On my first day in Warsaw, I’ve visited the Old Town with my friend. It was a first contact with the Polish culture and life. It is an amazing place where tourists come from all over the world. After a short gathering for our host’s friend’s birthday, we had to wake up once again on sunday to explore other parts of the city that show another side of it. In Warsaw Uprising Museum, we’ve seen all the terror the population of Warsaw and Poland had to endure in the past, meanwhile in the centre of the city we’ve seen another side… the one where globalisation takes over with famous high streets and shopping centres, american fast-foods and an open-minded clientele.
On sunday morning, we’ve decided to visit the Centre and especially the famous building “The Palace of Culture and Science” that is shining by day or by night in the skyline of Warsaw. We took the Metro for the first time, it is easy to get around as there are only 2 lines. Our ticket is part of a 3-day ZTM pass which costs 48,00 Zloty (around 11 euros). We stopped by Centrum station to see the Palace, the entrance to the reception hall was free but apparently getting to the top is worth paying although not at all recommended in case of bad weather. In front of the Palace, some demonstration were taking place and we could have guessed it was a feminist supporters and gays protesting peacefully with celebrations and music.
After the Palace, we’ve made our way towards Warsaw Uprising Museum. On the way, we’ve passed the Financial District of Warsaw that has some looks of New York’s Wall Street or London’s Canary Wharf. The high skyscrapers gives the city a new dimension and this part of the city shows the fast integration of Poland to the open-economy. Few minutes walking, taking pictures and enjoying the snow, we arrive at Warsaw’s most famous museum. The entrance fee is 9 Zloty (around 2 euros) and includes an entrance to a 3D animation of the city after its whole destruction.
At the entrance, there is a free cloakroom to get rid of the heavy coasts. We are welcomed by some loud sounds of war weapons that made us feel in the scene of a war zone. There is a part that shows the terrors of the jewish ghettos with very emotional footages of children suffering and people fighting for freedom. This was a very emotional part! There are some videos that I’ve seen twice, some are restricted for younger or the faint hearted due to the intensity of violence shown. From this tragic part dated around late 1930s shown from the very beginning of our visit takes us then to Warsaw’s Uprising from 1944 when the Polish stood proud against the German Nazi terrors to liberate Warsaw.
Following those events, Poland has been divided into two parts a Nazi part by the West and a Communist part by the East. Inside the museum, we could hear some telephone calls and some audio footages of key people in the history of Poland. Then from the Nazi part to the Communist part, we’ve seen the transactions and the evolution of the country until it’s recent history when communism disappeared of the country to leave space to a very open country with a bright future. Moreover, Poland has integrated the EU in 2004.
And despite their reputation over the world, Polish are not those bad people we thought they are. We were welcomed by the best way from our host and also people in the streets who are always ready to help tourists especially a young generation that speaks English very well and is a very active part of the population.
This first contact with Poland has been great. So I just want to say “Dziekuje Warszawa” (Thank You Warsaw!) and I’m looking forward to visit more of Poland especially cities such as Krakow, Gdansk or Worclaw.