History of Warsaw
Warsaw is one of the youngest capitals in Europe. It became the Polish capital after Cracow in 16th century.
Early settlements however already existed in the 10th century.
In 1655 Warsaw's development as the country's capital was halted upon the Swedish invasion known as the "deluge". The Swedish forces destroyed and ploundered much of Warsaw at that time.
Warsaw experienced its "golden age" in the 18th century under the last Poland's king Stanislaw August Poniatowski. During that time it was transformed into a modern city.
During Poland's partitions by 3 countries: Prussia, Austria and Russia - Warsaw was under the Russia rule. From late 18th century until the World War I Warsaw never gained independence from Russians.
After World War I when Poland gained independence Warsaw was reestablished as the capital of Poland. Until the World War II Varsovians worked hard to build new infrastructure and expand the city. Upon World War II the city's development was stopped.
Within the first 3 weeks after the German invasion in World War II Warsaw's resistance was crushed. After the capitulation of Warsaw - Jewish Ghetto was formed. In April 1943 Warsaw witnessed the uprising in Jewish Ghetto which was brutally crushed by Nazis killing almost all Jews left in Warsaw. In 1944 the famous Warsaw uprising begun - one of the biggest bloodsheds of World War II. For 63 days Varsovians fought the nazis in hopes of liberating the city. Unfortunately the uprising failed and Hitler ordered the city to be reduced to rubbles. Consequently 85% of the city was destroyed during the war.
After World War II Warsaw came under communist control and a massive rebuilding program restored many of the monuments, palaces and castles. Unfortunately only the New Town and Old Town was reconstructed to their original past - the rest of Warsaw's architecture is influenced by socialist realism.
In 1989 Poland gained freedom from communism and from Soviet influence. It is yet another chance for Warsaw to become one of the most important cities in Europe.
Sights to visit