Warsaw's Old Town
() is the oldest historic district of the city. It is bounded by Wybrzeże Gdańskie
, along the bank of the Vistula
, and by Grodzka
Streets. It is one of Warsaw
's most prominent tourist attractions.
The heart of the area is the Old Town Market Place
, with its restaurants, cafés and shops. Surrounding streets feature medieval architecture such as the city walls
, the Barbican
and St. John's Cathedral
Warsaw's Old Town was established in the 13th century. Initially surrounded by an earthwork rampart, prior to 1339 it was fortified with brick city walls
. The town originally grew up around the castle of the Dukes of Mazovia
that later became the Royal Castle
. The Market Square (Rynek Starego Miasta
) was laid out sometime in the late 13th or early 14th century, along the main road linking the castle with the New Town
to the north.
Until 1817 the Old Town's most notable feature was the Town Hall built before 1429. In 1701 the square was rebuilt by Tylman Gamerski
, and in 1817 the Town Hall was demolished. Since the 19th century, the four sides of the Market Square have borne the names of four notable Poles who once lived on the respective sides: Ignacy Zakrzewski
(south), Hugo Kołłątaj
(west), Jan Dekert
(north) and Franciszek Brass (east).
In 1918 the Royal Castle
once again became the seat of Poland's highest authorities: the President of Poland
and his chancellery. In the late 1930s, during the mayoralty