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The Warsaw Voice » Other » November 5, 2008
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History and moderenity
November 5, 2008   
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History has been ruthless to the Polish capital. But its dramatic fate has also given it the ability to rise from its own ashes, better than before. It is not without reason that the city's coat of arms contains both the military Silver Cross of the Virtuti Militari order and a ribbon bearing the city's Latin motto: Semper invicta, always undefeated.

Throughout history, all of Warsaw's achievements, ambitions and plans were continuously laid waste by fate's repeated cataclysms: partitions, wars and foreign occupation. But Warsaw rose victorious out of all these adversities, paying the highest possible price for its valor and patriotic sacrifice. Thousands of human lives lost, rivers of blood spilled and ultimately, destruction.

For post-war Europe, the Polish capital, as well as the whole country, remained for many years a provincial backwater locked behind the Iron Curtain, its development constrained by 50 years of Soviet domination.

The dramatic history and tradition of independence were always an inspiration for Warsaw's inhabitants in all aspects of life, while the victories and tribulations of their capital provided Poles with a valuable source of lessons and experience. This historical perspective continues to inspire in the undertaking of tasks meant to bring the country into the future.

Warsaw today is still a witness to national history, but also a city of modern architecture, trendy clubs, a city bursting with a multitude of great and small events, artistic events, a place for the development of science and new technology, a place to remember the past and dream about the future.

It is the only European capital that was virtually emptied of all its inhabitants and then systematically burned and blown up, house by house, transforming entire neighborhoods into ruins during World War II. Warsaw has risen from those ruins. Here, even the historic Old Town had to be rebuilt, an immense reconstruction effort which prompted its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Developing dynamically

Warsaw is developing dynamically, changing day by day. It attracts people looking for their own path in life. They come here and often remain forever, because this city inspires and pulsates with energy. It is mostly young people who give it its tone. And it is they who direct its development in large measure.

The Bohemian Praga district with its post-industrial spaces and long-neglected historic tenement houses provides its own vision of the Warsaw of the future, as much as the bold architectural projects of the world's best known architects do. This vision brings into existence the scientific potential of the city, one of the biggest academic centers in Europe. Students are a natural wealth of the city, giving it color and style. This is very visible on Krakowskie Przedmieście Street and slightly lower down towards the Vistula river. Next to the modern university library, the Copernicus Science Center is taking form, a paradise for all would-be explorers. A bit further down, in Augustówka district, the Warsaw Technology Park is slowly being built, a modern scientific boiler-room for all the rapidly advancing changes facing our civilization.

City of culture

Warsaw is a city of culture, especially music. The home of the International Chopin Piano Competition, the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music and numerous big jazz events. This is the place where international stars play as well as world-renowned Polish musicians: Stańko, Makowicz, Nahorny or Ptaszyn-Wróblewski. Thousands of music-lovers are drawn to events like the Jazz Jamboree, Jazz in the Old Town or Warsaw Summer Jazz Days festival.

But Warsaw culture is not solely about music, even though jazz is its strongest feature. It is also about the expansive and world-renowned Polish contemporary art scene. It is where winners of prestigious international prizes such as Katarzyna Kozyra and Paweł Althamer create and exhibit their work, and also the location of great contemporary art events like the Crossroads International Meeting of Live Arts in which the world's best take part.

Attractive to business

The business community also loves the Polish capital. Investors from around the world eagerly invest their funds here. Warsaw continues to climb world tables of cities in which it is worth investing, and keeps developing at a rapid pace.

Last year, internet users voted Warsaw as a "Coolbrand." It is worth coming here, worth seeing the city they have chosen and maybe even worth falling in love with Warsaw.
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