Polish Army Museum
The main military museum in Poland
’s capital Warsaw
, the inside of which is an old-fashioned, gloomy and largely monolingual affair and of little interest to the modern dark tourist; but the freely accessible open-air displays of planes, missiles, tanks and artillery are – at least for those so inclined – worth a look when in the area.
What there is to see:
As you step into the park-like area with open-air displays
right next to the museum building you are greeted on the right by a sleek MiG-29 fighter jet with Polish Air Force markings. This is a type actually still in service. The specimen on display here could do with a bit of a polish but is still an impressive piece of Cold-War
-era aviation beauty.
On the left is another Soviet
-era fighter jet, of an older type (I believe a Sukhoi Su-20/22) contrasting sharply with a WWII
-era Sherman tank from the USA
. Next to this odd couple are a few small planes (probably trainers) and T-34 tanks, and south of this ensemble stands a small passenger jet marked “Republic of Poland”. Next to this is a medium transport plane and a row of artillery guns.
Turning right to the area behind the museum building, a couple of Soviet-era helicopters are on display, including the menacing-looking MiL Mi-24 attack helicopter, and the workhorse MiL Mi-8, the most-produced helicopter of all time.
Turning left you pass a row of vehicles that include two Cold-War-era missile launchers, at least one of them of the Scud-A type. Opposite these about half a dozen planes from the WWII-era are clustered together, one of them an Ilyushin Il-2, the most-produced military aircraft of all time.
The path then dips down a slope and passes a Soviet-era surface-to-air missile (SAM), some artillery pieces and various tanks and other military vehicles. Just beyond stands a specimen of the iconic MiG-21, the most widely produced supersonic jet plane ever.
So it is not a particularly large collection (for that see e.g. Monino
), but it does feature a number of historically significant and iconic aircraft and missiles, but for fans of other military hardware it’s probably a bit disappointing. But it’s free, so who’s to complain.
For most people this will thus hardly be a destination in its own right, but it makes for a decent enough short add-on when in the area.
I can’t say much about the museum as such, i.e. about the indoor exhibitions
in the main building, because I declined to go inside. That’s because I had read beforehand that it’s supposed to be a gloomy affair with little to no English, and it largely concentrates on eras outside of the usual scope of dark tourism
. That said, it’s supposed to have a section about WWII
and the Warsaw Uprising. But these topics are much better covered in the Museum of the Second World War
) and the Warsaw Uprising Museum
, respectively. Hence I saw no need to see the inside of this museum.
Near the Centrum district of Warsaw
south of the Old Town and about a mile (1.5 km) to the east from the Palace of Culture and Science
and the main train station; address: Al. Jerozolimskie 3.
Access and costs: a bit hidden from street view, but not hard to locate; open-air part free of charge; probably not worth paying the admission fee for the museum interior.
Details: To get to the museum you can walk it from anywhere within the Centrum district, or take a tram to Muzeum Narodowe. Indeed, the Polish Army Museum (“Muzeum Wojska Polskiego” in Polish) is the direct neighbour of the National Museum. To get to the open-air part keep walking east to reach the gate just past the museum buildings.
Admission: free, for the open-air part, but the inside of the museum costs ca. 20 PLN, ca. 5 euros, which sounds little but is probably too much for what you actually get to see.
Opening times: the inside of the museum is open from 9 or 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., either daily (as some sources claim) or more likely only from Wednesday to Sunday; the open-air part is presumably open at least during those times too, possibly longer, and perhaps even daily. I have not been able to ascertain that; but I very much doubt it will be open 24/7.
Time required: depends on your interest in the kind of objects displayed here. A real all-military-hardware freak could possibly spend an hour here, for less enthusiastic visitors something like 10 Minutes or so may suffice (my wife would say even one minute is too long).
Combinations with other dark destinations:
in general see under Warsaw
Just to the west of the museum’s neighbour, the National Museum, stands the building that used to be the HQ of the Polish Workers’ Party during the entire communist
era. Its interior is not open to the public, but you can have a look at the facade and the courtyard and reflect on what a disturbing centre of political power this used to be until 1989/90.
A bit further to the west is the very biggest of all of Warsaw’s attractions, the iconic Palace of Culture and Science
. Definitely worth a look, if not a guided tour of the inside.
Combinations with non-dark destinations: right next door, in an actually directly adjacent building, is the National Museum, which has mainly Polish and international paintings and sculptures, apparently some of them quite significant and valuable.
See also under Warsaw
- Polish military museum 1 - Soviet plane and US tank
- Polish military museum 2 - Republic plane
- Polish military museum 3 - MiG-29
- Polish military museum 4a - Mil-Mi 24
- Polish military museum 4b - Mil-Mi 8
- Polish military museum 5 - big guns
- Polish military museum 6 - WWII planes
- Polish military museum 7 - missile launchers
- Polish military museum 8 - Soviet SAM
- Polish military museum 9a - tank and artillery
- Polish military museum 9b - tanks and planes