Warsaw

ABOUT THE CITY

In Warsaw, you can see clearly how the city is taking full advantage of the tremendous and unique opportunities arising from the emergence of free market and the development of democracy. It has the big city character you’d expect of a capital, and a skyline to prove it – one that’s dominated by modern skyscrapers and the Gotham City-like Palace of Culture.

Warsaw, Poland’s capital is one of the fastest growing cities in Europe. Warsaw has a booming economy almost free of unemployment. It offers an attractive business environment with a full range of modern business services and well-trained professionals familiar with western standards.

A city with a population of nearly 2 million, is the country’s largest university and research center with an enormous and highly skilled workforce.  Foreigners working here appreciate good working conditions and a favorable attitude of the people of Warsaw.   There’s no escaping the fast pace of business, sophisticated nightlife and elegant dining, but be sure to visit Old Town, rebuilt to perfection after the ravages of wars.

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    Overview

    Population 1,700,536 (Jul 2006)

    Area code +48 22

    Postal code 00-001 to 04-999

    Electricity

    Electricity outlets: 220 volts – 50 Hz AC. Two-pin standard European plugs will fit all outlets. You will need adapters and transformers.

    Time Zone

    The definition for time zones can be written in short form as UTC±n (or GMT±n), where n is the offset in hours. Here is an example given the local time in Warsaw and New York City at 12:00 UTC when daylight saving time is not in effect:

    Warsaw Standard Time Zone: GMT/UTC + 1:00 hour = 1:00pm

    NYC Standard Time Zone: GMT/UTC – 05:00 hour = 7:00am

    Warsaw is on Central European Time and does observe Day light Savings time.  Warsaw is 6 hours ahead of New York City.

    Click Here For Warsaw Climate

    History

    The first fortified settlements on the site of today’s Warsaw were Bródno (9th/10th century) and Jazdów (12th/13th century). After Jazdów was raided in 1281 by Boleslaus II, the Duke of P³ock, a new similar settlement was lodged on the grounds of a small fishing village called Warszowa. In the beginning of the 14th century it became one of the seats of the Dukes of Masovia, in 1413 becoming the capital of Masovia.

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    Economy

    Warsaw, especially its downtown (Œródmieœcie), is home not only to many national institutions and government agencies, but also to many domestic and international companies. In 2003, 268,307 companies were registered in the city. Warsaw is seen as the heart of Poland by foreign investors, whose financial participation in the city’s development was estimated in 2002 at over 650 million euro. Warsaw produces more than 15% of Poland’s national income. The GDP (PPP) per capita in Warsaw was about $28,000 in 2005.

    Although Warsaw was home to a stock exchange since 1817, in 1945, because of political changes after World War II, it could not be recreated. It only started operating again in April 1991, after the reintroduction of the free-market economy and democracy.

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    Phone Numbers

    011 is the international prefix used to dial somewhere outside of U.S.A., when placing the call in the US.

    001 is the international prefix used to dial somewhere outside of Poland, when placing the call in Poland

    48 is the international code used to dial to Poland.

    22 is the local area or city code used to dial to Warsaw.

    Emergency phone numbers

    997 – police

    998 – fire

    999 – ambulance

    112 – mobile phone emergency number

    981 – road assistance

    Fast Facts

    Population 1,700,536 (Jul 2006)

    Area code +48 22

    Postal code 00-001 to 04-999

    Electricity

    Electricity outlets: 220 volts – 50 Hz AC. Two-pin standard European plugs will fit all outlets. You will need adapters and transformers.

    Time Zone

    The definition for time zones can be written in short form as UTC±n (or GMT±n), where n is the offset in hours. Here is an example given the local time in Warsaw and New York City at 12:00 UTC when daylight saving time is not in effect:

    Warsaw Standard Time Zone: GMT/UTC + 1:00 hour = 1:00pm

    NYC Standard Time Zone: GMT/UTC – 05:00 hour = 7:00am

    Warsaw is on Central European Time and does observe Day light Savings time.  Warsaw is 6 hours ahead of New York City.

    By Car

    There are fewer cars in Poland than in the West, though enough of them to create traffic jams in all the major cities. If you’re planning a trip into the heart of the countryside, be patient. Especially as the main routes are also becoming increasingly congested. This is due both to Poles’ fascination with cars as well as the country’s transit status. Almost every lorry, which crosses Europe, from East to West and back, passes through Poland. It is necessary therefore to get used to the large number of lorries on the not very wide roads. For your own safety it is better not to race them and to expect average speeds lower than on roads in the EU. Apart from that, drivers who break the speed limit risk a roadside encounter with the numerous highway patrol police. Fines are heavy and can significantly raise the cost of visiting Poland.

    Intercity and Euro city trains link all the main towns and cities in Poland. It is therefore worth weighing up the pros and cons of buying a train ticket and getting to your destination in half the time a car journey would take. This is especially true of weekend journeys, when traffic both inward-bound as well as out of town can get really heavy.

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    Public Transportation

    Bus

    The bus stop for buses arriving from the city is located on the Departures Hall level, whereas the bus stop for buses departing to the city is located on the Arrivals Hall level. The bus tickets may be bought at the press stands in Terminal 1 and Etiuda and from bus drivers (at additional charge).  Bus service covers the entire city, with 176 routes.

    Metro

    Warsaw Metro (Polish: Metro Warszawskie)

    www.metro.waw.pl

    The Warsaw Metro is one of Europe’s newest metro systems and Poland’s first. It was opened in 1995 and consists of a single north-south line, still partly under construction that links central Warsaw with its densely populated southern suburbs. Plans exist for further lines once the first is complete.

    Train

    The main train station is Warszawa Centralna. Both the domestic and the international connections run from there to almost every major city in Poland and Europe. There are also 5 additional major train stations and a number of smaller stations for suburban lines.

    Air Transportation

    Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport (WAW)

    +48 (22) 650 42 20

    www.lotnisko-chopina.pl/?lang=en

    Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport is located in the Okêcie borough of Warsaw, 10km south-west of the city centre.  It was formerly called Okêcie International Airport. Named after Poland’s famous composer Frédéric Chopin, it is the country’s largest airport.  The construction of a second terminal to deal with rising traffic is currently underway. The addition of Terminal 2 will triple the airport’s capacity.

    Taxi

    Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport recommends the services of three taxi companies:

    Merc Taxi

    +48 (22) 677 77 77

    MPT Radio Taxi

    +48 (22) 9191

    Sawa Taxi

    +48 (22) 644 44 44

    Mindful of your safety, it is advised that you do not use unlicensed taxi carriers which offer their services in the Arrivals Hall of Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport.

    Municipal bus service (MZA) operate seven days a week from early morning until late evening hours between the airport and Warsaw center and the right river bank part of the city.

    Newspapers

    The Warsaw Voice

    64 Ksiêcia Janusza St.

    01-452 Warszawa, Poland

    +48 (22) 335 97 00

    www.wvmarketing.pl

    English weekly newspaper

    Warsaw Business Journal

    ul. Elblaska 15/17

    01-747 Warsaw, Poland

    +48 (22) 639-8567

    The Warsaw Business Journal is the leading international business publication in Poland. Published in English, it covers all aspects of business, law, real estate, economics and politics in all major cities in Poland.

    Radio

    Polskie Radio Online

    www.radio.com.pl

    Broadcasting since 1925 in Warsaw, in English and Polish.

    The Arts

    National Theatre (Narodowy)

    pl. Teatralny 3

    Warsaw, Poland

    +48 (22) 6920610

    www.narodowy.pl

    Teatr Wielki

    Plac Teatralny 1

    00-950 Warszawa, Poland

    +48 (22) 692 02 00

    www.teatrwielki.pl

    Warsaw Philharmonic Hall

    ul. Jasna 5

    Warsaw, Poland

    +48 (22) 551 71 11

    www.filharmonia.pl

    Warsaw is perhaps the most famous for several buildings from modern history. Apart from the Palace of Culture and Science, a Soc-realist skyscraper located exactly in the city center, the Stadion Dziesiêciolecia which is the biggest market in Europe also attracts many tourists. For those who seek dramatic contrasts the borough of Central Praga is often the best choice. Called by the Varsovians the Bermuda Triangle for high crime rate, it is a place where almost completely demolished houses stand right next to modern apartment buildings and shopping malls. Also a Constitution Square with its monumental surrealistic architecture should be mentioned.

    Warsaw Sports

    Legia Warszawa

    £azienkowska 3,

    00-449 Warszawa

    +48 (22) 621 83 36

    http://legia.com/

    Legia is widely regarded as one of the most successful Polish football clubs in history and has further emerged as the Ekstraklasa Premier League champion for the 2005/2006 season.

    Polonia Warszawa

    ul Konwiktorska 7

    +48 (22) 635 16 18

    www.wielkapolonia.pl

    Polish sports club with football and basketball teams

    Shopping

    Arkadia

    ul. Jana Paw³a II 82

    Warsaw, Poland

    +48 (22) 331 34 00

    http://www.arkadia.com.pl/

    180 shops, 20 restaurants and fast food joints and a 15-screen cinema. Pretty much every brand name shop, Polish and European, can be found under Arkadia’s massive roof.

    Janki Shopping Centre

    ul. Mszczonowska 3

    Warsaw, Poland

    +48 (22) 711 30 00

    www.chjanki.pl

    your best bet for a quality shopping experience will undoubtedly be Centrum Janki. With 75,000 square meters of shopping and dining, as well as a Cinema City inside, you’re likely to spend a whole afternoon or evening under its roof. The centre features the usual large stores like H&M, Reserved, Smyk, and Empik, as well as many smaller brand stores, and is open on weekends.

    Zlote Tarasy

    Ul. Zlota 59

    Warsaw, Poland

    +48 (22) 222 00 00

    www.zlotetarasy.pl

    Zlote Tarasy has got almost any other shopping centre beat – from the moon crater-like roof which opens its view to central Warsaw, to its perfect location right smack in the middle of the city. The shops inside are of the normal European shopping centre variety – from H&M to a giant Saturn – but you don’t have to come for the shopping, the views are enough to satisfy any aesthete.

    Compulsory Education

    American School of Warsaw

    +48 (22) 702 85 00

    www.asw.waw.pl

    Founded in 1953 and accredited in 1987 by the European Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, ASW opened its doors to a new multi-school complex in 2001, which now features state of the art computer and science labs, indoor swimming facilities, sound and recording studios, and an all-weather-turf sports field.

    Higher Education

    Warsaw is one of the most important education centers of Poland. It is home to four major universities and over 62 smaller schools of higher education. The most important are:

    Warsaw University of Technology (Politechnika Warszawska)

    Pl. Politechniki 1

    00-661 Warsaw, Poland

    +48 (22) 660 72 11

    www.pw.edu.pl/english

    Warsaw University of Technology is a research intense, doctoral level academic institution focused on undergraduate and graduate programs almost exclusively in engineering and applied sciences.  With over thirty thousand students served by over two thousand professors and instructors, Warsaw University of Technology is the largest and the highest ranking engineering university in Poland.

    The origins of Politechnika Warszawska – Warsaw University of Technology – date back to 1826, the official commencement of educational programs in engineering in our institution.   There are seventeen departments/faculties covering almost all fields of engineering and applied science. Sixteen of these faculties are based on two urban campuses in the capital city of Warsaw, and one faculty in the ancient city of P³ock in north-central Poland.

    Warsaw School of Economics (Szko³a G³ówna Handlowa)

    Aleja Niepodleg³oœci 162

    02-554 Warsaw, Poland

    +48 (22) 564 60 00

    www.sgh.waw.pl

    Warsaw School of Economics (WSE) is the oldest economic university in Poland. It is also considered to be the most prestigious. It was founded in 1906 as a private school under the name of August Zieliñski Private Trade Courses for Men. Today Warsaw School of Economics offers course leading to Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees to both full-time and extra-mural students. It also offers doctoral and Postgraduate Programs.

    Warsaw Agricultural University (Szko³a G³ówna Gospodarstwa Wiejskiego)

    ul. Nowoursynowska 161

    02-787 Warszawa, Poland

    +48 (22) 593 10 20

    www.sggw.waw.pl

    Warsaw Agricultural University (SGGW) is the oldest agricultural academic school in Poland, its history dates back to 1816. At present, the university consists of 11 faculties and 6 interfaculty units; there are 25,000 students enrolled. They can choose from 23 disciplines and 61 specialties. The research and education covers the entire field of agriculture related sciences.

    Warsaw University (Uniwersytet Warszawski)

    Krakowskie Przedmiescie 26/28

    00-927 Warszawa

    (+48) 22 552 00 00

    www.uw.edu.pl/en

    Warsaw University, founded in 1816 is the biggest and the most respected university in Poland. With its international focus, it offers quality education in the heart of Europe.

    Dining

    Polish cuisine has elements taken from the cooking traditions of the many national groups that lived in the country side by side for centuries, notably the Jews, Ukrainians, Belarussians and Lithuanians. There are also some Russian, German, Czech and Austrian influences as well as dishes from more distant regions: Italy, France and the Middle East.

    One Polish specialty is a profusion of excellent smoked meats, especially sausage (kie³basa), very popular throughout the world, made after traditional recipes and smoked over juniper or fruit-tree twigs. Try kie³basa myœliwska with juniper berries and kie³basa lisiecka with a number of spices including garlic. You’ll be delighted by the cured and smoked hams, poultry, pork and beef fillets, and bacons. Equally delectable are Polish pâtés made from a variety of meats including game.

    Poland is renowned for its multifarious types of delicious bread: white, brown, wholemeal, with raisins, prunes, sesame seeds, poppy seed…

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    Currency & Banking

    Currency (code):   zloty (PLN)

    Zlotych per US dollar:

    3.1100 (2006)

    3.2355 (2005)

    3.6576 (2004)

    The Polish obligatory currency is the polish zloty (PLN). From the years of system transformation, the PLN holds relatively stable course of dollar and euro. On the market there are banknotes with nominals: 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 PLN, and coins: 1, 2 and 5 PLN, and also 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 gr. The Grosz is one hundredth of zloty.  Zlotych is the plural form of zloty.

    The most safe place to exchange currencies is a bank, although they offer lower prices than others, and some of them may charge fees (about 2-3% per transaction). Banks are open from Monday to Friday (average 9.00 to 17.00), and some of them on Saturdays (till 13.00). Better rates are offered in currency exchange offices.

    Embassy & Visa

    American Citizen Services Unit (ACS)

    ACS Section

    ul. Piekna 12

    00-540 Warsaw

    The ACS units at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, the U.S. Consulate General in Krakow, and the U.S. Consular Agency in Poznan offer a range of services to citizens of the United States who are living or traveling in Poland.

    Emergencies:

    In case of an emergency, you may contact the ACS section directly during normal working hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) at +48 (22) 504 27 84. Outside of normal working hours, please call +48 (22) 504-20 00 and ask to speak to the Embassy Duty Officer.

    Visa

    Embassy of The Republic of Poland in Washington, D.C.

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    Healthcare

    Health care in Poland is financed by a central state budget created to protect health, the National Health Fund (NFZ). A health premium, alongside with a social insurance premium, are obliged to be paid for on-going work, i.e. Those insured in the National Health Service have the right to medical care which ensures health protection, disease and contusions prevention, early detection of illnesses as well as preventing disability it.

    Thus those foreigners employed in Poland have almost the entire range of medical services ensured, alongside with specialist hospital treatment, surgical operations and stays in sanatoria. Medical insurance also covers emergency medical care, which ensures transportation to hospital.

    As well as foreigners who have to pay a medical health insurance and can use the services of the state health service because they are employed on work contracts or work on assignment, there is another category that can choose whether they want to enter the health service fund.

    Alongside public health care centers in Poland are private health centers. Especially in the bigger cities, there are medical doctors of almost all specialties as well as clinics where specialist surgeries and operations can be performed.

    Taxes

    U.S. Tax Information

    Internal Revenue Service

    P.O. Box 920

    Bensalem, PA 19020

    (215) 516-2000 (not toll-free)

    Phone service available from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm (EST) M-F

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office serving Poland is located in Philadelphia, and provides U.S. Federal tax assistance to Americans in Poland.

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    Etiquette

    Polish people find a successful family life is the most important value. (Poland has one of the lowest divorce rates in Europe.)

    They believe that official business meetings are to solve problems – therefore they are used to directness, they do not avoid difficult issues, which is sometimes perceived as lack of politeness, while it results from pragmatic approach to management.

    Timeliness and punctuality are very important for Polish managers, but they are not overly sensitive about it.

    Answering mobile phones during a meeting is perceived as impolite (although much depends on the situational context).

    Warsaw Utilities

    Water and Sewage

    www.mpwik.com.pl

    The responsibility for water supply and sewage infrastructure lies with the municipal Water and Sewage Enterprises, which usually take the form of public utility companies, belonging to local governments. When planning an investment, one should apply to the relevant enterprise, to obtain technical conditions for water supply and sewage services, and to sign an agreement.

    Electric power

    Distribution of electric power is the responsibility of local energy companies. In order to be connected to the power grid, one must apply in the relevant (in terms of location) company and sign an agreement of power supply. The price of connection depends on technical conditions. As to energy sources as such, tariffs are proposed by the units selling the power, but they must be confirmed by the Energy Regulatory Office. In case of a bigger customer, it is possible to buy the energy in the free market (in such case the energy company is just a distributor, nevertheless collecting the transmission fee).

    Natural Gas

    www.gazziemny.pl

    The biggest supplier of natural gas, for both business and individual customers, is a joint-stock company Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA (PGNiG). Connections to gas network lie within the responsibility of local gas enterprises (Zaklad Gazowniczy, ZG), or Regional Transmission Branches (Regionalny Oddzia³ Przesy³u, ROP). In order to be connected to the gas network, one must apply in the relevant ZG for conditions of connection to the network, then sign the agreement of connection (which includes the agreed price of connection), and finally the agreement of gas supply.

    In the cities, it is usually possible to connect to the municipal central heating network. The required procedures are very similar to power grid connection procedures.

    Postal Service

    Poczta Polska

    www.poczta-polska.pl

    Polish Post is the State provider of postal services. It was split from telecommunications in 1992 and has the status of a State-owned public utility enterprise with a monopoly over reserved service provision and universal service obligations. Non-reserved services include (licensed) courier services and (unlicensed) non-addressed items and parcels.