Warsaw “is practically around the corner. It’s only five and a half hours by train from Berlin,” writes the website of the weekly “Spiegel” in an extensive text devoted to the tourist attractions of the Polish metropolis. “The capital of Poland has become one of the most exciting cities in Europe,” he emphasizes.
“A trip to Warsaw? Even ten years ago, such a route would have been met with incomprehension. Tourists in Poland visited Kraków, Wrocław and Gdańsk. But Warsaw? “A juggernaut that still breathes socialist stuffiness and offers nothing interesting,” writes the website of the weekly “Spiegel”.
“Today, that image couldn’t be more wrong. It is no coincidence that the capital of Poland was chosen as the best travel destination in Europe in 2023 in the vote of the European Best Destinations marketing platform.
“Such rankings can be considered unrepresentative. The fact is, however, that a lot has happened in Warsaw recently,” notes “Spiegel”, mentioning the “impressive skyline” of the business district, the boulevard on the western bank of the Vistula, and old factories that “were turned into fashionable food halls. At the same time, museums, memorials and monuments remind us of the turbulent and depressing history of the city, the center of which was almost completely destroyed by German National Socialists during World War II.
“Past and present: in no other European metropolis is this meeting as engaging as in Warsaw. And the city is practically around the corner. It’s only five and a half hours by train from Berlin,” we read.
“Spiegel” indicates places worth visiting, starting with the Old Town. The historic city “is a mirage,” he notes. After World War II, the Old and New Towns were rebuilt in accordance with the original. “In one of their many acts of barbarism, the Nazis burned and blew up almost everything in retaliation for the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. They destroyed a cultural heritage dating back centuries.”
The Old Town is worth seeing, the portal emphasizes, “because it shows the city’s roots – and the effort of reconstruction after the war.” “Spiegel” also recommends a walk along the Royal Route and describes its attractions.
Those who want to “feel the atmosphere of pre-war Warsaw” pay attention to Praga, noting that after the fall of socialism it had a bad reputation, and today it is “considered a fashionable district of creative people and artists.”
“It is impossible to imagine a visit to Warsaw without remembering the crimes committed by the German occupiers during World War II,” we read. “Spiegel” resembles the Warsaw ghetto. He also writes: ‘When the population of Warsaw rose up against the cruel occupiers, an order was issued from Berlin: +Warsaw was to be razed to the ground.’ And that’s how it happened”. Places reminding us of this time in the city’s history include: Warsaw Uprising Museum, Polin Museum and Warsaw Uprising Monument.
“In the early 1980s, nationwide strikes led to the creation of Solidarity, a m trade union movement.” Socialism ended, “paving the way for the democracy that so many longed for – even if the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union were economically difficult. Poland oriented itself towards the West. In recent years, Warsaw has become a metropolis that does not have to hide behind other European capitals,” emphasizes “Spiegel”.
From Berlin Berenika Lemańczyk (PAP)