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Warsaw's 10 Unmissable Events And Festivals In Summer 2014
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Warsaw's 10 Unmissable Events And Festivals In Summer 2014

Picture of A. J. Samuels
Updated: 9 February 2017
Forget Kraków, it’s Poland’s capital city of Warsaw where many of the country’s best cultural events are happening this summer. Warsaw has developed to become one of Europe’s most exciting cities; with lively music, theater and art scenes. From opera to art and literature to music, read on to find out about ten of the best summer events taking place across the city over July and August 2014.
Warsaw
Warsaw | © Russell Yarwood/ Flickr

Music | Musical Gardens Festival

Until July 19, 2014

Taking place on the grounds of the Royal Castle in Warsaw every year, the 14th Musical Gardens Festival is undoubtedly one of the highlights of Warsaw’s summer season, with events taking place throughout July. Each year the festival embraces a different theme, and in 2014 it is the music and culture of Italy. Concerts, operas, ballets, films and performances include many Italian past masters such as Puccini, Mascagni and Rossini in opera, as well as famous contemporary cellist and composer Giovanni Sollima. Musical and dance performances including Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, Erwin Schrott’s Rojotango and Midsummer Night’s Dream, choreographed by Isadora Weiss, as well as a plethora of documentary and artistic films which capture Italy’s history, culture and music. This festival is certainly not one to be missed.

Musical Gardens Festival, Royal Castle, Plac Zamkowy 4, 00-277 Warszawa, Poland, +48 (22) 839 54 67

Royal Castle, Warsaw
Royal Castle, Warsaw | © sfu/WikiCommons

Performing Arts | International Street Arts Festival

June 28 — July 6, 2014

An event which has been growing steadily since its birth in 1993, the International Street Arts Festival is now a staple of the Warsaw summer calendar. Taking place in an array of venues around the city, such as theaters, parks and other public spaces, the festival often consists of various street performances in dance, contemporary theater, music, circus acts and film. The aim is to foster cultural exchange throughout Europe and to shape the dynamics of artistic life in Warsaw. The festival particularly targets younger people or those who enjoy the alternative and avant-garde. The festival opens with a parade through the Bielany district of Warsaw and lasts for several days throughout the month of July.

Event takes place throughout Warsaw, +48 22 668 67 08

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Culture | Anniversary of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising

Until October 26, 2014

On the 1st of August 1944, around 200,000 people lost their lives in the attempt to liberate Warsaw from Nazi occupation, which was the culmination of the larger nationwide Polish resistance movement. Now remembered as one of the most important events in the history of modern Poland, every year a minute’s silence is held on its anniversary. In 2014, its 70th anniversary will be commemorated with a ceremony and exhibition in the Warsaw Uprising museum in collaboration with the Topography of Terror museum in Berlin, where the SS and Gestapo were headquartered. Archival photographs, preserved documents, as well as multimedia and interactive elements bring together the history of Warsaw’s last stand to life. Documentary films and discussions with historians will also be a part of the remembrance.

Anniversary of Warsaw Uprising, Warsaw Uprising Museum, Grzybowska 79, Warszawa, Poland, +48 22 539 79 05

Warsaw Uprising Museum
Warsaw Uprising Museum | © Adam Fagen/ Flickr

Music | Warsaw Summer Jazz Days

July 10 — 13, 2014

Warsaw Summer Jazz Days has been going on since 1992 and has grown to become one of the most prominent jazz festivals in Europe, with visitors and jazz stars from both Poland and all over the world attending the event. Taking place over a few days, most of the concerts are located within the enormous and intimidating Palace Of Culture And Science in Congress Hall, which can seat up to 2500 people. There are also fantastic, free, open-air performances in Warsaw’s Castle Square. The festival aims to promote contemporary jazz music by hosting new and up-and-coming, as well as established artists, from all over, and takes pride in adhering to its original avant-garde flavor. Tickets for concerts in Congress Hall can be expensive, but this festival is a must for jazz-lovers.

Warsaw Summer Days Jazz Festival, Palace of Culture and Science, Plac Defilad 1, 00-901 Warszawa, Poland, + 48 22 620 5072

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Music | Chopin Concerts

Until September 28, 2014

Taking place from May to September, the summer Chopin Concerts in the Royal Łazienki Park have been among Warsaw’s cultural highlights for almost 50 years. Ever since 1959, some of the world’s greatest pianists including Andrey Skibko and Christina Biorkoe have come to Warsaw to pay homage to the great composer Frederic Chopin, who grew up in Warsaw in the early 19th century. The city now proudly holds a succession of open-air concerts every Sunday afternoon at 12pm and 4pm at the foot of the monument erected in his honor. These piano concerts have become renowned cultural events throughout, not only Warsaw, but Poland, and they are always exceptionally popular with both locals and tourists. This is definitely the perfect place to bring a picnic or lounge on park benches whilst listening to exquisite music.

Chopin Concerts, Royal Lazienki Park, Ujazdów, 01-999 Warszawa, Poland, +48 22 849 32 86

Art | Center for Contemporary Art At Ujazdowski Castle

Until August 31, 2014

Housed in the beautiful 17th century Ujazdów Castle in Łazienki Park is Warsaw’s Center For Contemporary Art, founded in 1985, which hosts exhibitions of both local and international artists in sculpture, painting, alternative theater, music or film throughout the year. During the summer there are plenty of exciting exhibitions from which to choose, including Nightmares by Grzegorz Drozd, whose bizarre sculptures of wood, metal and ceramics seeks to transport visitors to somewhere in which ‘that which is collective appears as a nightmare, and that which is individual as an unbridled fantasy.’ Other summer exhibitions include the video, photography, paintings and sculptures of Photon by Norman Leto and the collaborative Slow Future by an array of different artists.

Center for Contemporary Art, Ujazdów Castle, Jazdów 2, 00-467 Warsaw, Poland, +48 22 628 12 71-73

Music | The Warsaw Mozart Festival

Until July 19, 2014

The summer Mozart Festival has been running for over 20 years, ever since the 200th anniversary of the Viennese composer’s death in 1991, and is now performed to worldwide acclaim. Every year the entirety of Mozart’s works are performed at the Warsaw Chamber Opera Theater. Shows and concerts are performed at various prestigious venues throughout the city, including the Royal Castle, the Stanislavian Theater at the Royal Łazienki Museum, and the Carmelite Church Of Our Lady Of The Assumption. The festival culminates on the 18th and 19th of July with two open-air performances of The Magic Flute in the courtyard of the Museum Of King Jan III at the Wilanów Palace. The shows utilize multimedia and performance technology, including video shows, to create what is sure to be a truly incredible spectacle. In 2014 the festival will run through June and July.

Event takes place around Warsaw, +48 22 831 22 40

Wilanów Palace
Wilanów Palace | © T. S. Smith/ Flickr

Art | Maria Papa Rostowska Exhibition At The Królikarnia

Until 21 September, 2014

The Królikarnia, translated as the ‘Rabbit House,’ was built as a historic palace in the neoclassical style and now functions as a museum and cultural space showcasing the work of Polish sculptor and artist Xawery Dunikowski. However, the gallery also plays host to numerous exhibitions of other renowned sculptors, as well as film screenings and workshops. Between June and September of 2014, it will be exhibiting the work of Maria Papa Rostowska, a prominent artist of 20th century Poland who was actively involved in resisting the Nazi occupation. She moved to France after the war where she became involved in the French avant-garde, and many of her finest pieces will now be exhibited in the museum and throughout its beautiful gardens.

Królikarnia, ul. Puławska 113a, 02-707, Warsaw, Poland, + 22 843 15 86

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Music | Jazz In The Old Town Festival

Until August 30, 2014

Jazz In The Old Town is one of the biggest and most popular jazz festivals in Poland. For 20 years the festival has been attracting thousands of visitors to its huge open-air concerts in the Old Town market square, where jazz-lovers can enjoy the exceptional jazz on offer free of charge. International jazz sensations and up-and-coming artists entertain visitors from the beginning of July up until the end of August. Past stars have included Richard Galliano, Dino Saluzzi, Archie Sheep, Marilyn Mazur, Bobo Stenson and David Murray. This year also promises some fantastic days on the square, even for those who are not yet experts on jazz.

Jazz in the Old Town, Old Town Square, Stare Miasto, Warsaw, Poland, +48 502 828 196

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Culture | Festival Of Jewish Culture

August 24 – 1 September, 2014

Throughout August every year is the huge and endlessly varied Festival Of Jewish Culture, which aims to showcase the best of Jewish culture from all over the world, connecting the tradition of pre-war Jewish culture in Poland with contemporary Jewish culture worldwide. Including all types of art, from music, theater and dance, to film, literature and the visual arts, the festival, now in its 10th year, offers visitors a wonderful opportunity to immerse themselves in the program, with workshops in activities as diverse as Jewish paper-cutting and Hebrew calligraphy. Great Jewish musicians and singers such as Tomasz Stanko, Yaacov Lemmer, Dudu Fisher and Ron Davis entertain audiences in such venues as the All Saints’ Church or the Nożyk Synagogue, and actors perform renowned shows throughout the city.

Event takes place around Warsaw, Plac Grzybowski, Warsaw, Poland. +48 22 620 30 36