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Cities in the Spotlight: Warsaw, Poland

Updated: Mar 11

In today's installment of Cities in the Spotlight we will be travelling to Warsaw, Poland.

 

Warsaw City Information

Warsaw, officially the Capital City of Warsaw, is the capital and largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the River Vistula in east-central Poland and its population is officially estimated at 1.8 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.1 million residents, which makes Warsaw the 7th most-populous capital city in the European Union. The city area measures 517 km2 (200 sq mi) and comprises 18 boroughs, while the metropolitan area covers 6,100 km2 (2,355 sq mi). Warsaw is an alpha- global city, a major cultural, political, and economic hub, and the country's seat of government. Its historical Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Warsaw traces its origins to a small fishing town in Masovia. The city rose to prominence in the late 16th century when Sigismund III decided to move the Polish capital and his royal court from Kraków. Warsaw served as the de facto capital of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1795, and subsequently as the seat of Napoleon's Duchy of Warsaw. The 19th century and its Industrial Revolution brought a demographic boom which made it one of the largest and most densely-populated cities in Europe. Known then for its elegant architecture and boulevards, Warsaw was bombed and besieged at the start of World War II in 1939. Much of the historic city was destroyed and its diverse population decimated by the Ghetto Uprising in 1943, the general Warsaw Uprising in 1944 and systematic razing.

Warsaw is served by two international airports, the busiest being Warsaw Chopin and the smaller Warsaw Modlin intended for low-cost carriers. Major public transport services operating in the city include the Warsaw Metro, buses, urban-light railway, and an extensive tram network. In 2012, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Warsaw as the 32nd most liveable city in the world. In 2017, the city came 4th in the "Business-friendly", 8th in "Human capital and life style" and topped the quality of life rankings in the region. The city is a significant centre of research and development, business process outsourcing, and information technology outsourcing. The Warsaw Stock Exchange is the largest and most important in Central and Eastern Europe. Frontex, the European Union agency for external border security as well as ODIHR, one of the principal institutions of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have their headquarters in Warsaw. Jointly with Frankfurt and Paris, Warsaw features one of the highest number of skyscrapers in the European Union.

The city hosts the Polish Academy of Sciences, National Philharmonic Orchestra, University of Warsaw, the Warsaw University of Technology, the National Museum, Zachęta Art Gallery, and the Warsaw Grand Theatre, the largest of its kind in the world. The reconstructed Old Town, which represents examples of nearly every European architectural style and historical period, was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980. Other main architectural attractions include the Royal Castle and the iconic King Sigismund's Column, the Wilanów Palace, the Palace on the Isle, St. John's Cathedral, Main Market Square, as well as numerous churches and mansions along the Royal Route. Warsaw possesses thriving arts and club scenes, gourmet restaurants and large urban green spaces, with around a quarter of the city's area occupied by parks.

 

Warsaw Historical Significance

1300–1800

The first fortified settlements on the site of today's Warsaw were located in Bródno (9th/10th century) and Jazdów (12th/13th century). After Jazdów was raided by nearby clans and dukes, a new fortified settlement was established on the site of a small fishing village called "Warszowa". The Prince of Płock, Bolesław II of Masovia, established the modern-day city in about 1300 and the first historical document attesting to the existence of a castellany dates to 1313. With the completion of St John's Cathedral in 1390, Warsaw became one of the seats of the Dukes of Masovia and was officially made capital of the Masovian Duchy in 1413. The economy then predominantly rested on craftsmanship or trade, and the town housed approximately 4,500 people at the time.

During the 15th century, the population migrated and spread beyond the northern city wall into a newly formed self-governing precinct called New Town. The existing older settlement became eventually known as the Old Town. Both possessed their own town charter and independent councils. The aim of establishing a separate district was to accommodate new incomers or undesirables who were not permitted to settle in Old Town, particularly the Jews. Social and financial disparities between the classes in the two precincts led to a minor revolt in 1525. Following the sudden death of Janusz III and the extinction of the local ducal line, Masovia was incorporated into the Kingdom of Poland in 1526. Bona Sforza, wife of Sigismund I of Poland, was widely accused of poisoning the duke to uphold Polish rule over Warsaw.

In 1529, Warsaw for the first time became the seat of a General Sejm and held that privilege permanently from 1569. The city's rising importance encouraged the construction of a new set of defenses, including the landmark Barbican. Renowned Italian architects were brought to Warsaw to reshape the Royal Castle, the streets and the marketplace, resulting in the Old Town's early Italianate appearance. In 1573, the city gave its name to the Warsaw Confederation which formally established religious freedom in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Due to its central location between the Commonwealth's two major cities of Kraków and Vilnius, Warsaw became the capital of the Commonwealth and the Polish Crown when Sigismund III Vasa transferred his royal court in 1596. In the subsequent years the town significantly expanded to the south and westwards. Several private independent districts (jurydyka) were the property of aristocrats and the gentry, which they ruled by their own laws. Between 1655 and 1658 the city was besieged and pillaged by the Swedish, Brandenburgian and Transylvanian forces. The conduct of the Great Northern War (1700–1721) also forced Warsaw to pay heavy tributes to the invading armies. The reign of Augustus II and Augustus III was a time of great development for Warsaw, which turned into an early-capitalist city. The Saxon monarchs employed many German architects, sculptors and engineers, who rebuilt the city in a style similar to Dresden. The year 1727 marked the opening of the Saxon Garden in Warsaw, the first publicly accessible park. The Załuski Library, the first Polish public library and the largest at the time, was founded in 1747. Stanisław II Augustus, who remodelled the interior of the Royal Castle, also made Warsaw a centre of culture and the arts. He extended the Royal Baths Park and ordered the construction or refurbishment of numerous palaces, mansions and richly-decorated tenements. This earned Warsaw the nickname Paris of the North.


Warsaw remained the capital of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1795, when it was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia in the third and final partition of Poland; it subsequently became the capital of the province of South Prussia. During this time, Louis XVIII of France spent his exile in Warsaw under the pseudonym Comte de Lille. 1800–1939

Warsaw was made the capital of a newly created French client state, known as the Duchy of Warsaw, after a portion of Poland's territory was liberated from Prussia, Russia and Austria by Napoleon in 1806. Following Napoleon's defeat and exile, the 1815 Congress of Vienna assigned Warsaw to Congress Poland, a constitutional monarchy within the easternmost sector (or partition) under a personal union with Imperial Russia. The Royal University of Warsaw was established in 1816.

With the violation of the Polish constitution, the 1830 November Uprising broke out against foreign influence. The Polish-Russian war of 1831 ended in the uprising's defeat and in the curtailment of Congress Poland's autonomy. On 27 February 1861, a Warsaw crowd protesting against Russian control over Congress Poland was fired upon by Russian troops. Five people were killed. The Underground Polish National Government resided in Warsaw during the January Uprising in 1863–64.

Warsaw flourished throughout the 19th century under Mayor Sokrates Starynkiewicz (1875–92), who was appointed by Alexander III. Under Starynkiewicz Warsaw saw its first water and sewer systems designed and built by the English engineer William Lindley and his son, William Heerlein Lindley, as well as the expansion and modernisation of trams, street lighting, and gas infrastructure. Between 1850 and 1882, the population grew by 134% to 383,000 as a result of rapid urbanisation and industrialisation. Many migrated from surrounding rural Masovian towns and villages to the city for employment opportunities. The western borough of Wola was transformed from an agricultural periphery occupied mostly by small farms and windmills (mills being the namesake of Wola's central neighborhood Młynów) to an industrial and manufacturing centre. Metallurgical, textile and glassware factories were commonplace, with chimneys dominating the westernmost skyline.

Like London, Warsaw's population was subjected to income segmentation. Gentrification of inner suburbs forced poorer residents to move across the river into Praga or Powiśle and Solec districts, similar to the East End of London and London Docklands. Poorer religious and ethnic minorities such as the Jews settled in the crowded parts of northern Warsaw, in Muranów. The Imperial Census of 1897 recorded 626,000 people living in Warsaw, making it the third-largest city of the Empire after St. Petersburg and Moscow as well as the largest city in the region. Grand architectural complexes and structures were also erected in the city centre, including the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Church of the Holiest Saviour and tenements along Marszałkowska Street.

During World War I, Warsaw was occupied by Germany from 4 August 1915 until November 1918. The Armistice of 11 November 1918 concluded that defeated Germany is to withdraw from all foreign areas, which included Warsaw. Germany did so, and underground leader Józef Piłsudski returned to Warsaw on the same day which marked the beginning of the Second Polish Republic, the first truly sovereign Polish state after 1795. In the course of the Polish–Soviet War (1919–1921), the 1920 Battle of Warsaw was fought on the eastern outskirts of the city. Poland successfully defended the capital, stopped the brunt of the Bolshevik Red Army and temporarily halted the "export of the communist revolution" to other parts of Europe.

The interwar period (1918–1939) was a time of major development in the city's infrastructure. New modernist housing estates were built in Mokotów to de-clutter the densely populated inner suburbs. In 1921, Warsaw's total area was estimated at only 124.7 km2 with 1 million inhabitants–over 8,000 people/km2 made Warsaw more densely populated than contemporary London.[51] The Średnicowy Bridge was constructed for railway (1921–1931), connecting both parts of the city across the Vistula. Warszawa Główna railway station (1932–1939) was not completed due to the outbreak of the Second World War. Stefan Starzyński was the Mayor of Warsaw between 1934 and 1939. Second World War

After the German Invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 started the Second World War, Warsaw was defended until 27 September. Central Poland, including Warsaw, came under the rule of the General Government, a German Nazi colonial administration. All higher education institutions were immediately closed and Warsaw's entire Jewish population – several hundred thousand, some 30% of the city – were herded into the Warsaw Ghetto. In July on 1942, the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto began to be deported en masse to the Aktion Reinhard extermination camps, particularly Treblinka. The city would become the centre of urban resistance to Nazi rule in occupied Europe. When the order came to annihilate the ghetto as part of Hitler's "Final Solution" on 19 April 1943, Jewish fighters launched the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Despite being heavily outgunned and outnumbered, the Ghetto held out for almost a month. When the fighting ended, almost all survivors were massacred, with only a few managing to escape or hide.

By July 1944, the Red Army was deep into Polish territory and pursuing the Nazis toward Warsaw. The Polish government-in-exile in London gave orders to the underground Home Army (AK) to try to seize control of Warsaw before the Red Army arrived. Thus, on 1 August 1944, as the Red Army was nearing the city, the Warsaw uprising began. The armed struggle, planned to last 48 hours, was partially successful, however, it went on for 63 days. Eventually, the Home Army fighters and civilians assisting them were forced to capitulate. They were transported to PoW camps in Germany, while the entire civilian population was expelled. Polish civilian deaths are estimated at between 150,000 and 200,000.

Hitler, ignoring the agreed terms of the capitulation, ordered the entire city to be razed to the ground and the library and museum collections taken to Germany or burned. Monuments and government buildings were blown up by special German troops known as Verbrennungs- und Vernichtungskommando ("Burning and Destruction Detachments"). About 85% of the city was destroyed, including the historic Old Town and the Royal Castle.

On 17 January 1945 – after the beginning of the Vistula–Oder Offensive of the Red Army – Soviet troops and Polish troops of the First Polish Army entered the ruins of Warsaw, and liberated Warsaw's suburbs from German occupation. The city was swiftly taken by the Soviet Army, which rapidly advanced towards Łódź, as German forces regrouped at a more westward position. 1945–1989


In 1945, after the bombings, revolts, fighting, and demolition had ended, most of Warsaw lay in ruins. The area of the former Ghetto was razed to the ground, with only a sea of rubble remaining. The immense destruction prompted a temporary transfer of the new government and its officials to Lodz, which became the transitional seat of power. Nevertheless, Warsaw officially resumed its role as the capital of Poland and the country's centre of political and economic life.

After World War II, the "Bricks for Warsaw" campaign was initiated and large prefabricated housing projects were erected in Warsaw to address the major housing shortage. Plattenbau apartment blocks were a solution to avoid Warsaw's former density problem and to create more green spaces. Some of the buildings from the 19th century that have survived in a reasonably reconstructible form were nonetheless demolished in the 1950s and 1960s, like the Kronenberg Palace. The Śródmieście (central) region's urban system was completely reshaped; former cobblestone streets were asphalted and significantly widened for traffic use. Many notable streets such as Gęsia, Nalewki and Wielka disappeared as a result of these changes and some were split in half due to the construction of Plac Defilad (Parade Square), one of the largest of its kind in Europe. Much of the central district was also designated for future skyscrapers. The 237-metre Palace of Culture and Science resembling New York's Empire State Building was built as a gift from the Soviet Union. Warsaw's urban landscape is one of modern and contemporary architecture. Despite wartime destruction and post-war remodelling, many of the historic streets, buildings, and churches were restored to their original form. In 1980, Warsaw's historic Old Town was inscribed onto UNESCO's World Heritage list.

John Paul II's visits to his native country in 1979 and 1983 brought support to the budding "Solidarity" movement and encouraged the growing anti-communist fervor there. In 1979, less than a year after becoming pope, John Paul celebrated Mass in Victory Square in Warsaw and ended his sermon with a call to "renew the face" of Poland. These words were meaningful for Varsovians and Poles who understood them as the incentive for liberal-democratic reforms. 1989–present

In 1995, the Warsaw Metro opened with a single line. A second line was opened in March 2015. With the entry of Poland into the European Union in 2004, Warsaw is experiencing the largest economic boom of its history. The opening fixture of UEFA Euro 2012 took place in Warsaw and the city also hosted the 2013 United Nations Climate Change Conference and the 2016 NATO Summit.

 

Travel to Warsaw

*taken from Lonely Planet*

A phoenix arisen from the ashes, Poland's capital impresses with its resilience, respect for history, contemporary style and sheer joie de vivre. Rather than being centred on an old market square, modern-day Warsaw is spread across a broad area and includes an eye-catching range of architecture: restored baroque, Gothic, neoclassical and Renaissance in the Old and New Towns; gems of the post-WWII socialist realist period, such as the Palace of Culture & Science and the Marszałkowska Residential District (MDM); and contemporary beauties like the Copernicus Science Centre and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. This jumble reflects the city’s tumultuous past and makes for a fascinating collection of neighbourhoods and landmarks.

As the royal capital for several centuries, Warsaw is blessed with the beautiful palace and parklands at Wilanów, aptly described as Poland's Versailles, and the park and serene Palace on the Isle of Łazienki. Greenery also abounds at the central Saxon Garden, Krasiński Garden and the rooftop garden of the University Library. Not to be missed is a stroll beside the Vistula River: on the west bank runs the Vistulan Boulevard, a contemporary promenade dotted with waterside bars and cafes, while on the eastern Praga side nature holds sway with meandering, wooded pathways leading to sandy beaches.

Warsaw has endured the worst history could throw at it, including near destruction at the end of WWII. Much has been rebuilt and the fragments that survived are now preserved in a superb selection of museums and cultural storehouses. The exhibitions at the Warsaw Rising Museum and POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews leave practically no stone unturned on their respective subjects, while the National Museum will astound you with its art and design collection. Then there is Chopin, Warsaw's favourite son, who has his own museum and whose romantic and dramatic music is played at nightly recitals.

If the city's architectural flourishes, lush outdoor spaces and cultural treasures haven't already seduced you, expect all resistance to fall at its superb selection of dining spots. Home to everything from bargain-priced, retro-trendy milk bars to chic restaurants serving cutting-edge molecular gastronomy, Warsaw is a culinary delight. There's also no shortage of cool cafes or bars for creative cocktails, craft beers and vodka shots. This is a city that knows how to have fun, whether it be glamming up for the opera or a symphony performance or clubbing it through the night.

 

Must See Sites

Warsaw Rising Museum; This exceptional museum, housed in a former tram power station and its surrounding grounds, traces the history of the city's heroic but doomed uprising against the German occupation in 1944 via five levels of interactive displays, photographs, film archives and personal accounts. It's an immersive, overwhelming experience that takes the better part of a day to see, if you're to do everything here justice. There's more to see in the surrounding Freedom Park, which includes a Wall of Remembrance, the Colour of Freedom exhibit of colourised photos of insurgents, a Rose Garden, and the Art Wall gallery of contemporary artworks created by top Polish artists and inspired by the 1944 Rising and Warsaw. The park hosts concerts and other events during summer. Old Town Square; For those with an eye for historic buildings this is Warsaw's loveliest square, not to mention its oldest having been established at the turn of the 13th century. It’s enclosed by around 40 tall houses exhibiting a fine blend of Renaissance, baroque, Gothic and neoclassical elements; aside from the facades at Nos 34 and 36, all were rebuilt after being reduced to rubble by the Germans at the close of WWII. In the centre of the square stands a statue of Syrenka, the fierce mermaid brandishing a sword that's become a symbol of the city; in winter an ice rink surrounds the statue while in summer the square has a festive atmosphere with plenty of food, drink and souvenir stalls as well as cafe tables. Tomb of the Unknown Solider; Dedicated to the unknown soldiers who have given their lives for Poland, this military memorial occupies the last remnant of the Saxon Palace that stood here until it was destroyed by the Germans in WWII. In a marching ceremony across the square, the pair of soldiers who guard the eternal flame are changed every hour on the hour. Wilanow Palace; Warsaw’s top palace, 10km south of the city centre, was commissioned by King Jan III Sobieski in 1677. It has changed hands several times over the centuries, with each new owner adding a bit of baroque here and a touch of neoclassical there. Restoration of the palace's 2nd floor is underway until 2020, but in the meantime you can tour the magnificent ground-floor rooms packed with artistic baubles and treasures. Last entry to the palace is an hour before closing. When King Jan III Sobieski decided this was the perfect spot for his country estate, there was already a village here called Milanów that had existed since the middle ages. The king renamed the village in Latin as 'Villa Nova', later Polonised into Wilanów (vee-lah-noof). Miraculously, Wilanów survived WWII almost unscathed, and most of its furnishings and art were retrieved and reinstalled after the war. While restorations of the 2nd floor are underway you can follow two routes through the palace. Route 1 includes the White Hall, the palace's largest room, hung with portraits of successive owners of Wilanów; the Garden Galleries decorated with beautiful 17th-century frescoes; the Royal Apartments of King Jan III; the neoclassical-style Grand Vestibule; and the Potocki Museum, named after Stanisław Kostka Potocki, owner of Wilanów from 1799 to 1821, who in 1805 opened his art collection to the general public. Route 2 covers Princess Marshall Lubomirska’s Apartments, an immaculately restored salon dating from the late 18th century and including the magnificent Chinese and Hunting Rooms. Also here is the Storage Accessible for Visitors, which allows a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the restoration and care of the palace's collection of object d'art and antiques.

Royal Castle; This remarkable copy of the original castle blown up by the Germans in WWII is filled with authentic period furniture and original works of art. Highlights are the Great Apartments (rooms 1 to 9) including the magnificent Great Assembly Hall and the lavishly decorated Throne Room; King’s Apartments (rooms 11 to 20) including the Canaletto Room, hung with 22 paintings by Bernardo Bellotto (1721–80), known in Poland as Canaletto; and the Lanckoroński Collection with two portraits by Rembrandt. The mammoth red-brick castle began life as a wooden stronghold of the dukes of Mazovia in the 14th century. Its heyday came in the mid-17th century, when it became one of Europe’s most splendid royal palaces. In 1918, after Poland regained independence, it became the residence of the president. Its reconstruction didn't get going until 1971 and took 13 years to complete. Museum of Warsaw; Occupying 11 tenement houses on the north side of the Old Town Sq, this superb museum tells Warsaw's dramatic history in innovative ways. Start with the Warsaw Data infographics in the cellar then work your way, in no particular order, through the core exhibition 'Things of Warsaw', which categorises some 7352 objects into 21 themed rooms ranging from photographs and postcards to clothing and patriotic items. On the 5th floor, windows allow a bird's-eye view out over the Old and New Town rooftops. On the ground floor you'll find the small Lapidarium Cafe, an excellent bookshop and Kino Syrena.

 

Must Try Food & Drink



Wuzetka; Wuzetka is a traditional Polish cake originating from Warsaw. The cake consists of chocolate sponge cake that's filled with whipped cream and covered with chocolate icing. It's usually made with a combination of flour, eggs, sugar, butter, cocoa powder, whipping cream, rum, gelatin, and plum jam. The icing is made with a combination of butter, milk, and dark chocolate. Once prepared, the bottom layer is drizzled with jam and rum, the whipped cream mixture is spread over it, and the top sponge layer is placed on top. The chocolate icing is poured over the cake, and when it sets, the wuzetka is cut into cubes. The cake is typically decorated with a dollop of cream and a single cherry. Although the origin of the name is still murky, it is believed that the cake was named after the East-West route (Wschód-Zachód), shortened to W-Z.

Pierogi; These stuffed dumplings derived their name from the Russian word for pie: pirog. This former peasant food evolved into one of Poland's favorite dishes. Every family has their own version of pierogi filling, and the ingredients that can be used are limited only by the imagination of the chef. Pierogi can be sweet, savory, or spicy, and the most common fillings include cheese, onions, ground meat, mushrooms, potatoes, and sauerkraut. The sweet versions commonly include various berries, such as strawberries or blueberries. Traditionally, these dumplings are served as the 12th course of a traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner. As the entire meal must be meatless, the filling usually consists of mushrooms, cabbage, and sauerkraut. Although pierogi have been made since the 13th century, it is not known where they were originally created—the Poles, Romanians, Russians, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, and Slovaks all claim they should be credited as the inventors of the pierogi. Others claim that it was brought to the West by the Tatars, and some say that the original pierogi traveled from China and reached Europe through Italy. Despite all this uncertainty, one fact is indisputable—the word pierogi first appeared in print in the second half of the 17th century. Today, pierogi are extremely popular throughout the country, and can be found in numerous pierogarnia eateries on Polish street corners. Poland also celebrates National Pierogi Day every year on October 8th, while the city of Kraków boasts its own annual Pierogi Festival held on August 17th.

Kotlet Schabowy; Considered to be a variation of the more famous Wiener schnitzel, the breaded pork cutlet known as kotlet Schabowy is one of the most popular Polish dishes. Even though it appeared in the 19th century under the influence of Austrian and German culinary tradition, it quickly became a mainstay in restaurants and households throughout the country. It is typically prepared with a thin breaded pork chop or tenderloin, fried in lard, and served alongside cooked potatoes, sauerkraut, and various fresh and pickled salads.

Zapiekanka; One of Poland's favorite fast foods is this unique open-faced sandwich. The scrumptious Polish zapiekanka is made with a plain white baguette cut lengthwise, topped with a variety of tasty ingredients and a generous heaping of grated semi-hard cheese, and grilled under a broiler. Hailing back to the 1970s, this snack originated at a time when even the most basic of ingredients were hard to come by in communist Poland, and people had to think of how to make the best use of whatever they had available. The original zapiekanka was made with sautéed mushrooms and cheese, but with time, a variety of other ingredients such as meat, bacon, sausages, or even feta cheese, olives, and pineapple started to become customary toppings for these crusty warm sandwiches. They are always served sizzling hot, most often with a drizzle of tomato ketchup on top. Though available across the country, zapiekanka remains the most popular snack at the fast food stands of Krakow, especially in the wee weekend hours after a long night of overindulgence.

Dwojniak Staropolski; Dwójniak is a traditional mead product with an alcohol content ranging from 15 to 18 % vol., fermented from mead wort and produced throughout Poland. To be called Dwójniak, mead must be made from one part honey and one part water. It gets its name from the numeral 2, referring to the proportions of mead and water. It is a clear alcoholic beverage, with a unique aroma and flavor of honey, which may be enhanced using spices such as cloves, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. It is golden to dark amber in color, depending on the type of honey used in the process. Dwójniak is often sold in traditional packagings such as ceramic containers, oak barrels, and carboys. Due to the strict rules regarding maturing and mellowing of the mead (it must mature for at least two years), the final product is of the best quality.


Kogel Mogel; Kogel mogel is a creamy dessert consisting of egg yolks and sugar as its key ingredients. The dessert is flavored with various ingredients such as rum, cocoa, honey, or vanilla. It is typically served chilled, but it can also be served warm, when it is considered a remedy for sore throat. Kogel mogel dates back to the 17th century, when it was invented by people in the Jewish communities in Central Europe.

Gzik; The basic version of this traditional Polish spread consists of fresh cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, and chives, while some varieties occasionally incorporate radish, onions, or hard-boiled eggs. The seasonings and the texture of gzik are easily adjusted to taste and preference, and even though it can be used as a dip or a sandwich spread, it is traditionally served alongside boiled potatoes.

Salatka z boczkiem; Sałatka z boczkiem is a universal term which refers to many types of Polish salads prepared with crispy fried bacon. They are usually made with lettuce, baby spinach, or rocket, while the bacon is either fried separately and used as a topping or blended in a unique bacon vinaigrette. Since there is no specific recipe, the salads can incorporate various additional ingredients such as various vegetables and fresh or aged cheeses. Usually enjoyed as a side dish, these refreshing and filling salads can also make an excellent light main course.

Zupa borowikowa; Zupa borowikowa is a flavorful Polish soup with borowik mushrooms, also known as the king of forest mushrooms. The soup is beloved throughout Poland and is often served on Christmas Eve. Apart from the fresh version, the soup is so popular that it can also be bought in commercially made packages with noodles.

 

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