The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw is the tallest building in Poland and the eighth tallest building in the European Union. Locals who spoke of it to me said it was “a gift from Russia” and they always drew the speech marks in the air.
It seemed they have a love hate response to it and have a few, mostly derogatory, nicknames for it: they also told me although it was a ‘gift’ they paid for it!
A beautiful building, it’s a mix of Socialist realism and Polish historicism and was apparently inspired by American art deco skyscrapers. Originally known as the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science but during a ‘de-stalinisation’ period, Stalin’s name was removed.
Wikipedia tells me “Construction started in 1952 and lasted until 1955. A gift from the Soviet Union to the people of Poland, the tower was constructed, using Soviet plans, almost entirely by 3500 workers from the Soviet Union, of whom 16 died in accidents during the construction. The Soviet builders were housed at a new suburban complex complete at Poland’s expense with its own cinema, food court, community centre and swimming pool. The architecture of the building is closely related to several similar skyscrapers built in the Soviet Union of the same era, most notably the Moscow State University. However, the main architect Lev Rudnev incorporated some Polish architectural details into the project by traveling around Poland and seeing the architecture. The monumental walls are headed with pieces of masonry copied from Renaissance houses and palaces of Kraków and Zamość.
3 thoughts on “The Palace of Culture and Science -Warsaw’s gift, Poland”
I read about Palace of Culture and Science. It represents the friendship between the Polish and the Soviet nation. I would love to check it out someday. The architectural design of this monument is worth admiring. What a beautiful structure it is !!!
Lovely pictures, Heather. I always called this building my birthday cake, since it has the year of my birth, 1955, written on the front. Some Poles call it the wedding cake.
How lovely to hear that Catherine, I hadn’t heard that nickname. Pip Adam … a NZ author … says it’s her favourite building in the world
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