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More Than Just Old Towns…

Poland’s main big cities are not just the capitals of rapidly developing regions. They have their own districts whose special and unique character is worth exploring. Whether because of their history, cultural heritage, exceptional architecture, tasty cuisine with a hint of local flavours, night life or something completely different, these areas are becoming popular among residents and visitors.

Of course tourists direct their first steps to a city’s Old Town, and Poland has a great many such historical districts. Four of them have won special recognition, being listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Historic Centre of Kraków, the Historic Centre of Warsaw, the Old City of Zamość and the Medieval Town of Toruń. But Polish cities have so much more to offer… Hip districts keeping up with the latest tourism trends also exist outside Old Towns.

From the many found all over the country, here are three proposals of such trendy but not always well-known urban zones that have become tourist-friendly in recent years.

Warsaw’s PRAGA

For a unique ambience with the idiosyncratic “Praga folklore”, visit the part of Warsaw on the River Vistula’s right bank – Praga Północ district, historically encompassing the area of Old Praga. Undergoing serious revitalization in recent years, it has become extremely popular with Warsaw’s residents, artists and tourists. This part of the Polish capital has come alive also thanks to a new metro line guaranteeing fast and “jam-free” travel from the city centre. Praga Północ is home to such establishments as the Praga Museum of Warsaw, the Polish Vodka Museum at the Praga Koneser Centre, the Neon Museum, and the Warsaw Zoo.

Kraków’s KAZIMIERZ

Between the Old Town and Wawel Hill lies the former Jewish district – Kazimierz, where tourists flock to try traditional, kosher dishes at one of the many eateries cultivating Jewish traditions. Synagogues and other examples of Jewish heritage, cobbled streets as well as numerous galleries, antique shops, cafés and restaurants, plus the cult-status zapiekanka (grilled sandwich) served from the rotunda in Nowy Square, create a mixture you won’t find anywhere else. The Jewish Heritage Route leads across the district, and the internationally famous Jewish Culture Festival has been held here every summer since 1988.

Katowice’s NIKISZOWIEC

Located along the Industrial Monuments Route, Katowice’s Nikiszowiec neighbourhood (Janów-Nikiszowiec district) is a unique example of architecture and one of the biggest post-industrial attractions of Katowice. Many say Nikiszowiec is magical, which is probably thanks to the primitivist or naïve artists of the Janowska Group who are still active here today. Even though they portray reality with simple strokes, the Art Naif Festival held annually at the nearby Wilson Shaft Gallery attracts crowds of enthusiasts of this art. This is also a place where local craftsmen work, producing beautiful watercolours and coal jewellery, for example.

  • Warsaw’s PRAGA
    Warsaw’s PRAGA
  • Praga Museum of Warsaw
    Praga Museum of Warsaw
  • La Playa
    La Playa
  • Kraków’s KAZIMIERZ
    Kraków’s KAZIMIERZ
  • Kraków’s KAZIMIERZ
    Kraków’s KAZIMIERZ
  • Kraków
    Kraków
  • Katowice’s NIKISZOWIEC
    Katowice’s NIKISZOWIEC
  • Katowice’s NIKISZOWIEC
    Katowice’s NIKISZOWIEC
  • Katowice’s NIKISZOWIEC
    Katowice’s NIKISZOWIEC

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