AU in Krakow

6 American University students, 1 coordinator, and 1 professor--in Poland. This should get interesting.

Monday, July 26, 2004

The City of Warsaw: Sad yet Attractive

Warsaw was never my one of my favorite Polish cities yet I have always known that sooner or later I will end up there for a while. This is just what Warsaw does to you it draws you in either you like it or not. It is not as charming as Krakow, not as pretty as Gdansk, and not as fun as Zakopane. After all it was completely destroyed during the WWII. When Communists rebuilt it they used their very well known “sense of style”, which resulted in massive gray buildings and hideous Palace of Culture and Science in the city center. Thus, when one travels around Europe he or she is often filled with its culture, history and never ending charm. Then, one stumbles upon Warsaw and is often hit with the cold shower of ugly architecture and the lack of so called historical atmosphere.
The interesting thing is that after a while one can sympathize with this sad city because aren’t most of us sort of misplaced and not always put together? This capital city, behind its gray walls, hides the power and strength of Poland. After all, it is here where the opportunities are, it is here where the money is, and finally it is here, where most Polish youth at some point wants to end up if wanting to be successful.
I am going to live in Warsaw for 4 months and I must admit that I am scared of that city. In the same time, I have many great friends and relatives that are from there and love it dearly. They claim that Warsaw has a lot to offer and that it is open to everyone. We are taught not to judge a book by its cover; thus, I truly believe we should apply this idea to Warsaw as well.


  • At July 26, 2004 at 9:33 PM, Blogger PTJ said…

    Cities in general, I think, are kind of "misplaced and not always put together." Urban settings stand out from their surroundings principally by breaking with the more traditional form of life constitutive of those settings, so in a way it always looks and feels out of place. Plus, it's completely and obviously "man-made" -- not that a traditional village like the place we stayed in Zacopane isn't, but the sheer amount of "nature" around makes the human-constructed part of the environment look and feel less detached.

    And the association between cities and money is also a traditional one, since serious marketplaces generally didn't take place inside of villages. Urban migration is all about looking for more opportunities, and those are generally afforded by the looser social environment of the city. The real question, though, is whether all of the Polish youth who make the migration will stay in Warsaw after they've made their millions. Will you?


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