Muranów Prowl Muranów Prowl

Today? In a word, glorious. So it’s not meant to officially start till next weekend, but Sunday presented a sneak snapshot of spring that was just too good to miss – at one stage it felt like the whole of Warsaw was on the streets. Might as well join them, I figured, if for no other reason than to escape the determined drilling from my neighbor’s flat.

I’m up in Muranów, a place I once used to think of as a bit of a no-man’s land: a decaying sea of broken concrete. Slowly – achingly so at times – the district is reviving itself; an area that once looked like some dank, Orwellian nightmare is in the process of being humanized, and these efforts manifest themselves in the form of vibrant murals that pop from the walls. Take this one on ul. Lewartowskiego 2: painted onto the side of a primary school, it commemorates the children who participated in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising.

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A little further on, deep inside a residential development, find two rock gardens sitting incongruently amid the usual backyard mess of Warsaw. Tended – and indeed protected – by the habitants of the nearby block, they’re eye-opening, cute, weird and completely unexpected…

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Yep, that’s three toy dinosaurs…

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And why not add a fluffy kitten and a dog with big eyes?

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“Don’t forget the crocodile,” you imagine someone shouting…

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Back on Stawki, and a reminder of the future face of Muranów – completed in 2010, the Trio Apartment block is a stunning example of what happens when architects get it right.

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That’s not the only building that stops you in your tracks: round the corner, the Gdański Business Center. Plopped into the neighbourhood like some dark crystal that fell from space, the jury is out on this building. Certainly, if nothing else it’s distinct.

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In contrast to the corporate glass cubes, find Muranów’s creative heart inside Państwo Miasto, a remarkable café / bar that serves as a community hub. Find it signposted by a flash of neon announcing Warsaw’s phone code. In an area largely starved of bars, this cool neon is a beacon in more ways than one…

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