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Warszawa – a mystical bond between past and present


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Introduction

A  city  brought  to  ruin  during  the  Second  World  War  and  beautifully restored  to  life  …  in  spite  of  those who  wished  it   never  existed.  The  capital  of  Poland  –  vibrant  and youthful, constantly surprising contrasts.

Day 1: Warszawa

Arrival in Warszawa. In the evening we will take you to a local restaurant where you can enjoy trying Polish specialties at a dinner with folk music.

Overnight stay in Warszawa.

Day 2: Warszawa – tour of city

Today we offer you a full-day sightseeing tour of Poland’s biggest city. Walking along the Royal Way you will see the most beautiful sites in the Old Town, including St. John’s Cathedral and the Royal Castle - once home to the Polish royal family and seat of the Polish parliament today it houses the Castle Museum. The castle was completely destroyed by German troops in the aftermath of the Warszawa Uprising. Castle's reconstruction was completed in 1974. The castle was at one time the official residence of Polish kings, and also housed the Polish parliament from the early 17th until the late 18th century. Although the building is a replica, many of its furnishings are originals worth seeing. You will also visit the History Museum where you can see a documentary film showing scenes from both pre-war Warszawa and the years of its destruction in 1939 – 1945. In the afternoon we invite you to visit Łazienki (“Royal Baths Park”) – one of the most beautiful parks in Warszawa city centre. Formerly a hunting ground, in the 18th century it was turned into an English-style park with formal gardens, and a neoclassical Łazienki Palace was built on the park’s lake. Other sites include the Orangery, Myślewicki Palace, the Observatory, Belvedere Palace and a Greek-style amphitheatre where Chopin concerts are held every summer. One of its most important attractions is the Frederic Chopin Statue. After Łazienki you will head for Wilanów Palace and Park. In the early 17th century this Baroque palace and gardenwere turned into summer royal residence. After the war it has become a museum with a rich collection of Polish portraits, original furniture and interior decor. Next to the Palace there is the Poster Museum, the first of its kind in the world. The palace is surrounded by an English-style park and landscape gardens, just perfect for a break in your visit.

Overnight stay in Warszawa.

Day 3: Warszawa – Żelazowa Wola – Brochów – Warszawa (approx. 150 km)

Today will be devoted to places associated with the life and work of the great Polish composer Frederic Chopin whose biography has strong connections with the Polish capital. We will take you to Żelazowa Wola and Brochów. Żelazowa Wola is a small village west of Warszawa and a well-known destination for many visitors to Poland. It is where Frederic Chopin, the famous Polish composer and national hero, was born and lived. The museum includes some original furniture and other personal items, and it also serves as a concert hall during the summer. Every summer Sunday concerts are held in the manor house and park.  The village of Brochów with its imposing brick Parish Church where Chopin’s birth certificate is on display lies 11 km from Żelazowa Wola. In the evening you will listen to a recital of Chopin’s music in one of Warszawa’s palaces.

Overnight stay in Warszawa.

Day 4

Departure.

Warszawa

Warszawa is the capital of Poland and its main transport hub. After its almost complete destruction during World War II the city  reborn out of the ashes and has today developed into a modern city, a centre of culture, science and business. It attracts millions of travellers keen to discover another European Union capital, visit sites important for modern World history, attend festivals, concerts and fairs, and also do some shopping. The city is a perfect weekend getaway destination and also one of the starting points of any journey around Poland. Your sightseeing tour of the city includes the Old Town, which was carefully reconstructed after the World War II according to original plans, and today is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The central place is the Market Square – formed at the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th centuries at the time of the city’s foundation. Until the 18th century it was the most important square in Warszawa and the focal point of city life. During the Warszawa Uprising of 1944 the Old Town’s tenements and town houses were razed to the ground. In 1949-1953 it was lovingly and meticulously restored. The narrow streets lead to medieval defensive walls, the Barbican, St. John’s Cathedral and the Royal Castle. The Castle is a splendid example of the art of reconstruction. Once the residence of kings and the seat of the Sejm of the Most Serene Commonwealth of the Two Nations, today it is both a museum and a centre of education, culture and art. It is open to the general public and is often a venue of important state ceremonies. The Castle’s apartments have been restored according to the functions they performed during the reign of King Stanisław August. The restoration work was possible thanks to donations from Poles both at home and abroad. The interiors are furnished with, among other things, works of art rescued from the old Castle.

Warszawa is full of royal residences lining the Royal Way, which leads through the most beautiful and fashionable streets and avenues of the city, including Krakowskie Przedmieście, Nowy Świat Street, and Ujazdowskie Avenue, which boast numerous monuments, churches and burgher houses with baroque facades, each telling its own story. It passes by Łazienki Królewskie – a palace-garden complex whose history dates back to the 13th century. Its present shape was bestowed on it in the 18th century by King Stanisław August Poniatowski, who turned it into his summer residence, one of the most beautiful places in Warszawa. The park includes numerous palaces, pavilions, statues and works of sculpture. The best known and most characteristic of Łazienki’s monuments is the Frederic Chopin statute, which in the summer season serves as the venue for open-air concerts every Sunday. Royal Way ends in Wilanów. The Palace is one of  few monuments in Warszawa which survived the Second World War for the most part unscathed. Wilanów Park forms an integral part of the palace garden complex. It is the favourite place for a stroll for Varsovians looking for a place to relax and take a breather from life in a big city.

The history of the city is the history of all its inhabitants, and that of the Jewish community was also important to Warszawa. The Jewish community accounted for one third of the city population before World War II and occupied a large area of the city. However, in November 1940 they were sealed off from the rest of the city in a small ghetto area. A few traces of Jewish Warszawa remain today:the Nożyk Synagogue, the Jewish Theatre, the Ghetto Heroes Monument, Umschlagplatz, the Jewish Cemetery, the Jewish Historical Institute and the Ghetto Wall.

Praga district (half day tour)

Praga is one of Warszawa’s oldest districts, which was incorporated into the city at the end of the 18th century. Its central part is Old Praga, where buildings dating back to the beginning of the 20th century and the inter-war period can still be found. Old Praga offers a rare example in Warszawa of well-preserved architecture from before 1939. The district is gaining in popularity and one of its better known thoroughfares - Ząbkowska Street – is today regarded as a magical place. It is also home to the historic Koneser vodka factory. Praga’s old tenement buildings and the abandoned walls of its factories now provide a home for art galleries, centres and workshops. The central point in the district is Wileński Square, next to which stands St. Mary Magdalene's Russian Orthodox Church. Old Praga also includes the neo-Gothic St. Michael’s Church and St. Florian’s Church. Yet another Praga attraction is the Różycki Bazaar, founded at the end of the 19th century.

Niepokalanów Sanctuary (half day trip), 40 km from Warszawa

This is one of the biggest Franciscan monastic complexes devoted to the cult of St. Maximilian Kolbe. It was a place of work for the Franciscan saint who came here in 1927 with a group of 20 brothers. It is also a Marian shrine and a focal point for numerous pilgrimages every year.

Nieborów and Arkadia museum (half day tour), 80 km from Warszawa

The museum in Nieborów and Arkadia forms part of Radziwiłł Palace together with the regular French garden and sentimental-romantic English garden established by Helena Radziwiłłowa in Arkadia. Nieborów is one of the best-maintained aristocratic residences in Poland and blessed with a beautiful park and gardens. Before Nieborów residence has become a part of the National Museum, it had been privately owned until WWII. The exhibits include 18th and 19th century furniture, a fine collection of globes, a staircase clad with Delft tiles and other items showing the elegance and lavish lifestyle of its occupants before the War.

Łowicz and its surroundings (half day tour), 80 km from Warszawa

Łowicz is a well-established centre of folk arts and craft. Locally produced handicrafts, hand-woven materials, carved wood ornaments and coloured paper cut-outs are popular throughout the country. An interesting exhibition of such artefacts can be found in the local museum. The town’s Collegiate Church and Parish Church are also worth visiting.

Warsaw Uprising Museum

The Museum was opened on the sixtieth anniversary of the Uprising. Housed in a former tram power station. It is a monument of industrial architecture from the early 20th century. The design of the exhibition has a unique effect on image, light and sound. The interior design and utilisation of multimedia effects bring the reality of the insurgency closer. The main elements of the exhibition are large format images, monitors and computers. The planned route presents the chronology of events and runs through a variety of themed rooms. Visitors move through a landscape from the past, walking along granite pavement among the ruins of the annihilated capital. At the heart of the Museum there is a steel monument that passes through every floor of the building. The chronology of the Uprising is engraved upon the walls, and the sound of a beating heart symbolises the life of Warsaw in 1944.

Fryderyk Chopin Museum

The new Chopin Museum – a remarkable museum that stimulates the senses of all who visit. 

Music, fragrances and light are just some of the special effects waiting to tantalise visitors. An innovative approach to the life and work of one of the most outstanding Polish composers, who is appreciated among lovers of classical music as well as historians and artists. The idea behind the Museum is for individual sightseeing and experiencing of Chopin, adjusted to the age and preferences of the visitor. The exhibition encompasses four floors of the Warsaw Ostrogski Palace, including the basement. On each floor, a set of diverse information on the life and work of Frederyk Chopin awaits visitors. Individual elements of the audio-visual exhibition in the Museum are constructed in such a way that there is something for everyone, whether a school trip, artists, students seeking in-depth knowledge or those interested in the era in which Chopin lived.

Copernicus Science Centre

Over 450 exhibits in six themed galleries: World in Motion, Man and Environment, Area of Light, Roots of Civilization, Bzzz! (an exhibition made for children under 6 years of age), RE: Generation. As well as the Robotic Theatre, Discovery Park and Planetarium. Advanced technologies and multimedia. Simple solutions, often based on inventions from many years ago. Science and art together. Thus, one could describe the Copernicus Science Centre as one of the most modern European institutions showing the relationship of science with culture and everyday life. The mission of the Copernicus Science Centre is to awake curiosity, support self-exploration of the world and learn or inspire social dialogue about the subject of science.

Museum of the History of Polish Jews

The Museum has become a reference point for all those interested in the heritage of Polish Jews and symbolises a breakthrough in the relations between Poles and Jews. The hundreds of thousands  Jews who come annually to Poland can discover important information here that allow  them to consciously develop their own plans to travel to the places of their families' history. The Museum’s programme acts as a kind of portal, providing general orientation and directing all those interested to places where they learn about both the bright and dark aspects of the Polish-Jewish past. The main exhibition will consist of eight galleries, which, over an area of more than 4,000 m², illustrate the thousand-year history of the largest Jewish community in the world that settled on Polish soil. The exhibition shows this presence in a way that has never been presented before.. Rather than exhibits, visitors will view an interactive story about the history, culture and religion of the Jews, based on a number of source materials. The thousand-year history of the Jewish presence on Polish soil will be displayed  in eight galleries: Forest, First Meetings (Middle Ages), Paradisus Judaeorum (XV–XVI centuries), Town (XVII–XVIII centuries), Challenges of Modernity (XIX century), Second Republic, Holocaust, Post-War. The symbolic end of the exhibit will be a temporary gallery – Heritage.