Warsaw deserves its nickname of the ‘Phoenix City’

Warsaw, capital city of Poland, is in many respects an old city that has literally made itself young again.

Some call it the Phoenix City, and its symbol is a boldly bare-breasted mermaid with a sword held high in one hand and a shield in the other; not a bad analogy for Warsaw’s determined comeback from nearly total destruction in World War II.

Visitors to the city can see its regeneration in the montage of architectural styles ranging through Gothic and baroque to renaissance and neo-classical, much of it painstakingly rebuilt from the ground up. The ‘Old Town’ that was razed towards the end of the war is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the heart of a vigorous modern metropolis.

Residents of Warsaw are known as Varsovians and they are proud of their city, with a lot of good reasons. This is a very green city, with a plethora of parks that usually include a poignant monument as well as beautifully tended walks and landscaping.

Music is also a major component of the overall ambiance; the composer Chopin lived and played his music here, and today a visitor to Lazienki Palace on the Lake will hear both Chopin and hip-hop within the walls of the historic palace. That’s only one example of the charming contrasts that make up the ‘soul’ of this remarkable city. The world’s perception of Warsaw as a dreary Eastern-bloc disaster has changed by about 180 degrees.

Currently Warsaw boasts some of the finest restaurants in Europe, and an eclectic array of bars, cafes and nightclubs to satisfy just about any appetite. Polish vodka is world famous, and the beer is not too shabby either. Varsovians do like to party; try Club 70 for oldies disco, maybe Sketch or W Oparach Absurdu for a rousing good time in a very welcoming atmosphere. There’s a whole lot to enjoy in this young/old city.