(PL) Warsaw and Mazovia – understanding the region

The third study trip took place in Warsaw and the Mazovia region between November 29th and December 3rd 2011. The title of the study trip was Warsaw. Inside/Outside and it was focused on the relation between the centre and the periphery, inside and outside of the cultural and social life in this area. Exploration of the capital city was combined with two regional trips: to Warka and to Podkowa Leśna.


Mazovia or Masovia (Polish: Mazowsze) is a geographical, historical and cultural region in east-central Poland as well as one of the sixteen voivodeships (provinces). Historically, its capital was Płock, the medieval residence of first Dukes of Masovia, with Czersk and Warsaw as capitals of individual Mazovian duchies.

The Masovian Voivodeship (Polish: województwo mazowieckie) is the largest and most populous of the voivodeships created in 1999 as a result of the administrative reform. It is 35,579 square kilometres (13,737 square miles) and has 5.16 million inhabitants. The main centre of population and at the same time its capital is Warsaw (1.7 million), located in the heart of the voivodeship. Other significant cities are Radom (226,000) in the south, Płock (127,000) in the west, Siedlce (77,000) in the east, and Ostrołęka (55,000) in the north. Altogether, there are 85 cities and towns in Masovia.

As for places of natural and ecological value, Kampinos National Park and nine Landscape Parks are protected areas in the Masovian Voivodeship.

Based on the English version of the website: http://www.mazowieckie.pl/portal/en


The Capital City: Warsaw

Although history of Warsaw goes back to 12th and 13th century, destruction brought by the Second World War the city was forced to rebuild anew. The symbol of rebirth of the capital of Poland was an unprecedented post-war re-creation of the Old Town, which in 1980 was put on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites as an example of nearly full reconstruction of original settlement using initial elements.

The Palace of Culture and Science, overlooking the city, is just the opposite when it comes to the care of the historical continuity of the city. This unique building, an example of socialist realist architecture, was identified as an icon of communism and enslavement. Nowadays it is one of the youngest Warsaw monuments, and just like the Old Town, is frequently seen by visitors. These two examples comprise the complexity of the history of the entire Warsaw and simply non-historical asymmetry of its development.

Warsaw has always been a center of important events and activities. In this town, because of its capital status and uncommon vitality, new desires and strivings were shaping up, new concepts and ideas were born. Warsaw gave a good account of heroism, commitment and national pride. History of Warsaw means several hundred years of existence of the city, once named the “Paris of the North”, which after complete devastation has always managed, as a mythical Phoenix, to rise from the ashes.



The Mayor of the City of Warsaw holds the executive power. The Mayor is elected in general, equal, direct election by secret ballot. The Mayor manages the Warsaw City Hall, executes the budget, manages the property of the City, represents the City outside, and manages the City’s current affairs. In addition, the Mayor executes tasks assigned by the Warsaw City Council, which is legislative and decision-making body. City Council sets local by-laws, passes budgets and inspects their execution, passes local spatial development plans, names streets, names public squares, and decides on erecting of new monuments. Warsaw City Council also awards the title of the Honorary Citizen of The City.

Warsaw is divided into eighteen auxiliary units – the districts of the Capital City of Warsaw. Each district is represented by the Mayor who holds the executive power and District Council – decision-making body.


Warsaw by numbers

Warsaw covers an area of 517.90 square kilometers (199.96 square miles)

It has a population of 1.7 million

350 000 is under seventeen years old (19 %)

10 million tourists visited Warsaw in 2009 (2.7 million were foreign tourists)

1518 historic buildings

30 000 beds (170 facilities)

305 libraries

56 museums

114 galleries

82 parks

88 higher education schools (public and private)

31 cinemas

50 theaters and musical establishments

280 movie premiers (annually)

548 pubs, cafes, restaurants, and catering companies

500 000 businesses

24 tram lines

284 bus lines

3288 rooms inside the Palace of Culture and Science

200 km of bike trails

8500 taxicabs

300 000 students (within the Warsaw’s population one in six of its citizens is a student)


Source: http://www.um.warszawa.pl/en



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