Warsaw

Mirów & Muranów

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All visitors are aware of the glories of the Old Town, and even Praga is now starting to get a dribble of curious foreign visitors. But what of the area northwest of the centre? The area formed by the districts of Mirów and Muranów (and technically also Nowolipki) contains a good scattering of gems, not least of all two of Poland's most impressive and challenging museums - The Warsaw Uprising Museum and the relatively new and striking POLIN Museum, which traces the history of Polish Jews. There are also numerous curious historical architectural marvels in these districts like the socialist realist housing estates that were built on the rubble of the jewish ghetto. Designed by Bohdan Lachert the estates sprang up between 1948 and 1956, constructed using smashed rubble that was hastily glued together – if you notice any cracks in the walls, that’s the reason. Any broken bricks deemed too unsuitable for this purpose were simply left heaped together, hence the preponderance of overgrown artificial rises. The crowning piece of the residential development was and is Kino Muranów, in business since 1951. Situated on the corner of al. Solidarnorsci and ul. Gen. Andersa it’s known for its edgy program, so much so that it won the Europa Cinema Prize for best repertoire in 2003. Perhaps the most startling contrast between the old and the new in this fascinating part of the city can be illustrated by the retail opportunities on offer. On the one hand you have the Arkadia Shopping Mall to the very north, lauded by some as the best in Poland, while on the other you have Hala Mirowska, which functioned as Warsaw's largest indoor and outdoor market until 1944 and can be found fully restored to its former glory on the corner of Jana Pawla and Elektoralna. Today it is notable for the bank of flower stalls outside, as well as the lines of local bumpkins selling jars of mushrooms out of the back of vans. Essential Warsaw.

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