POLAND : WARSAW
Warsaw is the capital of Poland and its
largest city. It is located on the Vistula river roughly 350 km from
both the Baltic Sea coast and the Carpathian Mountains. More than 90
percent of the city was destroyed during World War II, but the historic
Old Town section was painstakingly reconstructed. In 2004 the population
of Warsaw was estimated at 1,676,600, with an urban agglomeration of
approximately 2,400,000. Area of this city is 516,9 sq. km, with an
urban aglomeration of 1226,6 sq.km . Warsaw’s population declined during
World War II, when as many as 670,000 residents died, including the
city’s 375,000 Jews who were systematically exterminated by the Nazis.
Warsaw’s population is now ethnically and religiously homogeneous. Most
residents are ethnic Poles, and the population is predominantly Roman
Catholic, though there is a small minority of Protestants. In the early
postwar period, many Poles moved to Warsaw from the countryside.
Migration from rural areas has slowed, however, in part because of a
lack of housing in Warsaw.
The climate is temperate, with warm summers (July temperatures average a
high of 24° C/75° F and a low of 14° C/57° F) and cold winters (January
temperatures average a high of 0° C/32° F and a low of -6° C/22° F).
Snow is common in the winter and tends to linger.
Emerging like a phoenix from the ashes of the second World War, Warsaw
has preserved its look of a postwar city. Its handful of historic
precincts have been meticulously reconstructed, but most of its urban
landscape is modern, from the dull products of the Stalin era to more
creative efforts of recent years.
The monumental Palace of Culture and Science in downtown is Warsaw’s
leading landmark. With the fall of Communism in 1989 and an economic
boom in the 1990s, new office blocks and hotels have transformed the
city's skyline. The city, also the capital of Masovian Voivodship, is
home to many industries (manufacturing, steel, electrical engineering,
automotive industry), comprises 66 higher learning institutions incl.
(Warsaw University, Warsaw University of Technology, Higher School of
Business and Medical Academy) and over 30 Theatres including the
National Theatre and Opera and the Philharmonic National Orchestra.
Warsaw's main north-south boulevard is the Royal Way, running from the
Royal Castle to Lazienki Palace, the royal summer residence. This is one
of Europe's grandest stretches of road, with churches, palaces,
galleries and museums lining the route.