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Four Days in Warsaw

Warsaw

Warsaw was certainly a city of surprises. I decided to visit at the last-minute, spending four days in Warsaw, after realising that I could get to Greece, but couldn’t get back to Dubai. Oh dear. There were two cities with light loads and affordable, non-standby connections on to Zagreb – where I was meeting Matt. They were Bucharest and Warsaw, flying Air Serbia and LOT Polish, respectively. Warsaw it was!

I potentially know a little more than the average Westerner about Poland, although still not an awful lot. This is, in part, due to the fact that I had a Polish pen pal growing up, and a strong interest in World War Two history. Despite my original grumpiness at having to change my plans at the eleventh hour, I am so glad I ended up going to Warsaw. I absolutely loved it.

DAY ONE

I arrived at about 1PM in the afternoon. Transiting through the airport was quick and easy, and I managed to get a taxi into the city no problem. He knew straight away where I needed to go – even though it was an AirBnB and not a major hotel – and I was there in 25 minutes. I had read online about all sorts of scams and dodgy taxi drivers. However, I used the official taxi line at the airport with no issues. Nearly everything I read online about Poland – which was mainly all negative – turned out to be very misleading.

Four Days in WarsawMy AirBnB, while spartan, was comfortable. It was also in a brilliant location in Śródmieście – 10 minutes walk to the Old Town, 20 minutes walk to the central station and one minute to Theatre Square and Saxon Gardens. While Warsaw has an efficient and cost-effective public transport system, I hardly used it – walking 50kms over four days.

After settling into my apartment, I walked straight down to the Old Town via plac Teatralny. Firstly, I took a slight detour onto Senatorska, and visited Kościół św. Antoniego Padewskiego, the Church of St. Anthony of Padua. Outside of the church, the walls are covered in memorials for Polish people who have died over the years. There are also a huge number of memorials to those who died during World War Two. It was a bit of a harrowing start to my trip, but very interesting.

I looked at the beautiful Great Theatre and Jabłonowski Palace, before noticing a plaque that indicated they were rebuilt in the 1950s and 1990s, respectively. It then clicked in my mind that most of Warsaw was damaged during WW2, and rebuilt after the war. Plac Teatralny saw heavy fighting during the war, with the Palace being the headquarters of Warsaw’s civilian defence.  This gave me a good introduction to Warsaw – a very sad place, full of history, and built on the ruins of a city absolutely obliterated by the Nazi’s.Nowhere was this more obvious than the Old Town, the Stare Miasto

Four Days in WarsawI walked into Castle Square (plac Zamkowy), with Zygmunt’s Column in the middle of the square and the Royal Castle on the right. Beautiful old colourful buildings sat opposite. A quick google told me that the buildings were built in the 1950s and 1960s, and the castle in the 1970s. Destroyed during WW2, the Old Town was meticulously recreated from old drawings, photographs and architectural diagrams. It doesn’t have a disney-fied feel to it and looks like an accurate representation of the town as it was.

In fact, the Old Town has been placed on the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites as “an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century”. I feel that it is something Warsaw should be quite proud of, considering the difficult environment in which the area was rebuilt.

I visited the Royal Castle first. It was formerly the residence of the former rulers of Poland. After the failed Warsaw Uprising, the Nazis drilled thousands of holes in its walls, filled them with dynamite, and blew up the Palace. Polish Palace workers risked life and limb to rescue many artworks and architectural elements, smuggling them out of Warsaw before this explosion. The Nazis had a much larger plan for Warsaw – The Pabst Plan – which basically involved the creation of a model German town with 130,000 ‘pure’ German inhabitants, supported by 80,000 Polish slaves.

Four Days in WarsawBlowing up important historical buildings was seen as crucial to destroying the morale of the Polish people. A pile of rubble and two fragments of walls was all that was left of the six-hundred-year-old Palace. Given the scale of destruction of the city, it took quite awhile for the rebuild to get going. It finally started in 1971, with local Polish people chipping it to help clear the site and raising donations. If you visit the castle, there is a very interesting series of videos played in the basement about the history of the castle, its destruction during WW2, and its reconstruction. I believe that section is actually free of charge if you don’t want to visit the rest. However, the whole castle is worth a look – I saw beautiful interiors, painstakingly reconstructed.

I guess to me, it is a little bit of a shame – I’ve always thought it a very special honour to walk through historical rooms and residences where famous people of history have dwelled. While it is a bit strange to walk through entirely reconstructed spaces, it is really not that much different from walking through, say, the Winter Palace – with nearly all the furnishings of the last Tsar destroyed in the Russian Revolution. There is also a nice art collection within the castle, including two treasured Rembrandt paintings.

Four Days in WarsawAfter I visited the Palace, I walked down towards the Old Town Market Place. This was once the historical centre of Warsaw, and features a statue of the famed Warsaw Mermaid in the middle of the square. It is one of the prettiest little town squares I have visited. While the restaurants on the square were a bit touristy, they were still incredibly cheap and I picked an outdoor table at Bazyliszek Restaurant. Great, I thought, I’d have a romantic dinner for one overlooking the square!

Unfortunately, that square hosts the bravest sparrows I have ever seen. I ordered a pork schnitzel and some dumplings, thinking I’d get about three. First, the complimentary brown bread arrived, along with beef tartare and cheese spread. I figured I’d try a little, but didn’t want to fill up on bread. I batted the sparrows away furtively. Then arrived my schnitzel. This thing was bigger than my head. Then, my pierogies arrived. Huge beef dumplings, about ten of them. I was beginning to panic. Sparrows were coming at me from all directions. I laughed at the sheer size of the meal, which sent my poor young waiter off in a scurry.

He sent back an English-speaking waiter and I explained I was just laughing because I had too much food. He later helped with a box to take home the rest of my dumplings. The food was fantastic, though. The food in Poland was one of the many highlights – fresh, hearty fare, and very cheap. After a complimentary shot of some sort of cherry liqueur with my bill, I waddled home for the evening, passing the Monument to the Heroes of Warsaw.

DAY TWO

Four Days in WarsawOn my second day, I got up early to explore the city. I had a full day planned, mapping a route through some of the WW2 related sites of Warsaw.

Firstly, a bit of a primer on modern Varsovian history. Before World War II (WW2), the city was a Jewish centre. Warsaw’s prewar Jewish population of more than 350,000 was around 30 percent of the city’s total population. The population of Warsaw was about 2 million people. To Hitler, the annexation of Poland would provide “living space” (Lebensraum) for the German people. According to his plan, the “racially superior” Germans would colonise the territory, and the Polish would be enslaved. The Nazis had already annexed Austria and Czechoslovakia earlier in 1938 and 1939, without igniting hostilities with the major Allied powers. I’m guessing that Hitler hoped that his invasion of Poland would also glide by quietly.

In 1939, Germany bombed Polish airfields and torpedoed the Polish naval fleet. Hitler claimed the invasion was a defensive action, but Britain and France were not convinced. On September 3, 1939, they declared war on Germany, initiating WW2.

The Polish army mobilised a million men but was hopelessly outmatched. They hoped to hold out long enough for an offensive to be mounted against Germany. However, on September 17, the Soviets invaded from the east – as part of a secret agreement with Germany – and all hope was lost. On September 28, the Warsaw garrison finally surrendered to the German siege, and Poland was once again partitioned. During September 1939, around 31,000 Polish people died and 46,000 were injured, and 10% of the buildings were destroyed. This was, sadly, just the start.

Four Days in Warsaw
Castle Square during World War Two.

As I mentioned in my last post, the Nazis wanted to flatten Warsaw and create their own model town for Ethnic Germans. To do this, they needed to clear out the citizens of Warsaw. From October 1940, the Germans moved the entire Jewish population of the city into the Warsaw Ghetto. Those that were not sent to the extermination camps died of starvation, or during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Nearly all the uprising leaders died, and the ghetto was eventually ‘liquidated’ by the Germans.

Four Days in WarsawThe British eventually gave direction to the Polish Home Army to try and fight the advancing Red Army later in 1944, and the Warsaw Uprising took place. The armed struggle, planned to last 48 hours, continued for 63 days. Eventually, the Home Army fighters and civilians assisting them were forced to capitulate, the Nazis destroyed the rest of Warsaw, and the Red Army swiftly took the city from the retreating Nazis.

700,000 people died in Warsaw. When Soviet troops ‘liberated’ the devastated Warsaw, Polish data claims that only about 174,000 people were left in the city. Approximately 11,500 of the survivors were Jews.

While that provides a very, very brief overview of the history of Warsaw, you can understand how such a city bears the scars of its tormented history. I left my apartment and wandered down Senatorska towards Chłodna Street. As I approached Chłodna, I started to notice markers on the ground indicating where the ghetto walls had stood. This map provides a useful guide. I then saw the Footbridge of Memory. Have you ever seen the movie, The Pianist? There was a famous staircase that the Jewish Ghetto inhabitants must use to cross Chłodna Street – a major thoroughfare that ran right between the small and large ghettos. The monument stands where this footbridge once stood – and is lit at night.

Four Days in WarsawI continued towards the Warsaw Rising Museum. Located in an old power station building, it provides a (slightly awkwardly laid out) walk through the history of Warsaw and the uprising. I found it very interesting. Admittedly, I didn’t realise there was actually a Ghetto uprising and a Warsaw Uprising. This museum cleared this all up for me. While busy, it was modern, well equipped and had plenty of English signage. You definitely need to pay attention to the little piece of paper they give you, though, with the map. I stuffed it up and ended up in the Liberation Hall before making it to the second and third floors. Once I figured out how to work back through the exhibits in a logical order, it made way more sense. There are some particularly fascinating exhibits about factors of the war I had never heard about.. like the Polish Scouts Postal Service which ran during the Uprising.

Before you leave, you need to check out the movie “City of Ruins”. This is a six minute 3-D aerial ‘film’ which recreates a picture of the desolation of ‘liberated’ Warsaw in March 1945. It is a harrowing view of the devastation left by the Nazis. While the viewing platform was shut the day I was there, it looks like it offers a great view of the city on a nice day. I’d also recommend a walk through the memorial garden outside. It is full of art in honour of the defenders of Warsaw.

Four Days in WarsawI then wandered down towards Central Warsaw. In Warsaw, you can’t help but notice monument after monument to those killed during the war. One of the monuments I passed on my walk was a memorial to Jewish insurgents of the Ghetto Uprising that escaped through the sewers of Warsaw, with the assistance of Polish sewer workers. I also saw a small and unassuming section of the Ghetto wall in the courtyard of a building on Sienna Street.

After a delicious lunch in the modern shopping mall Zlote Tarasy, I went to the Palace of Culture and Science… locally known as PKIN. The highest building in Poland, with over 3,000 rooms, I ducked into this rabbit warren.. and quickly out again. I didn’t fancy getting lost in the Russian wedding cake, and the 30th-floor observatory was nearly in the clouds that day, anyway. The building is a pretty imposing structure, and you seem to be able to see it from anywhere in the city. Built between 1952 and 1955; it was a “gift of the Soviet people to the Polish nation”, offered by Joseph Stalin. It bears a close resemblance to the seven sisters of Moscow.

Four Days in WarsawI walked through the park next to the building and found a memorial to Janusz Korczak (Henryk Goldszmit), a famous Polish author and educator. He founded an orphanage in Warsaw and led various advances in the rights of children. His orphanage was moved several times during WW2, and eventually into the ghetto. He famously turned down offers to save himself, choosing not to abandon the 200 or so children under his care. There is a famous passage in Władysław Szpilman’s book The Pianist – referring to the fact that the children were about to be sent to their deaths – which reads:

He told the orphans they were going out into the country, so they ought to be cheerful. At last they would be able to exchange the horrible suffocating city walls for meadows of flowers, streams where they could bathe, woods full of berries and mushrooms. He told them to wear their best clothes, and so they came out into the yard, two by two, nicely dressed and in a happy mood. The little column was led by an SS man…

He did his very best to raise the spirits of his charges until the very end. He was last seen boarding a train at the Umschlagplatz with his orphans, and was gassed at Treblinka.

Four Days in Warsaw

I wandered back towards the apartment, and saw the PAST building (famously fought over during the Warsaw Uprising) before entering Saxon Garden. Opened in the 1700s, it was the first park in the city opened to the public. The 18th-century Saxon Palace (Pałac Saski), which once occupied Plac Piłsudskiego (Piłsudski Square, in front of the garden), was, like so many other buildings, destroyed during WW2. The only part of it that remains is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, guarded by two Polish Army soldiers. Interestingly, Plac Piłsudskiego was also once home to a giant Russian Orthodox Church, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Built between 1894 and 1912, when completed, it was 70 metres in height – the tallest building in Warsaw. Built by the Russians to exert their influence over the Polish whilst Poland was a part of the Russian Empire, it was part of the ‘Russification’ of Poland. Though beautiful, the largely Catholic population opted to demolish it in the mid mid-1920s, less than 15 years after its construction.

I walked past the Presidential Palace, and saw the memorial to the former Polish President, who was killed – alongside his wife and many other officials – in a plane crash in 2010. That night, I met my former penpal for the first time. She was just lovely, and we went for tea in the Old Town. She even had the first letter I ever sent her… I would have been 11 or 12 years old! We chatted away for many hours. She was even so kind as to take me to a 24-hour post office, where she helped me buy stamps for postcards – and then made sure I got on the right tram back to the apartment! It was absolutely lovely to meet her after all these years, and really topped off a famous (albeit sad) day of exploring.

DAY THREE

Four Days in WarsawOn the third day of my visit, I woke up to torrential rain. However, I was still eager to get out and about. Armed with my rain jacket and an umbrella, I made it about 10 metres from the door before getting soaked through. Nuts. Luckily, I had spied a little local café (Resort) that I wanted to try. Despite not having an English menu, I managed to order the three things I could understand on the menu and was pleasantly surprised. I also dried out in the warmth while the rain died down a little. The complimentary pickles that came with my sandwich were a welcome addition.

After this, I walked towards POLIN – the Museum of the Polish Jews. Unfortunately, while it wasn’t raining too much as I left Resort, it started bucketing down very quickly. I tried to order an Uber, to no avail – it wouldn’t recognise my Polish number. The only silver lining of this situation was that I ducked into a building to avoid the rain. That building turned out to be the Bank of Poland Redoubt (Reduta Banku Polskiego). Built in 1911, it was the seat of the Polish National Bank. During the Warsaw Uprising, the building and its surroundings saw heavy fighting, and these battles left most of it demolished. Apparently, this was originally the planned site for the Warsaw Uprising Museum – however, it looks like an empty old hall these days. When the rain eased up slightly, I trudged off towards POLIN. I stopped a few times to admire the beautiful architecture along Plac Bankowy, and to admire the hilarious Danish bric-a-brac at Flying Tiger. I also saw the memorial to Stefan Sterzynski, the former President of Warsaw. He was murdered by the Nazis, most likely at Dachau Concentration Camp.

Four Days in WarsawI finally arrived at POLIN, and found out it was free to enter on a Thursday. While it was busy at the Museum, it wasn’t crazy, and I had lots of time to read through the various exhibits. The museum was voted the best in Europe in 2016, and it is obvious why. One of the key elements of the museum is that it recognises that Jewish history goes beyond the Holocaust. Yes, the Holocaust is a critical aspect of Jewish history. But there is a rich and varied culture that exists outside of that event. The location of the museum is particularly relevant as the Muranów district was mainly occupied by the Jewish community in the interwar period. During WW2, it became the site of the Warsaw Ghetto. There are almost no pre-war buildings in the surrounding district.

Four Days in WarsawThe building itself is very beautiful, and the museum is aesthetically pleasing as well as fascinating. Covering 1000 years of history, it certainly provides a very strong background on the Jewish culture, and of course, it does also explain the horrific events and consequences of the Holocaust. This is the kind of the museum that I feel people will unexpectedly enjoy. I highly suggest you take a look if you are in Warsaw. The surrounding area also has a number of other highlights for those interested in Jewish or WW2 history. Right outside the museum is the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, which commemorates the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943. Apparently, the stone used in the monument was brought to Warsaw by the Nazis and was to be used in architectural projects planned for a new German Warsaw. Around the corner is the Willy Brandt Monument – Kniefall von Warschau – built to commemorate the gesture of humility and penance by German Chancellor Willy Brandt towards the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1970.

Four Days in WarsawAfter walking through the adjoining part, I decided to visit the Umschlagplatz. Between July and September 1942, Nazi soldiers deported about 300,000 Jews from this site to the Treblinka II extermination camp. Jewish names from Abel to Żanna are etched as a memorial for the 450,000 Jews imprisoned in the ghetto as well as the inscription: ‘Over 300,000 Jews passed down this road of suffering and death from the Warsaw ghetto between 1942 to 1943’. While the monument is rather underwhelming considering the historical significance of the site, it is still a fairly grim feeling place to visit. I listened in to a walking tour, where the guide proclaimed that the average length of stay at Treblinka was around 30 minutes. This sounds right, considering that 99% of people sent to that camp were murdered.

Four Days in WarsawAfter the Umschlagplatz, I looked for Miła 18. Miła 18 was the bunker headquarters/shelter of the Jewish Combat Organization (ŻOB), a resistance group in the Warsaw Ghetto. During the Ghetto Uprising, after a few days of fighting, the combatants took refuge in bunkers. The Germans began systematically setting fire to the buildings in the Warsaw Ghetto and blowing them up. The ‘bunker wars’ lasted nearly a month. On 8 May 1943, Miła 18 was attacked by the Nazis. The ŻOB command stood firm, but German and Ukranian troops threw tear gas into the shelter to force the occupants out. Many of the uprising leaders committed mass suicide rather than surrender, though a few fighters managed to get out of a rear exit, and later fled from the ghetto through the canals to the Aryan side at Prosta Street on May 10th. The bodies of the Jewish fighters were not exhumed after 1945, and the place gained a status of war memorial.

Four Days in WarsawIn 1946 a monument known as “Anielewicz’s Mound”, made of the rubble of Miła houses, was erected. A commemorative stone with the inscription in Polish, Yiddish and Hebrew was placed on top of the mound. In 2006 a new obelisk was added to the memorial. The inscription in Polish, English and Hebrew reads:

Grave of the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising built from the rubble of Miła Street, one of the liveliest streets of pre-war Jewish Warsaw.

These ruins of the bunker at 18 Miła Street are the place of rest of the commanders and fighters of the Jewish Combat Organization, as well as some civilians. Among them lies Mordechaj Anielewicz, the Commander in Chief.

On May 8, 1943, surrounded by the Nazis after three weeks of struggle, many perished or took their own lives, refusing to perish at the hands of their enemies.

There were several hundred bunkers built in the Ghetto. Found and destroyed by the Nazis, they became graves. They could not save those who sought refuge inside them, yet they remain everlasting symbols of the Warsaw Jews’ will to live. The bunker at Miła Street was the largest in the ghetto. It is the place of rest of over one hundred fighters, only some of whom are known by name.

Here they rest, buried as they fell, to remind us that the whole earth is their grave.

Four Days in WarsawAs it was a Thursday, and a number of museums were free, I walked to the Museum of Warsaw in the Old Town. I had spied it a few days before. It’s a lovely little museum, and I enjoyed the rooms on the bottom few floors. To be honest – it will probably be a great museum when it is finished, but at the moment, much of it is empty. Signs stated that those rooms would open in 2018. If it’s Thursday, however, I’d recommend going in and walking straight up the stairs to the top. Your free ticket will get you a brilliant view out over the Old Town Market Place.

My last stop for the day was the Little Insurgent Monument (Pomnik Małego Powstańca). The sculpture is a boy who wears an adults helmet and commemorates the children who fought during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. The statue was revealed by a Boy Scout in 1983 – Professor Jerzy Świderski – who during the uprising was a messenger code runner in the Home Army. Behind the statue is a wall with the engraved words of a popular song from the period: ‘Warsaw children will go off to fight, we will, our capital, shed blood over every stone’.

DAY FOUR

Four Days in WarsawAnd finally, the last day of my short trip to Warsaw last month.

To be fair, this day involved some grim visits. As you might have gathered by now, I like to learn about history. All facets of history. Even the bits that are sad, or scary, or uncomfortable. This is why I used my last day in Warsaw to visit two historical sites – Pawiak Prison, and The Mausoleum of Battle and Martyrdom. Pawiak Prison was first up. I hadn’t realised how close this was to POLIN – I would recommend visiting Pawiak after POLIN, if you are in the neighbourhood. I arrived just after the prison opened in the morning, and it was very quiet. Outside, there is a courtyard with a bronze cast of the famous Pawiak Elm. The tree was one of the few living things to survive Pawiak during WW2, although the original tree succumbed to disease some time ago. The replacement bronze was cast to its shape and is covered with metal memorial signs placed by families.

The place itself felt dark. Built in 1835, it was requisitioned by the Nazi’s during WW2. Approximately 300,000 people passed through the prison (and the neighbouring woman’s prison, ‘Serbia’). 37,000 of these people are believed to have been executed, and 60,000 sent to German death and concentration camps. Because the Nazi’s blew up the prison complex, exact records have not been found. There is little left of the original complex.

Four Days in WarsawThe visit to the prison takes you through a series of reconstructed cells, and a large room containing mementoes belonging to former prisoners. When I went in, the two Polish ladies guarding the entrance asked me to sit down. I did, and after about twenty minutes, I tried to flag down someone speaking English to figure out why I was waiting. Turns out they needed to flick a switch to turn on an English introductory video for me. Hmm. I’m not sure it really required a twenty minute wait. Anyway, after this, I visited the area containing the momentoes of the former prisoners. This was a small, but interesting, exhibit, and had items from other prisons and concentration camps. Even though the prison cells were reconstructed, they felt very sad and cold. It was a depressing feeling walking the corridor by myself, and I didn’t stay long.

After visiting Pawiak, I hopped on a tram and went towards the former Gestapo Headquarters at al. Szucha 25, in the basement of the Ministry of Education. It is an easy site to miss – you need to walk past the huge Roman style columns and turn left to find the Mausoleum of Battle and Martyrdom (Mauzoleum Walki i Męczeństwa). However, I’d caution you to only visit if you are really interested in Nazi history. I have to admit that this place was even a bit too much for me. I’ve visited many harrowing sites, but this felt the worst. There is a short introductory video in English and Polish, and then a number of cells where prisoners were held, and in some cases, tortured. It is a very creepy setup. There are videos of guards boots stomping past outside of the cells. At the end of the row of cells, there is a video of a tortured prisoner collapsing, that looks like a shadowed silhouette. Apparently, the recordings of screams are no longer on rotation, but it is still incredibly creepy. You can look through one guard’s spyhole to see a huge hole in the opposite wall – where prisoners were shot. I only spent about 15 minutes there. That was enough for me.

Four Days in WarsawI had (wisely) decided not to eat before visiting those two sites, so thought I better go looking for some lunch. Unfortunately, I was in the Government district, and there was absolutely nothing around. I came across one dinky little restaurant – Rozdroze. Luckily, the food was great homestyle Polish food. I had a huge schnitzel, salad, egg and Warsaw Cake for about 35AED. Bargain! As I wanted to visit the Palace on the Isle, I walked through the park, past the famous statue of Chopin. I was very pleased to find a huge number of red squirrels in the park. Tame red squirrels. One of them even gave me a high five. Life goal achieved there.

In the scheme of palaces, Lazienki is a rather small one. It is also, in true Varsovian fashion, partly reconstructed following damage in WW2. The Nazi’s drilled holes in the walls – like the Royal Castle – but never actually got around to blowing it up. They did, however, strip a number of its beautiful interiors. While some of the rooms haven’t been refurbished to their original state, it is still a gorgeous residence, which was originally used by King Stanisław II Augustus as his summer home. Overlooking the park, it is very peaceful, with wandering peacocks and geese.

I took a very long walk back to the apartment after this, covering about seven kilometres. Warsaw is a perfect city for walking – safe, relatively quiet, and something interesting around every corner. Different parts of the city are quite beautiful too, for different reasons. Overall, I enjoyed my visit to Warsaw far more than I expected. Four days in Warsaw was wonderful. It is one of those underrated destinations that you need to make sure you visit.


Stay: Design Studio (AirBnB) – Śródmieście, Warszawa. From 160AED per night.

Visit: Warsaw Royal Castle, plac Zamkowy 4, 00-001 Warszawa. 30pln. The Warsaw Rising Museum, Grzybowska 79, 00-844 Warszawa, 20PLN. Footbridge of Memory. Sienna Street segment of the Warsaw Ghetto wall. Palace of Science and Culture, plac Defilad 1, 00-901 Warszawa, 30PLN to visit the observation deck. POLIN, Anielewicza 6, 00-157 Warszawa. 25PLN, free on Thursdays, shut on Tuesdays. Umschlagplatz, Stawki, 00-001, Warszawa. Free. Open 24 hours. Miła 18. Free. Open 24 hours. Warsaw Museum, str. Rynek Starego Miasta 28-42, Warszawa 00-272. 10PLN, free on Thursday. The Little Insurgent, ul. Podwale , Old Town. Free. Pawiak Prison, ul. Dzielna 24/26. Open 10:00 – 17:00. Closed Monday and Tuesday. 10PLN. The Mausoleum of Battle and Martyrdom, al. Szucha 25. Click here for opening hours. 10PLN. Lazienki Palace/Palace on the Isle,Agrykoli 1. Open Monday 11am to 4pm, Tuesday – Sunday 9am to 6pm. 20PLN.

Eat: Bazyliszek Restaurant, rynek Starego Miasta 1/3, 00-001 Warszawa. From 20PLN. Same Fusy Tea Shop, ul. Nowomiejska 10, Old Town. From 10PLN. Resort, ul. Bielańska 1, Warszawa. From 6PLN. Rozdroze, al. Ujazdowskie 6. Open 7 days. From 15PLN.

Transport: The Old Town is best visited on foot, but there is a major tram stop located near the Palace (Stare Miasto)

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The 58th Floor is the travel and lifestyle blog of Belinda Birchall, based in Dubai. It provides advice and information on travel throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East, as well as useful information for living in Dubai - and anything else of interest!

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