The old town of Warsaw "Starego Miasta" was completely destroyed by German troops during World War II. After the war, the old town was lovingly rebuilt. When Warsaw's old town stood again in 1955, the whole world admired the work of the Polish restorers. The heart of the Polish capital beats around the "Rynek" (market square). In 1980 Warsaw's old town became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The houses were recreated so perfectly according to old photos and plans that today you can no longer recognize that Warsaw's old town was in ruins in 1945. Today the Old Town is Warsaw's top attraction.
The Zamkowy square is the entrance to the Old Town (Stare Miasto). The King's castle is on the eastern side of the square. On the square stands the "Zygmunt's Column", which is Sigismund III of Vasa, king of Poland and Lithuania, who made Warsaw to the capital of his Kingdom in 1596.
After the King of Poland moved the capital from Krakow to Warsaw, he started with the construction of a new residence in 1598. The Royal Palace (Zamek Krolewski) was completed in 1619. During World War II the castle was destroyed in 1944. The Royal Palace of Warsaw was rebuilt after the war and ist today one of the most beautiful buildings in the polish capital.
The Lazienki Palace was built in the 17th century for Prince Lubomirski. The original palace was designed by court architect Tylman van Gameren. In 1795 the palace was rebuilt in the classical style by the Italian architect Domenico Merlini. King Stanislaus II August Poniatowski used the palace as his residence. Lazienki Park is one of the most popular gardens in Warsaw because of its lavish landscaping. The buildings are reflected in the water basins, that divide the park into different zones.
The barbican cannon battalion served for the defense of the medival city gates. The Warsaw Barbican was built in 1548 to reinforce the old city wall. Parts of the Warsaw old town fortifications are still preserved or have been rebuilt after Worl War II.
The Saint Casimir Church (Kosciol Swieta Kazimierza) is also called the "Sacramentary Monastery". It used to be a royal residence, when Queen Maria Kazimira Sobieska bought the property and turned it into a church. During the uprising against the German occupation in World War II, the building served as a hospital for insurgents.
The Alexander Church (Kosciol Sw. Aleksandra) was built in 1825 in honor of the Russian tsar Alexander I and by then as well King of Poland. The building looks like a small copy of the Pantheon in Rome. The neoclassical church was designed by the Polish architect Chrystian Piotr Aigner.
The Palace of Culture "Palc Kultury i Nauki" was built in 1955 as a gift from Joseph Stalin, the dictator of the USSR. The Stalinist palace is 187 m high, with the top the tower reaches 237 m. The skyscraper was designed by the Russian architect Lev Rudniew. The Stalin gothic is officially called "Socialist Classicism". The Palace of Culture is a very beautiful building that was listed as a historical monument. The viewing platform offers a wonderful view over the fast growing Polish capital. The Palace of Culture is now the symbol of Warsaw and a tourist attraction.
Welcome to Warsaw
The Polish capital has transformed itself into an international economic metropolis in recent years. In addition to the Kulturpalast, a new skyline has been created from many high-rise buildings. During the Second World War, Warsaw was systematically destroyed by the German Wehrmacht and the Jewish population was annihilated in concentration camps. After the war, the completely destroyed old town was rebuilt. This reconstruction attracted worldwide attention and was rewarded with the title of World Heritage Site.