Through the centuries, Warsaw's right-bank – the area called Praga – was an independent town, and it became formally attached to Warsaw only in the late 18th century. For years it was a secondary part of the city that survived the devastation of war, with three different religions (Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Judaism) peacefully co-existing. Today it is a fascinating district, overflowing with artistic studios, galleries, alternative theaters and underground clubs. Thanks to this infusion of cool culture, many of the surviving post-industrial buildings have been turned into cultural centres, cinemas, galleries and pubs. But it is also in Praga that we can find many streets which were undamaged during World War II, and so there are some beautiful pre-war lamp-posts, sidewalks and apartment blocks.
ul. Ratuszowa 1/3, tel. +48 22 619 40 41
Opened in 1928, in the northern part of Praski Park. During World War II it was completely destroyed and re-opened in 1948. Today there are about 5,000 animals representing nearly 500 species, but the real attraction are the brown bears, whose paddock is located outside the garden and zoo walls, and who are much admired by passers-by. More information
Church of Our Lady of Loreto (Kościół Matki Bożej Loretańskiej)
ul. Ratuszowa 5a
This is the oldest temple in Praga, built in the first half of the 17th century. Its designer was the royal architect Konstanty Tencalla. Inside there is the so-called house of Loreto (a copy of The House of Our Lady in the Italian town of Loretto), in which the 15th-century statue of the Virgin Mary Kamionkowska is placed.
Beach on the Vistula (Plaża nad Wisłą)
ul. Wybrzeże Helskie 1/5
The beach is several hundreds of meters long, and open only during summer; it sees loads of visitors due to numerous attractions: lawn chairs, wicker baskets, volleyball and badminton fields, and in the evening, concerts and DJ's. There is also the undeniable added charm of being able to get an unparalleled view of the Old Town, in all its splendor. On the Vistula River there are four other beaches, located on the Cypel Czerniakowski and Wał Miedzeszyński Street, which runs level with Kryniczna Street, Poniatówka near National Stadium, Żoliborz beach (ul. Wybrzeże Gdyńskie 2).