Population: 1,716,855 – Established: 14th Century AD - Area: 516.90 km2
A BRIEF HISTORY
The capital and largest city in the country, Warsaw (Polish: Warszawa) is located around 260km from the Baltic Sea in the North, and 300km from the Carpathian Mountains in the South.
After its establishment in the early 14th Century, Warsaw economy relied on its crafts and trade industry. After the death of Duke Janusz III in 1526, the city was reincorporated into the Kingdom of Poland. Warsaw gained its’ status as the nation’s Capital in 1596, when King Sigismund III Vasa moved the Crown to the city, from Kraków.
In the 18th century, Warsaw became a centre for culture and arts – which would later help to create some of the most famous musicians and artists in history – and became known as “The Paris of the East”.
Following the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Warsaw united with Imperial Russia before returning to a united Poland in 1918, after the First World War.
During World War Two, Warsaw – like much of Poland – was annexed by Nazi Germany, and the city saw the construction of the biggest Jewish Ghetto in the country. Before the city was liberated in January 1945 by the Red Army, it was razed to the ground under the orders of Adolf Hitler. After the war ended, it was estimated around 85% of the city lay in ruin.
Marie Skłodowska-Curie: Twice Nobel Prize-winning physicist and chemist, most famous for her discovery of Radium and Polonium, the latter named after her country.
Frederic Chopin: Considered one of the masters of romantic music, he was also called the “poet of the piano”.
Kazimierz Pułaski: Polish soldier and father of American Cavalry. Saved the life of George Washington in the American Revolutionary War, and was one of only seven to be awarded honorary American Citizenship.
Władyslaw Szpilman: A Polish-Jewish pianist, composer and memoirist; famously depicted by Adrien Brody in Roman Polanski’s movie “The Pianist”.
FIVE THINGS TO DO IN WARSAW
1. Stare Miasto (Old Town)
Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, Warsaw’s Old Town is the most prominent tourist attraction in the area. After being levelled by the Nazis at the end of the war, it was masterfully reconstructed in a style representing the history of the city, spanning from the 13th to the 20th centuries.
2. Centrum Nauki Kopernik
Standing on the banks of the Wisła, the Copernicus Science Centre is a new tourist attraction in the city, having been opened in late 2010. Named after the Polish scientist, it offers over 400 interactive exhibitions, as well as many more temporary galleries.
3. Museum of Pawiak Prison
On the site of the former Pawiak Prison, this museum shows the horrors that were committed by the Nazi’s whilst it was used as a Gestapo Prison and as part of the Warsaw Concentration Camp. An estimated 300,000 passed through the jail, most resistance fighters or political prisoners, before the end of the Second World War.
4. Warsaw Zoological Garden
Covering approximately 100 acres, the Miejski Ogród Zoologicyny w Warszawie is home to more than 4,000 animals, covering over 500 different species. Recently the facility has opened new exhibitions for both Hippopotamuses and Sharks.
5. Wilanow Poster Museum
Opened in 1968, the museum is the first of its kind in Europe. Containing an exhibit of over 55,000 posters, there are displays from Poland as well as many other countries all over the world. Open between 10am-4pm (Tuesday-Sunday) and 12am-4pm (Monday), there is plenty of time to peruse the fascinating collections on show.
As the capital city of Poland, Warsaw is the main transport hub for the country. Its central location means it has access to all corners of Poland.
More commonly known by its former name “Okęcie”, Warsaw’s Frederic Chopin Airport is situated approximately 10km to the south-west of the city centre. It has links to the city centre by both road and bus.
Warsaw Chopin Airport is accessible from Doncaster/Sheffield, Glasgow, Liverpool and London-Luton via low-cost carrier WizzAir; and London-Heathrow via both LOT and British Airways.
During the tournament, it will be possible to fly from Warsaw to 6 of the 7 other host cities. The national carrier LOT flies regularly to Kyiv, Donetsk and Lviv in Ukraine, and Gdańsk, Wrocław and Poznań in Poland.
ARRIVING IN WARSAW
The number 175 bus will take you from the Airport Terminal to the heart of Warsaw, whilst the number 188 will take you in the general direction of the city centre. A single-fare from the Airport to the City Centre will cost 3.60PLN (approx. 70p), and the journey time is around 30 minutes. During peak hours, the 175 will run between 6-8 times per hour. Tickets can usually be bought on-board, and have to be validated.
Taxis can be found outside the main terminal, and will cost approximately between 30PLN and 45PLN. Try to avoid the people touting in the arrivals hall, as they are likely to overcharge. Make sure the taxi displays the company’s name and number on the side to avoid unauthorised vehicles.
The main train station in the city, Warszawa Centralna, has direct services to Poznań (3.5 hours), Gdańsk (6 hours), and Wrocław (6 hours). There are also both direct and indirect services to Kyiv (18-24 hours), whilst indirect services will get you to Lviv (12-15 hours).
Warsaw is the hub for low-cost bus operator PolskiBus.com, where services to Gdańsk, Poznań and Wrocław operate 2-3 times per day. The company also offer transfers between Warsaw and major cities including Kraków, Katowice and Lódź.
The city’s main bus station - Dworzec PKS Warszawa Zachodnia - is located on Aleja Jerozolimskie, the main street running through the centre of Warsaw. From here you can find regular bus services to all over Poland.
IN THE CITY
Warsaw’s bus and tram network consists of over 200 lines, taking you to every corner of the city. Since 1995, the city has also had its own metro service; although there is only one line, and is mainly used for commuting rather than tourism.
The normal bus services run between 05:00 and 23:00, with many of the routes running every 20 minutes. During peak hours, the tram network is usually quicker due to the city’s congestion problems. Some trams will stop at 22:00, although many run until midnight.
Warsaw is also served by a very extensive Night Bus network, running every 30 minutes.
The most cost-efficient options for public transport in Warsaw are the “Short-Term” tickets; which allow travel on buses, trams and the Metro for a specified amount of time. A 24-hour Zone 1 ticket will cost 12PLN whilst for Zones 1 and 2 it will cost 19PLN. A 3-day ticket offers more savings, with a Zone 1 ticket setting you back 24PLN, whilst you will need to fork out 38PLN for Zones 1 and 2.
Flaczki z Pulpetami (po Warszawie)
A tripe stew, made with beef, carrots, onion and spices. The dish also includes meatballs made from calf liver, veal marrow and parmesan cheese.
Kavior po Zydowsku
Translated to “Jewish Caviar”, the dish is made from chopped calf or poultry liver, fried with both onions and hard-boiled eggs, and mixed with mayonnaise, salt and pepper.
Bułka z Pieczarkami
Originated whilst the country was under communist rule and in a shortage of Frankfurters; this dish is basically a hot dog bun, pierced, and filled with a mushroom and onion stew.
Zrazy Wołowe Zawijane
Dill cucumbers, onions, and sometimes bacon; wrapped in thin strips of beef, fried and served with a spicy sauce.
Pączki is a type of Polish doughnut, which is traditionally eaten on - but not limited to - the last Thursday before Ash Wednesday. It can be filled with many sweet fillings including strawberry or apple, but Rose Marmalade is more common in Warsaw.
Originally brewed in the city, Królewskie (translated as “Royal”) beer is one of Warsaw’s most popular lagers.
“Królewskie Jasne Pełne” is a 5.8% pale lager, whilst the slightly stronger “Królewskie Mocne” has an alcohol content of 7%.
Although not produced in Warsaw, Zubrówka (or Bison Grass) vodka is one of the most popular vodkas in the capital.
During distillation, the flavour of the grass is extracted by crushing, and forcing vodka through. When bottled, a single blade of grass is placed inside the bottle.
STADION NARODOWY, WARSAW
Warsaw’s games during Euro 2012 will take place at the newly-built Stadion Narodowy (National Stadium), on the East bank of the Wisła River.
Completed, the stadium will hold 58,145 spectators, and will be decked out in red and white - the country’s national colours; whilst the exterior is designed to represent a Polish flag waving in the wind. The stadium also has a retractable roof which takes around 20 minutes to close.
The Stadion Narodowy was built on the site of the former Stadion Dziesięciolecia (Tenth Anniversary Stadium), and becomes the biggest stadium in Poland. After the tournament, the new stadium will replace Chorzów’s Stadion Sląski as the home of the national team.
The new home of Polish football was inaugurated on 29th February 2012, when the national team faced off against Portugal in a friendly game - the game finished goalless.
GAMES DURING THE TOURNAMENT
Warsaw will host five games during the European Championships, including the opening game, a quarter-final and a semi-final (all times local).
Poland v Greece – 8th June 2012 (18:00)
Poland v Russia – 12th June 2012 (20:45)
Greece v Russia – 16th June 2012 (20:45)
Winner A v Runner-up B - 21st June 2012 (20:45)
Winner Match 26 v Winner Match 28 – 28th June 2012 (20:45)
GETTING TO THE STADIUM
Situated just off of Aleje Waszyngtona, Stadion Narodowy is approximately 3km from the Warszawa Centralna train station. The new stadium has extensive public transport links, being served by Tram numbers 8, 9, 22, 24 and 25; whilst bus numbers 102, 111, 123, 138, 146, 147, 166, 507, 509, 517 and 521 also head past the arena.
Warsaw’s Fan Zone is located in the heart of the city, just metres from the main train station. With a projected capacity of around 100,000 people, Poland’s biggest fan park will be the place to be for the duration of your stay in Poland’s capital.
Tram numbers 8, 9, 22, 24 and 25 will take you between the stadium and the Fan Zone before heading in their separate directions, whilst there are over 20 different bus lines which head past Plac Defilad, including numbers 127, 128, 131, 158 and 175.
Nickname: Wojskowi (Military)
League Champions: 1955, 1956, 1969, 1970, 1994, 1995, 2002, 2006.
Puchar Polski: 1955, 1956, 1964, 1966, 1973, 1980, 1981, 1989, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2008, 2011.
Super Puchar: 1989, 1994, 1997, 2008.
Puchar Liga: 2002.
Coach: Maciej Skorża
Captain: Ivica Vrdoljac
Playing in the Stadion Wojska Polskiego (Polish Army Stadium) just south of the city centre, Legia are one of Poland’s most well-known teams thanks to their regular qualification for European competition. The clubs’ ground was recently redeveloped into a 31,800 all-seater stadium, and finished second in the “Best New Stadium of 2010” award, behind Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.
After the First World War, Legia became the official team for the Army (at one point even changing their name to “Central Army Sports Club”). It is partly due to their close association with the military that Legia are disliked in some parts of the country.
Legia’s supporters are known throughout the country for regularly displaying their political and patriotic views inside the stadium, and maintain friendships with lower league clubs Pogoń Szczecin, Zagłębie Sosnowiec and Olimpia Elbląg, as well as ADO Den Haag of the Netherlands, and Italy’s Juventus.
The club’s biggest rivalries are against Wisła Kraków, Lech Poznań, Widzew Łódź, and their city neighbours Polonia Warszawa.
Nickname: Czarne Koszule (Black Shirts)
League Champions: 1946, 2000.
Puchar Polski: 1952, 2001.
Super Puchar: 2000.
Puchar Liga: 2000.
Coach: Czesław Michniewicz.
Captain: Łukasz Trałka
Although five years older than Legia; Polonia are definitely the smaller and least successful of the two Warsaw clubs.
The 7,000-seater Stadion Polonii - which hosts Polonia’s home games - lies just north of the city centre on Ulica Konwiktorska, and is set to be a training base for the European Championships.
After the Second World War, Polonia – like all clubs – were tied to a government-related company. Warsaw’s second club were joined together with the National Railways, one of the poorer sponsors. This eventually ended in the club’s relegation from the top flight.
Just four years after being promoted back to the first tier, Polonia won their second league title in 2000, and followed it up with the League Cup and the Super Cup; making it the club’s most successful year in history.
Supporters of the Black Shirts have prominent friendships with supporters of both KS Cracovia and Sandecja Nowy Sącz, whilst their biggest rival is, of course, Legia.
Etap Hotel Warszawa Centrum,
Ulica Zagórna 1
Distance to Stadium: 1.4km
Distance to Airport: 7.7km
Distance to Train Station: 2.6km
Distance to Fan Park: 2.3km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 171, 138, 151, 182, 188, 411, 502.
Ibis Warszawa Centrum,
Distance to Stadium: 4.5km
Distance to Airport: 7.3km
Distance to Train Station: 2.0km
Distance to Fan Park: 2.0km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 22, 24, 119, 171.
Campanile Warszawa Varsovie,
Ulica Towarowa 2
Distance to Stadium: 4.1 km
Distance to Airport: 6.2km
Distance to Train Station: 1.0km
Distance to Fan Park: 1.5km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 8, 9, 22, 24, 25, 127, 128, 130, 158, 175, 422, 504.
Holiday Inn Warsaw,
Ulica Złota 48/54
Distance to Stadium: 3.2km
Distance to Airport: 6.9km
Distance to Train Station: 0.3km
Distance to Fan Park: 0.5km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 10, 16, 17, 33, 109, 160, 174, 175.
Metropol Downtown - Warsaw,
Distance to Stadium: 2.8km
Distance to Airport: 6.3km
Distance to Train Station: 1.1km
Distance to Fan Park: 1.3km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 4, 15, 18, 35, 117, 118, 131.
Radisson Blu Centrum Hotel,
Distance to Stadium: 3.2km
Distance to Airport: 7.5km
Distance to Train Station: 0.9km
Distance to Fan Park: 0.8km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 10, 16, 17, 33, 105, 109, 151, 160, 174, 178.
Distance to Stadium: 3.1km
Distance to Airport: 6.3km
Distance to Train Station: 0.7km
Distance to Fan Park: 1.0km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 4, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 33, 35, 117, 130, 131, 159.
Aleje Jerozolimskie 65-79
Distance to Stadium: 3.1km
Distance to Airport: 6.7km
Distance to Train Station: 0.1km
Distance to Fan Park: 0.6km
Local Tram/Bus No.: 8, 9, 22, 24, 25, 127, 128, 158, 175.