Euro 2012: What to see in Poland’s host cities
LONDON, May 22 — As first-time hosts of football’s Euro tournament, running from June 8 to July 1, Poland and Ukraine are preparing to welcome millions of visitors to their respective countries. Poland’s four major cities — Warsaw, Gdansk, Poznan and Wroclaw — will be the site of numerous matches. A short guide on the cities’ top tourist sites.
The capital of Poland, with a population of 1.7 million, is the largest city in the country (517 sq km). Its historic symbol is its mermaid monument that can also be seen on the logo chosen by the town for the Euro. According to legend, the statue is “the sister” monument to the famous mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark. Among the city’s top attractions are the Palace of Culture and Science — a skyscraper erected between 1952 and 1955. Tourists can also stroll in the park of the Royal Baths and admire the Palace on the Water, one of the residences of the last king of Poland, Stanisław August Poniatowski who reigned until 1795.
Poland’s main port, Gdansk is home to 456,000 residents, spread across 262 square kilometres. The fountain of Neptune is the city’s top tourist attraction, as well as the basis of the city’s logo and a one-time pilgrimage site for sailors. Tourists can also visit the Golden Gate, built in the 17th century and walk (or take a river cruise) along the Motlawa, which flows across 64km.
Located in western Poland, Poznan is known for its historic market square. This crossroads of medieval trade is not far from the City Hall, which is also a tourist site for its Renaissance-era building. In contrast, the Andersia tower, in the business district, is a testament to the country’s modernization efforts. The steel and glass office building rises 84 metres.
Described as Poland’s answer to Venice, Wroclaw is located in the southwest region of the country. With the Oder and its four tributaries running through it, it is made up of 12 islands, connected by more than 100 bridges. Its colourful central marketplace is the city’s most popular tourist site. — AFP-Relaxnews