Layovers can be a great way to see a small part of a city. I generally love them a lot. Recently, I was in Warsaw with a few hours to spare before catching my train to Katowice and I thought why not to make the most out of this time. I had heard a lot about The Old Town in Warsaw and I decided to go there this time. Before I jump into what I did there, let’s get to know the place a bit better.
The Warsaw Old Town is the oldest part of the capital city of Poland. Built-in the 13th century, it plays a very important part of Poland’s history. A great part of the district was destroyed during World War II by the German army. After the war was over, Old Town Warsaw has been rebuilt to its pre-war glory. Today, it has a place in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites as “an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century.
How to reach Old Town Warsaw?
The district can be reached via bus or tram. I actually took bus number 160 from Dworzec Centralny 23 (It is right next to Warsaw Centralana, the central station) and got down at Stare Miasto 01, climbed the stairs near the bus stand & reached my destination.
My first impression when I reached Old Town was how picturesque it was. Surrounded by colorful buildings, it was all so beautiful. I went ahead & basically just walked around the whole 1.5 hours (approx) I was there.
As soon as you enter, you will see the Castle Square dominated by the Royal Castle & the Zygmunt’s Column. The Royal Castle used to serve as the residence of the royalty between the 16th and 18th centuries. Like most parts of the town, it was reconstructed in the 1980s. The Zygmunt’s Column commemorates King Sigismund III Vasa, who in 1596 had moved Poland’s capital from Kraków to Warsaw.
From there, I just decided to continue my walk to my left side, towards Rynek. Every Polish town has Rynek (Town Square Hall) and the Old Town is no exception. However, you will not find a town hall here, as it was pulled down in 1817 when it was no longer capable of managing the city. Today, the square hosts a lot of bars and amazing places to eat.
Further down the street, you will find a statue of Adam Mickiewicz, a great national bard, poet, activist and columnist, and one of the greatest romantic dramatic writers in Poland.
Walking down Krakowskie Przedmiescie street, on my left, I saw the Presidential Palace. It was earlier used by various noblemen and now hosts all the Polish presidents. I love how this neoclassical building glows with whiteness. The bronze monument standing in front of the palace depicts Prince Józef Poniatowski, the commander-in-chief of the Polish army during the difficult times of the early 19th century.
I so wanted to go further but it started raining & I was running out of time. But I must say it was a great experience. Despite all these factors, I loved seeing the town and the architectural mix it has to offer.
I know I still haven’t seen the most important part of Old Town Warsaw & will make sure that I see them next time I’m in the city.
So what is your favorite layover story?