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European Cruises

About Warsaw

Old Town, Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw, Poland’s cosmopolitan capital and largest city, sits gracefully on the beautiful waters of the Vistula River. One of Europe’s most inspirational cities, its Old Town—with its pastel facades, gabled roofs and domed spires—was completely rebuilt in its original medieval splendor after World War II. Historians and architects went to painstaking lengths to restore the streets, churches, burgher houses and other buildings—85% of which had been destroyed—using bricks and decorative elements salvaged from the rubble. So authentic was the reconstruction that the historic quarter was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. Before its destruction, the city became a symbol of resistance during the Warsaw Uprising, the month-long battle against Nazis waged by Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto. But there’s more to Warsaw’s story than its phoenix-like, post-war resurgence. Though it has a decidedly modern cityscape streaked with skyscrapers, the city boasts impressive examples of Gothic, Renaissance, baroque and neoclassical architecture, particularly among its grand churches and opulent palaces; and green parks cover about a quarter of the city. Among its national heroes, composer Frédéric Chopin is the most beloved; his heart is entombed in the Holy Cross Church, and his statue in Łazienki Park inspires al fresco piano concerts accompanied by summer picnics of pączki, a dense sweet donut, and mead, a honey wine. Marie Curie, the first female Nobel Prize winner for her pioneering work on radioactivity, was also born here.

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