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USD 3,0952 –1.08
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Today is 23 January
we celebrate name day of

Maria, Ildefons, Rajmund

Sunrise: 7:31
Sunset: 16:05

This site was visited 35433972 times.

Walking route of The Visitor free city guide - OLD TOWN AND SURROUNDINGS

We start our first tour at St. Ann’s Church. This church can be reached by buses: 116, 122, 178, 180, 195, 503, N44 - get of at the bus stop: PL. ZAMKOWY 02, or by tram: 13, 26, 32 - tram stop: STARE MIASTO 04.

1. St. Ann's Church

St. Ann’s Church - University Church. 68 Krakowskie Przedmieście. Tel. 022 826 89 91. The church was built on the high banks of the Vistula in 1454. It has been destroyed and rebuilt several times so it can be said that it is a masterpiece of many epochs and with its XVI century belfry can be considered a mixture of many styles. The interior of the building is in splendid and very beautifully restored Baroque. Climb the belfry (left) and enjoy the great panoramic view towards Old Town.

As you leave the church turn to your right towards the King Zygmunt III Column. You can’t miss it really! The Old Town is one of the most picturesque places in Warsaw where most of the most important monuments can be found. In fact this area of Warsaw was reconstructed after its total destruction by the Germans during World War Two. It is now on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is the heart and soul of Warsaw and rebuilding the area can be said to represent the Polish peoples will to remain unconquered and free.

2. King Zygmunt III Column
The King Zygmunt III Column - dedicated to Zygmunt III Waza who made Warsaw the capital of Poland. This column is also the symbol of the city and the Polish nation. It was commissioned in 1644 by Władysław’s IV to commemorate his father’s achievements and assure the memory of this popular King. During the Second World War the column and all of the Old Town (Starówka) was destroyed. Some of the original pieces of the column can be found next to the Royal Castle (go over and touch them, it’s considered lucky). The King Zygmunt III Column is a well known landmark. So it’s not surprising that many Varsovians arrange a meeting, a rendezvous, „at 9, by the column”.

3. The Royal Castle

The Royal Castle, - 4 Plac Zamkowy. Tel. +48 22 355 51 70. Open: MON-SAT 10.00-18.00, SUN 11.00-18.00. Admission 22 zł, reduced 15 zł. Guided tour for groups up to 25 people: 60 zł in Polish, 85 zł in foreign language. Last entry one hour before the Castle is closed. The architectural style and the construction of the Castle date from the 17th and 18th century. The west wing of the castle is dominated by the Zygmunt Tower with it’s famous clock. The castle was mined and completely destroyed by the Germans after the Warsaw Uprising (1944). The reconstruction under the post-war Communist regime was done by voluntary work and private subscriptions from Poland and abroad. It took fifty years and was officially completed in 1984. From 3 May 1995 at 11.15 the so called Warsaw Heynal has been played from the Castle clock tower. It is played three times to remind us of three values: God Honour and Fatherland. The time it is played is to remind us also of the first castle bombing of WWII (17 IX 1939) when the clock hands stopped at 11.15. It stopped for dozens 3rd of years... Artifacts from prewar Warsaw are still being discovered around the world and even today some are being returned to the Castle. Of great interest is the Senate Chamber where the Constitution of May 1791 was declared. (The Polish Constitution predates the French one). The Upper House were rooms for those waiting for an audience with the King. Here visitors can admire the paintings by Canaletto representing views of late18th century Warsaw. These paintings were used as references in the reconstruction of the Old Town of Warsaw. The Old Throne Room and several luxuriously appointed private apartments are very interesting as is the Conference Cabinet with its paintings of European sovereigns who ruled during the reign of Stanisław August. As you glide along, polishing the floors, you will see the Knight’s Room, the Marble Cabinet and the most splendid of all - the Ballroom, a smaller version of the Hall of Mirrors. Reserve at least two hours for this visit. It’s well worth it.

When you leave the Castle our tour continues along Świętojańska Street, a narrow street, fronted by impressive tenement buildings. This leads us from the Royal Castle to the Old Town Square. Don’t worry, it’s not far.

4. St. John's Cathedral

Half way down Świętojańska Street, on your right, you will see the red bricked facade of St. John’s Cathedral. It is one of the oldest churches in Warsaw. The Crypt. Open 10.00-13.00 and 15.00-17.30. The International Festival of Organ Music takes place here from June until September. Concerts every Sunday at 16.00. This spacious building is in the Gothic style. The marriage of Władysław IV (1632) was held here as well as the coronation of Stanisław Leszczyński and Stanisław Poniatowski. It was in this building that the oath of the Constitution of the 3rd May 1791 was sworn. The Cathedral Crypt contains the tombs of some of those who played an important part in Polish history. Stanisław August Poniatowski, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Gabriel Narutowicz, Ignacy Paderewski. Reserve about half an hour for this visit.

We leave the cool interior of the Cathedral and proceed down Świętojańska Street. Just before we enter the Square glance down at the cobbles and you will see the UNESCO World Heritage seal.

5. The Old Town Square
In the summer the Old Town Square is filled with street cafes and you can sit under parasols sipping your favorite beverage and admire the fine architecture around you. It is a busy place with a constant movement of people. There are many very good restaurants to be found here and many bars. For souvenir shopping it is the ideal spot. There are galleries and museums to visit and from here you can hire a horse drawn carriage to take you round the Old Town. This is the most picturesque place in the capital. In the middle of the market square there is a bronze statue of the Mermaid of Warsaw - the emblem of the city. The market square is divided into Each of the late Renaissance or Baroque tenements in the Old Town have their own particular style and their own history.

6. The Historical Museum of Warsaw

The Historical Museum of Warsaw is situated opposite Świętojańska Street, the street you entered the Square, remember? This visit is necessary if you really want to know more about the city. Tel. +48 22 531 38 00.  A film, English, French, German versions, is shown which really should not be missed. You will come out understanding Warsaw and Poland a little better. (SAT, SUN at 12.00 English version). The museum also has interesting exhibits from different periods in the history of Warsaw. The film is not very long but there can be queues in the summer. Reserve one hour here.

When you leave the museum, turn into Nowomiejska Street and with the Square behind you go down to the Barbakan (Barbican).

7. The Barbican
The Barbican was constructed in 1548 as part of the 1200 m long city wall defenses. The soldiers have long gone and nowadays it’s a place for painters and musicians.
Go through the Barbican into Nowomiejska Street, which changes very quickly to Freta Street.

8. The Maria Skłodowska-Curie Museum

Freta 16. The Maria Skłodowska-Curie Museum (Nobel Prize 1903 & 1911). Tel. +48 22 831 80 92. Open TUE-FRI 09.30-18.00, SAT 10.00-18.30, SUN 10.00-18.00. Admission 11 zł. Reduced 6 zł. A thirty minute v isit will probably be quite sufficient here to acquaint you with the life of this remarkable woman.

Out onto Freta Street again and with the Old Town behind you walk down to the, yes you’ve guessed, The New Town and its Market Square. Cross the square towards its left corner. Follow the street that leads to the left. A little more than 100 m further you will see, on your right, the red bricked belfry of The Church of Our Lady Mary.

9. The Church of Our Lady Mary

The Church of Our Lady Mary is the parish church of the New Town. It was founded by Prince Janusz and his wife Ann in 1409. The edifice has been rebuilt many times. The belfry is in the Gothic style. The church is located in a picturesque and quiet area of the New Town. Standing in front of it you can see the Vistula River and the so named Kościuszko banks of the river. In the square there are outdoor theatre performances and concerts which are organized locally.

Let us now go back to Kościelna Street. On your right we pass a historical, 3 storey building which has just been renovated in the characteristic XVIII palatial style and is today the prestigious and luxury Le Regina hotel with its celebrated restaurant. Our route now takes us back to The Maria Skłodowska-Curie Museum on Freta. With the museum behind you walk up Długa Street (Long Street, but it’s not far) to the crossroads with Miodowa Street. Just before the crossroads there is a church on your left.

10. the Warsaw Uprising Monument

We have now reached the Krasiński Square. Situated in a corner of the square is the Warsaw Uprising Monument. This impressive monument was created for the 45th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. It was to commemorate the heroic (but doomed) uprising against the Germans in the city. The uprising broke out on 1st August 1944 and lasted 63 days. The German armed forces were much stronger than the civilians of Warsaw and the fight was not an equal one. The Russian army holding the eastern banks of the Vistula did not come to the aid of the insurgents and as a consequence some 200 000 Polish people died. This is considered one of the most tragic and bloody episodes in Polish history. The Polish communist authorities were strongly against the raising of this monument and it was only towards the end of the Russian occupation of Poland that it was finally erected.

11. The Krasińskich Palace

The Krasińskich Palace (the Palace of the Republic) situated opposite the Warsaw Uprising Monument was the residence of Jan Krasiński. Today it is part of the Polish National Library. The Palace is regarded as the most impressive Baroque building in the city. It was built between 1677-82 by the eminent Dutch architect Tylman from Gameren. The numerous bas-reliefs on the Palace facade are modeled on figures from Antiquity. The „greenish” coloured modern building that surrounds part of the square is the new The Supreme Court. Behind the Palace there is a quiet park. You can take a break in your tour here and from under the shade of the chestnut trees admire the park’s floral displays. This was one of the first parks in Warsaw to be opened to the general public.

After a well deserved rest in the park go back to the Krasiński’s Square and take Miodowa St. in the direction of St. Ann’s Church and Krakowskie Przedmieście.

12. Miodowa Street

Miodowa Street (Honey Street) is a busy street and because of the number of well-appointed residences on the street it has also been called Pałacowa Street (the street of Palaces). Number 24 is the former Collegium Nobilium - a school created to teach the elite of the Polish nation. The school introduced new methods of teaching that were not popular during its time. Now it is the home of the Theatrical Academy. Number 17 (on the right) is the residence of the Polish Primate, or as it is otherwise known, The Archbishop of Warsaw’s Palace. It was built in the 18th century. Next to the Archbishop’s Palace is the Ministry of Health. Worth visiting is the Capuchins’ Church which is just down from the Ministry of Health. The chapel contains the heart of Jan III Sobieski, founder of the church. Further along, pass the church, from the bridge, to your right, you will be able to see the Monument of the Warsaw Heroes. Straight ahead of us is St. Ann’s Church and the end of the first guided tour.

It’s most likely the end of the day as well and you have had your fill of monuments and history and have been impressed by what you have seen (we hope so anyway). Let’s start the second guided tour tomorrow morning, after you’ve had a rest. See you tomorrow.