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Warsaw Castle Square and Old Town

One of the reasons why I wanted to explore Central and Eastern Europe was to increase my knowledge of European History, particularly with the time period of the Dark Ages. This is the period when various kingdoms, duchies, and principalities popped up, in, and around the continent; all interconnected by power plays, fixed marriages and politics. Before this trip, I had zero knowledge about the Polish Kings and Queens and I was very astonished to learn about how interwoven this line was with the monarchies of Russia (Novgorod), Austria, Prussia and Sweden.

Warsaw Castle Square

* Definitely, the most lively and colorful area in Warsaw is its Castle Square. A popular meeting place for tourists and locals, the area is full of restaurants, cafes, public performers and souvenir stands. It is also very safe especially when compared to squares in other cities (Rome, Paris, Barcelona etc). Since Warsaw was totally destroyed by the Nazis, the Poles actually recreated everything you see here by using old paintings and manuscripts from the 17th and 18th Century! That shows you how much pride the Poles have in their history and culture.



St. Anne's Church

* Before exploring the square, we stopped by the Neoclassical Church of St. Anne, built in honor of the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus.

St. Anne's Church Altar

* Built in 1454, the Church is beautifully decorated in high-baroque style and contains several chapels. Prepare to get overwhelmed by how impressive the interiors are when stepping inside, especially when compared to its simple and plain, exterior facade.

St. Anne's Church Organ

* Check out that ornately decorated organ with the church's rococo interiors!

Random Panda

* Depressed panda sitting on the Castle Square, wishing for a bottle of Vodka?

Warsaw Royal Castle

* Warsaw's Royal Castle was the official residence of the Polish monarchs from the reign of King Sigismund III Vasa (1595) until the last Polish president before World War II, Ignacy Moscicki.

Warsaw Castle Square

* Another view of the Castle Square which features the aforementioned Castle, several historic townhouses, and Sigismund's Column.

Sigismund Column

* Erected in 1644, Sigismund's Column is one of Warsaw's most famous landmarks and shows the King wearing his armor while holding a cross and sword on each hand. Pretty bad-ass!

Sigismund Column

* King Sigismund III Vasa was the King of Poland and Sweden, and Grand Duke of Lithuania, who moved the capital from Krakow to Warsaw back in 1596.

Warsaw Barbican

* Walking towards the Warsaw Barbican, this epic-looking fortification from a bygone era. 

Warsaw Barbican

* And going right through it! You can imagine the Polish, Lithuanian and Prussian knights who would once regularly tread along this path.

Warsaw Old Town

* And this beautiful, medieval Europe-looking square is the  Warsaw Old Town Market Place. The center and oldest part of Warsaw, the area was systematically blown up by the Nazis after the Warsaw Uprising and completely rebuilt by the resilient Poles.

Warsaw Mermaid (Syrenka)

* At the heart of the Old Town stands the Statue of the Syrenka (Little Mermaid) holding a sword and shield. The Syrenka is the symbol of the city of Warsaw.

Lovebirds at the Old Town

* Couple photo after enjoying our morning coffee at the Market Place.

St. John Cathedral

* We also checked out the Arch-Cathedral of St. John, mother church of the Archdiocese of Warsaw. Built in 1390, the Cathedral was also completely destroyed by the Nazis and was subsequently rebuilt alongside the Old Town.

Funny Tomb

* If their arms are around each other's shoulders, whose hand is the knight holding with his left hand? Hmm.....

Wifey at the Flower Shop

* The wife loving all the colors in ye ole and quaint flower shoppe.

Souvenirs

* Abstract looking souvenirs being sold with no vendor! Honesty system perhaps?

Souvenirs

* Very cool wooden sculptures! As the writer is also a student in the art of sculpting, I wish I could have brought some home, but alas they were too heavy.

Warsaw City Walls

* A final look at the Royal Castle with its defensive walls and moat. One can just imagine how this all looked back in the days of catapults and other siege engines!











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