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Warsaw

For some visitors from other countries, Poland seems to be a very cold country. They sometimes say it’s as cold in here as in Antarctica. Meanwhile, the temperature differences between the two places are huge! 😊 The average winter temperature in Antarctica is -44˚C, yet in Poland only -0.4˚C.

Warsaw is impressive during the winter season. Ice rinks, winter fairs, walks in the snow, mulled wine in a charming restaurant, or light shows, can enchant everyone. Winter in Warsaw cannot be boring! Check the details below.

1. Relax in a sauna on the Vistula River

The Floating Sauna on the Vistula River is a unique attraction! This unique facility began operating in November 2021 and is open from 6am until midnight. It’s the longest open sauna in Warsaw. What’s the best part? You can use the sauna for free, but only at certain times, and rent it exclusively! https://saunawisla.pl/

2. Fun at the ice rink

In winter, public ice rinks are open in various parts of Warsaw, where you can easily skate: alone, with your family, or with a larger group of friends. It is a great form of outdoor activity. Check which place is closest to you: an ice rink in the Bródnowski Park, an ice rink in Galeria Młociny, an ice rink in the area of ​​Centrum Praskie Koneser, or the largest ice rink, the Stegny Skating Rink. You can really develop high speeds at Stegny!

3. Relaxation in the Elektra Reading Room

A “temple of analogue culture” was established in Śródmieście. An unusual reading room where you can read a book, listen to a vinyl record, and drink coffee. An ideal place for autumn and winter evenings. https://www.facebook.com/CzytelniaElektra/

4. Madness on Górka Szczęśliwicka

Górka Szczęśliwicka is the only place in Warsaw where you can try your hand at skiing. There is even a ski lift here! Next to the ski facility, on smaller hills, the residents of Warsaw, with the right amount of snow, can slide down sledges. Arrange to go with your friends and let loose! https://gorka-szczesliwicka-cennik.com/

5. Visit a luminous land: the Royal Garden of Light

The Royal Garden of Light in Wilanów is the favourite fall-winter exhibition of Warsaw residents, which will be open only until February 27, 2022. After dark, visitors to the palace are led by a 75-metre luminous tunnel in which classical music plays overhead. After the tunnel, you discover a beautiful, colourful and full of light – King’s Winter Garden… https://www.wilanow-palac.pl/royal_garden_of_light_1.html

On 1st August every year there is a special event. This time is called Godzina ,,W”. What is this exactly? Godzina ,,W” was the codename for the date and time that began Operation Tempest in German-occupied Warsaw, and so the Warsaw Uprising. The time exactly was 5pm, 1st August 1944. This is why, on 1st August at 5pm one can expect to hear sirens, with many people gathered on the streets and even people and cars coming to a complete standstill. 

Of course, the history of World War II in Poland is rich, it’s deep and it’s very sad. It’s impossible to explain anything in detail in a short article, but we’ll begin with a short explanation about what happened before the Warsaw Uprising. 

On 31st July in 1944, during a briefing of Home Army’s general staff at 67 Pańska Street, General Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski, commander of the Home Army, received a report from General Antoni Chruściel, commander of the Warsaw district, regarding a supposed successful Soviet breach of German defenses just outside of the Praga suburb in Warsaw. The information was actually false, but on its basis,at 5:45 PM, Bór-Komorowski gave Chruściel an oral order to begin Operation Tempest on 1 August 1944 at 5:00 PM.

Why was 1st August at 5pm the chosen date and time? Well, it was initially decided that the Uprising would take place in the early morning, but in July 1944, Chruściel decided that it would infact take place at 5pm. This is due to the fact that at that time, there was a lot of street traffic, meaning that the soldiers could could much more easily blend into the crowd and get to the meeting points safely, whilst in the meantime also transporting guns and ammunition. At 5pm there was also enough sunlight left for the operation to go as smoothly and accurately as possible. The exact day, however, was to be decided the day before the fighting were to begin. 

The order was issued by Chruściel at around 7:00 PM – just an hour before military curfew. As a result, it was delivered between 7:00 and 9:00 AM the next morning to district commanders. Group commanders received it between 9:00 and 13:30 PM. In the afternoon the total number of messengers delivering the order reached 6000. There were posters on the streets with the simple title ‘Polacy!’, as an appeal to the Polish people, to tell them that the long-awaited fight-back was to shortly commence. 

Not all units managed to keep the mobilisation a secret until 5:00 PM… First shots were fired at a German patrol at 13:35 PM on Krasiński Street in Żoliborz. The Germans quickly brought a tank and a few armored vehicles with machine guns. While sweeping the area, at 5:30 PM on Suzina Street, the German patrol surprised a Polish unit who were taking weapons from a stash. Fights started before 5pm in reportedly at least 8 different instances across Warsaw. 

Ultimately, the Germans were not able to stop the Uprising from happening. This is the general history from this mind-blowing, brave fight and difficult time for not only Warsaw, but the whole of Poland. 

Now, there are many things to commemorate 1st August 1944. For example, a memory plaque was placed on the building at 68 Filtrowa Street, where Antoni Chruściel signed the original order that lead to this incredible event. There’s also a street in Warsaw called Al. Godziny ,,W”. 

One of the most noticable signs of honour and respect we have for this in Warsaw is that every year on 1st August at 5pm, almost everything comes to a standstill, and with sirens blazing, Polish flags flying in the breeze, we stop to think about and remember this miraculous event in history.