Known as the phoenix city, because it has survived so many wars throughout its history, Poland’s largest city is located 300 kilometers from the Carpathian Mountains and straddles the Vistula River.
Culture lovers will feel immediately at home – Warsaw boasts numerous theaters, galleries and museums and is host to the Warsaw Film Festival every October. Those with quirkier tastes will enjoy visiting the city’s Museum of Posters or the Museum of Caricature.
Lovers of the outdoors will want to explore the city’s many parks, green spaces and nature reserves. Alternatively, head for the University Library and take advantage of its beautiful roof garden – open to the public and one of the largest in Europe. Sports lovers will appreciate the outdoor and indoor ice skating rinks and the city’s many swimming pools.
You’ll be in good company, however you choose to spend your time here – Warsaw is the birthplace of numerous artists, scientists, writers and musicians and is where Marie Curie carried out her first scientific research.
What is special or unique about your city?
Warsaw has been the capital of Poland for more than 400 years. It is a big metropolis with a population of two million. Although World War II completely destroyed 95 percent of Warsaw, efforts of the city's citizens—along with recent political changes—have put Warsaw back on the fast track to development. It is quickly regaining a reputation for being one of Europe’s great cities.
What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city?
While there are still signs of damage from World War II and the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 in old parts of the city, foreigners will see modern business centers and shopping malls. However, highways and other infrastructure are still lacking in many cases.
Are these impressions likely to change?
Keep in mind that part of the fun is discovering things on your own, and it is not hard to do. Warsaw’s history is written on its walls. As the world is changing, Warsaw also changes from year to year. While this city is becoming more cosmopolitan, Polish citizens continue to take much care to maintain Warsaw's history and culture.
What is the local language?
How easily could I live in this city without knowing this language?
In order to make day-to-day life easier, it is recommended that you take Polish lessons. Please contact Crown Warsaw for details. Warsaw's natives will definitely appreciate your attempts to use the Polish language, even if it sounds completely different than it should!
What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city?
As in many other countries, it is always a good idea to avoid drawing a lot of attention to yourself as a foreigner.
How might the local weather affect my daily life?
The climate is easy to live with. There are four seasons, but be aware that there are extremes. During the summer (especially June, July and August), temperatures can be high—up to 30 degrees Celsius. Winter can be very cold with a lot of snow and temperatures down to -20 to -25 degrees Celsius.
Weather can change at any time, so it's a good idea to come to Poland with all types of clothing.
Is there anything else I should know about the overall character of your city or its people?
Some Polish customs to note:
- If you are invited to someone’s home, take flowers for the hostess.
- A man usually lets a woman pass into a room first.
- A man usually holds the door when he sees a woman entering or exiting a room.
- A woman should not be embarrassed when a man kisses her right hand when she is introduced or welcomed. This is an old Polish tradition, although it is not used anymore in business situations.