Warsaw (Polish: Warszawa [varˈʂava]) is the capital and largest city of Poland. It stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland, roughly 260 kilometres (160 mi) from the Baltic Sea and 300 kilometres (190 mi) from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population is estimated at 1.750 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.101 million residents,which makes Warsaw the 9th most-populous capital city in the European Union.
Once described as Paris of the East, Warsaw was believed to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world until World War II. The German invasion in 1939, the massacre of the Jewish population and deportations to concentration camps led to the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto in 1943 and to the major and devastating Warsaw Uprising between August and October 1944. Warsaw gained the new title of a Phoenix City because of its extensive history and complete reconstruction after the severe damage it suffered in World War II, which left over 85% of its buildings in ruins.
Warsaw is one of Europe’s most dynamic metropolitan cities. In 2012 the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Warsaw as the 32nd most liveable city in the world. In 2017 the city came 4th in the "Business-friendly" category and 8th in the "Human capital and life style". It was also ranked as one of the most liveable cities in Central and Eastern Europe.
Warsaw is an alpha global city, a major international tourist destination and a significant cultural, political and economic hub. The city is a significant centre of research and development, BPO, ITO, as well as of the Polish media industry. The city is the seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra and the University of Warsaw. The historic city-centre of Warsaw with its picturesque Old Town in 1980 was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other main architectural attractions include the Castle Square with the Royal Castle and the iconic King Sigismund's Column, St. John's Cathedral, Market Square, palaces, churches and mansions all displaying a richness of colour and architectural detail. Buildings represent examples of nearly every European architectural style and historical period. Warsaw provides many examples of architecture from the gothic, renaissance, baroque, neoclassical and modern periods, and around a quarter of the city is filled with royal parks and lush gardens. Furthermore, the city is positioning itself as Europe's chic cultural capital with thriving art and club scenes and renowned restaurants.
Thanks to numerous musical venues, including the Teatr Wielki, the Polish National Opera, the Chamber Opera, the National Philharmonic Hall and the National Theatre, as well as the Roma and Buffo music theatres and the Congress Hall in the Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw hosts many events and festivals. Among the events worth particular attention are: the International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition, the International Contemporary Music Festival Warsaw Autumn, the Jazz Jamboree, Warsaw Summer Jazz Days, the International Stanisław Moniuszko Vocal Competition, the Mozart Festival, and the Festival of Old Music.
Warsaw provides an unique opportunity to explore various museums and their expositions. As interesting examples of expositions the most notable are: the world's first Museum of Posters boasting one of the largest collections of art posters in the world, Museum of Hunting and Riding and the Railway Museum. From among Warsaw's 60 museums, the most prestigious ones are National Museum with a collection of works whose origin ranges in time from antiquity till the present epoch as well as one of the best collections of paintings in the country including some paintings from Adolf Hitler's private collection, and Museum of the Polish Army whose set portrays the history of arms.
The collections of Łazienki and Wilanów palaces (both buildings came through the war in good shape) focus on the paintings of the "old masters", as are those of the Royal Castle which displays the Lanckoroński Collection including two paintings by Rembrandt. The Palace in Natolin, a former rural residence of Duke Czartoryski, is another venue with its interiors and park accessible to tourists.