Warsaw Stories and Tips

The street of free trade

The Barbakan restaurant on Freta Street Photo, Warsaw, Poland

The street leading away from the entrance to the Barbakan in the Old Town of Warsaw is a fascinating little street, cobbled, not very wide and always buzzing with life. The name Freta probably originates from the German word Freiheit which means free trade. At the beginning of the street on the even numbered side stands the Dominican Church of Saint Jack's; an elegant white church with a black steeple and a Dominican Convent tagged on to the side making the building very large indeed. I have never walked past this church without people going in and out of the front entrance - it seems to be always well visited. Just a little further on, on the same side of the street is the biographical museum of Maria Sklodowska-Curie. The museum was the house she was born in and inside you will find photographs and documents pertaining to her life as a student and a scientist.

On the opposite side of the road you will find the Museum of Asia and the Pacific together with the Asian Gallery as well as a great selection of cafes and restaurants such as The Barbakan and Pierogarnia Zapiecek. These are traditional Polish restaurants serving good food at a reasonable price. In the summer tables are set outside with colourful banners and parasols which adds colour and a sense of carnival to the street.

There are many small boutiques selling strange and weird clothes - quite expensive but a lot of fun to look at even if you aren't buying. The street at the far end on both sides has a very Bohemian feel to it and one of the reasons I like to walk down this street is that it always seems to be in shade in the summer. In winter it is another story as the cobbled roads are slippery and dangerous but it always looks so picturesque in winter when heavy snow has fallen - like the cover of a traditional Polish Xmas card. Freta Street is also on the route for the horse and carriage drivers who take visitors around the Old Town in a Victorian type carriage. Quite gimmicky but adds a bit of character to the street.

This old fashioned cobbled street is the main thoroughfare leading from the Old Town to the New Town Market Square and one that shouldn't be missed if you like a touch of Bohemia with a bit of old fashioned Poland.

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