Church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary

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1 Warsaw, Poland's capital since 1596, is by far the biggest and fastest developing Polish city. Its estimated population amounts to million. As a powerful economic and cultural centre, the city attracts great numbers of people from all over the country pursuing education or better job opportunities. According to some sources, there are on average 18 new settlers every day. Warsaw is also visited by thousands of tourists from all over the world every year, especially during the summer. The city's present character is determined by three most important factors: the Second World War, over 40 years of communist rule, and the present years of transformation with its in-flow of foreign capital and investment. As any other European capital, Warsaw is full of striking contrasts. Historical monuments, most of which rebuilt from scratch after the WWII, coexist with numerous examples of social realist architecture, including housing estates of gray concrete tower blocks, as well as ultra-modern glass office blocks erected after Similarly, the hassle and bustle of its lively city center, with the constant flow of traffic and crowds of people, contrasts with the serenity of its many beautiful urban parks. As the birthplace of Chopin and home of the National Philharmonic Orchestra, Warsaw is a cultural centre of opera, theatre and music. The city's many churches and museums have impressive collections of Warsaw's history and ancient, mediaeval and European art. However, Warsaw has much more to offer the visitor and is one of Eastern Europe's most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities. Most of Warsaw s historical attractions and best hotels lie on the western bank of the Vistula River. A trip along the four kilometer Royal Way, which runs through the city from the Old Town to the Wilanow Palace, and gives access to Warsaw's grand buildings and attractions. These include the Royal Castle, Krakowskie Przedmiescie, Nowy Swiat, Lazienki Park and Chopin's monument, ending with the spectacular, Versailles-like Wilanow Palace. Old Town The Old Town, famous for its resistance during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, possesses exceptional 13th-century architecture. Period houses with Gothic and Baroque influences surround the Old Market Square. Brimming with atmosphere created by the charm of the buildings, outdoor cafýand stalls, this is the perfect place for a relaxing afternoon's diversion. 1

2 New Town The New Town forms a picturesque part of Warsaw, with churches, palaces, galleries and museums lining the Royal Route and other grand streets. Church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary A parish church in New Town, it was founded by Prince Janusz in Set in lovely surroundings, the church is an attractive tourist destination with fantastic views over the Vistula River. Royal Castle The castle was completely destroyed during World War II and was meticulously rebuilt in the 1970s in the architectural style of 17th and 18th centuries. A collection of paintings, sculptures and objets d'art saved from the Nazi invasion is housed in the Royal Castle. Royal Route Royal Route is situated in the historic city centre of Warsaw. However if you walk to the end of it you will reach downtown area, which is financial centre of the Polish capital. Such attractions like: Royal Castle, St. Anne and Holy Cross churches as well as Barbican are a must. You also have to walk through streets called Nowy Swiat and Krakowskie Przedmiescie as both of them look very attractive and are considered as representative for Warsaw. 2

3 Zacheta Gallery Zacheta Gallery of Contemporary Arts holds exhibitions of modern painting, sculpture and photography. Palace of Culture The Stalinesque skyscraper, towering over the city, is probably the most impressive example of this style of architecture outside the former Soviet Union. The Palace was and remains an unwelcome and oft resented "gift" from Stalin and his soviet cronies. Completed 1955, after 3 years of toil, it served essentially as reminder that Big Brother was indeed watching. Even to this day it remains the largest and tallest building in {Poland. Standing 231 metres high it now serves as a great point of orientation for bumbling tourists. The viewing platform on the 30th floor houses interactive maps, a slide show and display of Polish architecture. The world's highest tower clock 160m.) was also unveiled in 2001 and can be seen from 5 km away. With a capacity of over 817,000m3 and over 3000 rooms the palace also houses museums, theatres, offices. National Museum The National Museum has collections of ancient and contemporary art, including an impressive collection of 8th- to 12th-century frescoes and Coptic crosses. 3

4 Lazienki Park This romantic park was landscaped in 1764 for the king's residence. It features several palaces and pavilions, a temple, historic monuments, an amphitheatre and two orangeries. The Palace on the Water, within the park, is a monument of Polish history with its splendid interior providing an ideal setting for cultural events, art exhibitions and official state ceremonies. The summer theatre, modelled on the ancient temple of Herculaneum, is flanked by sculptures of famous poets and is set on an island with the stage separated from the auditorium by water. Church of the Holy Cross Chopin admirers can visit the Church of the Holy Cross, where an urn containing his heart is interred in a pillar beneath a statue. Twice a year a special ceremony is held to mark the anniversary of the composer's birth and death, with floral tributes and music. Wilanow Wilanow Park, six kilometres from the city centre, is the final destination of the historic 'Royal Route'. Wilanow was built as the residence of King Jan III Sobieski. Its original design was based on the plan of an Italian village and its name, Wilanow, comes from 'Villa Nova'. As well as touring the palace and its baroque gardens, we recommend visiting the Poster Museum. 4

5 Jewish Warsaw The first Jewish settlers appeared in Mazovia at around the start of the 14th century. By late 18th century over 9% of the capitals inhabitants were Jewish. By 1939 Warsaw was home to over Jews. The horror of WWII and Warsaw Ghetto Upraising and the subsequent prejudice of the anti- Semite government decimated Poland's Jewish population. Today only 2000 Jews live in Warsaw. 5

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