Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland and its population is officially estimated at 1.8 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.1 million residents, which makes Warsaw the 7th most-populous capital city in the European Union. The city limits cover 517.24 square kilometres (199.71 sq mi), while the metropolitan area covers 6,100.43 square kilometres (2,355.39 sq mi). Warsaw is an alpha global city, a major international tourist destination, and a significant cultural, political and economic hub. Its historical Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Warsaw is notable among Europe’s capital cities not for its size, its age, or its beauty but for its indestructibility. It is a phoenix that has risen repeatedly from the ashes of war. Having suffered fearful damage during the Swedish and Prussian occupation of 1655–56, it was again assaulted in 1794, when the Russian army massacred the population of the right-bank suburb of Praga. In 1944, after the Warsaw Uprising failed, by Adolf Hitler’s order the city was razed; the left-bank suburbs, controlled by the Germans, were emptied of their remaining population; and the buildings were systematically reduced to rubble by fire and dynamite. In 1945, however, the people of Warsaw, the Varsovians, returned, and the city resumed its role as the capital of Poland and the country’s centre of social, political, economic, scientific, and cultural life. Many of the historical streets, buildings, and churches have been restored exactly according to their original forms.
Data and facts
- Warsaw’s name in the Polish language is Warszawa. According to some sources, the origin of the name is unknown. According to one theory, Warszawa means “belonging to Warsz”, Warsz being a shortened form of the masculine name of Slavic origin Warcisław.
- Warsaw lies in east-central Poland about 300 km (190 mi) from the Carpathian Mountains and about 260 km (160 mi) from the Baltic Sea, 523 km (325 mi) east of Berlin, Germany. The city straddles the Vistula River. It is located in the heartland of the Masovian Plain, and its average elevation is 100 metres (330 ft) above sea level.
- The population density of the city is approximately 3,372 residents per square kilometer (8,730/sq mi).
- Warsaw Old Town, rebuilt after World War II based on paintings from the 17th-18th centuries, is protected by UNESCO and is a perfect example of the restoration of cultural heritage.
- Warsaw is the most congested city in Europe – Poles spend an average of 106 hours per year stuck in traffic, something to bear in mind before hitting the roads at rush hour.
- The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw was a gift of the Soviet dictator Stalin to the Polish nation. At 237 metres tall, it’s the tallest building in Poland, and at 165 metres, the clock tower is considered to be the tallest in Europe.
- The world’s narrowest 2-storey house, with a width of 1.22m, a height of 9m, and an elevation of 3 metres, is situated in the centre of Warsaw. The building was commissioned by Israeli writer and filmmaker Etgar Keret
- Warsaw’s Lazienki Park is one of the largest palace and park ensembles in Europe, and hosts free Sunday concerts from May to October.
- Warsaw is a city of churches and monuments (more than 100 churches and 100 monuments).
As the capital of Poland, Warsaw is the political centre of the country. All state agencies are located there, including the Polish Parliament, the Presidential Office and the Supreme Court. In the Polish parliament, the city and the area are represented by 31 MPs (out of 460). Additionally, Warsaw elects two MEPs (Members of the European Parliament). The Sejm is the lower house of the Polish parliament. The Sejm is made up of 460 deputies, or Poseł in Polish (literally 'Envoy'). It is elected by universal ballot and is presided over by a speaker called the Marshal of the Sejm (Marszałek Sejmu).
In 2011, Warsaw was ranked the world's 46th most expensive city to live in.It was classified as an alpha world city (also known as a "major global city that links economic regions into the world economy") by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Study Group and Network from Loughborough University, placing it on a par with cities such as Sydney, Istanbul, Amsterdam or Seoul.
Warsaw, especially its city centre (Śródmieście), is home not only to many national institutions and government agencies but also to many domestic and international companies. In 2006, 304,016 companies were registered in the city. Warsaw's ever-growing business community has been noticed globally, regionally, and nationally. MasterCard Emerging Market Index has noted Warsaw's economic strength and commercial center. Warsaw was ranked as the seventh-greatest emerging market. Foreign investors' financial participation in the city's development was estimated in 2002 at over 650 million €. Warsaw produces 12% of Poland's national income, which in 2008 was 305.1% of the Polish average per capita (or 160% of the European Union average). The Nominal GDP per capita in Warsaw amounted to 140,000 Polish Zloty in 2017 (c. €32,500 or around $80,000 in PP). Warsaw leads East-Central Europe in foreign investment and in 2006, GDP growth met expectations with a level of 6.1%.It also has one of the fastest-growing economies, with GDP growth at 6.5 percent in 2007 and 6.1 percent in the first quarter of 2008. At the same time, the unemployment rate is one of the lowest in Poland, at around 4% in February 2015. The city itself receives approximately 8,740,882,000 złotys in taxes and direct government grants.
Infrastructure in Warsaw is an international trade fair for road construction, railway construction and traffic management. It is one of the largest and most important fairs of its kind in Poland. The fair offers the different parties involved in infrastructure development in Poland a platform for mutual exchange. Exhibitors are architects, engineers, manufacturers and distributors of machinery, construction equipment, raw materials and other materials. In addition, companies are represented at the fair, which specialises in offering products and services in the areas of public facility equipment, security and traffic management. The Infrastructure takes place triennially, and therefore for the 14th time permissibly in October 2020 in Warsaw.
The 6th edition of an international conference for startups, corporations, and investors, Wolves Summit, took place in the Warsaw’s Palace of Culture of Science on 10th and 11th October. The event attracted 1178 participants, mainly from Central and Eastern Europe. Polish capital of innovation Warsaw, Poland welcomed the participants of Wolves Summit, an international networking conference, yet again. The interiors of the Palace of Culture and Science were filled with the noise of business and technology talks for two full days. The representatives of Polish organisations that support innovative activities, including Warsaw Stock Exchange (GPW), National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR), Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP), and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MSZ) were present at the conference.