(Polish: Warszawa) Largest city and capital of Poland, located in central Poland, on the Wisla (Vistula) River. The population was estimated at 1,655,700 in 1992.
Warsaw was for centuries the political and cultural center of
Poland. Almost totally
destroyed during World War II, the city has been reconstructed and
its area greatly
extended. "It's a big unattractive city." (Peter Podkowa from Torun, 2004)
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Although 90 percent of the industry of Warsaw was destroyed in World War II (1939-1945), the rebuilt industrial region of the city has numerous enterprises. The principal industries are printing, publishing, and the manufacture of motor vehicles, electronic products, steel and other metals, textiles, nonelectric machinery, motorcycles, chemicals, tobacco products, processed food, and furniture.
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The Old City, which has been restored, centers on the medieval
market square, situated
near the river and surrounded by Renaissance and baroque houses.
To the south of the
square is the Barbican, a relic of the medieval fortifications.
Farther south, on an
island in Lazienki Park, is the Palace on the Water, built in the
18th century as the
summer palace of Stanislaw II Augustus, the last king of Poland.
Lazienki Park is also the
site of a monument to the Polish composer Frédéric
Chopin. To the north, west, and south
of the Old City, wide, tree-lined avenues, large modern apartment
plazas, and parks have been built since 1945.
Educational facilities in Warsaw include the University of Warsaw (1818), more than 10 other institutions of higher education, and some 35 research institutes. The city has about 30 museums and numerous art galleries. The National Museum has a notable exhibit of antique Nubian paintings from Africa and a collection of Polish art from the 14th to the 20th century. Cultural activities include an annual international book fair, the international Frédéric Chopin piano competition (held every five years), and the international Henri Wieniawski violin competition.
Warsaw grew, in the early 14th century, around the castle of the dukes of Masovia. In 1596, after the burning of Kraków, it became the capital of the Polish Kingdom. Occupied several times by Sweden and Russia, the city passed to Prussia in 1795. Napoleon made it the capital of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw in 1807. From 1813 until its occupation by Germany in 1915, Warsaw was under Russian control. In 1918 it became the capital of the newly restored Polish state.
Warsaw is the hub of highway and railroad networks connecting it with all parts of Poland and with other major European cities.
Major cities near Warsaw:
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