief, in this part of Warsaw, is the edge of moraine plateau called Warsaw Escarpment. It is 20 to 25 m (65.6 to 82.0 ft) high in the Old Town and Central district and about 10 m (32.8 ft) in the north and south of Warsaw. It goes through the city and plays an important role as a landmark.
The plain moraine plateau has only a few natural and artificial ponds and also groups of clay pits. The pattern of the Vistula terraces is asymmetrical. The left side consists mainly of two levels: the highest one contains former flooded terraces and the lowest one the flood plain terrace. The contemporary flooded terrace still has visible valleys and ground depressions with water systems coming from the old Vistula – riverbed. They consist of still quite natural streams and lakes as well as the pattern of drainage ditches. The right side of Warsaw has a different pattern of geomorphological forms. There are several levels of the Vistula plain terraces (flooded as well as formerly flooded), and only a small part is a not so visible moraine escarpment. Aeolian sand with a number of dunes parted by peat swamps or small ponds cover the highest terrace. These are mainly forested areas (pine forest).
Warsaw's climate is humid continental (Köppen: Cfb/Dfb) with cold, snowy, cloudy winters and warm, sunny, stormy summers. Spring and autumn can be unpredictable, highly prone to sudden weather changes; however, temperatures are usually mild and with low humidity, especially around May and September. The average temperature ranges between −1.8 °C (29 °F) in January and 19.2 °C (66.6 °F) in July. The mean year temperature is 8.5 °C (47.3 °F). Temperatures may often reach 30 °C (86 °F) in the summer, although the effects of hot weather are usually offset by relatively low dew points and large diurnal temperature differences. Warsaw is Europe's fourth driest capital, with yearly rainfall averaging 529 millimetres (20.8 in), the wettest month being July.
|Climate data for Warsaw (Warsaw Chopin Airport), elevation: 106 m, 1981-2010 normals, extremes 1951-present|
|Record high °C (°F)||13.8
|Average high °C (°F)||0.6
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−1.8
|Average low °C (°F)||−4.2
|Record low °C (°F)||−30.7
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||27
|Average precipitation days||12||11||12||13||14||15||14||13||15||15||15||14||163|
|Source #1: Pogoda.ru.net|
|Source #2: KNMI|
|Climate data for Warsaw (Warsaw Chopin Airport), elevation: 106 m, 1961-1990 normals and extremes|
|Record high °C (°F)||12.3
|Average high °C (°F)||−0.7
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−3.3
|Average low °C (°F)||−6.1
|Record low °C (°F)||−30.7
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||22
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||6.3||6.1||6.6||6.6||9.1||9.1||8.8||8.2||7.8||6.9||9.0||8.4||92.9|
Warsaw's mixture of architectural styles reflects the turbulent history of the city and country. During the Second World War, Warsaw was razed to the ground by bombing raids and planned destruction. After liberation, rebuilding began as in other cities of the communist-ruled People's Republic of Poland. Most of the historical buildings were thoroughly reconstructed. However, some of the buildings from the 19th century that had been preserved in reasonably reconstructible form were nonetheless eradicated in the 1950s and 1960s (e.g. Kronenberg Palace). Mass residential blocks were erected, with basic design typical of Eastern Bloc countries.
Public spaces attract heavy investment, so that the city has gained entirely new squares, parks and monuments. Warsaw's current urban landscape is one of modern and contemporary architecture.
Warsaw's palaces, churches and mansions display a richness of color and architectural details. Buildings are representatives of nearly every European architectural style and historical period. The city has wonderful examples of architecture from the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and neoclassical periods, all of which are located within easy walking distance of the town centre.
Gothic architecture is represented in the majestic churches but also at the burgher houses and fortifications. The most significant buildings are St. John's Cathedral (14th century), a typical example of the so-called Masovian Gothic style; St. Mary's Church (1411), a town house of Burbach family (14th century); Gunpowder Tower (after 1379); and the Royal Castle Curia Maior (1407–1410). The most notable examples of Renaissance architecture in the city are the house of the Baryczko merchant family (1562), a building called "The Negro" (early 17th century), and Salwator tenement (1632). The most interesting examples of Mannerist architecture are the Royal Castle (1596–1619) and the Jesuit Church (1609–1626) at Old Town. Among the first structures of the early Baroque, the most important are St. Hyacinth's Church (1603–1639) and Sigismund's Column (1644).
Building activity occurred in numerous noble palaces and churches during the later decades of the 17th century. Some of the best examples of this architecture are Krasiński Palace (1677–1683), Wilanów Palace (1677–1696) and St. Kazimierz Church (1688–1692). The most impressive examples of rococo architecture are Czapski Palace (1712–1721), Palace of the Four Winds (1730s) and Visitationist Church (façade 1728–1761). The neoclassical architecture in Warsaw can be described by the simplicity of the geometrical forms teamed with a great inspiration from the Roman period. Some of the best examples of the neoclassical style are the Palace on the Water (rebuilt 1775–1795), Królikarnia (1782–1786), Carmelite Church (façade 1761–1783) and Evangelical Holy Trinity Church (1777–1782). The economic growth during the first years of Congress Poland caused a rapid rise of architecture. The Neoclassical revival affected all aspects of architecture; the most notable examples are the Great Theater (1825–1833) and buildings located at Bank Square (1825–1828).
Exceptional examples of the bourgeois architecture of the later periods were not restored by the communist authorities after the war (like the previously mentioned Kronenberg Palace and insurance company Rosja building) or they were rebuilt in socialist realism style (like Warsaw Philharmony edifice originally inspired by Palais Garnier in Paris). Despite that, the Warsaw University of Technology building (1899–1902) is the most interesting of the late 19th-century architecture. Some 19th-century buildings in the Praga district (the Vistula's right bank) have been restored although many have been poorly maintained. Warsaw's municipal government authorities have decided to rebuild the Saxon Palace and the Brühl Palace, the most distinctive buildings in prewar Warsaw.
Notable examples of post-war architecture include the Palace of Culture and Science (1952–1955), a soc-realist skyscraper located in the city centre, and the Constitution Square with its monumental socialist realism architecture (MDM estate).
Contemporary architecture in Warsaw is represented by the Metropolitan Office Building at Pilsudski Square by Norman Foster, Warsaw University Library (BUW) by Marek Budzyński and Zbigniew Badowski, featuring a garden on its roof and view of the Vistula River, Rondo 1 office building by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Museum of the History of Polish Jews by Rainer Mahlamäki and Golden Terraces, consisting of seven overlapping domes retail and business centre.
It has been said that Warsaw, together with Frankfurt, London, Paris and Rotterdam, is one of the cities with the highest number of skyscrapers in Europe. Warsaw is ranked as 79th in the list of cities with the most skyscrapers around the world.
Although contemporary Warsaw is a fairly young city, it has numerous tourist attractions. Apart from the Warsaw Old Town quarter, reconstructed after World War II, each borough has something to offer. Among the most notable landmarks of the Old Town are the Royal Castle, King Sigismund's Column, Market Square, and the Barbican.
Further south is the so-called Royal Route, with many classicist palaces, the Presidential Palace and the University of Warsaw campus. Wilanów Palace, the former royal residence of King John III Sobieski, is notable for its Baroque architecture and parks.
Warsaw's oldest public park, the Saxon Garden, is located within 10 minutes' walk from the old town. Warsaw's biggest public park is the Łazienki Park, also called the "Royal Baths Park", established in the 17th century and given its current classical shape in the late 18th century. It is located further south, on the Royal Route, about 3 km (1.9 mi) from the Warsaw Old Town.
Powązki Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Europe, full of sculptures, some of them by the most renowned Polish artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Since it serves the religious communities of Warsaw such as Catholics, Orthodox, Jews, Muslims or Protestants, it is often called a necropolis. Nearby is the Okopowa Street Jewish Cemetery, one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Europe.
In many places in the city the Jewish culture and history resonates down through time. Among them the most notable are the Jewish theater, the Nożyk Synagogue, Janusz Korczak's Orphanage and the picturesque Próżna Street. The tragic pages of Warsaw's history are commemorated in places such as the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, the Umschlagplatz, fragments of the Ghetto wall on Sienna Street and a mound in memory of the Jewish Combat Organization.
There are also many places commemorating the heroic history of Warsaw. Pawiak, an infamous German Gestapo prison now occupied by a Mausoleum of Memory of Martyrdom and the museum, is only the beginning of a walk in the traces of Heroic City. The Warsaw Citadel, an impressive 19th-century fortification built after the defeat of the November uprising, was a place of martyrdom for the Poles. Another important monument, the statue of Little Insurrectionist located at the ramparts of the Old Town, commemorates the children who served as messengers and frontline troops in the Warsaw Uprising, while the impressive Warsaw Uprising Monument by Wincenty Kućma was erected in memory of the largest insurrection of World War II.
In Warsaw there are many places connected with the life and work of Frédéric Chopin. The heart of the Polish-born composer is sealed inside Warsaw's Holy Cross Church. During the summer time the Chopin Statue in Łazienki Park is a place where pianists give concerts to the park audience.
Also many references to Marie Curie, her work and her family can be found in Warsaw: Marie's birthplace at the Warsaw New Town, the working places where she did her first scientific works and the Radium Institute at Wawelska Street for the research and the treatment of which she founded in 1925.
Green space covers almost a quarter of the area of Warsaw, including a broad range from small neighborhood parks, green spaces along streets and in courtyards, to avenues of trees and large historic parks, nature conservation areas and the urban forests at the fringe of the city.
There are as many as 82 parks in the city which cover 8% of its area. The oldest ones, once parts of representative palaces, are Saxon Garden, the Krasiński Palace Garden, Łazienki Park (Royal Baths Park), Wilanów Palace Park and Królikarnia Palace Park (See also: Greenery in the city).
The Saxon Garden, covering an area of 15.5 ha, was formally a royal garden. There are over 100 different species of trees and the avenues are a place to sit and relax. At the east end of the park, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is situated. In the 19th century the Krasiński Palace Garden was remodelled by Franciszek Szanior. Within the central area of the park one can still find old trees dating from that period: maidenhair tree, black walnut, Turkish hazel and Caucasian wingnut trees. With its benches, flower carpets, a pond with ducks on and a playground for kids, the Krasiński Palace Garden is a popular strolling destination for the Varsovians. The Monument of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is also situated here. Łazienki Park covers an area of 76 ha. The unique character and history of the park is reflected in its landscape architecture (pavilions, sculptures, bridges, water cascades, ponds) and vegetation (domestic and foreign species of trees and bushes). What makes this park different from other green spaces in Warsaw is the presence of peacocks and pheasants, which can be seen here walking around freely, and royal carp in the pond. Wilanów Palace Park dates back to the second half of the 17th century. It covers an area of 43 ha. Its central French-styled area corresponds to the ancient, Baroque forms of the palace. The eastern section of the park, closest to the Palace, is the two-level garden with a terrace facing the pond. The park around the Królikarnia Palace is situated on the old escarpment of the Vistula. The park has lanes running on a few levels deep into the ravines on both sides of the palace.
Other green spaces in the city include the Botanic Garden and the University Library garden. They have extensive botanical collection of rare domestic and foreign plants, while a palm house in the New Orangery displays plants of subtropics from all over the world. Besides, within the city borders, there are also: Pole Mokotowskie (a big park in the northern Mokotów, where was the first horse racetrack and then the airport), Park Ujazdowski (close to the Sejm and John Lennon street), Park of Culture and Rest in Powsin, by the southern city border, and Park Skaryszewski by the right Vistula bank, in Praga. The oldest park in Praga, the Praga Park, was established in 1865–1871 and designed by Jan Dobrowolski. In 1927 a zoological garden (Ogród Zoologiczny) was established on the park grounds, and in 1952 a bear run, still open today.
The flora of the city may be considered very rich in species. The species richness is mainly due to the location of Warsaw within the border region of several big floral regions comprising substantial proportions of close-to-wilderness areas (natural forests, wetlands along the Vistula) as well as arable land, meadows and forests. Bielany Forest, located within the borders of Warsaw, is the remaining part of the Masovian Primeval Forest. Bielany Forest nature reserve is connected with Kampinos Forest. It is home to rich fauna and flora. Within the forest there are three cycling and walking trails. Another big forest area is Kabaty Forest by the southern city border. Warsaw has also two botanic gardens: by Łazienki park (a didactic-research unit of the University of Warsaw) as well as by the Park of Culture and Rest in Powsin (a unit of the Polish Academy of Science).
There are 13 natural reserves in Warsaw – among others, Bielany Forest, Kabaty Woods, and Czerniaków Lake. About 15 kilometres (9 miles) from Warsaw, the Vistula river's environment changes strikingly and features a perfectly preserved ecosystem, with a habitat of animals that includes the otter, beaver and hundreds of bird species. There are also several lakes in Warsaw – mainly the oxbow lakes, like Czerniaków Lake, the lakes in Łazienki or Wilanów Parks, and Kamionek Lake. There are many small lakes in the parks, but only a few are permanent – the majority are emptied before winter to clean them of plants and sediments.
The Warsaw Zoo covers an area of 40 hectares (99 acres). There are about 5,000 animals representing nearly 500 species. Although officially created in 1928, it traces back its roots to 17th century private menageries, often open to the public.
|Note: 2010 2014 2017|
|Largest groups of foreign residents|
Demographically, it was the most diverse city in Poland, with significant numbers of foreign-born inhabitants. In addition to the Polish majority, there was a significant Jewish minority in Warsaw. According to the Russian census of 1897, out of the total population of 638,000, Jews constituted 219,000 (around 34% percent). Warsaw's prewar Jewish population of more than 350,000 constituted about 30 percent of the city's total population. In 1933, out of 1,178,914 inhabitants 833,500 were of Polish mother tongue. World War II changed the demographics of the city, and to this day there is much less ethnic diversity than in the previous 300 years of Warsaw's history. Most of the modern day population growth is based on internal migration and urbanisation.
In 1939, c. 1,300,000 people lived in Warsaw, but in 1945 – only 420,000. During the first years after the war, the population growth was c. 6%, so shortly the city started to suffer from the lack of flats and of areas for new houses. The first remedial measure was the Warsaw area enlargement (1951) – but the city authorities were still forced to introduce residency registration limitations: only the spouses and children of the permanent residents as well as some persons of public importance (like renowned specialists) were allowed to get the registration, hence halving the population growth in the following years. It also bolstered a stereotype popular among the dwellers of other cities claiming that average Varsovians thought of themselves as better only because they lived in the capital. While all restrictions on residency registration were scrapped in 1990, a negative image of a typical Warsaw inhabitant in some form persists till this day.
Much like most capital cities in Europe, Warsaw boasts a foreign-born population that is significantly larger than in other cities, although not coming close to the figures representing the likes of Madrid or Rome. In 2016, it was estimated that 21,000 people living in Warsaw were foreign born, although some suspect the actual number could be as high as 60,000–150,000, or 1.2~3.4% – 8.5% of all Varsovians. Of those, Ukrainians, Vietnamese, Byelorussians and Russians were the most prominent groups.
Throughout its existence, Warsaw had been a multi-cultural city. According to the 1901 census, out of 711,988 inhabitants 56.2% were Catholics, 35.7% Jews, 5% Greek Orthodox Christians and 2.8% Protestants. Eight years later, in 1909, there were 281,754 Jews (36.9%), 18,189 Protestants (2.4%) and 2,818 Mariavites (0.4%). This led to construction of hundreds of places of religious worship in all parts of the town. Most of them were destroyed in the aftermath of the Warsaw uprising of 1944. After the war, the new communist authorities of Poland discouraged church construction and only a small number were rebuilt.
In the survey, conducted in 2010 by a team of sociologists from Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University, 66% of the Warsaw residents declared themselves as believers and 6% as non-believers. 32% of the faithful of the Archdiocese of Warsaw attended masses and 34% of the faithful of the Warsaw-Praga diocese. The Eucharist was received by about 15% of the faithful.
As the capital of Poland, Warsaw is the political centre of the country. All state agencies are located there, including the Polish Parliament, the Presidential Office and the Supreme Court. In the Polish parliament the city and the area are represented by 31 MPs (out of 460). Additionally, Warsaw elects two MEPs (Members of the European Parliament).
The Sejm is the lower house of the Polish parliament. The Sejm is made up of 460 deputies, or Poseł in Polish (literally 'Envoy'). It is elected by universal ballot and is presided over by a speaker called the Marshal of the Sejm (Marszałek Sejmu).
The municipal government existed in Warsaw until World War II and was restored in 1990 (during the communist times, the National City Council – Miejska Rada Narodowa – governed in Warsaw). Since 1990, the system of city administration has been changed several times – also as the result of the reform which restored powiats, cancelled in 1975. Finally, according to the Warsaw Act, the city is divided into 18 districts and forms one city powiat with a unified municipal government.
The basic unit of territorial division in Poland is a commune (gmina). A city is also a commune – but with a city charter. Both cities and communes are governed by a mayor – but in the communes the mayor is vogt (wójt in Polish), however in the cities – burmistrz. Some bigger cities obtain the entitlements, i.e. tasks and privileges, which are possessed by the units of the second level of the territorial division – counties or powiats. An example of such entitlement is a car registration: a gmina cannot register cars, this is a powiat's task (i.e. a registration number depends on what powiat a car had been registered in, not the gmina). In this case we say "city county" or powiat grodzki. Such cities are for example Lublin, Kraków, Gdańsk, and Poznań. In Warsaw, its districts additionally have some of a powiat's entitlements – like the already mentioned car registration. For example, the Wola district has its own evidence and the Ursynów district – its own (and the cars from Wola have another type of registration number than those from Ursynów). But for instance the districts in Kraków do not have the entitlements of a powiat, so the registration numbers in Kraków are of the same type for all districts.
Legislative power in Warsaw is vested in a unicameral Warsaw City Council (Rada Miasta), which comprises 60 members. Council members are elected directly every four years. Like most legislative bodies, the city council divides itself into committees which have the oversight of various functions of the city government. Bills passed by a simple majority are sent to the mayor (the President of Warsaw), who may sign them into law. If the mayor vetoes a bill, the Council has 30 days to override the veto by a two-thirds majority vote.
Each of the 18 separate city districts has its own council (Rada dzielnicy). Their duties are focused on aiding the President and the City Council, as well as supervising various municipal companies, city-owned property and schools. The head of each of the District Councils is named the Mayor (Burmistrz) and is elected by the local council from the candidates proposed by the President of Warsaw.
The mayor of Warsaw is called President. Generally, in Poland, the mayors of bigger cities are called presidents – i.e. cities with over 100,000 people or that had a president before 1990. The first Warsaw President was Jan Andrzej Menich (1695–1696). Between 1975 and 1990 the Warsaw presidents simultaneously led the Warsaw Voivode. Since 1990 the President of Warsaw had been elected by the city council. In the years of 1994–1999 the mayor of the district Centrum automatically was designated as the President of Warsaw: the mayor of Centrum was elected by the district council of Centrum and the council was elected only by the Centrum residents. Since 2002 the President of Warsaw is elected by all of the citizens of Warsaw.
The current President of Warsaw is Rafał Trzaskowski. The first president elected according these rules was Lech Kaczyński. When he was elected as the President of Polish Republic (December 2005) he resigned as mayor on the day before taking office.
|Mokotów||220,682||35.4 km2 (13.7 sq mi)|
|Praga Południe||178,665||22.4 km2 (8.6 sq mi)|
|Ursynów||145,938||48.6 km2 (18.8 sq mi)|
|Wola||137,519||19.26 km2 (7.44 sq mi)|
|Bielany||132,683||32.3 km2 (12.5 sq mi)|
|Targówek||123,278||24.37 km2 (9.41 sq mi)|
|Śródmieście||122,646||15.57 km2 (6.01 sq mi)|
|Bemowo||115,873||24.95 km2 (9.63 sq mi)|
|Białołęka||96,588||73.04 km2 (28.20 sq mi)|
|Ochota||84,990||29.7 km2 (11.5 sq mi)|
|Wawer||69,896||79.71 km2 (30.78 sq mi)|
|Praga Północ||69,510||11.4 km2 (4.4 sq mi)|
|Ursus||53,755||29.35 km2 (11.33 sq mi)|
|Żoliborz||48,342||28.5 km2 (11.0 sq mi)|
|Włochy||38,075||28.63 km2 (11.05 sq mi)|
|Wilanów||23,960||36.73 km2 (14.18 sq mi)|
|Rembertów||23,280||19.30 km2 (7.45 sq mi)|
|Wesoła||22,811||22.6 km2 (8.7 sq mi)|
|Total||1,708,491||521.81 km2 (201.47 sq mi)|
Until 1994, there were 7 districts in Warsaw: Śródmieście, Praga Północ, Praga Południe, Żoliborz, Wola, Ochota, and Mokotów. Between 1994 and 2002, there were 11 districts: Centrum, Białołęka, Targówek, Rembertów, Wawer, Wilanów, Ursynów, Włochy, Ursus, Bemowo, and Bielany. In 2002, the town Wesoła was incorporated and the territorial division of Warsaw was established as follows:
Warsaw is a county (powiat), and is further divided into 18 districts (dzielnica), each one with its own administrative body. Each of the districts is customarily subdivided into several neighbourhoods which have no legal or administrative status. Warsaw has two historic neighbourhoods, called Old Town (Stare Miasto) and New Town (Nowe Miasto), in the borough of Śródmieście.
In 2011, Warsaw was ranked the world's 46th most expensive city to live in. It was classified as an alpha world city (also known as a "major global city that links economic regions into the world economy") by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Study Group and Network from Loughborough University, placing it on a par with cities such as Sydney, Istanbul, Amsterdam or Seoul.
Warsaw, especially its city centre (Śródmieście), is home not only to many national institutions and government agencies, but also to many domestic and international companies. In 2006, 304,016 companies were registered in the city. Warsaw's ever-growing business community has been noticed globally, regionally, and nationally. MasterCard Emerging Market Index has noted Warsaw's economic strength and commercial center. Warsaw was ranked as the seventh-greatest emerging market. Foreign investors' financial participation in the city's development was estimated in 2002 at over 650 million euros.
Warsaw produces 12% of Poland's national income, which in 2008 was 305.1% of the Polish average per capita (or 160% of the European Union average). The Nominal GDP per capita in Warsaw amounted to PLN 134,000 in 2015 (c. €31,200 or $74,400 in PPP). Total nominal GDP of the city in 2010 amounted to 191.766 billion PLN, 111,696 PLN per capita, which was 301.1% of the Polish average. Warsaw leads East-Central Europe in foreign investment and in 2006, GDP growth met expectations with a level of 6.1%. It also has one of the fastest growing economies, with GDP growth at 6.5 percent in 2007 and 6.1 percent in the first quarter of 2008.
Warsaw's first stock exchange was established in 1817 and continued trading until World War II. It was re-established in April 1991, following the end of the post-war communist control of the country and the reintroduction of a free-market economy. Today, the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) is, according to many indicators, the largest market in the region, with 374 companies listed and total capitalization of 162,584 mln EUR as of 31 August 2009. From 1991 until 2000, the stock exchange was, ironically, located in the building previously used as the headquarters of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR).
During Warsaw's reconstruction after World War II, the communist authorities decided that the city would become a major industrial centre. As a result, numerous large factories were built in and around the city. The largest were the Huta Warszawa Steel Works, the FSO car factory and the "Ursus" tractor factory.
As the communist economy deteriorated, these factories lost significance and most went bankrupt after 1989. Today, the Arcelor Warszawa Steel mill (formerly Huta Warszawa) is the only major factory remaining.
The FSO Car Factory was established in 1951. A number of vehicles have been assembled there over the decades, including the Warszawa, Syrena, Fiat 125p (under license from Fiat, later renamed FSO 125p when the license expired) and the Polonez. The last two models listed were also sent abroad and assembled in a number of other countries, including Egypt and Colombia. In 1995 the factory was purchased by the South Korean car manufacturer Daewoo, which assembled the Tico, Espero, Nubia, Tacuma, Leganza, Lanos and Matiz there for the European market. In 2005 the factory was sold to AvtoZAZ, a Ukrainian car manufacturer which assembled the Chevrolet Aveo there. The license for the production of the Aveo expired in February 2011 and has not been renewed since. Currently the company is defunct.
The "Ursus" factory opened in 1893 and is still in operation. Throughout its history various machinery was assembled there, including motorcycles, military vehicles, trucks and buses; but since World War II it has produced only tractors.
The number of state-owned enterprises continues to decrease while the number of companies operating with foreign capital is on the rise, reflecting the continued shift towards a modern market-based economy. The largest foreign investors are Coca-Cola Amatil and Metro AG. Warsaw has the biggest concentration of electronics and high-tech industry in Poland, while the growing consumer market perfectly fosters the development of the food-processing industry.
Warsaw holds some of the finest institutions of higher education in Poland. It is home to four major universities and over 62 smaller schools of higher education. The overall number of students of all grades of education in Warsaw is almost 500,000 (29.2% of the city population; 2002). The number of university students is over 280,000. Most of the reputable universities are public, but in recent years there has also been an upsurge in the number of private universities.
The University of Warsaw was established in 1816, when the partitions of Poland separated Warsaw from the oldest and most influential Polish academic center, in Kraków. Warsaw University of Technology is the second academic school of technology in the country, and one of the largest in East-Central Europe, employing 2,000 professors. Other institutions for higher education include the Medical University of Warsaw, the largest medical school in Poland and one of the most prestigious; the National Defence University, highest military academic institution in Poland; the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music, the oldest and largest music school in Poland and one of the largest in Europe; the Warsaw School of Economics, the oldest and most renowned economic university in the country; the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, the largest agricultural university, founded in 1818; and the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, the first private secular university in the country.
Warsaw has numerous libraries, many of which contain vast collections of historic documents. The most important library in terms of historic document collections is the National Library of Poland. The library holds 8.2 million volumes in its collection. Formed in 1928, it sees itself as a successor to the Załuski Library, the biggest in Poland and one of the first and biggest libraries in the world.
Another important library – the University Library, founded in 1816, is home to over two million items. The building was designed by architects Marek Budzyński and Zbigniew Badowski and opened on 15 December 1999. It is surrounded by green. The University Library garden, designed by Irena Bajerska, was opened on 12 June 2002. It is one of the largest and most beautiful roof gardens in Europe with an area of more than 10,000 m2 (110,000 sq ft), and plants covering 5,111 m2 (55,010 sq ft). As the university garden it is open to the public every day.
Warsaw has seen major infrastructural changes over the past few years amidst increased foreign investment, economic growth and EU funding. The city has a much improved infrastructure with new roads, flyovers, bridges, etc.
Warsaw lacks a complete ring road system and most traffic goes directly through the city centre, leading to the eleventh highest level of congestion in Europe. The Warsaw ring road has been planned to consist of three express roads: S2 (south), S8 (north-west) and S17 (east). Currently S8 and a part of S2 are open, with S2 to be finished by 2020.
Thanks to the A2 motorway stretching west from Warsaw, which opened in June 2012, the city now has a direct motorway connection with Łódź, Poznań and ultimately with Berlin.
The city has two international airports: Warsaw Chopin Airport, located just 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the city centre, and Warsaw-Modlin Airport, located 35 kilometres (22 mi) to the north, opened in July 2012. With around 100 international and domestic flights a day and with 15 500 000 passengers served in 2017, Warsaw Frédéric Chopin Airport is by far the biggest airport in Poland and in Central-Eastern Europe. and it has also been called "the most important and largest airport in Central Europe".
Public transport in Warsaw includes buses, trams (streetcars), Metro, the light rail Warszawska Kolej Dojazdowa line, urban railway Szybka Kolej Miejska, regional rail Koleje Mazowieckie (Mazovian Railways), and bicycle sharing systems (Veturilo). The buses, trams, urban railway and Metro are managed by Zarząd Transportu Miejskiego (ZTM, the Warsaw Municipal Transport Authority).
The regional rail and light rail is operated by Polish State Railways (PKP). There are also some suburban bus lines run by private operators. Bus service covers the entire city, with approximately 170 routes totalling about 2,603 kilometres (1,617 mi), and with some 1,600 vehicles.
Currently, the Tramwaje Warszawskie (Warsaw Trams) company runs 863 cars on over 240 kilometres (150 mi) of tracks. Twenty-odd lines run across the city with additional lines opened on special occasions (such as All Saints' Day).
The first section of the Warsaw Metro was opened in 1995 initially with a total of 11 stations. It now has 21 stations running a distance of approximately 23 km (14 mi). Initially, all of the trains were Russian built. In 1998, 108 new carriages were ordered from Alstom. The second line running east-west will be about 31 km (19 mi). The central section is 6 km (4 mi) long with seven stations, opened on 8 March 2015.
The main railway station is Warszawa Centralna serving both domestic traffic to almost every major city in Poland, and international connections. There are also five other major railway stations and a number of smaller suburban stations.
Like many cities in Central and Eastern Europe, infrastructure in Warsaw suffered considerably during its time as an Eastern Bloc economy – though it is worth mentioning that the initial Three-Year Plan to rebuild Poland (especially Warsaw) was a major success, but what followed was very much the opposite. However, over the past decade Warsaw has seen many improvements due to solid economic growth, an increase in foreign investment as well as funding from the European Union. In particular, the city's metro, roads, sidewalks, health care facilities and sanitation facilities have improved markedly.
Today, Warsaw has some of the best medical facilities in Poland and East-Central Europe. The city is home to the Children's Memorial Health Institute (CMHI), the highest-reference hospital in all of Poland, as well as an active research and education center. The Maria Skłodowska-Curie Institute of Oncology is one of the largest and most modern oncological institutions in Europe. The clinical section is located in a 10-floor building with 700 beds, 10 operating theatres, an intensive-care unit, several diagnostic departments as well as an outpatient clinic. The infrastructure has developed a lot over the past years.
Thanks to numerous musical venues, including the Teatr Wielki, the Polish National Opera, the Chamber opera, the National Philharmonic Hall and the National Theatre, as well as the Roma and Buffo music theatres and the Congress Hall in the Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw hosts many events and festivals. Among the events worth particular attention are: the International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition, the International Contemporary Music Festival Warsaw Autumn, the Jazz Jamboree, Warsaw Summer Jazz Days, the International Stanisław Moniuszko Vocal Competition, the Mozart Festival, and the Festival of Old Music.
Warsaw is also considered as one of the European hubs of underground electronic music with a very attractive house and techno music scene.
Warsaw also attracts many young and off-stream directors and performers who add to the city's theatrical culture. Their productions may be viewed mostly in smaller theatres and Houses of Culture (Domy Kultury), mostly outside Śródmieście (Central Warsaw). Warsaw hosts the International Theatrical Meetings.
From 1833 to the outbreak of World War II, Plac Teatralny (Theatre Square) was the country's cultural hub and home to the various theatres. Plac Teatralny and its environs was the venue for numerous parades, celebrations of state holidays, carnival balls and concerts.
The main building housed the Great Theatre from 1833 to 1834, the Rozmaitości Theatre from 1836 to 1924 and then the National Theatre, the Reduta Theatre from 1919 to 1924, and from 1928 to 1939 – the Nowy Theatre, which staged productions of contemporary poetical drama, including those directed by Leon Schiller.
Nearby, in Ogród Saski (the Saxon Garden), the Summer Theatre was in operation from 1870 to 1939, and in the inter-war period, the theatre complex also included Momus, Warsaw's first literary cabaret, and Leon Schiller's musical theatre Melodram. The Wojciech Bogusławski Theatre (1922–26) was the best example of "Polish monumental theatre". From the mid-1930s, the Great Theatre building housed the Upati Institute of Dramatic Arts – the first state-run academy of dramatic art, with an acting department and a stage directing department.
Several commemorative events take place every year. Gatherings of thousands of people on the banks of the Vistula on Midsummer's Night for a festival called Wianki (Polish for Wreaths) have become a tradition and a yearly event in the programme of cultural events in Warsaw. The festival traces its roots to a peaceful pagan ritual where maidens would float their wreaths of herbs on the water to predict when they would be married, and to whom. By the 19th century this tradition had become a festive event, and it continues today. The city council organize concerts and other events. Each Midsummer's Eve, apart from the official floating of wreaths, jumping over fires, and looking for the fern flower, there are musical performances, dignitaries' speeches, fairs and fireworks by the river bank.
Warsaw Multimedia Fountain Park is located in an enchanting place, near the Old Town and the Vistula. The ‘Water – Light – Sound’ multimedia shows take place each Friday and Saturday from May till September at 9.30 pm (May and – 9 October pm). On other weekdays, the shows do not include lasers and sound.
The Warsaw Film festival, an annual festival that takes place every October. Films are usually screened in their original language with Polish subtitles and participating cinemas include Kinoteka (Palace of Science and Culture), Multikino at Golden Terraces and Kultura. Over 100 films are shown throughout the festival, and awards are given to the best and most popular films.
The levelling of Warsaw during the war has left gaping holes in the city's historic collections. Although a considerable number of treasures were spirited away to safety in 1939, a great number of collections from palaces and museums in the countryside were brought to Warsaw at that time as the capital was considered a safer place than some remote castle in the borderlands. Thus losses were heavy.
As interesting examples of expositions the most notable are: the world's first Museum of Posters boasting one of the largest collections of art posters in the world, the Museum of Hunting and Riding and the Railway Museum. From among Warsaw's 60 museums, the most prestigious ones are the National Museum with a collection of works whose origin ranges in time from antiquity till the present epoch as well as one of the best collections of paintings in the country including some paintings from Adolf Hitler's private collection, and the Museum of the Polish Army whose set portrays the history of arms.
The collections of Łazienki and Wilanów palaces (both buildings came through the war in good shape) focus on the paintings of the "old masters", as do those of the Royal Castle which displays the Lanckoroński Collection including two paintings by Rembrandt. The Palace in Natolin, a former rural residence of Duke Czartoryski, is another venue with its interiors and park accessible to tourists.
Holding Poland's largest private collection of art, the Carroll Porczyński Collection Museum displays works from such varied artists as Paris Bordone, Cornelis van Haarlem, José de Ribera, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Vincent van Gogh along with some copies of masterpieces of European painting.
A fine tribute to the fall of Warsaw and history of Poland can be found in the Warsaw Uprising Museum and in the Katyń Museum which preserves the memory of that crime. The Warsaw Uprising Museum also operates a rare preserved and operating historic stereoscopic theatre, the Warsaw Fotoplastikon. The Museum of Independence preserves patriotic and political objects connected with Poland's struggles for independence. Dating back to 1936 the Warsaw Historical Museum contains 60 rooms which host a permanent exhibition of the history of Warsaw from its origins until today.
The 17th century Royal Ujazdów Castle currently houses the Centre for Contemporary Art, with some permanent and temporary exhibitions, concerts, shows and creative workshops. The Centre currently realizes about 500 projects a year. The Zachęta National Gallery of Art, the oldest exhibition site in Warsaw, with a tradition stretching back to the mid-19th century organises exhibitions of modern art by Polish and International Artists and promotes art in many other ways. Since 2011 Warsaw Gallery Weekend is held on the last weekend of September.
Warsaw is the media centre of Poland, and the location of the main headquarters of TVP and other numerous local and national TV and radio stations, such as Polskie Radio (Polish Radio), TVN, Polsat, TV4, TV Puls, Canal+ Poland, Cyfra+ and MTV Poland.
Since May 1661 the first Polish newspaper, the Polish Ordinary Mercury, was printed in Warsaw. The city is also the printing capital of Poland with a wide variety of domestic and foreign periodicals expressing diverse views, and domestic newspapers are extremely competitive. Rzeczpospolita, Gazeta Wyborcza and Dziennik Polska-Europa-Świat, Poland's large nationwide daily newspapers, have their headquarters in Warsaw.
Warsaw also has a sizable movie and television industry. The city houses several movie companies and studios. Among the movie companies are TOR, Czołówka, Zebra and Kadr who is behind several international movie productions.
Over the next few years the new Film City in Nowe Miasto, located a mere 80 km (50 mi) from Warsaw, will become the centre of Polish film production and international co-production. It is to be the largest high-tech film studio in Europe. The first projects filmed in the new Film City will be two films about the Warsaw uprising. Two backlots will be constructed for these projects – a lot of pre-World War II Warsaw and city ruins.
Since World War II, Warsaw has been the most important centre of film production in Poland. It has also been featured in numerous movies, both Polish and foreign, for example: Kanał and Korczak by Andrzej Wajda and The Decalogue by Krzysztof Kieślowski, also including Oscar winner The Pianist by Roman Polański.
It is also home to the National Film Archive, which, since 1955, has been collecting and preserving Polish film culture.
On 9 April 2008 the President of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, obtained from the mayor of Stuttgart Wolfgang Schuster a challenge award – a commemorative plaque awarded to Warsaw as the European capital of Sport in 2008.
The National Stadium, a 58,500-seat-capacity football (soccer) stadium, replaced Warsaw's recently demolished 10th-Anniversary Stadium. The national stadium hosted the opening match, 2 group matches, a quarterfinal, and a semi-final of the UEFA Euro 2012 hosted jointly by Poland and Ukraine.
There are many sports centres in the city as well. Most of these facilities are swimming pools and sports halls, many of them built by the municipality in the past several years. The main indoor venue is Hala Torwar, used for all kinds of indoor sports (it was a venue for the 2009 EuroBasket but it is also used as an indoor skating rink). There is also an open-air skating rink (Stegny) and a horse racetrack (Służewiec).
The best of the city's swimming centres is at Wodny Park Warszawianka, 4 km (2 mi) south of the centre at Merliniego Street, where there's an Olympic-sized pool as well as water slides and children's areas.
From the Warsovian football teams, the most famous is Legia Warsaw – the army club with a nationwide following play at Polish Army Stadium, just southeast of the centre at Łazienkowska Street. Established in 1916, they have won the country's championship 13 times (most recently in 2018) and won the Polish Cup 19 times. In the Champions League season 1995/96 they reached the quarter-finals, where they lost to Panathinaikos Athens.
Their local rivals, Polonia Warsaw, have significantly fewer supporters, yet they managed to win the country's championship two times (in 1946 and 2000) and won the cup twice as well. Polonia's home venue is located at Konwiktorska Street, a ten-minute walk north from the Old Town. Polonia was relegated from the country's top flight in 2013 because of their disastrous financial situation. They are now playing in the second league (3rd tier in Poland).
The mermaid (syrenka) is Warsaw's symbol and can be found on statues throughout the city and on the city's coat of arms. This imagery has been in use since at least the mid-14th century. The oldest existing armed seal of Warsaw is from the year 1390, consisting of a round seal bordered with the Latin inscription Sigilium Civitatis Varsoviensis (Seal of the city of Warsaw). City records as far back as 1609 document the use of a crude form of a sea monster with a female upper body and holding a sword in its claws. In 1653 the poet Zygmunt Laukowski asks the question:
The Mermaid Statue stands in the very centre of Old Town Square, surrounded by a fountain. Due to vandalism, the original statue had been moved to the grounds of the Museum of Warsaw – the statue in the square is a copy. This is not the only mermaid in Warsaw. Another is located on the bank of the Vistula River near Świętokrzyski Bridge and another on Karowa Street.
The origin of the legendary figure is not fully known. The best-known legend, by Artur Oppman, is that long ago two of Triton's daughters set out on a journey through the depths of the oceans and seas. One of them decided to stay on the coast of Denmark and can be seen sitting at the entrance to the port of Copenhagen. The second mermaid reached the mouth of the Vistula River and plunged into its waters. She stopped to rest on a sandy beach by the village of Warszowa, where fishermen came to admire her beauty and listen to her beautiful voice. A greedy merchant also heard her songs; he followed the fishermen and captured the mermaid.
Another legend says that a mermaid once swam to Warsaw from the Baltic Sea for the love of the Griffin, the ancient defender of the city, who was killed in a struggle against the Swedish invasions of the 17th century. The mermaid, wishing to avenge his death, took the position of defender of Warsaw, becoming the symbol of the city.
Every member of the Queen's Royal Hussars of the UK's light cavalry wears the Maid of Warsaw, the crest of the City of Warsaw, on the left sleeve of his No. 2 (Service) Dress. Members of 651 Squadron Army Air Corps of the United Kingdom also wear the Maid of Warsaw on the left sleeve of their No. 2 (Service) Dress.
One of the most famous people born in Warsaw was Maria Skłodowska-Curie, who achieved international recognition for her research on radioactivity and was the first female recipient of the Nobel Prize. Famous musicians include Władysław Szpilman and Frédéric Chopin. Though Chopin was born in the village of Żelazowa Wola, about 60 km (37 mi) from Warsaw, he moved to the city with his family when he was seven months old. Casimir Pulaski, a Polish general and hero of the American Revolutionary War, was born here in 1745.
Tamara de Lempicka was a famous artist born in Warsaw. She was born Maria Górska in Warsaw to wealthy parents and in 1916 married a Polish lawyer Tadeusz Łempicki. Better than anyone else she represented the art deco style in painting and art. Nathan Alterman, the Israeli poet, was born in Warsaw, as was Moshe Vilenski, the Israeli composer, lyricist, and pianist, who studied music at the Warsaw Conservatory. Other notables include Samuel Goldwyn, the founder of Goldwyn Pictures, mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot, physicist Joseph Rotblat and biochemist Casimir Funk. Warsaw was the beloved city of Isaac Bashevis Singer, which he described in many of his novels: "Warsaw has just now been destroyed. No one will ever see the Warsaw I knew. Let me just write about it. Let this Warsaw not disappear forever", he wrote.
References – city's official site.
ORDER OF VALOUR "VIRTUTI MILITARI", FIFTH CLASS Capital City of Warsaw 1940 To the inhabitants of the Capital City of Warsaw – in recognition of their heroism and unshakable bravery in the struggle with the Nazi aggressor.
Mehrere Gemälde aus dem Berghof befinden sich heute im Nationalmuseum in Warschau. Bordones Venus und Amor etwa (Abb. 100) ebenso wie der Madonnen-Tondo Bugiardinis (Abb. 62) oder ein großes Ruinenbild von Pannini, das in der verglasten Veranda gehangen hatte (Abb. 113).
1990. Praga. 1992. Rótterdam. 1990. Varsovia 1992.
49 sister cities in 2003
The Battle of Warsaw refers to the decisive Polish victory in 1920 during the Polish–Soviet War. Poland, on the verge of total defeat, repulsed and defeated the Red Army.
After the Polish Kiev Offensive, Soviet forces launched a successful counterattack in summer 1920, forcing the Polish army to retreat westward in disarray. The Polish forces seemed on the verge of disintegration and observers predicted a decisive Soviet victory.
The battle of Warsaw was fought from August 12–25, 1920 as Red Army forces commanded by Mikhail Tukhachevsky approached the Polish capital of Warsaw and the nearby Modlin Fortress. On August 16, Polish forces commanded by Józef Piłsudski counterattacked from the south, disrupting the enemy's offensive, forcing the Russian forces into a disorganized withdrawal eastward and behind the Neman River. Estimated Russian losses were 10,000 killed, 500 missing, 30,000 wounded, and 66,000 taken prisoner, compared with Polish losses of some 4,500 killed, 10,000 missing, and 22,000 wounded.
The defeat crippled the Red Army; Vladimir Lenin, the Bolshevik leader, called it "an enormous defeat" for his forces. In the following months, several more Polish follow-up victories saved Poland's independence and led to a peace treaty with Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine later that year, securing the Polish state's eastern frontiers until 1939.
The British diplomat Edgar Vincent regards this event as one of the most important battles in history on his expanded list of most decisive battles, since the Polish victory over the Soviets stopped the spread of communism to Europe.Duchy of Warsaw
The Duchy of Warsaw (Polish: Księstwo Warszawskie, French: Duché de Varsovie, German: Herzogtum Warschau) was a Polish state established by Napoleon I in 1807 from the Polish lands ceded by the Kingdom of Prussia under the terms of the Treaties of Tilsit. The duchy was held in personal union by one of Napoleon's allies, King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony. Following Napoleon's failed invasion of Russia, the duchy was occupied by Prussian and Russian troops until 1815, when it was formally partitioned between the two countries at the Congress of Vienna. It covered the central and eastern part of present Poland and minor parts of present Lithuania and Belarus.Ekstraklasa
The Ekstraklasa (Polish pronunciation: [ˌɛkstraˈklasa]), named Lotto Ekstraklasa since the 2016–17 season due to its sponsorship by Lotto, is the top Polish professional league for men's association football teams (it is the country's primary football competition). The winner of the Ekstraklasa claims the Polish national championship. Contested by 16 clubs, operating a system of promotion and relegation with the I liga. Seasons starts in July, and ends in May or June the following year. Teams play a total of 37 games each, totalling 296 matches in the season. Games are played on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. The winner of the Ekstraklasa qualifies for the Polish SuperCup. The Ekstraklasa is now operated by the Ekstraklasa SA (English: Ekstraklasa Joint-stock company).
The Ekstraklasa (former I liga) was officially formed as Liga Polska on 4–5 December 1926 in Warsaw, since 1 March 1927 as Liga Piłki Nożnej (Polish pronunciation: [ˈlʲiɡa ˈpiwki ˈnɔʐnɛj]), but the Polish Football Association (Polish: Polski Związek Piłki Nożnej, PZPN) had been in existence since 20 December 1919, a year after the independence of Poland in 1918. The first games of the freshly created league took place on 3 April 1927, while first national non-league football championship took place in 1920.
A total of 81 teams have played in the top division of Polish football since the founding of the league, of which 16 clubs have won the title. The current champions are Legia Warsaw, who won their thirteenth title in 2017–18 season.Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric François Chopin (; French: [ʃɔpɛ̃]; Polish: [ˈʂɔpɛn]; 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849) was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era who wrote primarily for solo piano. He has maintained worldwide renown as a leading musician of his era, one whose "poetic genius was based on a professional technique that was without equal in his generation."Chopin was born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin in the Duchy of Warsaw and grew up in Warsaw, which in 1815 became part of Congress Poland. A child prodigy, he completed his musical education and composed his earlier works in Warsaw before leaving Poland at the age of 20, less than a month before the outbreak of the November 1830 Uprising. At 21, he settled in Paris. Thereafter—in the last 18 years of his life—he gave only 30 public performances, preferring the more intimate atmosphere of the salon. He supported himself by selling his compositions and by giving piano lessons, for which he was in high demand. Chopin formed a friendship with Franz Liszt and was admired by many of his other musical contemporaries (including Robert Schumann). In 1835, Chopin obtained French citizenship. After a failed engagement to Maria Wodzińska from 1836 to 1837, he maintained an often troubled relationship with the French writer Amantine Dupin (known by her pen name, George Sand). A brief and unhappy visit to Majorca with Sand in 1838–39 would prove one of his most productive periods of composition. In his final years, he was supported financially by his admirer Jane Stirling, who also arranged for him to visit Scotland in 1848. For most of his life, Chopin was in poor health. He died in Paris in 1849 at the age of 39, probably of pericarditis aggravated by tuberculosis.
All of Chopin's compositions include the piano. Most are for solo piano, though he also wrote two piano concertos, a few chamber pieces, and some 19 songs set to Polish lyrics. His piano writing was technically demanding and expanded the limits of the instrument: his own performances were noted for their nuance and sensitivity. Chopin invented the concept of the instrumental ballade. His major piano works also include mazurkas, waltzes, nocturnes, polonaises, études, impromptus, scherzos, preludes and sonatas, some published only posthumously. Among the influences on his style of composition were Polish folk music, the classical tradition of J.S. Bach, Mozart, and Schubert, and the atmosphere of the Paris salons of which he was a frequent guest. His innovations in style, harmony, and musical form, and his association of music with nationalism, were influential throughout and after the late Romantic period.
Chopin's music, his status as one of music's earliest superstars, his (indirect) association with political insurrection, his high-profile love-life, and his early death have made him a leading symbol of the Romantic era. His works remain popular, and he has been the subject of numerous films and biographies of varying historical fidelity.Legia Warsaw
Legia Warszawa (Polish: [ˈlɛɡʲja varˈʂava]), known in English as Legia Warsaw, is a professional football club based in Warsaw, Poland. The current Polish champions, Legia is one of the most successful Polish football clubs in history winning 13* Ekstraklasa Champions titles, a record 19 Polish Cup trophies and four Polish SuperCup matches. The club's home venue is the Polish Army Stadium.
Legia was formed between 5 and 15 March 1916 during military operations in World War I on the Eastern Front in the neighborhood of Maniewicze in Volhynia, as the main football club of the Polish Legions. After the war, the club was reactivated 14 March 1920 in an officer casino in Warsaw as Wojskowy Klub Sportowy Warszawa, renamed Legia in 1923 after merger with another local club, Korona. It became the main official football club of the Polish Army – Wojskowy Klub Sportowy Legia Warszawa (Military Sports Club Legia Warsaw). From 1949 to 1957, Legia was known as CWKS Warszawa (Central Military Sports Club Warsaw).
Before 8 April 2004 it was owned by Pol-Mot and from 8 April 2004 (sold for 3 million złoty) until 9 January 2014, it was owned by media conglomerate ITI Group
Currently the club is owned by Dariusz Mioduski (60%), Bogusław Leśnodorski (20%) and Maciej Wandzel (20%) – who serves as the club's chairman. The first two acquired the club for an undisclosed sum, which also included paying off debts made by previous ownership, and Wandzel joined them in September 2014.Marie Curie
Marie Skłodowska Curie (; French: [kyʁi]; Polish: [kʲiˈri]; born Maria Salomea Skłodowska; 7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. She was part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.
She was born in Warsaw, in what was then the Kingdom of Poland, part of the Russian Empire. She studied at Warsaw's clandestine Flying University and began her practical scientific training in Warsaw. In 1891, aged 24, she followed her older sister Bronisława to study in Paris, where she earned her higher degrees and conducted her subsequent scientific work. She shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband Pierre Curie and physicist Henri Becquerel. She won the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Her achievements included the development of the theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined), techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium. Under her direction, the world's first studies into the treatment of neoplasms were conducted using radioactive isotopes. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw, which remain major centres of medical research today. During World War I she developed mobile radiography units to provide X-ray services to field hospitals.
While a French citizen, Marie Skłodowska Curie, who used both surnames, never lost her sense of Polish identity. She taught her daughters the Polish language and took them on visits to Poland. She named the first chemical element she discovered polonium, after her native country.Marie Curie died in 1934, aged 66, at a sanatorium in Sancellemoz (Haute-Savoie), France, of aplastic anemia from exposure to radiation in the course of her scientific research and in the course of her radiological work at field hospitals during World War I.Masovian Voivodeship
Mazovian Voivodeship or Mazovia Province (Polish: województwo mazowieckie [vɔjɛˈvut͡stfɔ mazɔˈvʲɛtskʲɛ]) is the largest and most populous of the 16 Polish provinces, or voivodeships, created in 1999. It occupies 35,579 square kilometres (13,737 sq mi) of east-central Poland, and has 5,324,500 inhabitants. Its principal cities are Warsaw (1.749 million) in the centre of the Warsaw metropolitan area, Radom (226,000) in the south, Płock (127,000) in the west, Siedlce (77,000) in the east, and Ostrołęka (55,000) in the north. The capital of the voivodeship is the national capital, Warsaw.
The province was created on January 1, 1999, out of the former Warsaw, Płock, Ciechanów, Ostrołęka, Siedlce and Radom Voivodeships, pursuant to the Polish local government reforms adopted in 1998. The province's name recalls the traditional name of the region, Mazowsze (sometimes rendered in English as "Mazovia"), with which it is roughly coterminous. However, southern part of the voivodeship, with Radom, historically belongs to Lesser Poland, while Łomża and its surroundings, even though historically part of Mazovia, now is part of Podlaskie Voivodeship.
It is bordered by six other voivodeships: Warmian-Masurian to the north, Podlaskie to the north-east, Lublin to the south-east, Świętokrzyskie to the south, Łódź to the south-west, and Kuyavian-Pomeranian to the north-west.
Mazovia is the centre of science, research, education, industry and infrastructure in the country. It currently has the lowest unemployment rate in Poland and is classified as a very high income province. Moreover, it is popular among holidaymakers due to the number of historical monuments and greenery; forests cover over 20% of the voivodeship's area, where pines and oaks predominate in the regional landscape. Additionally, the Kampinos National Park located within Masovia is a UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve.Nike (mythology)
In ancient Greek religion, Nike (; Ancient Greek: Νίκη, "Victory" [nǐːkɛː]) was a goddess who personified victory. Her Roman equivalent was Victoria.Poland
Poland (Polish: Polska [ˈpɔlska] (listen)), officially the Republic of Poland (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Polska [ʐɛt͡ʂpɔˈspɔlita ˈpɔlska] (listen)), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk and Szczecin.
Poland is bordered by the Baltic Sea, Russian Kaliningrad Oblast and Lithuania to the north, Belarus and Ukraine to the east, Slovakia and Czech Republic to the south and Germany to the west.
The establishment of the Polish state can be traced back to AD 966, when Mieszko I, ruler of the realm coextensive with the territory of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented its longstanding political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin. This union formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest (about 1 million km2) and most populous countries of 16th- and 17th-century Europe, with a uniquely liberal political system which adopted Europe's first written national constitution, the Constitution of 3 May 1791.
More than a century after the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, Poland regained its independence in 1918 with the Treaty of Versailles. In September 1939, World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Germany, followed by the Soviet Union invading Poland in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. More than six million Polish citizens, including 90% of the country's Jews, perished in the war. In 1947, the Polish People's Republic was established as a satellite state under Soviet influence. In the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1989, most notably through the emergence of the Solidarity movement, the sovereign state of Poland reestablished itself as a presidential democratic republic.
Poland is a developed market and regional power. It has the eighth largest and one of the most dynamic economies in the European Union, simultaneously achieving a very high rank on the Human Development Index. Additionally, the Polish Stock Exchange in Warsaw is the largest and most important in Central Europe. Poland is a developed country, which maintains a high-income economy along with very high standards of living, life quality, safety, education and economic freedom. Poland has a developed school educational system. The country provides free university education, state-funded social security and a universal health care system for all citizens. Poland has 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 14 of which are cultural. Poland is a member state of the European Union, the Schengen Area, the United Nations, NATO, the OECD, the Three Seas Initiative, and the Visegrád Group.Polish–Soviet War
The Polish–Soviet War (14 February 1919 – 18 March 1921) was fought by the Second Polish Republic, Ukrainian People's Republic and the proto-Soviet Union (Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine) over a region comparable to today's westernmost Ukraine and parts of modern Belarus.
Poland's Chief of State, Józef Piłsudski, felt the time was right to expand Polish borders as far east as feasible, to be followed by a Polish-led Intermarium federation of Central and Eastern European states, as a bulwark against the re-emergence of German and Russian imperialism. Vladimir Lenin saw Poland as the bridge the Red Army had to cross to assist other Communist movements and bring about more European revolutions. By 1919, Polish forces had taken control of much of Western Ukraine, emerging victorious from the Polish–Ukrainian War. The West Ukrainian People's Republic, led by Yevhen Petrushevych, had tried to create a Ukrainian state on territories to which both Poles and Ukrainians laid claim. In the Russian part of Ukraine Symon Petliura tried to defend and strengthen the Ukrainian People's Republic but as the Bolsheviks began to win the Russian Civil War, they started to advance westward towards the disputed Ukrainian territories, causing Petliura's forces to retreat to Podolia. By the end of 1919, a clear front had formed as Petliura decided to ally with Piłsudski. Border skirmishes escalated following Piłsudski's Kiev Offensive in April 1920.
The Polish offensive was met by a successful Red Army counter-attack. The Soviet operation pushed the Polish forces back westward all the way to the Polish capital, Warsaw, while the Directorate of Ukraine fled to Western Europe. Western fears of Soviet troops arriving at the German frontiers increased the interest of Western powers in the war. In mid-summer, the fall of Warsaw seemed certain but in mid-August, the tide had turned again, as the Polish forces achieved an unexpected and decisive victory at the Battle of Warsaw. In the wake of the Polish advance eastward, the Soviets sued for peace and the war ended with a cease-fire in October 1920.
The Peace of Riga was signed on 18 March 1921, dividing the disputed territories between Poland and Soviet Russia. The war largely determined the Soviet–Polish border for the Interbellum. Poland gained a territory of around 200 kilometers east of its former border, the Curzon Line, which had been defined by an international commission after World War I. Much of the territory allocated to Poland in the Treaty of Riga became part of the Soviet Union after World War II, when the common border was re-defined by the Allied Powers in close accordance with the Curzon Line.The Pianist (2002 film)
The Pianist is a 2002 biographical drama film co-produced and directed by Roman Polanski, scripted by Ronald Harwood, and starring Adrien Brody. It is based on the autobiographical book The Pianist, a Holocaust memoir by the Polish-Jewish pianist and composer Władysław Szpilman, a Holocaust survivor. The film was a co-production of France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Poland.
The Pianist met with significant critical praise, and received multiple awards and nominations. It was awarded the Palme d'Or at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. At the 75th Academy Awards, The Pianist won Oscars for Best Director (Roman Polanski), Best Adapted Screenplay (Ronald Harwood), and Best Actor (Adrien Brody), and was nominated for four other awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture. It also won the BAFTA Award for Best Film and BAFTA Award for Best Direction in 2003, and seven French Césars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Brody. It was included in BBC's 100 Greatest Films of the 21st Century.University of Warsaw
The University of Warsaw (Polish: Uniwersytet Warszawski, Latin: Universitas Varsoviensis), established in 1816, is the largest university in Poland. It employs over 6,000 staff including over 3,100 academic educators. It provides graduate courses for 53,000 students (on top of over 9,200 postgraduate and doctoral candidates). The University offers some 37 different fields of study, 18 faculties and over 100 specializations in Humanities, technical as well as Natural Sciences.It was founded as a Royal University on 19 November 1816, when the Partitions of Poland separated Warsaw from the oldest and most influential University of Kraków. Alexander I granted permission for the establishment of five faculties – law and political science, medicine, philosophy, theology and the humanities. The university expanded rapidly, but was closed during November Uprising in 1830. It was reopened in 1857 as the Warsaw Academy of Medicine, which was now based in the nearby Staszic Palace with only medical and pharmaceutical faculties. All Polish-language campuses were closed in 1869 after the failed January Uprising, but the university managed to train 3,000 students, many of whom were important part of the Polish intelligentsia; meanwhile the Main Building was reopened for training military personnel. The university was resurrected during the First World War and the number of students reached 4,500 in 1918. After Poland's independence the new government focused on improving the university, and in the early 1930s it became the country's largest. New faculties were established and the curriculum was extended. Following the Second World War and the devastation of Warsaw, the University successfully reopened in 1945.
Today, the University of Warsaw consists of 126 buildings and educational complexes with over 18 faculties: biology, chemistry, journalism and political science, philosophy and sociology, physics, geography and regional studies, geology, history, applied linguistics and Slavic philology, economics, philology, pedagogy, Polish language, law and public administration, psychology, applied social sciences, management and mathematics, computer science and mechanics.
The University of Warsaw is one of the top Polish universities. It was ranked by Perspektywy magazine as best Polish university in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2016. International rankings such as ARWU and University Web Ranking rank the university as the best Polish higher level institution.
On the list of 100 best European universities compiled by University Web Ranking, the University of Warsaw was placed as 61st. QS World University Rankings positioned the University of Warsaw as the best higher level institution among the world's top 400.Warsaw Chopin Airport
Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport (Polish: Lotnisko Chopina w Warszawie, Polish pronunciation: [lɔtˈɲiskɔ ʂɔpɛna v varˈʂavʲɛ]) (IATA: WAW, ICAO: EPWA), more commonly referred to as Chopin Airport or Warsaw-Chopin Airport, is an international airport located in the Włochy district of Warsaw, Poland. As Poland's largest, covering 834 hectares (2,060 acres) of land, and busiest airport, Warsaw Chopin handles just under 40% of the country's air passenger traffic. Warsaw Chopin handles approximately 300 scheduled flights daily and an ever-rising number of charters. London, Chicago, Frankfurt, Paris, and Amsterdam are the busiest international connections, while Kraków, Wrocław, and Gdańsk are the most popular domestic ones.Warsaw Chopin Airport is, with 17.7 million passengers in 2018, the busiest airport in the newer EU member states.
Formerly known as Warsaw-Okecie Airport (Port lotniczy Warszawa-Okęcie) or Okecie International Airport, the airport bore the name of its Okęcie neighborhood throughout its history, until its renaming for Polish composer and former Warsaw resident Frédéric (Fryderyk) Chopin in 2001. Despite the official change, "Okecie" ("Lotnisko Okęcie") remains in popular and industry use, including air traffic and aerodrome references.
An underground railway station connected from the airport to Warsaw's suburban rail system was opened in June 2012 in time for the Euro 2012 football championships, and on 25 November 2013, the airport announced accommodating – for the first time in history – its 10 millionth passenger in a single year.The secondary international airport of the city is the much smaller Warsaw Modlin Airport, which opened in 2012 and is used for low-cost traffic.Warsaw Ghetto
The Warsaw Ghetto (German: Warschauer Ghetto, officially Jüdischer Wohnbezirk in Warschau, "Jewish Residential District in Warsaw"; Polish: getto warszawskie) was the largest of all the Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Europe during World War II. It was established by the German authorities in the Muranów neighborhood of the Polish capital between October and November 16, 1940; within the new General Government territory of German-occupied Poland. There were over 400,000 Jews imprisoned there, at an area of 3.4 km2 (1.3 sq mi), with an average of 9.2 persons per room, barely subsisting on meager food rations. From the Warsaw Ghetto, Jews were deported to Nazi concentration camps and mass-killing centers. In the summer of 1942 at least 254,000 Ghetto residents were sent to the Treblinka extermination camp during Großaktion Warschau under the guise of "resettlement in the East" over the course of the summer. The ghetto was demolished by the Germans in May 1943 after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprisings which had temporarily halted the deportations. The total death toll among the Jewish inhabitants of the Ghetto is estimated to be at least 300,000 killed by bullet or gas, combined with 92,000 victims of rampant hunger and hunger-related diseases, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and the casualties of the final destruction of the Ghetto.Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (Yiddish: אױפֿשטאַנד אין װאַרשעװער געטאָ; Polish: powstanie w getcie warszawskim; German: Aufstand im Warschauer Ghetto) was the 1943 act of Jewish resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto in German-occupied Poland during World War II to oppose Nazi Germany's final effort to transport the remaining ghetto population to Majdanek and Treblinka. After the Grossaktion Warsaw of summer 1942, in which more than a quarter of a million Jews were deported from the ghetto to Treblinka and murdered, the remaining Jews began to build bunkers and smuggle weapons and explosives into the ghetto. The left-wing Jewish Combat Organization (ŻOB) and right-wing Jewish Military Union (ŻZW) formed and began to train. However, only the ŻZW received logistical support from the similarly right-leaning Polish Home Army. A small resistance effort to another roundup in January 1943 was partially successful and spurred the Polish groups to support the Jews in earnest.
The uprising started on 19 April when the ghetto refused to surrender to the police commander SS-Brigadeführer Jürgen Stroop, who then ordered the burning of the ghetto, block by block, ending on 16 May. A total of 13,000 Jews died, about half of them burnt alive or suffocated. German casualties were probably less than 150, with Stroop reporting only 16 killed. Nevertheless, it was the largest single revolt by Jews during World War II. The Jews knew that the uprising was doomed and their survival was unlikely. Marek Edelman, the only surviving ŻOB commander, said that the motivation for fighting was "to pick the time and place of our deaths". According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the uprising was "one of the most significant occurrences in the history of the Jewish people".Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Pact, formally known as the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, was a collective defence treaty signed in Warsaw, Poland among the Soviet Union and seven Soviet satellite states of Central and Eastern Europe in May 1955, during the Cold War. The Warsaw Pact was the military complement to the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CoMEcon), the regional economic organization for the socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe. The Warsaw Pact was created in reaction to the integration of West Germany into NATO in 1955 per the London and Paris Conferences of 1954, but it is also considered to have been motivated by Soviet desires to maintain control over military forces in Central and Eastern Europe.The Warsaw Pact was established as a balance of power or counterweight to NATO; there was no direct confrontation between them. Instead, the conflict was fought on an ideological basis and in proxy wars. Both NATO and the Warsaw Pact led to the expansion of military forces and their integration into the respective blocs. Its largest military engagement was the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 (with the participation of all Pact nations except Albania, Romania and East Germany), which, in part, resulted in Albania withdrawing from the pact less than a month later. The Pact began to unravel in its entirety with the spread of the Revolutions of 1989 through the Eastern Bloc, beginning with the Solidarity movement in Poland and its electoral success in June 1989.
East Germany withdrew from the Pact following reunification with West Germany in 1990. On 25 February 1991, the Pact was declared at an end at a meeting of defence and foreign ministers from the six remaining member states in Hungary. The USSR itself was dissolved in December 1991, although most of the former Soviet republics formed the Collective Security Treaty Organization shortly thereafter. Throughout the following 20 years, the seven Warsaw Pact countries outside the USSR each joined NATO (East Germany through its reunification with West Germany; and the Czech Republic and Slovakia as separate countries), as did the three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) that had been part of the Soviet Union.Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
The Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, officially known as Operation Danube, was a joint invasion of Czechoslovakia by five Warsaw Pact countries – the Soviet Union, Poland, Bulgaria, East Germany and Hungary – on the night of 20–21 August 1968. Approximately 250,000 Warsaw pact troops attacked Czechoslovakia that night, with Romania and Albania refusing to participate. East German forces, except for a small number of specialists, did not participate in the invasion because they were ordered from Moscow not to cross the Czechoslovak border just hours before the invasion. 137 Czechoslovakian civilians were killed and 500 seriously wounded during the occupation.The invasion successfully stopped Alexander Dubček's Prague Spring liberalisation reforms and strengthened the authority of the authoritarian wing within the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ). The foreign policy of the Soviet Union during this era was known as the Brezhnev Doctrine.Warsaw University of Technology
The Warsaw University of Technology (Polish: Politechnika Warszawska, literally, "Warsaw Polytechnic") is one of the leading institutes of technology in Poland and one of the largest in Central Europe. It employs 2,453 teaching faculty, with 357 professors (including 145 titular professors). The student body numbers 36,156 (as of 2011), mostly full-time. There are 19 faculties (divisions) covering almost all fields of science and technology. They are in Warsaw, except for one in Płock.
The Warsaw University of Technology has about 5,000 graduates per year. According to the 2008 Rzeczpospolita newspaper survey, engineers govern Polish companies. Warsaw Tech alums make up the highest percentage of Polish managers and executives. Every ninth president among the top 500 corporations in Poland is a graduate of the Warsaw University of Technology. Professor Kurnik, the rector, explained that the school provides a solid basis for the performance of managers by equipping its students with an education at the highest level and a preparation with the tools and information, including knowledge of foreign languages.The origins of Warsaw University of Technology date back to 1826 when engineering education was begun in the Warsaw Institute of Technology.
In 2018, Times Higher Education ranked the university within the 601-800 band globally.Warsaw Uprising
The Warsaw Uprising (Polish: powstanie warszawskie; German: Warschauer Aufstand) was a major World War II operation, in the summer of 1944, by the Polish underground resistance, led by the Home Army (Polish: Armia Krajowa), to liberate Warsaw from German occupation. The uprising was timed to coincide with the retreat of the German forces from Poland ahead of the Soviet advance. While approaching the eastern suburbs of the city, the Red Army temporarily halted combat operations, enabling the Germans to regroup and defeat the Polish resistance and to raze the city in reprisal. The Uprising was fought for 63 days with little outside support. It was the single largest military effort taken by any European resistance movement during World War II.The Uprising began on 1 August 1944 as part of a nationwide Operation Tempest, launched at the time of the Soviet Lublin–Brest Offensive. The main Polish objectives were to drive the Germans out of Warsaw while helping the Allies defeat Germany. An additional, political goal of the Polish Underground State was to liberate Poland's capital and assert Polish sovereignty before the Soviet-backed Polish Committee of National Liberation could assume control. Other immediate causes included a threat of mass German round-ups of able-bodied Poles for "evacuation"; calls by Radio Moscow's Polish Service for uprising; and an emotional Polish desire for justice and revenge against the enemy after five years of German occupation.Initially, the Poles established control over most of central Warsaw, but the Soviets ignored Polish attempts to make radio contact with them and did not advance beyond the city limits. Intense street fighting between the Germans and Poles continued. By 14 September, the eastern bank of the Vistula River opposite the Polish resistance positions was taken over by the Polish troops fighting under the Soviet command; 1,200 men made it across the river, but they were not reinforced by the Red Army. This, and the lack of air support from the Soviet air base five-minutes flying time away, led to allegations that Joseph Stalin tactically halted his forces to let the operation fail and allow the Polish resistance to be crushed. Arthur Koestler called the Soviet attitude "one of the major infamies of this war which will rank for the future historian on the same ethical level with Lidice."Winston Churchill pleaded with Stalin and Franklin D. Roosevelt to help Britain's Polish allies, to no avail. Then, without Soviet air clearance, Churchill sent over 200 low-level supply drops by the Royal Air Force, the South African Air Force, and the Polish Air Force under British High Command, in an operation known as the Warsaw Airlift. Later, after gaining Soviet air clearance, the U.S. Army Air Force sent one high-level mass airdrop as part of Operation Frantic.
Although the exact number of casualties is unknown, it is estimated that about 16,000 members of the Polish resistance were killed and about 6,000 badly wounded. In addition, between 150,000 and 200,000 Polish civilians died, mostly from mass executions. Jews being harboured by Poles were exposed by German house-to-house clearances and mass evictions of entire neighbourhoods. German casualties totalled over 17,000 soldiers killed and missing. During the urban combat, approximately 25% of Warsaw's buildings were destroyed. Following the surrender of Polish forces, German troops systematically levelled another 35% of the city block by block. Together with earlier damage suffered in the 1939 invasion of Poland and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943, over 85% of the city was destroyed by January 1945 when the course of the events in the Eastern Front forced the Germans to abandon the city.