A Window into Poland: The Best Webcams of Polish Towns & Cities
#travel in poland
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The Best Webcams of Polish Towns & Cities, Łódź, photo: https://go.toya.net.pl, center, lodz_toya_www.jpg
The current epidemic means that those wishing to visit Poland might have to wait a little while to be able to experience what the country has to offer. But fear not: Culture.pl is bringing you the best webcams from towns and cities across Poland, so you can see exactly what we love about the place. And – because so many are now working from home – most of the places featured below are now emptier of tourists than they’ll ever be again, giving you even more of a reason to explore…
Warsaw Old Town Square
This webcam by Stereomania offers a window-ledge view of Warsaw’s famous Old Town market square. It spans from the Zakrzewski side, across the square to the Dekert Side, where the Museum of Warsaw is located.
The live feed, which updates every few seconds, gives a picture-perfect snapshot of the Old Town – even if, at the moment, the square is mostly empty of people. Usually, you’d even see a straggler or two in the early hours of the morning.
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In winter, the square is decked in Christmas lights and decorations, with the small wooden stalls of a traditional Christmas market surrounding a popular ice rink. As the first tourists trickle into the square in spring, horse-drawn carriages can be seen ambling across the cobbles. But by summer, it erupts in life: the sunlight catches on the vibrant colours of the townhouses, as the square expands outwards with sprawling cafes, the sound of street musicians and bustling crowds filling the air.
Kraków Old Town
Think of the best-loved place to visit in Poland, and the chances are you’ll be thinking of Kraków’s vast market square, in the shadow of the iconic, uneven towers of St Mary’s Basilica.
This webcam from the Hotel Wentzl gives you just that, from the comfort of your own home. With a sweeping view across to the Basilica, the camera shows an area which – on any other occasion – would be teeming with tourists and city dwellers peddling souvenirs, the square edged with endless café tables.
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Kraków’s Old Town is famous for its immaculate and original architecture: it was one of the only places in Poland which was not ravaged by war, making its magnificent architecture that extra bit special.
But now, only the odd pedestrian can be seen – far from admiring the view, they’re quickly hurrying along to their destination.
Gdańsk Old Town
The Gdańsk Old Town webcam surveys the Stara Motława River and the Rybackie Pobrzeże (Fishing Embankment), swivelling to take in a riverside panorama of dinky, pastel-coloured tenement houses. It also shows the Crane – one of the most well-known symbols of the city – and the burly Mariacka Gate. Beyond, the jaunty cranes of the Gdańsk shipyard can also be seen against a spectacularly vast cobalt-blue sky.
Gdańsk is popular with tourists, with the quaint area around the Rybackie Pobrzeże offering tidy cafés and pop-up souvenir shops, as well as cultural venues, including the National Maritime Museum and Polish Baltic Philharmonic concert hall.
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Now, the water sparkles in the sunlight, as the streets lie empty. Only the ceaseless ripples of the river, and the occasional vivacious seagull, can be seen.
Łódź – Manufaktura
The rust-coloured Manufaktura complex in industrial Łódź was once the location of a series of textile factories – but in the present day, crowds bustle around the area for a completely different reason. The complex, still retaining its traditional industrial architecture, is now home to an arts centre, shopping mall and leisure centre, as well as cafés and restaurants hosting cultural and sporting events.
But today, the square looks mostly vacant. The only regular movement is a flitting picture on a giant TV screen, affixed to one of the walls. The odd pedestrian walks purposefully from one side of the complex to the other, and a few cars can be seen whizzing by in the distance.
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Basking in the spring sunshine, and next to gentle waves which lap the coast, the Gdynia Boulevard should be lively on a day like today. Only a short walk from the popular city beach, the 1.5-kilometre boulevard juts between the Kamienna Góra hill and the Baltic Sea, with restaurants, cafes and tourist attractions close by. It’s a place where the noise of the city abates; where tourists and residents can amble towards the beach at Redłowa, further down the coast; where sports enthusiasts can get their fix with a run or cycle.
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Now, the only movement is the waves. Occasionally, someone strolling with a pram, or a cyclist or dog walker, will appear on the path. They stop at the wall, gaze towards the sea for a little while, and then move on.
Poznań Old Town Square
Poznań Old Town Square, which fringes the city’s distinct rainbow-coloured tenement houses, is an oft-overlooked jewel of Poland’s architectural treasures. Packed with history, it still draws in its fair share of tourists, although nowadays, the square is almost empty.
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From the bird’s-eye view of the camera, perched in one corner, you can see a row of tenement houses on one side of the square receding into the distance. Polish flags flutter in the breeze from the doorway of the stocky Museum of the Wielkopolska Uprising, slotted in like a toy building next to the equally characterful red-roofed Weigh House. Behind is the intricately designed, fairytale-like Town Hall, which now contains the comprehensive Historical Museum of Poznań, and at the forefront of the picture is the dramatic Neptune Fountain, one of four fountains in the square, which was erected in 2004 to replace a long-lost original.
Lublin – Litewski Square
Lublin’s sprawling Litewski Square could be called the city’s epicentre, surrounded by expansive palaces, picked out in glowing peach and cream. Lublin is certainly off the Polish tourist trail, but Litewski Square could rival any European city plaza. Unfurling with open space and trimmed in verdant greenery, the square finds its purpose in the summer months, when tourists stack on the steps surrounding the fountain, feet splashing in the water.
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The camera view is of the square’s distinctly leaf-shaped focal point, capped with the striking fountain. The water feature is dry today, though, with only a few lonesome walkers strolling across the paths. Birds flit towards the trees around the square, but everything else is still.
Białystok – Kościuszko Square
Białystok’s Kościuszko Market Square, in the shadow of the neo-Gothic Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is a charming, soft-hued centre of the northeastern Polish city. The vast square is named after Tadeusz Kościuszko, the legendary Polish national hero and freedom fighter who led an uprising in 1794 against the partitioning forces.
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Usually dotted with café tables, Kościuszko Square sparkles with life in summer, when residents and tourists amble into its eateries and shops. At its centre is the popular Museum of Podlasie – the apparent location of the camera. The two bulky wings of the building clamp down on the expanding square, which rolls towards the Basilica. Glittering in the sunshine, shining letters spelling out ‘#Białystok’ are propped up around the city fountain in the distance – but there’s no one to take Instagram pictures today.
Warsaw City Centre
The webcam overlooking Defilad Square shows a view of the bustling heart of Warsaw. The camera looks across to the Palace of Culture and Science, also taking in the Central Station, as well as one of Warsaw’s main thoroughfares, Jerozolimskie Avenue.
Cars still trundle up and down the capital’s streets, but the place does have an eerie sense of emptiness. There are no tourist buses parked around the Palace of Culture, and few people are venturing outside. In the centre, by the Złote Tarasy shopping mall, a vast television screen plays to an empty audience.
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But the lofty buildings around the square are still intact; the trees and flowers beneath still bloom; and some vestiges of human life still trickle along. A view into this Poland, though emptier than before, can still make an impression.
Written by Juliette Bretan, 23 Mar 2020