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All about Warsaw

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cholewinski

Warsaw may not be known like a shopper’s paradise, but it is a great place for fashionistas, as it has many boutiques selling hand-made merchandise, authentic, and reasonably priced. From jewelry to custom-made hats, you will find Warsaw fascinating if you like to shop.

W.KRUK [Pl. Konstytucji 6 | +48 661 980 571] is the oldest jewelry brand in the country. The company was founded by Leon Skrzetuski in 1840. W.KRUK jewelry is distributed in more than 80 showrooms throughout the country. The shop in Warsaw offers gold and silver jewelry, diamonds, precious stones and original collections inspired by the latest trends in fashion.

W KRUK

Tradition is continued by Ania Kruk [ul. Mokotowska 46], with her designer jewelry line, available in 10 boutiques across the country and online. Her designs are unique, combining different materials such as resin, ceramics, beads, cords and crystals.

For designer hats, visit the Warsaw workshop of Marta Ruta [ul. Solec 97], a well-known designer. Her shop offers ready-made pieces, some unique, but can also be visited for bespoke hats, made according to your specifications. Many singers, actresses, fashion models, and VIPs count on Marta Ruta for an elegant hat.

You’ll find even more hats at HatHat [7/11 Dąbrowskiego Street], where you can buy summer hats, winter hats, as well as spring and fall hats, made with outstanding materials, in Poland.

hathat

Loft 37 [Mokotowska 52A] is a designer shoe brand, which also offers designer bags and accessories. The shoes are customized for fashionistas who aim to externalize their style, character, passion for fashion and originality. Here you can personalize your shoes based on color, style, and material.

loft 37

But when it comes to shoes, Rylko [ul. Złota 59] is definitely more famous. The company was founded by Stanisław Ryłko in 1964. It offers footwear for all ages, and shoe-care products and accessories.

For Polish fashion, look no further than Nowy Świat Concept Store [ul. Nowy Świat 48], where you can find apparel and accessories by designers such as BaBroszka, Barbara Wysocka, Dogui, MAKO, Moelle, Rita Krzysiek, REDI Fashion, SOTHO, and Uncommon.

nowy

For leather accessories, Cholewiński [Wołoska 12] is a great choice. They have briefcases, handbags, belts, wallets, cases, key rings, pouches and other items made with natural materials using Polish and Italian leather.

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museums

Warsaw’s Night “of” the Museums on May 14th and 15th is a cultural event even more sensational than the Ben Stiller motion picture about fantasy museum subjects coming to life. No, dinosaurs will not rumble in the streets, but special activities will thrill visitors nevertheless.

The organizers promise concerts, special meals, workshops, and a lot more for this, the 12th rendition of the popular events. Art galleries, community centers, libraries, churches, pubs can cafes will all join in presenting the best Warsaw has to offer with events tailored to suit this amazing city’s locals and its guests.

From the event’s humble beginnings early on, the current iteration will welcome some 16,000 plus guests, and more than a quarter of a million visitors to some 250 plus participating establishments around the city: galleries, 52 museums, theaters and government buildings have signed up, and will open through the night to welcome all the guests of the free festival.

This is the largest event of its kind in the country, a celebration of art and culture, the experience of a lifetime. Many tourists plan their trips around this, for the chance to see as much as possible from Warsaw’s best. The program will include many activities for children too, including educational workshops, art workshops, fairy-tales readings, field games, face painting, competitions and much, much more.

There will also be an unusual City Game called “Do not sleep, explore, play,” on Saturday night, so download their free HUNTLY app to join the fun. At the end of the game you have the chance to win attractive gifts for you and for your friends and family.

The complete list of the venues participating at the Night of the Museums this year is available in English here. There is no important cultural institution that will keep its doors closed on this occasion. Each venue has prepared unique entertainment for guests, ranging from temporary exhibitions, to film screenings, and cocktail parties. Public transportation will be free.

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Znajomi Znajomych

While many people will enjoy learning about Warsaw’s architectural and cultural gems, there are also tourists who enjoy knowing about the less usual attractions, the unexpected… So are Warsaw’s whiskey bars, some of which are housed inside outstanding historic buildings.

jamesonBegin your whiskey tour with Centrum Zarządzania Światem, a cozy space inside the historic Domen Pod Sowami. It is a spacious, industrial loft, with witty decor, and illuminated with replicas of lanterns from Prague Park, and replica railings from the Targowej street. Enjoy a glass of Jameson, or any other whiskey from their impressive whiskey selection, while seating on a soft, comfortable couch, or browse through the bookshelves of the secret passage to “Another Dimension.” Check the schedule to learn about their evening entertainment, which may range from rock concerts, to jazz, blues, and hip-hop performances. Other events may include poetry readings, cabaret shows, stand-up comedy, photo exhibitions, fashion shows, and workshops.

Cafe Kulturalna is one of the most popular clubs in the city. It is housed in the communist-era Palace of Culture and Science, and attracts people from all walks of live, from those frequenting artistic circles, to activists, and singers, but it also appeals to those who just want to relax, have a cup of coffee, or eat well in the city center. The Palace of Culture and Science itself is a notable high-rise building, which also houses a multiplex cinema with eight screens, the Museum of Evolution and the Museum of Technology, four theaters (Studio, Dramatyczny, Lalka and 6. piętro), an auditorium for live concerts and shows, a large swimming pool, and much more.

Palace of Culture and Science

Another popular meeting point in the heart of the city is Resort, a lovely cafe with a cozy terrace, just opposite of the Great Theatre building in plac Teatralny. Step inside to admire its original bar, built entirely of books, or sip your favorite whiskey outside, watching the passersby in their daily routines.

Zamieszanie is a cocktail bar and social club, with modern and minimal decor, and unpretentious atmosphere. They are particularly interesting for their bottled cocktails.

Zamieszanie - cocktail bar

Finally, Znajomi Znajomych is more than a bar: this is a place to enjoy excellent European cuisine, but also a rich calendar of events, featuring movie screenings, workshops, concerts and club events. Their whiskey list is exceptional, but they serve many other drinks and cocktails.

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warsaw

There’s a “Christmas Market Fever” all over Europe these days, and Warsaw doesn’t escape the bug. This city manages to fascinate every Christmas, with new, designer decorations adorning its main markets, streets bathed in light, and a coat of snow… the guaranteed “white Christmas” experience. Plus… the architecture in the old town, much rebuilt as a tribute to the city’s past and traditions, creates the perfect setting for a romantic Christmas. And Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw is fit for royalty, but with affordable luxury accommodation, and gourmet cuisine, guaranteed to make out of your Warsaw Christmas experience the memory of a lifetime.

angel

The Christmas markets of Warsaw kick off this weekend, on November 27, and are planned to last till December 23, 2015. The main market, at Plac Wilsona, is the most popular, as well as the most interesting of all. It’s highly touristy, so expect everything that comes with the “territory.” But unlike other traditional Christmas markets around Europe, this is an international event, with 24 exhibitors from Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany and so on. There will be, of course, enough exhibitors from Poland to satisfy your needs for local arts and crafts. The usual holiday treats, including aromatic mulled wine, are a given.

Another popular Christmas market takes place at Barbakan. It’s the perfect destination to shop for indigenous arts, crafts and handicrafts. More than an opportunity to buy Christmas gifts and decorations, this is also the place to see craftsmen showcasing their skills, traditional entertainment, and you can even meet the Vikings! Pastries, hot dishes, cold cuts with Polish traditional mulled wine are the promised treats. The program is designed to make happy visitors of all ages.

Barbakan

The Christmas Market in Ursynów is another favorite of the locals. It sells a range of regional products, artistic objects, authentic souvenirs, and Christmas decorations, as well as Christmas foods. There’s no market without mulled wine, so don’t worry about it. This market has many activities designed exclusively for children, but there’s a lot for adults too.

Still not convinced? Don’t take our world for it. Just check out the Top five European Christmas Markets recommendations by The Sun, to see Warsaw ranking among the best in Europe!

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piano competition

Visitors to Warsaw in Autumn are treated to any number of festive events. Right now Poland’s capital reverberates with the sounds of the nation’s most famous composer and virtuoso pianist, Frédéric François Chopin. Through October 23rd, visitors to the city can enjoy the latest edition of the 17th International Chopin Piano Competition at the Chamber Hall of the Warsaw Philharmonic.

Organized by the Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina, the piano competition is one of the most famous musical events of this kind in the world. Launched in 1927, the event is one of the oldest such competitions as well. Held only once every five years, this is one of the very few monographic competitions dedicated to a single composer. Originally organized to perpetuate the music of Chopin, the event is also an effort to sustain Chopin’s style. For a time, this competition was the only such event allowing pianists from around the world to compete for recognition.

Recalling the first event from the Winter of 1927, 26 young pianists participated, with the winner being a Russian pianist named Lev Oborin. Since then, the event has grown to its stature as an internationally-prized competition, which has witnessed greats such as; Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Krystian Zimmerman, and, more recently, Yundi Li. This year’s competition features competitors like Seong-Jin Cho, from South Korea, and Dmitry Shiskin, from Russia.

Interested visitors may purchase tickets to the Warsaw event at the Chamber Hall of the Warsaw Philharmonic, or online. Those unable to attend may watch via live stream the Grand Finales on Full Sessions of the 17th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition YouTube channel.

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Plac Zamkowy

Śródmieście is the cultural heart of Warsaw, a place of wonder and great tourist interest, comprising both Stare Miasto and Nowe Miasto (the “Old” and “New” towns). This is where you will find many of Warsaw’s monuments, architectural gems, museums, and famous eateries.

Stare Miasto, with its Old Town Market Place, the true heart of the Old Town – officially on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites-, may be tourist central, but well worth it of attention, as it is home to some of the most notable Warsaw landmarks you have to see while visiting this beautiful, historic, city. The city’s own symbol, the Warsaw Mermaid sculpture by Konstanty Hegel stands here since 1855. The Warsaw Historical Museum is another “must-see” attraction of this neighborhood, and so are the Adam Mickiewicz Museum and Strona Zakrzewskiego.

St. John's Archcathedral

St. John’s Archcathedral in Warsaw (Image by Adrian Grycuk)

St. John’s Archcathedral (Archikatedra św. Jana w Warszawie) is an outstanding landmark of Śródmieście. It stand right to the Jesuit church, another impressive religious attraction. Entrance for both is free, and the treasures waiting inside are all noteworthy. St. John’s Archcathedral is a Masovian Gothic gem, with Early Baroque decoration inside, beautiful chapels, and a valuable baptismal, which dates back to 1631.

The defensive walls of Warsaw – what’s left of them – can be observed in Śródmieście, too. More interesting, however, is the Castle Square, with its Zygmunt Column, a 1644 monument, one of Warsaw’s most famous landmarks, honoring King Sigismund III Vasa, who moved Poland’s capital city from Kraków to Warsaw in 1596.

Barbakan

Warsaw’s Barbakan as captured by Carlos Delgado.

The Warsaw New Town is another distinctive neighborhood of Śródmieście: it begins at the Barbican, a historic landmark designed by Jan Baptist the Venetian, one of the few remaining fortifications that once encircled Warsaw. Some must sees in this part of the city are the Maria Skłodowska’s Museum on Freta Street, and the New Town Market Square.

Muranów may be mainly residential, but it shows a lot of the authentic lifestyle in Śródmieście. This neighborhood also extends in the Wola district of Warsaw. Here, don’t miss the Museum of History of Polish Jews.

Museum of History of Polish Jews

Museum of History of Polish Jews (Image by Wojciech Kryński)

In Powiśle, you’ll find the beautiful St. Anne’s Church, as well as the historic Świętokrzyski Bridge. as well as the Warsaw University Library, and the university campus.

Last but not least, the Ujazdów Castle is a must if you visit this part of the city. It can be found in the historic Ujazdów district, between Ujazdów Park and the Royal Baths Park, both very popular attractions among the locals.

Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw

Paweł Oszczyk, the legendary chef at La Rotisserie Restaurant in Warsaw, has several favorites when it comes to shopping: and what can be better than learning where to shop like a local. For guests staying at Mamaison Le Regina, or Mamaison Residence Diana, but also for city visitors, here are some of the chef’s recommendations for fashionistas. 

Klif may be a chain, but it is chic and trendy, with designer and brand name offerings to die for, spanning the full spectrum of clothing, cosmetics and jewelery. Klif is often visited by celebrities from the world of fashion, entertainment and business, both local and international. This means: bring your gold card along, as here you will be shopping with the VIPs.

boss store at Klif

With 260 stylish shops, Galeria Mokotów is another landmark destination for fashion buffs. Since its opening in 2001, it attracts customers with its unique atmosphere and extensive offer of both commercial and entertainment services.

galeria

Arkadia is the largest mall in Poland. You should be visiting it for the landmark status of the venue, but also for its motto: you don’t have to be a start to get a VIP treatment. The mall lives up to all expectations: high end fashion, discounts that make some exclusive pieces available for shoe-string budgets too, cafes and fine dining, plus entertainment for all ages.

arkadia

For something different, and fashion by local designer Gosia Baczyńska, check out her flagship store on Floriańska 6. Popular with Poland’s celebrity crowd, the shop is an elegant stop off for the fashionista intent on taking home something fit for a VIP.

Warsaw designer Ania Kuczyńskahe has her own shop too, on Ania Kuczyńska Mokotowska 61. Inside, you can find a mix of authenticity and glamour the designer is so well noted for. Prepare to pay a premium for these clothes, which are designed to impress.

Another of Warsaw’s wonderful designer showrooms, the one filled with outstanding fashion by Joanna Klimas on Butik ul. Nowolipki 2 is a must see. Her stylish collections are inspired by the aesthetics of Polish folk art, and you will soon understand why the designer is so celebrated by fashion gurus.

We hope this short shopping guide inspires you. Please feel free to share with us your favorite shopping destinations in Warsaw, too! And finish a day of shopping with a fine dining experience at La Rotisserie Restaurant inside Mamaison Le Regina, to learn why Paweł Oszczyk is one of the most celebrated Polish chefs.

La Rotisserie

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Holy Cross Church Warsaw © stavrida - Fotolia.com

If you happen to be staying at Mamaison Hotel Le Regina this weekend, there are many interesting things to see and do in the city, and many of them are free. Saturday at noon, head to Zachęta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki (pl. Małachowskiego 3) for the fourth national Free Art Day edition, featuring artworks by Ai Weiwei, Edward Krasiński, Karol Radziszewski, Aneta Grzeszykowska and Sandro Miller.

On Sunday, also at noon, Bemowo Dances the Tango is a free dance workshop at Bemowskie Centrum Kultury on ul. Górczewska 201. Later, at 17:00, at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music concert hall, you can attend, free of charge, a chamber concert performed by foreign UMFC students. Among them, pianists Carlota Arcos Cano, Ricardo Ruiz Ruiz and Gulia Avellina, soprano Tatsiana Zialevich, and others. In the programme: F. Chopin, A. Skriabin, G. Cassado, G. Rossini, F. Liszt, M. de Falla. There’s also a concert of the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra at the Polin Museum on Sunday, April 19, at 19:00, part of the 72nd anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Speaking of the 72nd anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, don’t miss the ceremonies at the foot of the monument to Ghetto heroes.

You can also enjoy a leisurely stroll in Park Skaryszewski, a historic landscape park in the Pradze-Południe neighborhood of Warsaw, declared the Most Beautiful Park in Poland in 2009. This is not a touristic spot, rather a local gem, designed as an urban park center for recreation and relaxation, with a developed communication network, adapted to the contemporary horse traffic. At the heart of the park there’s an artificial lake, surrounded by rich vegetation, counting about 280 species of trees and shrubs. There’s also an artificial waterfall and a beautiful rose garden, perfect for romantic walks in the summer.

Park Skaryszewski

The waterfall in Park Skaryszewski (Photo by Alina Zienowicz)

The UW Library garden on Dobra 56/66 is a true gem: it is a rooftop botanical garden, designed by Irena Bajerska, and ranking among the largest and most beautiful roof gardens in Europe. It spreads over 10,000 m², boasting a multiplicity of plant species and varieties: flowering shrubs, junipers, Siberian peashrubs, willows, dwarf mountain pines, and much more. There’s also a fish pond, connected by a stream to an artificial stone with a small fountain. Ducks are populating the waters and the shores of the pond: a true attraction for children visiting the garden. All segments of the garden are interconnected with paths, bridges, and pergolas, and the views over Warsaw from here are simply breathtaking.

The Cathedral Basilica of the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist is another place you could visit without spending a dime: besides admiring its outstanding architecture and beautiful religious art, you can also come here for a concert of sacred music – albeit there is a small entrance fee charged for such events.

Warsaw is also the city of Chopin, who was born here. The official Chopin route suggested by the City of Warsaw was inaugurated in connection with the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth in 2010. When you follow the route, you will find several multimedia benches, which have an interactive sound system that will play Chopin’s music. There are 15 spots where you can rest on one of Chopin’s Benches, all connected with landmarks that played an important role in the life of the composer.

For instance, at Radziwiłł Palace, where Chopin performed for the first time in public, the bench will play RONDO in C minor, Op.1; 32”. At the Holy Cross Church, you will listen to the MEMORIAL MARCH from SONATA in B minor, Op.35; 45”; while the bench on Miodowa Street will play MAZUREK in A minor, Op.68; 34”. This is the street where you will find Honoratka, the only venue from Chopin’s time that still stands in its original form.

This is a kind of experience that completes your understanding of Varsovian tradition in unusual and unexpected ways, in tune, if you will, and perfect harmony: the kind of experience that redefines the purpose of travel, enriching your soul.

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La Rotisserie

Pawel Oszczyk’s name is synonymous with fine dining. A true celebrity chef, he is the Executive Chef at La Rotisserie Restaurant in Warsaw, one of the finest restaurants in the city. Besides the fantastic culinary experiences that are waiting for you at La Rotisserie, the chef recommends several other eateries for connoisseurs.

Mąka i Woda (address: Chmielna 13A) is recommended for good pizza: this is a traditional Neapolitan pizzeria, which also serves original Italian dishes, prepared with authentic Italian ingredients and fresh, seasonal produce from local farmers near Warsaw.

Maka i woda

Opasły Tom Piw on Foksal 17 is even more interesting than the pizzeria, because it is both a bookstore and an eatery. The restaurant serves authentic Polish cuisine for every palate, and has a weekly changing menu.

Mielżyński Winiarnia on Burakowska 5/7 is a wine shop and bar, with a great selection of local and international wines, handpicked by sommelier Robert Mielżyński. The wine bar serves delicious appetizers and seasonal dishes. The bar has an open kitchen, where you can see the chefs at work.

wine bar

Another fine dining experience is offered at the Soho Factory, at Warszawa Wschodnia by Mateusz Gessler. The restaurant is open 24 hours, 7 days of the week, and offers creative Polish cuisine at reasonable prices. You can even cook your own recipes, alone, or with your family and friends, and you will enjoy expert advice from Robert Kondziela or Mateusz Gessler.

Also, don’t miss Atelier Amaro on ul. Agrykola 1. Reservations are mandatory to dine here, so email reservations@atelieramaro.pl or call 022 62 85 747. The ‘Moments’ menus are to die for, and the atmosphere relaxed, elegant and sophisticated, the mere definition of exclusive fine dining. The restaurant is surrounded by green, and the beautiful landscapes of the Ujazdowski Castle park.

Nolita on ul. Wilcza 46 is expensive, but well worth it. This is a place for hardcore gourmands, and reservations are a must. Call 022 292 04 24, or book a table on their website.

nolita

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leica

A thriving center of cultural significance, Warsaw is a destination for every budget, appealing equally to adventure travelers, culture buffs, historians, party goers, and the list could go on. This time, we’d like to introduce to you some of the most fascinating art spaces in town, featuring both contemporary and classic works, true temples of beauty, where you can enrich your soul, while getting closer to the spirit of this outstanding destination.

Our first stop is MiTo at Ludwika Waryńskiego 28, a concept cafe, that also acts as a gallery space, showcasing contemporary art by local creators, in small temporary exhibitions. If beauty is not enough, the cafe also offers an exceptional selection of books for sale: no matter what you like, you will leave this place richer.

MiTo

Leica Gallery (address: ul. Mysia 3 00-496 Śródmieście) is for lovers of photographic art. It mainly shows art by Polish artists and photographers, in temporary exhibitions (other solo, or group), mainly revolving around current trends and social realities.

Galeria Kuratorium is a space for contemporary art, but also a design store. A unique art concept space, this shop is exclusively focused on works by young local talent. What they sell here is an inspiring alternative to traditional souvenirs, authentic and valuable, an excellent choice for art collectors, but also for everyone who wants to enhance a home, or a work space, with quality artworks.

Kuratorium

More local art can be admired at Bęc Zmiana (Mokotowska 65) – a non-profit space, dedicated to the promotion of modern Polish art and culture. More than art exhibitions, this space also hosts concerts, events, readings, and other cultural activities.

The arts and culture center of Warsaw is unique, exciting, challenging and extraordinary. The locals transform simple spaces into exceptional concept venues, pretty much like Pies Czy Suka (Szpitalna 8), where you will find a design store and a cocktail bar sharing the same roof. On sale here, items by local emerging artists and craftsmen. You can sip a delicious cocktail while you admire the goods, pondering what to buy. It’s pretty hard to choose: everything is beautiful, valuable, and enticing.

Keret House

Last, but not least, the Keret House, is an ­art installation inserted between two buildings at ul. Chłodna 22.

The house’s location is where two ghettos – the large ghetto and the small ghetto met. Only a few steps from the house stood a footbridge that connected both sealed off areas.

A fully functional building, the Keret House is equipped with all the amenities required for living in the city. The Keret House is open for visitors only on selected days. Visit the website to learn when you can see this outstanding creation by Architect Jakub Szczęsny. Call it the world’s narrowest house if you will, and don’t miss it. This outstanding work of art measures 92 cm in its narrowest point ­and 152 cm in its ­widest point.