Warsaw Old Town


We welcome you whole-heartedly in Warsaw.
Warsaw is one of the youngest European capitals, however the beginnings of settlement in the area currently occupied by Warsaw date back to the X century.
There are plenty of legends telling the story of setting-up Warsaw, among which the most popular is the tale of a fisher called Wars and his wife Sawa, living in a tiny cottage by the Vistula River.
One day, a prince Ziemowit knocked on their door, for he lost his companions when hunting and was nervously trying to find his way. The hosts welcomed him warmly, gave him food and shelter, and the grateful prince set up a gord on the site of their house for their hospitality, and called it Warszawa in honour of the hosts: Wars and Sawa.
As a result of its beneficial site, Warsaw became the seat and capital of Mazovian princes at the beginning of the XV century. By the decision of king Sigismund III Vasa in 1596, Warsaw was established as the permanent royal residence.
In subsequent years the city was rapidly growing, gaining new buildings, squares and churches. However, expansion of the city was stopped in 1655 by the Polish- Swedish war, popularly called the Flood. Swedes treated Warsaw in extremely cruel and brutal way. The city was slowly rising from destruction and in times of king John III Sobieski, in the second half of the XVII century, Warsaw experienced its next full bloom as indicated by magnificent palaces and churches, which are admired even today.
Another time of prosperity of the city took place in the second half of the XVIII century, in the regin of the last Polish king- Stanislaus August Poniatowski. At the time Warsaw became an expansive capital city, extending four times its population..
Sadly, the further development of Warsaw was stopped when Poland lost independence. After the final partition in 1795, Poland disappeared from the map of Europe for 123 years and Warsaw was held by Prussian. Next the city became the capital of the Duchy of Warsaw set up by Napoleon Bonaparte. Eventually in 1815 Warsaw was taken over by Russian.
However, we must highlight that through all years of captivity, the city was a great centre of the dynamic national- liberating movements.
Economic revival of the city took place in the middle of the XIX century. The Warsaw- Vienna railway and steam navigation on Vistula were started. The city was equipped with the gas network, waterworks and sewage system, the firs iron bridge over Vistula was open, the first trams and phones were introduced. That's how Warsaw was the eighth largest city in Europe before the break of the I world war.
Regaining of independence in 1918 once more allow Warsaw to become a capital. However, the city kept is freedom for not a long time, for the II world war took it away. It was the most tragic period in the history of the city. Warsaw was remaining under German occupation for five years. At that time it witnessed two dramatic uprisings, it it the uprising of Jews in the ghetto in 1943 and lasting for 63 days- the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. After those events the depopulated city was subjected to systematic demolition. As a result, Warsaw was destroyed in 84%, loosing 700 thousands of its citizens. Liberation from the Nazi occupation took place on 17 January 1945.
The city was expanding, changing from day to day and that is why, right here, various congresses and international meetings have been organized.
Currently, the area of Warsaw covers 517 km2, and 18 districts constituting the city are inhabited by c. 700 thousands citizens

View on the map

City: Warsaw

Language: PL, EN

Content Provider: Travel Communications