The other Praga

Praga PoloniCult

Those who visit Warsaw for the first time may not know it, but the Polish capital used to be two distinct towns, just like Budapest. Whereas the districts on the western bank of river Vistula include the UNESCO protected old town of Stare Miasto as well as the most important landmarks of the civil, political and religious power plus the magnificent Łazienki Park, along the eastern bank there’s Praga. Yes, written precisely that way. No relation with the Czech capital of Prague, though. Historical sources mention the settlement of Praga for the first time in the 15th century, but only in 1791 the town becomes a district of Warsaw. Formerly a suburb inhabited by many Jewish people, formerly a workers district, formerly (or still) an area with a bad reputation, today is hard to stick a label to this part of Warsaw. Theoretically speaking 21st century Praga is a huge area whose western border is the Vistula river and whose northern and southern limit are two bridges: Toruński and Siekierkowski. However, the actual Praga is much smaller and divided in two districts: Praga Połnoc (North) and Praga Południe (South) encompassed by two other bridges: Gdański  and Łazienkowski. Of course, this being Warsaw, there are further subdivisions such as Stara (Old) and Nowa (New) Praga, Saska Kępa and Szmulowizna, but let’s not split hairs now.

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