In some ways, the city of Warsaw reflects the spirit of its people. Razed during the Second World War and rebuilt, in large part, in utilitarian Soviet style, the capital of Poland might not have the uniform beauty of Krakow, but it's a lively, forward-looking city. Increasingly cheap flights to Warsaw land at Frederic Chopin Airport, just 10km (6 miles) from the city.
The Old Town's history spans the 13th to the 20th centuries. It is postcard pretty, but what makes it remarkable is that as the area was bombed and blown up during World War II, it is almost completely reconstructed. After the war, volunteers armed with old maps and paintings sifted through the rubble for reusable bricks and decorative features. Other sights include the Royal Castle, King Sigismund's Column, the Market Square, and the Barbican.
One of the defining landmarks in Warsaw is the Palace of Culture and Science, which was "gifted" to the Polish nation by Stalin. Many locals consider it Warsaw at its worst. As for memorials to the fallen, these include the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Saxon Garden, the Warsaw Uprising Monument, and the poignant Maly Powstaniec (Little partisan) which commemorates the children who fought in the Warsaw Uprising.
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