Masovian - Warsaw, Masovian Landscape Park, Belvedere Palace, Ulica Mostowa

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General information

The Masovian region is the home of the country's capital Warsaw, which is the main drawing point for visitors, and will be the main focus of this article. About 5.1 million people live in the region, and around 1.7 million people live in the capital. This region of Poland is the wealthiest region in the country, and attracts national and international visitors alike. Landscape wise, there are forests, but nothing truly exciting as this is one of Poland's flattest regions. If you are looking for hills and mountains, then this is not for you. If you, however, would like to visit one of Europe's most interesting capital city's, then the Masovian region is a great choice for you.

Traveling to and within the area

There are plenty of options if you would like to fly to this region: international airlines (also budget) fly to various airports in the region, and you can also use international trains from various European destinations. Once you are in Masovian, getting around is also not much of a problem (unless you travel to very obscure places, but why would you?). The public transport system is very good in Warsaw and around Warsaw. The Masovian region is probably the region of Poland in which traveling is easiest.

Sights, places, and activities you should not miss

  • Masovian Landscape Park: If you feel like a break from Warsaw, then you should head to the Masovian landscape park. It is a protected area of natural beauty, and you will be able to do some nice wildlife watching there (if you have the patience and don't make too much noise).

  • The old town of Warsaw: This area of Warsaw is pedestrianized and was founded during the 13th and 14th century which makes it the oldest district in Warsaw. It is still partially surrounded by medieval walls and the medieval layout of the old town has never been changed. In the old town, you find a beautiful market square which is surrounded by colorful houses. There is a mermaid statue (the mermaid is the symbol of Warsaw). The square is usually a place that is bustling with tourists and locals alike. Often you will see open air exhibitions there. Another point of interest in the old town is the Cathedral of St. John, which was damaged in World War II but then rebuilt in a Gothic style. While you are in that area, you should also visit Zygmunt's Column, the oldest secular statue in Warsaw. It was erected in 1644, is 22 meters high, made of Corinthian granite topped with a bronze statue. Also visit the Barbican (restored to its full scale after World War II) and the city walls that were erected as early as 1548.

  • The new town of Warsaw: This part of Warsaw has been taking shape since the early 15th century and is the area where you can find the steepest road in Warsaw, the Ulica Mostowa. While you are in the new town, visit the Church of the Holy Spirit. It is a small wooden church from the 14th century. It had been extended, then burnt down (in 1655) when the Swedish invaded the city. The church that you can visit today has been built between 1702 and 1717. The interior, however, was only completed in 1725. This church is famous for being the main starting point for people who undertake the pilgrimage to the Shrine of Virgin Mary at Jasna Gora. Another place of interest is the Raczynski Palace, which was rebuilt in 1786. It now is the old records archive. You can still see some of its gruesome history by looking for the bullet marks in the walls. The new town square is different from the square in the old town, but also an interesting place to visit with its socialist realist murals on the facades of many buildings that face the square.

  • Royal Route from Belvedere Palace to Old Town (or the other way around): This route is lined with former royal residences. Sights along the route include the Church of the Holy Cross, the Staszic Palace, the University of Warsaw, the National Museum and the Polish Military Museum. The museums turn this route into a good outing for a whole day.

  • Warsaw's City Center: The city center has been a hub for the community since the late 18th and early 19th century. You will see neo-classical buildings with impressive colonnades, and some of the sights in the city center include the Capuchin church, the Branicki Palace, the Palace of Culture and Science, the Grand Theater, the Saxon Gardens (good for a break), and the Pawiak Prison whose grounds are now used as a prison.