At the end of the Novy Swiat avenue, you can enter the old city (the old bazaar). This is a place under control of Unesco. This old heritage of Warsaw has to be seen. After being destroyed in WW2, it was very carefully restored to its original.
The Royal Castle at the entrance was built in 13th century and used as the home of the Duke until 1526. Than it became home for Kings. When the capital was moved from Krakow to Warsaw, it was used as government building. Between 1926 and WW2, it was the official residence of President of Poland. Was completely destroyed between 1939-1944, and rebuilt in 1971-1984.
In front of this building, many musicians explore their art. Right next to it, there is 22 meter high King Zygmunt’s Column, built in 1644. King Zygmunt is the person who made Warsaw the capital. It was ruined in 1944 too, and rebuilt in 1949.
City tour busses lift off here. You can take one of them and explore the alleys and the city walls around the city.
There is a surprise in every street in the old city. You should spare at least a day and explore all the alleyways. Especially take a photo of St. Martin’s Church from a narrow street. It was built in 1356, burned down to the ground in war era and got rebuilt after that. It was used for the meetings against the communist regime in 1970-1980.
Basilica of St. John is another interesting building. It was built in Gothic style before 1339, and 2 other buildings were added in 15th century. It looks like the buildings in the old city center of Riga. This building was used as a church in 1406, as a cathedral in 1797-1818, as an archcathedral in 1818-1960, and as a basilica after that.
Barbican gate is also one of the places you should see. It was made by Venetian architect Giovanni Battista as the city gate in 1548. There are lots of musicians and people who sell handcrafted goods around the gate area. It is possible to find souvenirs for a good price.
Than we headed to the old bazaar in the old city center. It is like a huge yard. Surrounded by colorful buildings on four sides. Restaurants and cafés at all 4 sides of the square. They all go down 3-4 floors from the entrance floor. But there is no mold or bad smell or a dark environment. Each restaurant is special, all of them are like wine cellars. I recommend the Karia Restaurant in this square.
We started with local flavors and ordered some barszcz (beet soup) and rosol (beef or chicken soup). As the main dish, we ordered kulebiak (pastry with mushrooms and cabbage), zrazy zawijane (beef with mushrooms) and sledz (herring fish). Beef with mushrooms was amazing.
Other important food are kazsa(buckwheat) and bigos(cabbage pickles, onions and cabbage). We passed on bigos because it was too hot and we did not want to be dehydrated. But I really wanted to try it…
The most popular vodkas of Poland are Zubrowka, Tarniowka, Sliwowica and Pieprzowka. The cafés where people gather and chitchat till the late hours of the day are very common.
There are lots of horse waggons in the square and mostly driven by women. You can take a tour inside the old city for a reasonable price.
An enjoyable square. They call the buildings here “Burger Houses”. This square is the best place for taking pictures in Warsaw if you ask me.
Right in the middle of the square, there is the landmark of the city; Syrena statue. Half woman, half fish. I almost got crushed by a horse waggon while I was trying to picture this statue. But the photo is worth it.
Marie Curie’s house can be visited in the old city. There are more than 30 theaters, concert halls and music centers. In Warsaw, there are many cultural events and festivals taking place through the year. Frederic Chopin International Piano Competition, Festival of Old Music, International Theater Meetings, International Poster Bienal, International Modern Music Festival (Warszawska Jesien), Jazz Jamboree, Warwas Summer Jazz Days, Stainslaw Moniuszko International Vocal Competition and Mozart Festival, are the famous festivals and events taking place in Warsaw.
The ember, found a lot in Baltics, is also popular here. You can find ember jewellery and knickknacks anywhere. But the ember sold here is more expensive compared to the Baltics.
The other recommended places to see in the city: Teatr Wielki (Opera) – Warsaw Ghetto (historical area) – Ogrod Saski (garden) – Umschlagplatz – Poczta Glowna (post office) – Cmentarz Zydowski (Jewish Graveyard) – Grob Nieznanego Zolnierza (nameless soldier monument)