Warsaw’s favorite tourist destination
Warsaw’s Old Town (Stare Miasto) is the historical center of Warsaw and the oldest part of town dating back to the 13th century. Situated in the middle of the Old Town is the beautiful market square with its good variety of restaurants. The largest part of the Old Town was destroyed during the Second World War and was later reconstructed. The reconstruction was so precise that one can hardly tell if the the building survived the war or if it was rebuilt. This was honored by the UNESCO who in 1980 added the Warsaw Old Town to its list of World Heritage Sites. The Old Town is also a great place for purchasing souvenirs of Warsaw, as several souvenir stores are located here.
The Old Town Market Square (Rynek Starego Miasta) was established in the 13th century on a 90 x 73 meter rectangle. Nowadays you can find here restaurants and cafes which offer mainly Polish specialities. However, one also sees barrel organ players and portrait painters. In the middle of the market square there once was the Warsaw City Hall, however, it was pulled down back in 1817. Since 1855 there is a bronze sculpture (The Warsaw Mermaid) at exactly the same place, it’s the symbol of Warsaw. The four house sides of the marketplace also are still named after one of their famous inhabitants: Zakrzewski (mayor), Barss (solicitor), where you can find the Mickiewicz Literature Museum in house number 20, Kollataj (priest) and Dekert (mayor), where you now find the Historical Museum entrance in house number 42.
The Castle Square (Plac Zamkowy) is directly located in front of the Royal Castle. This is where most people begin their walk through the Old Town of Warsaw. In the middle of the square there is a bronze statue it was errected 1644 and is 22 meters high. The Zygmunt (Sigismund) Statue shows King Zygmunt III who was responsible in making Warsaw the capital of Poland. You can also find some nice restaurants here if you are hungry and also some city tours have their starting point at the Castle Square.
Old Town Churches
St. John’s Cathedral was already established in the 15th century. It had to be completely rebuilt after the second world war. In the cathedral many significant Polish personalities are buried, like bishops, the last king of Poland (Stanislaw August Poniatowski), Nobel Prize winner Sienkiewicz and the first two Polish Presidents (Narutowicz and Moscicki).
(Ulica Świętojańska 8)
The Jesuit Church is directly next to St. John’s Cathedrale. It dates back to 1609, the reconstruction after the war was completed in 1957.
(Ulica Świętojańska 10)
St. Martin’s Church is another beautiful church in Old Town, its styles resembles a mixture of gothic (lower part of the church) and baroque (on the upper part). In the 70s and 80s the church was known as a meeting place for the polish opposition. (Ulica Piwna 9/11)
The Old Town is located close to most city hotels, you can find it in southern direction from the New Town and north of Krakowskie Przedmiescie (which begins at the Castle Square).
Unfortunately, there is no metro station in Old Town, from the metro station Ratusz Arsenal head one station towards the east (direction to Praga, but get out at the next stop at Plac Zamkowy) by either bus 125, 170, 190, 307, 512 or tram 13, 23, 26, 32. Then you only have to go up the stairs to the Castle Square.