Warsaw is not the cold and dead city it used to be under communism rule. Today, with bustling Polish economy and freedom from communist rule, the city has undergone a huge transformation process. Many old communist buildings gave way to modern sky scrapers, dilapidating old town was restored, entertainment and services transformed to match that of other western capitals. Crime rate is lower than that of big cities in the United States. Today Warsaw boasts GDP per capita more than 75% of European Union average.
Here is a short travel guide to Warsaw’s architecture:
Rebuilding of Warsaw after World War II coincided with emergence of social realism. The facades of many buildings in the area of Marszalkowska street show the uninspired architecture style of the communist era. Buildings are generally dull and it is difficult to distinguish one building from the other. However this area shows the remnants of Warsaw's social realism architectural past and in that sense it might be inspiring to see.
The Palace of Culture and Science is a well recognized sign situated in the very heart of Warsaw. This monolithic building was a "gift" from the Soviet Union to Warsaw. It was built in 1955 to the design of a Russian architect and resembles Moscow high-rises. Although it has only 30 stories, it used to be Europe's second largest building at that time.
Worth seeing in this area are: Warsaw Technical University, Warszawa hotel, Palace of Culture and Science, and PKO S.A Bank. They are located in the center of Warsaw at Marszalkowska Street.
The Old Town is by far the most attractive area of Warsaw. It stretches between Wybrzeze Gdanskie Street, Grodzka, Mostowa and Podwale Street. All major attractions are in the vicinity of its Market Square.
Warsaw Old Town was established in the 13th century. It impresses tourists with its quaint, cobbled streets and unique old architecture. The heart of the area is the Old Town Market Square with its unique traditional Polish restaurants, cafes and shops. When the weather is warm the square is covered with cafe tables, vendors of souvenirs and street artists.
We may see some examples of old architecture there: the City Walls, The Barbican and St. John's Cathedral. Old Town is ideal for walks and picnics; the whole area is closed to traffic, bewilders tourists with spectacular scenery and unforgettable atmosphere.
The New Town began to develop in 14th century. Duke Janusz the Elder granted the New Town a separate status from the Old Town in 1408. The New Town had its own council, a Town Hall and several churches and monasteries. Contrary to the Old Town it was not fortified. The New Town was incorporated into Warsaw in 1791. During World War II the New Town suffered severe damage but was restored to its original glamour.
The New Town is located between Krasinskiego Street in the North, Dluga Street in the South, Adama Mickiewicza Street in the West and Wybrzeze Gdanskie Street in the East. Most of its space is pedestrian only zone.
The Royal Route extends from the Castle Square to the end of Krakowskie Przedmiescie and Nowy Swiat. Nowy Swiat and Krakowskie Przedmiescie Streets are genuine jewels of this part of Warsaw. We can admire buildings that are predominantly neoclassical in style as well as many churches and palaces. Nowy Swiat and Krakowskie Przedmiescie also feature many trendy cafes, restaurants, stores and fashionable boutiques. Nowy Swiat is great for walks as part of the street is closed for traffic.
In 16th and 17th centuries it was occupied by Warsaw's wealthiest residents. The area suffered during the Swedish invasion in 1655 but it was soon rebuilt.
Some of the attractions worth seeing are: Warsaw University, Bristol Hotel, Potocki’a Palace, Holly Cross Church, Adam Mickiewicz monument as well as Nicholas Copernicus monument. All of the attractions are located along Nowy Swiat and Krakowskie Przedmiescie Streets.
The Warsaw Holly Cross Church is great indeed. I don't like the some of the old Warsaw residential buildings, they are obscure. And I don't like there are billboards all over the place - the Warsaw looks like a communistc Hong-Kong wannabe because of these billboards.