Despite being devastated by Nazi troops during WWII, the masterful restoration of Warsaw’s historic center has transformed the riverfront district into one of the city’s most atmospheric areas, even earning a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Today, Warsaw Old Town is the focal point of many visitors’ itineraries, and it’s hard to believe that the characterful buildings and plazas are actually just recreations of their 17th- and 18th-century predecessors.
The navigational heart of the Old Town is the grand Market Square, lined with brightly painted Renaissance and Baroque style buildings, and a variety of restaurants, bars and cafes. At the center of the square is the city’s iconic Mermaid monument, while the Warsaw History Museum lies at the north end. From here, follow the maze of cobblestone lanes around the Old Town, taking in highlights like the Warsaw cathedral, the remains of the medieval Barbican and City Walls, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Pilsudski Square, and the Royal Castle and monumental Sigismund's Column in Castle Square.
Warsaw Old Town is located to the south of the New Town, along the west bank of the Vistula River.