In this week we propose you to travel from Barcelona to Warsaw, the capital of Poland. In just over three hours from the airport of El Prat you can be in a city with a special charm.
Here are some places and monuments that you should not miss when you travel to Warsaw:
Warsaw International Airport – Lotnisko Chopina w Warszawie
If you are traveling by plane, the first stop will be the airport. Its official name is Okęcie Airport, although it is also known as Warsaw-Chopin Airport, because the famous composer Frédéric Chopin lived in this city during the 19th century. Nowadays it is the airport with more travelers of Poland, with more than 50% of traffic of the country.
The Old Town – Stare Miasto
The first historical reference of Warsaw is in the 13th century, when the Duke Bolesław II had raise a castle in Warszowa, a small town of fishermen, because of the continuous attacks of the Lithuanians. Over time, this place grew and developed into an important city. However, during the Second World War, it was destroyed in almost 90%. Although later, once again rebuilt it was declared Cultural and Humanity Patrimony by UNESCO.
Old Town Market – Rynek Starego Miasta
Formerly, this market was the main square of the city, considered the heart of the historical center of Warsaw. It was founded in the 13th century, and it was the place where the most important fairs were held, and the executions of the condemned. There is a legend related to this market, and it is said that, under the basement of a building located on the Dekert side of the square, at the corner of Kryzwe Kolo Street, lived a monster called Basiliscus, who took care of the Treasures of the city, and turned in stone anyone who dared to approach and look him into his eyes. It is said that, at last, Basiliscus was defeated by a tailor who thought to show him a mirror, making the monster to become stone with his own look.
The New Town – Nowe Miasto
At the end of the 14th century there was a part of Varsaw that developed as an independent city. Located to the north of the Stare Miasto, it had its own town hall and feudal lord, and finally, in 1408 it obtained the official title of City when separating officially of Stare Miasto, the Old City. During the invasion of Poland in the Second World War, the New City was also destroyed by the Nazis, and the few remaining buildings were used as field hospitals. The reconstruction of this part of Warsaw began in 1954.
Łazienki Królewskie Museum – Muzeum Łazienki Królewskie
Łazienki Królewskie Museum is the largest public park in Warsaw. It has almost 80 hectares of area full of palaces, lakes, green areas and a botanical garden. It was built in the 17th century, in baroque in style, by the architect Tylman van Gameren for the great Marshal Stanisław Lubomirski. In the 18th century it was considered one of the most charming places in Europe, and today is part of the Royal Route, a tourist route that was used by the monarchs of Poland to move from their official residence, the Royal Castle Located in the Old City, to their summer palaces, on the outskirts of the city. As a beautiful tradition, since the 50’s, every Saturday and Sunday of summer are offering free piano concerts at the foot of the most famous statue of Chopin.
National Museum of Warsaw – Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie
It was founded in May of 1862 with the name of Museum of Fine Arts of Warsaw, although in 1916 started to be known as the National Museum. During the Second World War, the museum was attacked and looted, and the stolen artworks were taken to Germany. Subsequently, after being recovered they were again shown to the public in the National Museum of Warsaw. Nowadays, apart from temporary exhibitions you can enjoy medieval art pieces, ancient art, Polish and foreign painting, European goldwork, oriental art, etc. Among the pictorial works can be found artworks of Sandro Botticelli as The Virgin and Child, Saint John and Angels; Jacopo Tintoretto Portrait of the Admiral, Rubens The Virgin and Child, Rembrandt Portrait of Martin Soolmans, among others.
The Powązki Cemetery – Cmentarz Powązkowski
Located in Wola district, the Powązki Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Poland, and it occupies 44 hectares. It was founded in 1790 by Dominik Merlini, architect of the court of the King Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski. The terrain is protected and you can find a large number of distinguished Polish people. In addition, you can also find sculptural and architectural works of classicist style, Secession and contemporary art with an important historical and artistic value.
The Jewish Cemetery – Cmentarz Żydowski
The Jewish Cemetery is one of the most important historical monuments of the Jewish Poland. It was founded in 1806 and despite having been largely destroyed during Second World War, hundreds of monuments tombs of historical and religious value have been preserved. Currently, this cemetery is still active.
Grand Theater of Warsaw – Teatr Wielki
The Grand Theater of Warsaw was inaugurated in 1833, and it’s first performance was The Barber of Seville of Rossini, and it became the seat of the Polish National Opera founded in 1776. During the Second World War, at the Battle of Warsaw, the Theater was practically destroyed. Although in November of 1965 it reopened its doors becoming the largest in the world. It has a museum, the National Museum and two auditoriums: Stanisław Moniuszko Auditorium with 1841 seats and Emil Młynarski Auditorium with 248. From October to June you can enjoy the opera and ballet season.
Zoo – Miejski Ogród Zoologiczny w Warszawie
The Zoo is located in the center of Warsaw and it was founded in 1928. At the beginning, it had 500 species and about 3.500 animals spread over 40 hectares, although during the Second World War, the bombs killed the most of the animals, and those who survived were taken to Germany. Until 1949 it was completely closed, although, little by little, new animals were introduced until reaching the 4.000 animals you can find nowadays. Among these species, you can see some native species such as brown bears, storks or otters, and other exotic species such as African elephants, Indian rhinos, tropical fish, etc.
Mermaid of Warsaw
In the center of the Old Town Market, next to the Świętokrzyski Bridge, stands the bronze sculpture of the Mermaid, symbol of Warsaw, which appears on the city’s coat of arms since the beginning of the 20th century. There is a legend which tells that once a mermaid came out of the sea with the intention of resting near the Vistula River. When she arrived, she found a perfect place to settle down. She liked to play with the fishermen’s nets and shake the water, preventing them from fishing; and even she threw away the fish already thay caught. The fishermen, tired of the situation, wanted to discover what happened, when they saw a beautiful mermaid of who they fell madly in love. Reason why they decided to let her live there. However, one day a wealthy merchant managed to seize the mermaid and locked her in a wooden shed. Due to the songs and cries of the fish woman, the son of a fisherman, during one night and with some friends, they managed to release it. And as a sign of gratitude, the mermaid promised to help the fishermen whenever they needed it. Thus was born the myth of the Mermaid of Warsaw, armed with shield and sword to help his people against any adversity.
We hope that this tour over Warsaw has pleased you, and encouraged you to discover this fascinating city. Warsaw is one of the destinations that you can travel from the Airport of Barcelona – El Prat, connected to the city center by Aerobus, the only transport that connects the airport with the center of Barcelona in 35 minutes, every day of the year, every five or ten minutes.
Get your Aerobus tickets now and enjoy breathtaking destinations such as Warsaw.