A Travellerspoint blog

Warsaw Residential Neighbourhoods

Roaming around the old districts

sunny 17 °C
View Our Poland Stay on Vic_IV's travel map.

Jerusalem Avenue, Warsaw

Jerusalem Avenue, Warsaw

My wife and I had a good opportunity to explore the old residential neighbourhood – Stara Ochota and Filtry districts during my business trip to the Polish capital, when I had an appointment at my employer’s office.

A view of the Vistula from the train

A view of the Vistula from the train

We arrived to the Central Railway Station, and our exit was in John Paul II Street, right opposite the Varso Tower, which I had long wanted to see. It turns out that since February 22, 2021, this tower is the tallest building in the European Union. The tower is 1,017 ft tall (310 metres) and has 53 floors.

The Varso Tower, Warsaw

I decided to enter the skyscraper as I thought there must be an observation platform on it. As the receptionist lady explained to me, the observation platform might be open in 2025, and the entire building is a private property, hence no photography was allowed inside. OK, rules are rules.

Jerusalem Avenue, Warsaw

Jerusalem Avenue, Warsaw

I had seen Jerusalem Avenue, when we used the Central Station before. I was thinking to see it some day, and this desire came true during this visit. The Polish name of Jerusalem Avenue is in plural and sounds as “Aleje Jerozolimskie” – “Jerusalem Alleys”, which might remind you of Elysian Fields in Paris. The avenue was not called after the city of Jerusalem in the Holy Land, as I had supposed. It was called after a Jewish settlement called New Jerusalem that existed on the outskirts of the present city in the 18th century. The avenue is one of the busiest streets of the Polish capital. It runs through 11 city quarters and is 10 kilometers long.

Atlas Tower Hotel & Business Center, Jeruslem Street, Warsaw

I liked Atlas Tower, a hotel and office center, which we passed. When a local wants you to see the toi-toi of Warsaw, he/she means this building with 31 floors (among them three floors are below the ground). According to some locals (especially the city guides who think they are witty and full of humor), the white and blue façade of Atlas Tower looks like portable toilets. I did not appreciate the joke, and, of course, I would not have found the building nicknamed as “toi-toi” in Warsaw unless I had read something about it on the Internet.
We saw a number of other hotels, skyscrapers, business centers and restaurants in Jerusalem Street. The traffic is represented by city buses and trams here.

Warsaw skyscrapers / Daniel Libeskind Skyscraper at 44 Zlota Street (Golden Street), Warsaw

It was fun to see that a modern skyscraper almost completely hid the infamous Stalin era PKiN - Palace of Culture and Science. Approaching the railway sttion, we only saw the clock tower of the Moscow-styled edifice. The Central Railway Station is on the right.

PKiN hidden behind a skyscraper, Warsaw

PKiN hidden behind a skyscraper, Warsaw


Stara Ochota and Filtry
These two residential neighborhoods belong to the Ochota District. They contain several interesting housing estates developed in the interwar years. They are still very prestigious and enjoy a great popularity among the city residents.
There was heavy fighting here during World War II. We saw a memorial reminding us of the district history and the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. The memorial is called Kaliska Reduta. The iscription on the memorial plaque reads,
At this place in the 19th century, an old inn called “Desire”, one of the numerous inns surrounding the city and serving the travelers heading to Warsaw, was located.
This name was later given to the residential colony that was expanding here.
In 1919, it was incorporated into Warsaw, and in 1951 it became a Warsaw district.


Another inscription reminds us of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. The inscription reads,
During the Warsaw uprising, from August 2 until August 10, 1944, a department of the Polish Home Army insurgents under the command of Lieutenant Andrzej Chyczewski (call name "Gustav") stationed between Grojecka Street, Kopinska Steret, Białobrzeska Street and Slopecka Sttreet, defended the strategically important line in Grojecka Sttreet.
According to the history data, the scale of damage in this district was not as big as in the city center. This is one of the few areas of Warsaw, where many pre-war residents returned after the war to their own houses.

Old Desire District (Stara Ochota)

We walked along Sokrates Starynkiewicz Street past St. Aloiz Orione Church and Alfonse Grotowski Park until we reached Koszykowa Street. An old water tower attracted our attention from afar. It belongs to the Warsaw Water Filters, one of three city waterworks. The enterprise was completed in 1886. Now it is on the antiquities list. The entire area around these waterworks is called Filtry (“Filters”). The neighbourhood belongs to Ochota District (“Old Desire District”).

cd239550-ff4d-11ee-b3bd-3d48c07256f8.JPGce4a8920-ff4d-11ee-b9c8-0dc632e8a5af.JPGWarsaw Water Filters

Warsaw Water Filters

The old waterworks are located between Koszykowa, Krzywickiego, Filtrowa and Raszyńska streets. We walked along three of these streets.

Ochota Theater, Warsaw

Ochota Theater, Warsaw

You can see many charming housing estates in the streets of Filtry: Filtrowa, Dantyszka, Langiewicza and on other surrounding tiny streets. The area is very calm and green and has beautiful family houses mostly from the 1920s. Władysław Szpilman, the famous pianist shown by Roman Polański in the “Pianist” was hiding at 223 Independence Avenue (“Aleja Niepodległości»). The German officer who found him there allowed Szpilman to stay only if he played the piano for him.

Walking along Koszykowa Street, Warsaw

Walking along Koszykowa Street, Warsaw

We explored several streets of this district: Raszyńska Street, Filtrowa Street, Grójecka Street, Barska Street, Kopińska Street and Wawelska Street. We reached Narutowicz Square that is the main square of Stara Ochota District.

Narutowicz Square, Warsaw

Narutowicz Square, Warsaw

The monument to Narutowicz in the square bearing his name, Warsaw

The monument to Narutowicz in the square bearing his name, Warsaw

There is a small parl with a monument to Gabriel Narutowicz, the first president of the Polish Repiblic.


We had lunch at the pizzeria in Barska Street and enjoyed the pizzas there.


Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

We saw a nice church building from afar. It turned out to be the Church of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. We often visit the church bearing the same name in Siedlce where we are staying now.

Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Warsaw

Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Warsaw


The Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is its most significant landmark. We were attracted by the medieval look of the church and were surprised to find out the church had been designed in the 20th century. Using the modern reinforced concrete in its construction, the architect Oskar Sosnowski created architectural forms from different Polish Romanesque churches.


The construction of the church began in 1911, but it was never completed and suffered a big damage during the WWII. The tower still contains bullet traces from the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 on its western side.
The church was finally consecrated in 1960. The temple is the most outstanding work of Polish modernism. The edifice is based on historical forms of Romanesque style. The church is full of modern stained glass windows representing the country’s history and struggle and containing religious quotes and the images of outstanding Polish generals and kimgs. This is where we have seen an image of a tank inside the church. It is on one of the stained glass windows.


(left) Prosto do nieba czwórkami szli - They went straight to heaven in fours.
(right) USSR – Palestine – Africa - Italy
I myśmy szli krzyżową droga, Chryste - And we walked the Way of the Cross, Christ.


(left) Ty nas cudem powrócisz na Ojczyzný łono - You will miraculously return us to our homeland.
(right) Lorraine - Montbard - Narvik - Battle of Britain - Tobruk - Gazala - Monte Cassino - Ancona - Bologna - Falaise - Axel - Breda - Arnhem - Convoys
Za Waszą i naszą Wolność - For your and our Freedom.


(left) Kozielsk - Ostaszkow - Starobielsk.
Matko żołnierzy, których prochy rozsypano u obcej ziemi - Mother of soldiers whose ashes were scattered in a foreign land. April-May 1940
(right)Jan Kazimierz, król polski - Polish king
Gen. Władysław Sikorski
Ciebie za Patronke i Królowa Państw moich obieram. - I choose you as the Patroness and Queen of my country.


(left) Gen. Michal Tokarzewski “Torwid”
Gen. Stefan Rowecki “Grot”
Któraś jest dana ku obronie narodu naszego. - Some are devoted for the defence of our nation.
(right)Ofiara jedna tylko wzlała nad kurhany. A lampa jest narodu Duch Ofiarowany - Only one sacrifice flies above the barrows, and the lamp is the Sacrificial Spirit of the people.
Wawer Skły Gałki - Pawiak Aleja Szucha Palmiry - Michniow - Ponary - Warsaw Ghetto - Łukiszki Fort VII in Poznań - Montelupich Zamość Rotunda - Lublin Castle Lockego prison - Radogoszcz


(left) Nie rzucim ziemi skąd nasz ród - We will not leave the land where we come from.
(right) Gen.Tadeusz Komorowski “Bor”
Jak kamienie przez Boga rzucane na szaniec - Like stones thrown by God on a rampart.


(left) Nie daj się zwyciężyć złu. lecz zło dobrem zwyciężaj – Do not let evil overcome you, let evil be overcome by good.
(right) Matko tułaczy i wygnańców, którzy szlakiem bojowym doszli do Berlina - Mother of the wanderers and the exiles, who reached Berlin along the battle trail.


Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko - Zło dobrem zwyciężaj - Overcome evil with good./Pope John Paul II/Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński


There are many interesting modernist apartment houses in this area, especially along the streets: Akademicka, Grójecka, Mochnackiego, Glogera, Wawelska and Mianowskiego. This area contains more residential buildings and fewer family houses than Filtry Neighbourhood.

The Aviator Monument, Warsaw

The Aviator Monument, Warsaw

We passed the well-known Aviator Monument (Polish: Pomnik Lotnika). I found out that this monument was designed by Edward Wittig in honor of Franciszek Żwirko and Stanisław Wigura, two aviation heroes of Poland. The present monument constructed in 1967 is a reconstruction of the original monument that was unveiled in 1932 in Union of Lublin Square and destroyed in 1944. The monument stands in the middle of the roundabout at Wawelska Street and Raszyńska Street. The six-meter bronze cast statue weighs five tonnes. The front face of the nine-meter tall pedestal made from the Silesian granite contains a carving of the Polish Air Force checkerboard. The aviator statue is facing Żwirki i Wigury Street - the street called in honor of the aviation heroes of Poland.


We also relaxed in Maria Skłodowska-Curie Park. The park contains a life-sized statue of the famous scientist. The park itself is across the street from the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Institute of Oncology (formerly the Radium Institute), whose foundation stone was laid by Skłodowska-Curie herself in 1925. Upon its completion seven years later she donated a gram of radium for research purposes.


We should bear in mind here that in order to get 0.1g of radium, several tonnes of uranium ore has to be mined. Maria Skłodowska Curie Park is a great place to sit and relax thinking about great scientists who changed the world.


Posted by Vic_IV 20:48 Archived in Poland Tagged warsaw; stara ochota; filtry;

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


Thanks. Great post

by djscooterman

Thanks, fellow traveler! I could not help sharing some insights about this great city...Happy trails!

by Vic_IV

So interesting. Warsaw is definitely worth the visit!

by Ils1976

We both really love Warsaw and it's nice to see a bit away from the tourist centre in your post. It's such an interesting city with a very sad history.

by irenevt

Hello, Ils! You are right. We want to visit the city more and more.

by Vic_IV

That's true, Irene. We always have to learn some history when travellig... Especially if this country is our good neighbour.

by Vic_IV

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.