The Polish capital is a beautiful place to visit. It has museums, food, parks, music, festivals and a lot more. The Old and the New Town was almost completely destroyed during World War II and were rebuild after the war with a mixture of buildings that existed in different periods of time.
Warsaw is known for some lovely museums as well. Among them are the Warsaw Uprising Museum, Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Copernicus Science Centre, Wilnow Palace Museum, The Royal Palace, Fryderyk Chopin Museum etc.
But if you have time in hand after enjoying the above or want to go off the beaten track, then below is a list of some of the places you might want to visit.
Maria Sklodowska-Curie Museum
Madam Curie or Maria Sklodowska-Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences, was born in Warsaw in 1867. The house where she was born and spent the first year of her life is a museum now dedicated to her. Although surprisingly not that well known or publicized like the other museums of Warsaw, the only biographical museum dedicated to the great lady should be in the list of anyone interested in science or history.
Location: Freta 16 Google Map Link
The house has been rebuilt several times. In 1934, after the death of Maria Skłodowska-Curie, a plaque was attached to the building. During the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, the Germans demolished the house. The plaque however survived and was put back after the house was rebuilt.
Maria Sklodowska-Curie Statue Facing the Wisla river, where a young Maria used to take walks, stands the statue of the scientist looking at her favourite Polish waters and the Praga district on the opposite side. Behind the statue stands one of Warsaw’s oldest church, Church of the Visitation of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, where young Maria was baptized. She, however, went on to abandon the Catholic Church before she turned twenty.
Location: Google Map Link
Last Hiding Place of Władysław Szpilman One of the most famous movies on World War II, The Pianist, was based on the life of Władysław Szpilman during the war and the Warsaw Uprising. His last hiding place where he met the German officer Wilm Hosenfeld now have a plaque outside the building. The house, of course, has been rebuilt like most others in Warsaw.
Location: aleja Niepodległości 223 Google Map Link
Warsaw Ghetto Bridge Memorial Built in 1942 to connect the big and the small ghetto, the wooden footbridge over ul. Chłodna, though didn’t last long, became an image of the ghetto itself. It was featured in films like The Pianist. It was high enough to allow the German vehicles to pass through the Aryan street beneath. As it provided a view of the World outside the ghetto it was also called The Bridge of Sighs.
Today an installation stands there called A Footbridge of Memory designed by Tomasz de Tusch-Lec in 2011. There are a pair of metal poles on each side depicting the bridge that once stood there and eyeholes in the poles, through which people and flip and see old photographs of the bridge.
Location: The intersection of Chłodna and Żelazna Street Google Map Link
Remains of the Ghetto Wall
Although after the Warsaw Uprising the whole area along with the walls was levelled, the remaining small parts of the wall has been carefully preserved. Inside a courtyard stands the remnants of the Ghetto Wall with memorial plaques installed in it.
Also with the help of the Jewish Historical Institute, several areas of the city where the Ghetto Wall existed, has been marked in the pavement and also information boards are installed.
Location: ul. Sienna 55 from outside. Entry through ul. Złota 62 Google Map Link
Miła 18 Memorial There was a hidden shelter of the Jewish Combat Organization, a Jewish resistance group in the Ghetto, at ul. Miła 18. Three weeks after the start of the Warsaw Uprising the Germans found it and threw tear gas inside to force everyone out. There were around 300 people inside and most, along with Mordechai Anielewicz, the leader of the uprising, and his girlfriend Mira Fuchrer, committed suicide by taking poison. Few managed to get out of the rear exit and out of the ghetto.
In 1946 a mound was made with the rubbles of the houses of the street and was named Anielewicz Mound. A commemorative stone was placed over the mound. Later an obelisk was placed in front of the mound.
Location: Google Map Link
Remember the scene from The Pianist where all the Jews were dumped in a small open space before transferring them via train to the concentration camps? Today at that spot stands the Umschlagplatz Monument. A walled area with 400 first names which were typical of the Jews who used to live in Warsaw engraved on one side.
Location: Google Map Link
Krzysztof Kieślowski Memorial
The famous Polish film director was born and died in Warsaw. Several of his famous films were shot in the city and film buffs could go around looking for spots. There are many in the Old Town especially in the centre and around the Royal Palace. But the city does not have much for his fans. His only memorial in the city is over his resting place at Powązki Cemetery. Two hands making a gesture like the protagonist of his famous movie Amator (Camera Buff).
Location: Powązki Cemetery. After entering take the second left. Approximate Google Map Location
Statue of Fryderyk Chopin
The Polish composer and pianist Fryderyk / Frédéric Chopin’s bronze statue at Łazienki Park is not only huge but also not like most memorial statues. The tree over the figure looks like a pianist’s hand and finger. The statue was unveiled in 1926, but it was the first monument to be destroyed by the Germans in Warsaw in 1940. Thankfully the original mould survived the war and a new statue was cast from it and placed in the original site in 1958.
Location: Łazienki Park Google Map Link
Nicolaus Copernicus Monument
The bronze statue of the Polish astronaut holding a compass in one hand and armillary sphere in the other was erected in 1828-30. During German Occupation the Latin and Polish inscriptions were replaced with plaque written in German. This was later removed by Maciej Aleksy Dawidowski. After the war, the Germans took the statue, which was already damaged, to Nysa and tried to melt it down. The Poles brought back the statue to Warsaw, renovated and re-erected it on 22 July 1949.
Location: Before Staszic Palace Google Map Link