Warsaw was the fifth stop of our trip and second time to be in Poland. We arrived late on April 2, 2018.
April 3, 2018
First on our list was a walking tour, which had a lot of information about the history of Warsaw and took us to many famous sites.
Our tour started at the base of the column (left side of the picture), which was erected in 1643/1644 in honour of Kind Sigismund III Vasa. He moved the Polish capital from Kraków to Warsaw in 1596.
Presidential Palace: The building was first built in 1643 and has been the location of many famous world events, such as Chopin’s first concert, the discussion and signing of the Warsaw Pact, and the Rount Table of 1989.
University of Warsaw: the largest Polish university, which was established in 1816. Fryderyk Chopin’s father was a professor at the university and we saw one of the places where the Chopin family used to live! Chopin also attended and graduated from there.
However, he left Warsaw shortly before the Warsaw Uprising of 1830. As a result of this, he was not able to return to his country of birth and resided in Paris until his death at the age of 39. However, as Warsaw was his home, one of his last requests were that his heart would be returned to Warsaw. Today, his heart resides in a pillar inside the Church of the Holy Cross.
Staszic Palace: the home of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The statue in the front is Capernicus, considered to be the only ‘true’ famous Polish scientist because most of Madame Curie’s work was done in France.
The Palace of Culture and Science: constructe in 1955, formerly known as the ‘Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science.’ For many, the building symbolizes bad memories and there have been discussions of destroying it. But, for now, it is an exhibition center, office complex, cinema, contains two museums, a swimming pool, auditorium for 3,000 people, and an accreditted university.
This is where our tour concluded, so we were off to see the sights!
Frederick Chopin Museum:
My favorite part of this museum was listening to one of the students practiced in a small concert hall.
April 4, 2018
Centrum Nauki Kopernik (Copernicus Science Center):
The museum is named after Capernicus because he was Polish!
For OKC peeps – think the science museum, but every display had instructions in ~7 languages. The 4 of us uni students ran around with the primary school kids for the morning. It was a blast!
Dedicated to the uprising of 1944, which lasted 2 months and destroyed 90% of Warsaw’s buildings.
Maria Skłodowska-Curie Musuem:
One of my personal favorites from the city, located at 16 Freta Street, which is where Madame Curie was born in 1867. The woman scientist in me was very happy to be reading about how she left home at the age of 24 to seek higher education in Paris (this was not permitted in Poland), married her husband and worked with his to discover Poloniom and Radium, and discovered radioavtivity. She is the only scientists that has been awarded the Nobel Prize twice and in two different areas!
Overall, I had an absolute blast in Warsaw. It’s a lovely city with rich history. I was sad when we had to say good-bye (especially because our flight was at 6:00 am).