As you can imagine, a city as large and historical as Chicago has quite a few sister cities. Not only do these city partnerships add a sort of kinship and novelty to all involved, they often also represent important historical relationships. In the case of Chicago’s first sister city, Warsaw, Poland, that connection is ancestral; Polish Americans are the third most-represented European Americans in the city. But Warsaw has its own long history.
The beginnings of Warsaw were built as early as the 9th and 10th centuries; it became the capital city of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1700, and was well known for its beauty, culture, and art. It was then, taken by the kingdom of Prussia at the end of the 18th century, and later by Napoleon. The city spent most of the 19th century in the power of Russia. Warsaw became a sister city to Chicago in 1960. Not long before that, the city had fallen on hard times. Poland was under the control of the Nazis during World War II, and the Soviet army wanted the country as well. In 1944, much of Warsaw was razed by the Germans. After that, the country was held by the Soviet Union for several years. It joined the European Union in 2004.
Today, the city has reestablished itself as a place of learning, science and industry, with many universities, libraries, and museums. It is the birthplace Frederic Chopin and Madame Marie Curie and a center of Jewish history and culture.