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Warsaw (Polish: Warszawa), is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly 160 miles (257.5 kilometers) from the Baltic Sea and 190 miles (305.78 kilometers) from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population is 2.281 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.5 million residents, making Warsaw the 9th most populous city proper in the European Economic Community. The area of the city covers 199.6 square miles (516.96 km2), while the city's agglomeration covers 2,355.39 square miles (6,100.43 km2).

Warsaw is an Alpha– global city, a major international tourist destination and an important economic hub in East-Central Europe. It is also known as the "phoenix city" because it has survived so many wars throughout its history. Most notably, the city had to be painstakingly rebuilt after the extensive damage it suffered in World War II, during which 85% of its buildings were destroyed. On 9 November 1940 the city was awarded Poland's highest military decoration for heroism, the Virtuti Militari, during the Siege of Warsaw (1939).

Warsaw is known as the city of palaces, royal gardens and grand parks. Many aristocratic residences and mansions are located near the city center.

The Warszawianka is widely considered the unofficial anthem of the city.


Location and Topography[]

Warsaw lies in east-central Poland about 300 km (190 mi) from the Carpathian Mountains and about 160 miles (257.5 kilometers) from the Baltic Sea, 325 miles (523.04 kilometers) east of Berlin, Germany. The city straddles the Vistula River. It is located in the heartland of the Masovian Plain, and its average elevation is 330 feet (100.58 meters) above sea level. The highest point on the left side of the city lies at a height of 379.6 feet (115.7 meters) ("Redutowa" bus depot, district of Wola), on the right side – 400.6 feet (122.1 meters) ("Groszówka" estate, district of Wesoła, by the eastern border). The lowest point lies at a height 248.0 feet (75.59 meters) (at the right bank of the Vistula, by the eastern border of Warsaw). There are some hills (mostly artificial) located within the confines of the city – e.g. Warsaw Uprising Hill (397.0 feet (121.01 meters)), Szczęśliwice hill (452.8 feet (138.01 meters)) – the highest point of Warsaw in general).

Warsaw is located on two main geomorphologic formations: the plain moraine plateau and the Vistula Valley with its asymmetrical pattern of different terraces. The Vistula River is the specific axis of Warsaw, which divides the city into two parts, left and right. The left one is situated both on the moraine plateau (32.8-82.0 feet (10 to 25 meters)) above Vistula level) and on the Vistula terraces (21.3 feet (6.49 meters) above Vistula level). The significant element of the relief, in this part of Warsaw, is the edge of moraine plateau called Warsaw Escarpment. It is 65.6-82.0 feet (20-25 meters) high in the Old Town and Central district and about 32.8 feet (10 meters) in the north and south of Warsaw. It goes through the city and plays an important role as a landmark.

The plain moraine plateau has only a few natural and artificial ponds and also groups of clay pits. The pattern of the Vistula terraces is asymmetrical. The left side consist mainly of two levels: the highest one contains former flooded terraces and the lowest one the flood plain terrace. The contemporary flooded terrace still has visible valleys and ground depressions with water systems coming from the Vistula old – riverbed. They consist of still quite natural streams and lakes as well as the pattern of drainage ditches. The right side of Warsaw has a different pattern of geomorphological forms. There are several levels of the plain Vistula terraces (flooded as well as former flooded once) and only small part and not so visible moraine escarpment. Aeolian sand with a number of dunes parted by peat swamps or small ponds cover the highest terrace. These are mainly forested areas (pine forest).


Warsaw's climate is transitional humid continental (Köppen: Dfb) and oceanic (Köppen: Cfb) with cold, snowy, cloudy winters and warm, sunny, stormy summers, on the border with an oceanic climate. The average temperature ranges between −2.2 °C (28 °F) in January and 18.3 °C (64.9 °F) in July. Mean year temperature is 8.2 °C (46.8 °F)Temperatures may often reach 30 °C (86 °F) in the summer. Yearly rainfall averages 531 millimeters (20.9 in), wettest month being July.

Twin Cities[]