Poland Day Fourteen: A Walk through The Heart Of The City, The New And Old Town Warsaw
After breakfast at my hotel in Warsaw we met our tour guides for the next three days. A young Polish couple, Karol and his girlfriend Kasha. They are relatives of my niece Cassidy’s best friend and they offered to show us some of Warsaw and northern Poland. After our introductions, we began our tour of the city at the nearby metro station and shopping center.
The shopping center or Złote Tarasy (Golden Terraces) is housed in an award winning modern building and, it and the nearby buildings attest to the modernization of the city taking place.
After a brief tour of the area, we soon boarded a bus and headed to the New Town section of the city. The name is misleading in that the New Town dates to the 15th century.
Our bus left us off near the Monument to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. We would learn so much more about this heroic effort to rid the city of the Nazi invaders, the betrayal by the Russians, and the destructive retaliation of the Germans, later in our stay in Warsaw.
We walked the busy streets and made our way to our first visit to one of Warsaw’s many historic churches, St. Jacek or St Hyacinth.
The original church was constructed during the early 17th century but, as we learned, like so many other churches and historical buildings, it was destroyed by the Germans in World War II. Like many churches and buildings, it was rebuilt and now houses some of the relics, paintings and treasures that were salvaged from the ruins. Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to this church. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fourteen-Warsaw-St-Hyacinth-Church-April-21-2017-
We walked the streets of the “New Town” visiting an old square and these odd looking bear statutes.
We continued our exploration of the square and then made our way to the banks of the Vistula River.
It was a cool April day but I imagined how nice the parks along the river would be on a sunny and warm Spring or Summer day. And I thought how many people enjoyed these days over the centuries. Here is a link to some more photographs of our walk through the New Town. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fourteen-Warsaw-Bus-ride-and-walking-tour-New-Town-April-21-2017-
Our guides next took us into the Old City, separated from the Old City by the Barbican or city wall. There is little remaining form the original destroyed during the war. The wall was rebuilt from bricks from buildings destroyed in the war.
We walked past the colorful homes situated on the streets leading to the Old Town and stopped to enjoy the view.
We made our way to the Old Town Square, surrounded by houses and building reconstructed after the war. It, like the square in Krakow, and most old town squares in Europe, was a center of activity for both residents of the city and tourists.
As in all cities there are many restaurants and gifts shops lining the streets of the square.
In the middle of the square is a statute of the mermaid of Warsaw. This statute replaced the original one that fell into disrepair. There is a legend that local fisherman rescued her from a merchant who captured her in the Vistula river and she now protects the city in gratitude to the fishermen.
As we continued through the narrow streets of the Old Town I enjoyed taking tin the many site and watching the interaction of the local residents and tourists.
We next walked past the impressive Royal Castle, again a reconstruction of the original, that was completely destroyed during the war. We didn’t have time to visit the castle, but I hope to return.
It was now lunch time and we had walked all morning so we stopped and had a nice lunch at one of our guides favorite restaurants.
After lunch we visited another church. St Ann’s. across from the Royal Castle.
First we went up the observation deck in the bell tower to get a nice view of the Old Town and the rest of Warsaw.
We then visited the interior of the church and the many beautiful altars, artifacts, paintings and relics. Here is a link to some more photographs of the church and the view from the bell tower. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Warsaw-St-Ann’s-church-
After our visit to St Ann’s we continued our marathon walking tour along the Royal Route. Here is a link to some more photographs from our walk in Old Town Warsaw. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fourteen-Warsaw-Old-Town-walk-April-21-2017
“Cultivation, old civilization, beauty, history! Surprising turnings of streets, shapes of venerable cottages, lovely aged eaves, unexpected and gossamer turrets, steeples, the gloss, the antiquity! Gardens. Whoever speaks of Paris has never seen Warsaw. […] Whoever yearns for an aristocratic sensibility, let him switch on the great light of Warsaw.” ― Cynthia Ozick