The Royal Castle in Warsaw is the former residence of the kings of Poland and the seat of the authorities of the First Polish Republic. Currently, it serves as a museum and has representative functions. In 1980, the Royal Castle and the Old Town were entered on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Castle was the last seat of Polish monarchs. Its history goes as far as the 14th century, when the Great Tower was built. The majority of work dates back to the late 16 and 17 centuries. Despite of numerous adversities, including the partitions of Poland and almost complete destruction during World War II, the Royal Castle is still open to the public. Various exhibitions and works of art can be seen either individually or with a guide, with plenty of language options to choose from. In close vicinity of the castle, in mild weather tourists can stroll to Warsaw’s Cathedral, Presidential Palace, Old Town and Barbican.
The palace, together with its garden, is one of the most beautiful objects of its type in Poland. Baroque palace and the meticulously designed surrounding gardens, situated at the end of the Royal Route and built for the king John III Sobieski, are filled with Polish as well as European culture. Wilanów hosts many exhibitions and concerts. Wilanów Palace also houses Poland’s first ever museum, established in 1805. The Royal Garden of Light is an open-air exhibition where thousands of colored LEDs are arranged in sophisticated shapes. A 75-meter luminous tunnel in which classical music resounds leads to the palace. In addition, there are also mappings - three-dimensional shows on the facade of the palace. The exhibition is organized in the fall and winter season, open from 4 pm to 9 pm.
It is located just 3 kilometres from the Royal Castle. The museum was opened in 2004 and is situated at 79 Grzybowska Street. The main aim of the museum is to provide documentation and present history of Warsaw Uprising during the Second World War and activities of Polish Underground State. The exhibition shows everyday life and fights during Nazi occupation and the fate of the insurgents during communist regime in People’s Republic of Poland (PRL). The museum has gathered 30 000 exhibits. The exhibition is very modern and uses the newest audio-visual technologies to successfully reach nowadays audience. It is located at 3 stories and it has more than 3000 m2. Warsaw Rising Museum is said to be one of the most interesting museums in Poland, which is why, you shouldn’t omit it during your Polish travels.
Museum of the History of Polish Jews is a new, ultramodern cultural museum on the map of Warsaw. It is situated at 6 Mordechaja Danielewicza Street in the place which was former Jewish district and also later on Warsaw Ghetto. The museum is a place dedicated to all those who are interested in heritage of Polish Jews and it is a symbol of breakthrough in Polish-Jewish relations during 1000 years history from Medieval times up till now. It is a place of meetings of people who want to know the past and current Jewish culture. The interactive exhibition was opened in October 2014. The exhibition has 8 galleries of 4 200 m2 common area. The galleries include 73 multimedia stands, 120 multimedia passive stands, 170 historic exhibits and 200 copies and models. The museum can be visited by 800 guests at a time. POLIN is an impressive modern museum which you really must see during your visit in Warsaw.
It is situated at 3 Aleje Jerozolimskie Street in a Modernist building, erected in 1927-1938 (the east wing of the building is a headquarters of the Polish Army Museum). It is one of the biggest art museums in Poland and the biggest one in Warsaw. The exhibits of the museum include over 830 000 pieces of Polish and international art. Visitors will find here ancient pieces of art (Egyptian, Greek, Roman), Polish paintings from the 13th century up till current times, international paintings (Russian, German, Dutch, French, Italian), arts and crafts exhibits and numismatic collections. The National Museum is a must see site in Warsaw to experience original, extraordinary pieces of art that we know only from textbooks.
Chopin Museum is situated in Ostrogski Palace. The founder of the museum, Frédéric Chopin Institute, began collecting exhibits as early as 1943. Today, the museum has over 5,000 of them. The Chopin museum itself was opened in 1955. Among museum collections there are numerous manuscripts, printouts, iconographic sets and other Frédéric Chopin memorabilia. It is one of the most modern museums in Warsaw and Poland in general.
The centre is a place striving to popularise science. It is one of the youngest museums in the capital as it was opened only in 2010. It is also one of the most modern museums in Warsaw and definitely one of the most popular. It is situated at 20 Wybrzeże Kościuszkowskie Street. The main aim of the center is to popularize science and visitors learn via play and performing experiments on their own. The entire exhibition is very modern and interactive. The museum has 6 thematic exhibitions in which we can see 400 exhibits. The museum building covers 15 thousand square meters area. A visit in Copernicus Science Center takes about 3-5 hours. It is also possible to take part in special workshops and laboratories. Copernicus Science Center is undoubtedly one of the most interesting modern museums in the country. Just by the centre it is also worth to visit the garden on the rooftop of Warsaw University Library.
It is one of the oldest ethnographic museums in Poland located in Warsaw at 1 Kredytowa Street. The museum was founded in 1888 and houses over 80,000 objects and about 120,000 archives. The largest permanent gallery is called “Time to celebrate”. The visitors can see here national costumes, festive clothing from Poland and Europe, paintings, sculptures, Christmas decorations and props. The next gallery , "Order of Things", presents tools related to farming, farming, various ways of obtaining food, such as collecting, fishing and beekeeping. Third gallery „Biblia Pauperum” shows the most outstanding works from the museum collection referring to the biblical themes of salvation present in folk art. The last one, Korean Gallery, is a replica of a traditional Korean home - hanok. The museum also organizes temporary exhibitions.
The museum is located in the historic building of the rectification plant within the premises of the Koneser Praga Centre, at Konesera Square 1. Visitors can learn here over 500 years of history of the most famous Polish alcohol, the evolution of its production technology, as well as traditions and customs associated with it. A guided tour takes approximately one hour. It will start in a cinema room, where a few minutes long film about the history of Polish vodkas, their production and export is shown. After visiting the cinema, five thematic galleries await visitors. The tour ends with a tasting of vodka. The ticket to the Polish Vodka Museum includes the care of a guide and tasting of 3 types of vodka.
Palace of Culture and Science (Polish: Pałac Kultury i Nauki) in Warsaw is just a 30-minute walk from the Royal Castle. The Palace was built in 3 years period by 3,500 Russian workers as a gift from Joseph Stalin. Since it was finished in 1955 is has been the tallest building in Poland, its spire reaches 237 metres and the viewing terrace on the 30 floor (114m.) allows you to admire Warsaw from above. The Palace of Culture and Science has 3288 rooms, including Congress Hall which seats 3,000 people and a swimming pool. In year 2000 a second-largest tower clock in Europe was added to the building. Each of its 4 faces has 6 metres in diameter.
Summing up, Warsaw has much to offer even during winter and tourists can easily avoid blistering cold, even in the middle of a winter season and enjoy world class works of art and fascinating exhibits that witness Warsaw’s captivating history. We greatly advice to visit the capital of Poland also in winter, when there are not so many tourists as in warmer months and enjoy Warsaw’s cultural and historical heritage. If you are interested in visiting any of the above sites, just contact one of ITS Poland group coordinators, that will deal with all the necessary preparations and trip details for you.
Author: Agnieszka Szwedzińska