Warsaw is located on the Vistula River roughly 260 kilometers from the Baltic Sea and 300 kilometers from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population as of June 2009 was estimated at 1,711,466, and the Warsaw metropolitan area at approximately 2,785,000. Warsaw is the 9th largest city in the European Union, by population.
The Vistula River is the only ‘wild’ river running through an European capital. Back in the 1960's Vistula was one of the favourite places of locals - for recreation. Later on, more and more polluted it became abandoned – one bank overgrown by bushes, the other cut off by a highway.
Today Warsaw is slowly rediscovering its river, several big investments are attracting attention of inhabitants and tourist – the Copernicus Centre of Science and the National Stadium are being built very close to the river, on its opposite sides. In 2010, despite major floods, new beaches have been developed. Every year sees new boats and minor changes in the infrastructure. Yet, the first to draw the attention to the river were the artists, who several years ago began to create various art events on the river and its banks, which culminated in the ‘Art Festival by the Vistula River – TRANSFORMATIONS’ in 2009. Now the river attracts many more visitors who come here to rest, watch the animals and over 200 protected species of birds, as well as sculptures and installations brought in by artists.