Warsaw, the capital city of Poland, like many venerable European cities has an Old Town that is a destination in itself. The Stare Miasto w Warszawie is mostly a painstakingly-recreated reproduction of hundreds of buildings that were destroyed by the Germans, some during the Luftwaffe’s 1939 invasion of Poland, and most of the rest following the end of the Warsaw Uprising*.
Nevertheless, the reproduction is quite faithful, and UNESCO has named it as one of its World Heritage Sites as “an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century.”
Warsaw’s Old Town is the oldest part of the Polish capital, with its center at the Old Town Market Place (Rynek Starego Miasta). Each of the square’s four sides has a name:
- Dekert’s Side (Strona Dekerta), the north side (numbers, 28–42), named after Jan Dekert, houses the Warsaw Historical Museum.
- Barss’ Side (Strona Barssa), the east side (numbers, 2–26), with the Mickiewicz Museum honors the 19th-century Polish poet.
- Kołłątaj’s Side (Strona Hugo Kołłątaja), the west side (numbers, 15–31).
- Zakrzewski’s Side (Strona Zakrzewskiego), the south side (numbers, 1–13).
When coming up from the center of Warsaw via Nowy Swiat street, visitors first come across Castle Square (plac Zamkowy), notable for the famous Zygmunt’s Column and the Royal Castle.
Located between the Old Town and the New Town stands the Warsaw Barbican. Nearby, the St. John’s Archcathedral, itself a UNESCO world heritage site, can be found at Canon Square (plac Kanonia).