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Euro 2012: what to see in Poland's host cities

travel Updated: May 23, 2012 19:38 IST
AFP
AFP
Highlight Story

As first-time hosts of football's Euro tournament, running June 8 to July 1, Poland and Ukraine are preparing to welcome millions of visitors to their respective countries. Poland's four major cities -- Warsaw, Gdansk, Poznan and Wroclaw -- will be the site of numerous matches. A short guide on the cities' top tourist sites.

Warsaw
The capital of Poland, with a population of 1.7 million, is the largest city in the country (517 sq km). Its historic symbol is its mermaid momnument, that can also be seen on the logo chosen by the town for the Euro. According to legend, the statue is "the sister" monument to the famous mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark. Among the city's top attractions are the Palace of Culture and Science - a skyscraper erected bewtween 1952 and 1955. Tourists can also stroll in the park of the Royal Baths and admire the Palace on the Water, one of the residences of the last king of Poland, Stanisław August Poniatowski who reigned until 1795.

Gdansk

Poland's main port, Gdansk is home to 456,000 residents, spread across 262 square kilometers. The fountain of Neptune is the city's top tourist attraction, as well as the basis of the city's logo and a one-time pilgrimage site for sailors. Tourists can also visit the Golden Gate, built in the 17th century and walk (or take a river cruise) along the Motlawa, which flows across 64 kilometers.

Poznan

Located in western Poland, Poznan is known for its historic market square. This crossroads of medieval trade is not far from the City Hall, which is also a tourist site for its Renaissance-era building. In contrast, the Andersia tower, in the business district, is a testament to the country's modernization efforts. The steel and glass office building rises 84 meters.

Wroclaw
Described as Poland's answer to Venice, Wroclaw is located in the southwest region of the country. With the Oder and its four tributaries running through it, it is made up of 12 islands, connected by more than a hundred bridges. Its colorful central marketplace is the city's most popular tourist site.