Architect, author of the book Shadow Architecture (www.olawasilkowska.com)
Warsaw is now…
Blooming. More than 25 years after gaining freedom, Varsovians are more aware and more critical. We know that modernity is not just about shiny skyscrapers, stadiums and new cars bought on credit. We want to develop fairly. We want to be close to the vegetable shop, we want the best theaters and galleries. We are fighting for affordable housing, new bike paths and clean air. We are building local centers in each district and we have civic budgets. We don’t like to be compared to Berlin – our temperament is decidedly Slavic. Recently, we are more frequently attending demonstrations because we know the history of Warsaw and we know just how quickly we can lose everything.
Your favorite place in Warsaw?
I love the bike path on the wild, right side of the Vistula and the beaches by Gruba Kaśka (read: Fat Kate), so down by the municipal water tratment plant. But, I absolutely adore all of Warsaw’s bazaars. The oldest is Bazaar Różyckiego (North Praga district), the most cosmopolitan is the Bakalarska flea market (Włochy district) and the youngest is ZOO Market (North Praga district). You can get vegetables at the Okulska Bazaar (Mokotów district) or at Hala Mirowska (Center). For rare finds, go to Koło flea market (Wola district), and when I have more time, I go to Olimpia (Wola district). For a coffee and for books, I go to Wrzenia Świata.
And where would you send visitors?
To Różycki bazaar. It’s the oldest functioning bazaar in Warsaw. It was founded over 100 years ago by a renowned Praga entrepreneur and philanthropist, Julian Różycki. Hpefully the planned revitalization of Pragawill help it regain it’s full glory. Next to the bazaar, you’ll find the Museum of Praga, a great milk bar and a few interesting craft workshops.