An eastern European city should always generate interest due to the bloody historical past and Warsaw is no exception.
Capital of Poland, the city was virtually razed to the ground in World War II, but like a phoenix from the ashes, the city emerged through the rubble and many of the marvellous buildings have now been restored to their former glory. The Old Town was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980, an amazing accolade considering the widespread damage wrought by the Nazi bombings and destruction.
Located on the banks of the Vistula river and only 200 km from the Baltic, Warsaw has famously given its name to the the Warsaw Convention, Pact of Warsaw, Warsaw Confederation and Treaty of Warsaw.
Today, the city thrums with energy and is a dynamic and forward thinking place and, although choc full of marvellous museums and monuments to the past, the city firmly faces the future. Performing arts, theatre, clubbing and pubbing are truly alive and unparalleled in the rest of Poland and the music scene is absolutely legendary. Home of Fryderyk Chopin, classical music has top billing, but music of every genre is popular. The banks of the river play host to festivals, fairs and fireworks and the annual Midsummer's night "wreath floating" festival gets the whole city in party mood. The Praga district is fast becoming a little artistic and creative oasis in the city and, surrounded by modern buildings and glass skyscrapers, the tallest 4 faced clock tower in the world stands proud.
Having John Paul II visit twice during his reign as Pope; experienced the evolution of the Solidarity Movement and made a hero of Lech Walesa, Warsaw will now host the opening match of UEFA Euro 2012 - what more could a city possibly cope with?
A city with a big heart, Warsaw is a great visitor destination and a worthy of several lazy days' exploration and discovery.