Nowy Swiat - Warsaw
Shop & dine at Warsaw's display street.
Nowy Swiat is Best For
Directions to Nowy Swiat
Nowy Swiat, or 'New World Street', a continuation of Krakowskie Przedmiescie, is Warsaw's finest in shopping and dining. Here you will find a close agglomeration of top designer boutiques, popular shops, elegant cafés and top-rate restaurants. The tiny side-streets round the back of these picturesque rows of townhouses are worth exploring. In the summer, café tables clog the pavement along this peaceful street, and tourists and locals alike are attracted to the lively atmosphere.
Like Krakowskie Przedmiescie, Nowy Swiat started out as a main road between Warsaw and various suburban noble residences. It was christened the 'New World' in the 17th century, as the city expanded outside its Old Town walls. Once surrounded by open fields, the thoroughfare was gradually hedged in by palaces, manors and townhouses, growing ever more densely urbanized. Around the time Napoleon had his brief stint of power in Congress Kingdom Warsaw, Nowy Swiat underwent a facelift, replacing its outdated wooden homes with stately neoclassical stone-and-brick structures. It soon became Warsaw's principle business and shopping district, synonymous with wealth and luxury. This character remains today.
A narrow pedestrian pathway called Chmielna Street branches off Nowy Swiat, connecting it with the vast open square before the communist-era masterpiece, the Palace of Culture and Science. Here you can find several classy shops and trendy clubs.
Another popular spot in Warsaw for café culture is Foksal Street, a little pedestrian street opening off Nowy Swiat. It was most likely named after London's Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, which inspired the park area that once stood at the foot of the street - a 19th-century haunt where well-to-do families would spend their leisure hours watching concerts and circus shows. Here, you can find an outdoor café table a bit quieter than on the main drag, with the same high-class atmosphere.
Along Foksal Street you will also find Foksal Gallery, a very small but internationally recognized art gallery with a penchant for the avant-garde. It was founded in 1966 by a group of artists and art critics who sought to transform the concept of the art gallery into a timeless, detached space where art could be seen and appreciated in its own right, without reference to the outside world. In essence, they saw the gallery itself as the central subject of an art exhibit, focusing on the space in which art came into being.
Near its southern end, Nowy Swiat widens into Plac Trzech Krzyzy (Square of the Three Crosses), originally named after three gold crosses that once stood at this important crossroads along the Royal Route. Today, a different three crosses can be counted: one on the dome of St. Alexander's church, which stands at the centre of the square, and two others mounted on columns before the entrance (although these are certainly not the only crosses present to the observant eye.) The square is mostly known today for its designer stores, including Hugo Boss, Burberry, Lacoste and Emporio Armani.
The final, short stretch of Nowy Swiat ends at Rondo de Gaulle, famous today for its somewhat controversial palm tree. The 15-meter plastic art installation was created in 2002, its inspiration drawn from the artist's visit to Israel and its connection with the Jewish community who once lived in the area of the Rondo, giving the intersecting Aleje Jerozolimskie (Jerusalem Avenue) its name. The palm tree has become one of the symbols of the new Warsaw.