Warsaw (Polish: Warszawa) is the capital of Poland and, with 1.7 million inhabitants, its largest city. It's on the River Vistula (Polish: Wisła), roughly equidistant (350 km, 217 mi) from the Baltic Sea (Bałtyk) in the north and the Carpathian Mountains (Karpaty) in the south.
Warsaw's history of rapid development after many wars that ravaged and destroyed the city has earned it a reputation as a "phoenix city", able to recreate itself from the ruins and regain its erstwhile glory every time. During the Second World War, it suffered a fate similar to Rotterdam and Dresden in that it was almost completely razed, although in the case of Warsaw it was a much more tragic story of successive destruction and defeat. Due to the great efforts of its surviving inhabitants and, indeed the entire nation, it was rebuilt from a field of rubble, with its historic core recreated, but much of its heritage was lost. Warsaw also had one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe, which for the most part perished during the war, making Warsaw an important place of Holocaust remembrance.
Today, Warsaw is a bustling metropolis and one of the European Union's fastest-developing capitals and the Union's ninth most populous urban centre. It has a mixture of new and old in its eclectic architectural mix, and is constantly changing. While sprawling, it is quite easy to navigate for tourists thanks to a good public transit system, and most important sights are quite close to each other. There is no shortage of accommodation options and a wide choice of restaurants and bars. Warsaw's nightlife is also on the rebound, and a reborn cafe culture has taken over the city. There is a large variety of museums, galleries and other tourist attractions, and there is always something happening throughout the year. Read more