Old Town - Starowka - Warsaw
Climb up to the viewing platform next to St Anna's Church. You will see the Old Town and much further from bird-view perspective and will have fine platform to shot decent photos of the capital.
Old Town - Starowka is Best For
Directions to Old Town - Starowka
Warsaw's exquisitely reconstructed Old Town (locally called Starowka) is peaceful, quaint and picturesque, with narrow cobbled streets, colourful façades and archways leading the curious explorer into courtyards and back alleys. A whole afternoon could be spent wandering this winding maze and discovering all its nooks and crannies.
As you leave traffic and modernity behind at Plac Zamkowy (Castle Square), the grand square laid out before the Royal Castle that marks the beginning of the Old Town, one or two central streets will lead you straight up to the Market Square - passing by restaurants, cafés, shops selling amber and other local goods, and a few ice cream vendors along the way. But round the side of the castle is the narrower, less crowded Kanonia street, which opens up into a tiny triangular courtyard of slope-roofed houses in rusty autumn tones, with a large bell displayed in the centre. This little square was once the site of the graveyard of the parish church, now an important cathedral, behind which it lies - the church of Saint John the Baptist. The area around it was once devoted to canonry, hence its name. From here you can pass under one of Warsaw Old Town's charming white archways in the direction of the Main Square, or turn toward the river for more narrow cobbled alleyways.
Skirting the eastern side of the tangle of Old Town streets is the sloping Brzozowa, which passes some old sunken gardens and homes overgrown in ivy, opening out into one of the city's loveliest views. Standing against the streetside railing, you look down toward the riverbank, across the Vistula and over the whole of right-bank Warsaw. Behind you, the Old Town rises slightly toward the Main Square, punctuated by tightly-clustered church towers and turrets. If the nearby cafés have a summer garden open, there's no better place to sit and enjoy the view.
It might be interesting to know that this spot was once dubbed 'Gnoja Góra', or 'Dungheap Hill' - it was the chosen site for the disposal of city waste. In an attempt to improve renaissance Warsaw's hygiene (and smell), the city administration decreed that all waste should be dumped neatly in designated sections of the street. Rubbish collectors, who were only allowed to work at night, then carted the stuff to the outcropping at the foot of the city walls and left it to rot in peace. We can clearly see today that Warsaw's waste once had its hold on prime real estate, with its stunning view of the river, Royal Castle and city streets.
Further up Brzozowa street you'll come upon Kamienne Schodki (the Stone Steps), a romantically uneven stairway cutting its narrow course from the higher level of the Main Square through what once would have been the city walls. The steps, an Old Town feature since the fifteenth century, were once trod by the august feet of Napoleon Bonaparte. Today, they are one of the most photographed spots in the city.