Warsaw

Sightseeing

The Royal Route

Known locally as Trakt Królewski the Royal Route is a title used to describe the road once taken by Poland’s kings to get from the Royal Castle in the old town, to the palace complex in Wilanów. The streets most familiar to readers, Nowy Swiat and Krakowskie Przedmieście, are covered in detail elsewhere in this guide, so we’ll start off on Pl. Trzech Krzyży, Warsaw’s poshest shopping district, and an area known for its ‘closed at dawn’ bars. Translated to mean Three Crosses Square the name is something of an inaccuracy, and more eagle-eyed readers will be able to spot four crucifixes: two date from 1731, another – held by the figure of St John of Nepomuk – dates from 1752 and a final one tops the church. The rotund looking church in the centre is that of St Alexander, and it’s here that Allied agents gathered during the war to swap information while disguised as the deaf mutes the church has historically catered for.

Head past the Sheraton and onto ul. Wiejska 4/6/8 to catch a look at the Polish Parliament (Sejm), a series of dull looking low-level buildings. Parts of it are open to the public, but our advice is to give it a wide berth if there’s any public demonstrations going on – the miners in particular have a penchant for turning the whole area into a battlefield during their annual marches. Head back onto Al. Ujazdowskie to look enviously into some of the most elegant lodgings in Warsaw. Most of these 19th century structures have since been occupied by embassies but it’s not hard to squint and imagine the days when it was Warsaw’s leading entrepreneurs who resided in these grand mansions; number 17 was home to Michal Szlechow, a caviar magnate, while 12/14 was the domain of the Marconi architects.

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